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5 weeks post-op and still TIRED!

happyHBmomhhappyHBmom Posts: 2,070
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I don't know why- 4 weeks post op I could convince myself that it was OK to still be tired, but now this is getting ridiculous.

I am still SO TIRED! I'm having trouble waking up in the morning, and if I go a day without napping I am a mess the next day.

It's making activity difficult, because fatigue just gets the best of me even if the soreness doesn't (although I am still very sore).

How are all the other december people doing? I am only taking extra short-acting drugs now, and have added Soma, but it was bad before that too.

I wonder if my sleep is disturbed? Or is it just still healing?


  • I am still tired easily also. We have gone through a major surgery and are still doing alot of healing as well as trying to grown bone for fusion. That is the big part. The other is it is winter. That along with the healing makes it hard to be energetic. How can you feel great when right now in Iowa it is -4. You should be having your six week check up, shouldnt you? Make your list of questions for your Dr as you wont remember half of them when you get there. Hope thus helps. Good Luck
  • I have been tired also but have given up taking the naps for the most part. I still have minor soreness and take pain meds at night mostly. My wife thinks I should be able to do all kinds of things now but I seriously don't have the energy yet. I hope when warmer weather gets hear it will change. I hate the thought of missing spring bass fishing.
  • Hi happyHBmom...I will be 4 weeks post op this upcoming Tuesday and the fatigue for has not gone away. though i am tired i still dont sleep at least not comfortably...I wake up at least 5 to 6 times a night, granted a few of them is b/c i need to use the restroom..it is all that water that i drink before bed...bad habit..lol anyway i as well take a nap during the day. I lay down about an hour before my children get home from school so i know for sure i will get up... Now mind you i have 2 teenagers and a 10 and 9yr old as well, so not much needed supervision really.. but i will help them with what they need, find out about their day and then lay back on the couch, b/c i can no longer stay in bed all day anymore, and then i am out for another 3 hours or so...I have an auto-immune disease which affects my leg and this inhabits me from walking long distances or even get off the walker b/c i have no balance. But i am making it up the drive way these days with my walker of course to at least get the mail now. and i live in northern california where at this time of the year it is in the 30's and 40's(not near as cold as Iowa though) but lately we have had an abnormal heat wave where it has been in the early 70's and i can not even enjoy that weather.. and that stinks!! and i am sure you all know what i am talking about..and as for the pain factor i am still in so much pain... between my back and both legs i seem to never have a "good" day.. I am also still on my massive pain killers and some valium as well b/c there is no way i could even think about going off of those yet.. I have a doc appt coming on the 25th and we'll see what he has to say.. they are sending me in on Monday for an x-ray on my back to make sure the hardware is still in place good and that nothing has shifted. and they are also doing an x-ray on the upper part of my middle back b/c i have a disc out there as well and just started hurting about 3 weeks before surgery.. so needless to say sometimes we just never catch a break...Did you maybe try to do some everyday activities that you used to do before surgery maybe to soon? Being that maybe you thought you were feeling better?I try to do things to help my family with the loads around my house but they dont let me and sometimes i just feel useless and feel like i have no quality of life at the moment...well i hope things get better for the both of you soon.. and i am glad to read other people's stories to see that other people are going through the same thing that i am.. we are not all alone out there... please keep me posted on how things are going and how the healing is going...try to smile through the pain, I am and every now and then it works....lol :)
  • So glad to hear I'm not the only one! I'm back to driving the kids to and from school again, so I have to get up in the morning- but sometimes it's really hard :(

    I haven't taken over full care of the horse yet, no idea when I'm going to be up to that :/
  • I agree with Robin (mine was also Dec 13th!), at least I'm trying to make myself believe the remaining pain is from the procedure and healing until I go to the NS on the 27th for the xray and first detailed follow up. Also want to ask about pain meds. Weaned down to one percoset a day generally but just acetomenophen isn't cutting it. Hoping there's something "in between". :)

    My son was asking me how I was feeling this morning and my comment was that it can vary day to day and sometimes even hour to hour. Still have a lot of pressure/moderate pain along the surgery area and lower back pain but the legs are finally feeling pretty good. Don't know everyone else's experiences but at least for me, the pain can be in different places, sometimes the right side, the left, sometimes both. Sitting and standing still are the

    Regarding tiredness, yes I definitely still am but I also think, at least in my case, that it's partially a boredom/restlessness issue. Tired of the monotony, the winter, etc,etc,etc. I'll go to bed at 8:00 just to get away from the recliner and TV! Tired legs is definitely still an issue.

