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recovering from spinal fusion - disc replacement one week post op

lisadaylenellisadaylene Posts: 79
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Recovering from Surgery
One week ago, I had disc replacement between L2 and L3, and also between L3 and L4. I have a cage and screws holding everything together. My surgery lasted about 4 1/2 hours. I had my surgery on Friday morning, went home on Sunday afternoon. I have experienced some pain that was bad at times, then other time, nothing. I am on percocet, and just today started prednisone. Most of the pain I am now experiencing is due to muscles on my back on either side of incision, and sciatic in the hip. I am not surprised, I do know all the trauma that nerves go thru with this surgery, and the way I now move to protect my incision causes some discomfort to my back muscles.
I am really bothered by the skin on my butt and top of thighs burning, but do not have a red rash, is it from laying down so much? What can I do to help that burning feeling? I am on a bone stimulator 2 hours every day to help the bone fuse. Overall, I am doing great. I used a walker/seat for one week, and now only use it if I need to go out, or because other chairs are too low. I have joined this site to see if what I am feeling is normal, and to help anyone else if I can. I havd this surgery due to 20 years of lower back pain, and slight scoliosis. When my back went out this time, it lasted four months and after my MRI, saw that their was no more disk, and vertebre was on top of vertebre, squashing my nerves. Right now, I feel I made the right decision.


  • Ok, 11 days post op. As I slowly feel better, I find myself trying my limits, like can I get out of this chair by myself, things like that, and then worrying myself silly that maybe I hurt something. I do notice the feeling of tightness around the repaired spine more than before, but not pain. Not there, but still the skin on my rear and top of thights burns like sunburn, but no redness at all. When I am up and walking around, feel no pain, sitting not bad at all either. Laying down, trying to get comfortable, that is hard. I walked around Target yesterday, that was great, nice to get out. Anyway, that's all for now, hope everyone has a good day.
  • Good to hear your recovery is going well! I haven't had a disc replacement but just wanted to day Hi and I'm wishing you the best during your recovery!

    Take care!
  • Thank you Jayhawk for your nice message. This is the first back surgery I have had, hopefully the last. I do think that I am recovering at a quicker pace than I had thought I would. After reading so many terrible outcomes (before surgery) I was really worried. I know it will be slow, but to not feel any of that sciatica pain is wonderful, hope I never do again. Take care
  • Hello Lisadaylene Glad to hear your doing so well so soon.I'm having Surgery Sept.28 ADR L4-5 Fusion L5-S1.It's great to hear of someone who is having only a few minor issues following such a major surgery.How long after surgery before you were feeling up to walking?At this point are you using anything for assistance in walking?How's the pain from the incision site ? Sorry for all the questions.I look foward to hearing about your progress.Take care and be good to yourself.
  • Sounds like you're doing great. It's so nice to hear from somebody that they are actually feeling better following surgery.
    Please keep us posted. Hope you continue on your road to recovery.
  • Thank you Juvap for your nice reply, yes I think I am doing pretty good considering.

