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Personal thoughts on recovery DDD vs accident

frenchfriffrenchfri Posts: 325
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just curious on people's personal stories on how long their recovery was. How long before seeing bone growth, being fully fused and getting back to their "full" life such as being able to lift, turn, enjoying everyday activities without pain. Feel free to fill in info such as:
surgery type / levels
how long symptoms persisted prior to surgery
reason for surgery : accident or DDD arthritis
how long before bone growth or fusion
additional surgeries needed
time before back to work / full activities / painfree
additional infor that you want to share.
======================================== ========
12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7
DDD, severe arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerve
4 hours with a bone stimulator per day
no bone growth yet
PT starts Monday had eval (painful)
Went to work as a teacher 2/14/2010


  • Probably ranging the entire spectrum.

    I had a 3-level, 360* fusion (rods and screws placed first day of surgery, but they couldn't get my discs out and I lost too much blood, so had to stay four more days, get units of blood and then have surgery from the front to take the discs out, put in the spacers and bone grafts, etc). Went home two days later. I had surgery November 19, 2008, then again on November 24. They put in metal dowels filled with cadaver bone and spackled it all in with BMP mixed with my own bone marrow (had a sore hip for weeks!). I went back to work (very limited) at the end of December. Basically, I went in, picked up work, and came home to do it on my laptop while I was lying on the couch with my knees up. At two months, I started back to work at 4 hours/day and had my computer put up on blocks so I could use it from a standing position. I just couldn't sit all that long. At three months, I was back to work full time, still standing most of the day, getting up and walking, walking, walking. I had three or four (it's all a blur now, so can't be specific) flare-ups during my recovery -- intense sciatica for which I was given steroids and Lyrica to calm the nerves. It really helped. I did not feel well and relatively pain free till nearly 18 months after surgery. I do still occasionally have sciatic pain, but it's when I've been doing too much. I play with the dog, I'm a professional quilter, so I spend hours standing and leaning over my quilting machine, and I still walk as much as possible. I just stopped going to physical therapy last month. I'll go back when I start to feel too stiff. I have a shiatsu massage pillow for my neck and also one for my back, which help me when I'm sore and tired. I use those Thermacare heat packs when I get painful. I still have a "chronic" oxycodone prescription with my doc, and I keep it filled in case I need the meds. I probably take them a couple of times a month, but I usually try motrn or something first, so I don't use up the "good stuff". I'm careful, but I'm becoming more and more mobile. The surgery really improved my quality of life.

    Oh - I forgot to say that fusion was starting when I went back for my two-month post-op appointment. I was fully fused at one year.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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