    One of the greatest things about this forum is the comfort of being able to "talk" to people in similar situations. I don't think anyone who is not or has not been in the condition we all are can truely relate as hard as they try.

    Thanks to all!
  • And I get tired very quickly still. I try to get all of my "must do's" out of the way in the morning because by late afternoon I am shot and usually needing at least a muscle relaxant if not a pain pill. I am on Vicodin 7.5's for then and at night and would like to be off of them by now, but neither the Tramadol or Tylenol 3 is quite enough yet.

    I am still not sleeping great which I am sure is another part of the reason why I feel more tired. On the bright side it is freezing cold here so I am getting plenty of rest tucked into a nice warm blanket!
  • We all have to remember that we had major surgery. My was ACDF 2 level on 12/9. I went back for a 6 week check on Wed. No bone growth yet, not as much ROM as Dr would have liked. I get sore (my spinal column between my shoulders)and knots along with burning in my shoulders. Not what I expected at this time. I have long hair and get very tired after washing an conditioning my hair. I don't even have the energy to blow dry my hair. At least the house is warm even though it is in the 20's outside. I am wearing a bone stimulator 4 hours a day. How about you? We need to keep our chin up (LOL) and have a positive outlook.
  • And I am anxious to see what the Neurosurgeon has to say next week when I see him. I have been in PT since 2 weeks after the surgery - the therapist has made great strides in ridding me of my muscle spasms and I do stretches at home along with some real light core exercises.
  • My orthopedic surgeon does not prescribe PT until after 3 months. I tried to get him to allow, no luck. We did practice a few stretching exercises which I try and do a few times a day. Just write down all of your question between now and then. I could not rely on remembering a question. I keep a notebook of concerns and questions from the day after surgery so I had all of my thoughts written down. It is a joke between the dr and myself - how many questions do I have. All kidding aside, they answer all my questions and spend as much time with me as I need. They really and truly hear everything I have to say.
  • I was tired for a while after my 1999 sinus surgery, which from what I've heard is a walk in the park compared to lumbar fusion. I hope you >:D< feel better soon. Love, Essmoe >:D<
  • I had my surgery Dec 3rd and I feel tired as well. My pain level is great expect for the past few days :( I carried very heavy grocery's a few days ago and ever since then my legs are burning in pain. I almost feel like I did something to my S1 disk I have an apt on Monday with my surgeon! I woke up in the middle of the night with really bad pain! I'm so upset! It's been great since the carrying of the grocerys!! It's hard to slow down when you feel so good. I hope I did not damage anything!

    I'm waiting for a resident to call me from my hospital due to my pain today! I'm hoping he will reassure me that I did nothing wrong and my back is fine..

    It's so hard to be patient when you want your life back!

    love to all,

  • Seems like every morning I'm ready to take on the world and feel good. By the time I take the kids to the bus stop, go to physical therapy, and come home, I'm ready for a norco or two, and lay down for a nap. From that point the rest of the day is a battle to get the kids from the bus and be active for the rest of the day. After the kids are in bed I'm so wiped that I lay in bed and watch tv, but can't go to sleep until the wee hours.

    I'm 7 weeks out of surgery and started PT 2 weeks ago. PT and doctor both seem to think I'm on track, and said being tired is just part of the healing and they both say not to push it. The therapy is very light exercises and lots of stretching and massaging tight muscles. I will say, from the first PT session, I have found the stretching and massages to be really helpful with painfully tight muscles and has left me with just the various pains in the back.