    Kaitiedid, I am glad reading my post made you feel a better about your upcoming surgery. The day after my Aug 27th fusion I was up walking around my room with a walker and sitting in a chair, and later the same day the physical therapist took me down the hallway with the walker, and said I was doing great, no dizziness or anything. I was able to walk without the walker to the bathroom just walking with my iv stand. I was released on the 3rd day after a long walk with the therapist.
    I have a walker with seat, I used it for any walking that was further than a room or two at home. And 6 days after my surgery I was able to go watch my step-daughter have senior pics taken, just made sure I took my walker, because it is higher and easier to get in and out of. I am not using the walker for walking at all, actually went to the park today for pet expo. But I am now 16 days post op. I do use it for sitting at the table and computer, and I sit on my recliner with the back reclined when relaxing.
    The toilet riser is a must! Could not have done without it, and a grabber for anything from putting on clothes to picking up anything I dropped.
    I have no pain from the incision site. The pain from my nerves is the only real pain I feel, not sure what it is, hopefully Monday the doctor will have an answer. If you have any more questions please just ask me, of course as you have seen, everyone has a different outcome. I have no regrets that I did this, hopefully I will continue to feel better everyday and I hope that setbacks are few. I wish you the best with your upcoming surgery. I tried to have a positive attitude from the beginning, I do believe it helped me in my progress. Take care.
  • Thank you Lisadaylene it was very sweet of you to write back and share all the info.WOW I can't believe how well you were getting around so shortly after surgery. I have had two Cervical Surgeries and didn't get around as well as that early on. But I'm hopeful this time will be different.I was at the pharmacy on Friday and was looking at the toilet riser just wasn't sure I would need it and hated to spend the money if I didn't. I will be going back to get it.I have the grabber and have been moving items that I use alot into linen baskets so I can get to them.
    I think nerve pain is almost impossible not to have after this type of surgery.I know I had it with both of my Cervical Surgeries.It takes alot of time for nerves to heal after such trauma.But it's definetly a good idea to talk to your surgeon.
    I completely agree with you that a good attitude is everything.It's funny you said this because I had just had that conversation with my children this morning.And they all agreed a good attitude was key in a sucessful outcome to surgery.
    Thanks again for the great info. Hope you continue down the road to pain free days.I look foward to hearing about your continued recovery.Take Good Care.
  • Congratualtions for doing so well!! Amazing, keep it up!! It is remarkable how much better you feel w/out severe pain. I'm glad that you are going to your dr. Monday so you can ask him the questions you have asked here. I'm not giving you advice, just sharing my experience, I had the burning like sunburn feeling down my legs after surgery(fusion L/2-L4)from nerves. I couldn't have any clothes or heavy covers touch my legs or the "sunburn" feeling felt worse. Boy, it's tough for you to avoid that position right now so I hope that it improves soon for you! Keep up the good work and don't over do it as you feel better!

  • Kaitiedid, sounds like you are preparing yourself well. I tried listening to what others said helped them, and it really helped not to have to have others running around at the last minute. Keep up the positive attitude, please keep in touch.

    Kathy, a lot of people are telling me that they felt that pain down their legs too. Guess I am lucky it has not spread down my legs yet. I am kinda glad it is not winter, no need to wear heavy clothes or blankets, just light cotton clothing. I appreciate what you said about not overdoing it. I keep telling myself that, I have read enough stories of people feeling better, and driving too soon, or lifting or whatever and find themselves in trouble. I do not lift anything over 5 lbs, do not bend at the waist, or sit for over 30 to 45 minutes without walking or lying down. Well, we will see how I feel tomorrow with the staples gone. Thank you for writing, cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.
  • Im so amazed at your speedy revoery..Over here in Australia, each time Ive had spinal surgery I had to spend 8 to 10 days in hospital and then it was a slow process from there..

    I had the burning in the legs and bottom and when I asked my Surgeon he said it was from the nerve being squashed for so long and now it was released and had to try and work again...I have permanent nerve damage to my spine and it has left me with a numb top right leg..

    Goodluick and congratulations on your recovery as it amazes me how well you are doing.

  • Thanks for writing. That is the only thing that I am really wanting to hear from my doctor today, that this nerve pain is "temporary" and not something permanant. I can handle it for another month or so, but do not want it to be something I am going to have to "deal" with, and that means medicine, that doesn't work for this pain anyway. Well, two more hours and I will post again with doctor info. Have a great day Shelly
  • ok, went to the doctor today, 16 days post-op appt. Staples are out, bandages off. Dr. says everything looks really good, and is very happy with the way I am getting around. I am going off of the prednisone over a period of 5 days. Staying on percocet, but now only 1 every 6 hrs as needed. He is giving me two prescriptions for the nerve pain, not sure what they are, I am picking them up tonite (after football). One is for inflamation and the other is for nerve pain, and he said that is normal, and should work really well. I can drive next week, taking it slow, and I can also take a bath next week too. Yeah!
    Physical therapy starts in two weeks. In about a month I have an xray. I told him that in a month I am going to Cabo for my hubby's 50th, and he said sounds great. So all in all, I am very happy with the way my appt. went. Back to the football game.
  • Im so very glad that your appointment went well and your happy with the outcome..