    I did sit on the loader tractor and cleared a foot of snow in my driveway of a 1/4 mile long the other day. Felt good to be useful, but wore me out for 24 hours and definitely felt it in my back later, but it all went away with rest.
    I know I'm not ready for 8 hour days of work yet!
  • I agree with everyone. Participating in the morning routine of getting my son up, making breakfast and lunch and then off he goes makes me tired. I'm sure all of us force ourselves to complete those activities. Then I try to read the paper and have coffee and breakfast. If I am up to it, I shower which is exhausting since I have long hair to wash and condition. Then I am tired and usually rest or sleep on the couch for an hour or 2. Not sure how I well get back into a schedule so that I can go back to work as a teacher. Very concerned. I wear the bone stimulator 4 hours a day and not bone growth at 6 weeks. When did if yet any of you have bone growth. Getting concerned.
  • Not uncommon. After my 2nd MicroD (not fusion), I was tired. I also found that as I came off meds, increased activities, changed routine, I was tired.

    You were through a lot and your body is still healing.
  • I am so sorry that you are in such pain and at the hospital waiting for the resident to call you. Hopefully by now you have had some support. I know that a set of x rays and an exam will put your mind at ease (I'll keep my chin up for you LOL). I know that it is extremely difficult to be patient. We all want our life back without pain but with increased mobility and ROM.I always pack my own groceries or let them know I had neck surgery and need to make the bags extremely light. WHen I needed to buy a case of water I go to customer service and ask for help putting it into the cart and the same for the trunk of my car. Not too proud to ask for help now or 6 months prior to surgery when I could not lift anything with my left arm. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • could be from the drugs they use during the surgery. The most common side effect from them is constantly feeling tired. That and the shock your body is recovering from.

    Depending on how you react to what they use and your tolerance. Some on here have been on lots of meds prior to surgery and maybe have a big tolerance. I didn't and don't. It was probably 3 months post op before I felt better energy wise. And unlike most I was walking the day after surgery and started PT 2 weeks out. So some of my tired feeling was also exercising soon after.

    I saw my regular doc and had my blood tested and they found all my levels they test for by default to be fine. Even taking vitamins was not making me feel better. Then it jsut went away. I was also not loaded down on meds for long after surgery.

    Drink lots of water. If they gave you one of those breathing things to take home. Continue to use it. It forces you to fill your lungs and get more air in. Get and walk around, even a little bit. Movement and activity slowly helps shake that off too.

    I just had meniscus surgery on my knee 3 weeks ago. I'm not on any meds. I feel tired. Even with exercise and rest. I just don't do well with whatever it is they use in the OR. It apparently does not just go away in a couple of days for everyone.
  • Today I slept until noon! Yesterday I barely made it out of bed after getting my daughter to school in the morning.

    It's really good to hear that it's normal :) All of my healthcare professionals are telling me I'm on track as well, but it's better to hear from others who have been through it!

    Frenchfri, I was told no growth at 6 weeks would be normal. I am slow to grow bone so fully expect to be right there with you. My stimulator is also not working properly, and I need to figure out how to fix it!
  • I guess if our bodies need the sleep then go for it. I finally got out of bed around 11. I was awake for a while just not ready to face the day. If your bone stimulator is not working, just call the company. I have called the company that made mine once. They call back within 24 hours. Your surgery was lengthy 9 hours. WOW and 2 days. Why did they have to complete 2 different surgeries. I had ACDF with plate, screws and cages with BMP. Not sure what type of surgery you had. Mine in total was 2 1/2 to 3 hours and it took me along time to come out of it. Any idea how long before bone growth can be seen on an x ray? Hae a good night.
  • I had a shattered vertebrae that had to be removed, then my spine re-aligned, a titanium cage put in, then a rod and screws in the front and plates in the back. I needed 2 different surgeries because he could not get the anterior access he needed at L1/L2 if he went in through the back- so I had a thoracotomy (where they go in between 2 ribs, spread the ribs apart, separate the diaphragm and move it out of the way, etc) and the majority of the surgery was done that way (the first day was 7 hours, most of which was picking pieces of bone off of my nerves and spinal cord- the second day was barely 2 hours).

    I think time to bone growth is variable. Some people are fast and some are slow :) I know I am slow, because of how long it has taken me to grow bone when I have had my various fractures.
  • Way back when, 3 years ago, after a set of xrays I pressed my doctor on the condition of my fusion. I was told that the bone between the discs is knotting (definition: a bond of union). I thought it was an odd term but sounded kind of cool. So, next time you see your doctor you can ask if your knotting. It looked like a milky haze between the discs to me. A ct scan is better for determining the progress of the fusion.

  • thank you dave for that info. i have a copy of my most recent x rays. no milky haze, just able to see the pins very clearly inside the PEEK cage. not sure they will order a cat scan to humor my need to see bone growth.
  • OMG you have been through quite an ordeal. Hopefully you had some good meds while in the hospital and when you came home. I am assuming you were in quite a bit of pain especially from everything they had to move to get access via the front. Hope you are healing as well as can be expected and you are staying on top of your pain management. Now I feel as if my surgery was a walk in the park compared to yours. Good luck with your fusion and recovery.
  • Oh hon - my surgery was 26 months ago and I'm STILL TIRED! I don't sleep well at night and I wake up tired in the morning. Some of it, I'm sure is the weather. I'm a bit more energetic in the spring and summer, but stiffness and not sleeping will really zap your strength. You just do the best you can!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Yesterday I managed to meet my lofty goals of shaving my legs and cleaning up the kitchen. Woohoo!

    Today I have done... nothing so far ;)
  • Okay I have to say tht 8 years after fusion surgery I still get tired if i overdue. You are never going to be like you were before. You need to establish a new normal and live with that. This is a very major surgery and it changes your body.
    4 level posterolateral fusion L2-S1 with rods and screws and cadaver bone. Spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, sciatica, DDD, facet disease and arthritis. September 2002
  • Glad you were able to reach your goal. I was productive yesterday also. Cleaned the sink and toilet in 2 bathrooms. I also made tacos for dinner and brownies for dessert. Progress :)
  • You cleaned toilets? How on earth did you manage that? I can't bend like that, it would kill me!

  • I was only wearing the soft collar so I have some rotation in my neck, but also knew I would not make any wrong moves. I also sat on the floor and didn't bend down to do it. You also had a more more extensive surgery (length and area). I had a 2 level ACDF C5-6 C6-7(neck) which I think is very different from yours. I just wanted to have a cleaner bathroom and was getting frustrated. Since I am doing stretching exercises with my necks and using 5 lb weight to strengthen my arms, shoulders I thought I would be okay. Took my time and felt accomplished. My co-teacher told me that I missed a lengthy writing workshop. So I drove 10 min to her house and she filled me in. I have alot of Homework to do. She also gave me some other work to complete at my instance. Very important to feel productive and part of the process. Hopefully I won't do too much reading or work on the computer.
  • I recall with my first procedure thinking "I'm going to have all these physical limitations, but I'll get a lot of office work caught up on my computer - did not happen. I was too fatigued to even read/review my "work", and it was a good 4-5, even 6 weeks before I came out of my fog - I was off heavy meds by 3 weeks the first time so I know it wasn't that; but anemia from blood loss, effects of anesthesia, and just the major trauma - yes. My second major procedure just recently I was definitely in more a med-induced fog for 3 months, once off meds I still don't have more than same energy level but I don't know how much pain is contributing.
  • What were your 2 procedures? I am 6 weeks post op. I find I can not concentrate as much as I did prior to the surgery. I am trying to complete a little bit of work that my co=teacher sends my way. I stopped taking regular pain meds about 7-10 days post op. Only take some once in a while now. I definitely don't have the same energy level. Never really thought I would be this weak for so long and still have limited concentration. I do try and have somewhat regular sleeping and waking patterns.
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