    You still amaze me at the speedy progress your making and keep going as you inspire me..I had my last fusion in April and Im still in pain from it.

    Take care
  • Lisadaylene Wow terrific news I'm so happy for you that all is well.16 days post op is amazing you feel so well,your pain levels are able to be controlled with such a low amount of meds and you feel up to getting out.It gives me great hope and strength to move foward with my own surgery if there's a good chance I might feel the same.I know everyone recovers differently and this will be my 3rd spinal surgery in 3yrs .So there is a good chance it may not be as fast but I'm HOPEFUL.I wish you all the best with your recovery.What a great way to celebrate your sucessful surgery and your husband Bday with a trip.Take good care.
  • My doctor gave me samples on Lyrica C 75. My insurance will not cover Lyrica, so my doctor will just give me samples for now. Well, after just two days, I notice such a difference. First I am sleeping all night, wake up feeling great. My skin pain, the burning and pins and needles, while still there, is so much better, I can tolerate it now. I may ask my doctor if I can take three pills a day to see if the pain goes away, I am on two per day now. This has made such a difference for me. I know that I just started taking the Lyrica, maybe I will have weird side effects, but right now, it is making me feel great. I just wanted to share. Everyone have a great day.
  • I've just been reading this thread and am amazed at how well you're doing. What a boost this is to me as I am just 12 days away from PLIF at L4-S1, for nerve impingement due to scoliosis. Will be having screws, and I think rods, but my surgeon didn't mention a cage and I'm not having ADR. He will be using cadaver bone, I believe.

    I'm a very positive-minded person who does well with surgery but this upcoming surgery has got me a bit worried because of the potentially tough recovery. Hearing how well you're doing really helps me maintain my expectation that I will do as well. Thanks so much for sharing your progress. I hope you continue to do great! :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Thank you for writing. Well, this was my first back surgery, and I was really worried, especially after reading about people with horrible post surgery problems. But I think that there are so many successful positive outcomes, but we never hear about them because I guess they don't get involved with writing about it. I wanted to share how well I have done, but as you know everyone is different. I can only hope that you have a great outcome as I have. I am making sure that I do not bend, lift, exercise, or do anything until told I can. I look forward to physical therapy in two weeks. I have such a supportive family, it sure made recovery easier for me. Please keep me posted and let me know how you are doing. I am going to ask if you want to be on my buddy list, I would love to offer support and an ear during your recovery. I have found that this website has helped my in so many ways. Take care.
  • Thanks for your encouraging and yet sensible note, lisa (may I call you that?) I have to keep reminding myself that generally the spineys who post here have problems which are ongoing and the success stories don't stick around very long, for good reason.

    You bet, we can be buddies! I just approved your request. :)


    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Well, I am now 4 weeks post op. I am recovering very well. I am walking over a mile every day. I am not feeling any pain other than the nerve pain, but because of the Lyrica, I don't really feel it much. Still waiting for my doctor to prescribe something else since my insurance will not cover Lyrica. I do feel a little tightness, stiffness where the fusion is, but I am sure that is expected. I am weaning myself off of the percocet, I am taking 1/2 of a pill now. I notice a little bit of chills and shakes, but that is only when I am due for another pill. After about four days I will cut down to 1/3 of a pill. I am going to be driving next week to my physical therapy sessions and do not want to drive while under percocet. I am starting to go stir crazy, miss doing housework and yard work if you can believe that. But having such a great family has helped me so much in my recovery. So, I am off for my walk. I wish you all a quick recovery.
  • Hi, I have l-5 S-1 fused in 2006 and am still in a lot of pain.I just found out that L-4 is collapsing and I had 2 epideurals yesterday.I also just found out that my Dr. used the INFUSE BMP without the cage he showed me when he told me what procedure he was going to do.Very confused- he said eventually I will have to have L-4 done but he would refer me to his colleague.
  • I so wish you well but please ask lots of questions. I thought my Dr. was like a God after he fused my neck with no problems. Not the case having tlif- my prayers will be with you.
  • It does give hope to read such positive outcomes. Do you mind me asking what part of the country you are in. Sometimes the Dr. makes all of the difference.
  • I would also be very confused if I were you. Why would your doctor show you what he was going to do, and then do something else?? I am so sorry that you have been in pain for such a long time. I hope that your future surgery to fix L-4 will finally give you the relief from pain you need. Please keep in touch, and thank you for writing.

  • I live in Southern California in the high desert. I am very thankful that I feel so good, and that the only pain I feel in the temporary (I hope) nerve pain on my skin. Medicine is taking care of that. But I also know that I need to be mindful of the fact that since I feel so good, that there is always the chance of doing too much and injuring the wonderful work my doctor did. I also read about a lot of people who feel like me, and then months later are in pain for one reason or another. I will say a prayer for you, nice talking to you. I wish you the best.

  • Ok, I guess the surgery was a piece of cake. Yesterday was my first day of physical therapy, oh man I can hardly move! LOL 1 hour of therapy at the office, exercise bike, stretching machine, exercise ball therapy. OH and then, 12 exercise I get to do at home, 2 times a day. And still walk a mile a day. Think all the weight I gained on Lyrica is going to melt away :)
  • Was in incomprehensible pain B4 spinal fusion/disc removal. Now my right leg & foot go from numbness to aching, burning feeling and leg jerks intermittently on its own. Back brace had 2 B modified twice & still uncomfortable. Taking a shower takes Herculean effort and forget standing 10-15 mins. to blowdry hair. Only sleeping 4 hrs. per night never nap during day. Uncomfortable pulling down pressure feeling at base or or higher up on spine.First appt. 2day 2 see xray of 6 screws and rods.was on Dilaudid now just 10mg.oxycodone every 4 hours, pain meds not matching level of pain anymore. Still i am optimistic..any encouraging words from those who can relate?
  • I am so sorry to hear that you are in so much pain. I hope that your visit with your physician gives you some answers to why you are feeling so much pain and are unable to stand for more than 15 minutes. I go through some pain also, but not anywhere near what you are experiencing. I do not wear a brace, never did, but I do wear a bone stimulator 2 hours every day. I have cut my pills down to 1 neurontin, 1 percocet and 1 muscle relaxer at night. I have not had an x-ray yet, and Friday will be 7 weeks. I am anxious to see how my cage and screws and mostly bone fusion are healing. Please let me know how your appointment went to day, and I wish you all the best.
  • Lisa,

    It's been a while since we heard from you (or else I just haven't seen your posts). How are you doing? Are you feeling so well that you don't need the support here on the forum? I hope that is the case! ;)

    Let us know how things are going for you now. I'm 16 day post-op 2-level lumbar fusion and doing well, except for some very painful radiculopathy which has developed in the last few days. Can't confirm a reason yet but am controlling the pain with Lyrica and Dilaudid. Lyrica makes me feel loopy and from what I read here, I can expect to gain weight from it--oh good, lol.

    Take care and know that I'm thinking about you and wishing you well.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Hello Linda, hi everyone.
    I am in Cabo San Lucas with my husband and my dad. Having a great time, beautiful weather. I am doing light swimming in the pool, walking on the sand, and of course shopping! I will be home tomorrow, and of course will be back on this site, yes, I still need the support Linda. I am glad you are doing good Linda, I hope that the medicine does help you. I did gain some weight with Lyrica, but when I started physical therapy, it is starting to come off. But the weight gain was a good trade-off for not being in pain. Take care everyone, adios!!
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