Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

ALIF - 6 weeks progress report

patgibson93ppatgibson93 Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hello All-American
Today is 6 weeks since my L5-S1 ALIF and I wanted to update my progress. Each week has been a bit better than the previous, so I am happy with that. Yesterday I saw both my surgeon and PM doctor. Remind me not to do that again! It seemed like a good idea as they are an hour away, but I spent way too much time up and sitting.
My surgeon is very pleased with how things looked on Xrays taken yesterday. All hardware is in place and holding. He shared that he had some concerns about that due to the natural angle of the involved vertebrae. He didn't say anything about bone growth. Because of his concern he wants me to progress very slowly. I am to continue with six more weeks of rest & recovery. I can begin to walk more but should not attempt long distances. He would prefer short distances more often to increase conditioning. At our next appointment he may or may not allow me to begin PT. I'm okay with all of that. Prior to surgery I had horrendous Sciatic pain, numbness & tingling. Postop it has diminished greatly unless I sit very long or stand much. It is hoped that if the nerves are not irritated and allowed to calm down there is a better chance for optimal recovery. Six more weeks it is then!
Pain management will remain the same for the next month. My pain is not completely covered but it is tolerable - it is better than it was before surgery. I am able to sleep most nights thanks to ambien. Positioning with pillows and wearing my back brace allows me get comfortable and my muscles relax. I'm no longer having to take flexeril or ativan. Nucynta and neurontin seem to be all that is required. I'm very happy with that.
So I hope my recovery offers some hope to those of you facing or recovering from ALIF. I'm still marveling at how long the recovery takes, but it's been 6 weeks already! It seems like it was just yesterday I was getting ready for surgery! I'm glad I had it. I had been really anxious beforehand but went ahead as I had exhausted all other options.

I wish you all well,
Pat Gibson
L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
Now L4 Retrolisthisis


  • I'm happy that your recovery is progressing nicely. You sound like you are in a good place physically & mentally which is wonderful!

    Take care!

  • The nerves do take the longest to heal and repair.
  • hi pat

    your 6 week progress sounds steady and recovery going well.

    its great for me to hear how others are doing, im 6 weeks behind you :)

    could i ask, in regards to walking, when did you start and what kind of distance have you being doing?

    L5/s1 discectomy & decompression 2009
    ALIF l5/s1 2011
    Awaiting X-ray & consultant to see if fused, but experiencing a lot of pain again :( 2013
  • Virginia -
    Thank you for the well wishes and support! It means a lot. I think I am in a good place. I have great confidence in my doctors and know that they are doing their best to ensure I have the best outcome possible. Attitude goes a long way in improving how you feel.

    Carol - I haven't been walking for distance really. I do walk frequently throughout the day. Moving about - even just short walks from room to room is crucial. When it has been nice outside I just walk a couple of blocks. Better to stop and head back before you start feeling it. You can always head out again if you feel like walking more. The most important thing is that you walk on flat ground and that you do not trip! If I am walking outside I don't walk by myself. I don't walk with my dogs either. It would be too easy to be tugged the wrong way.
    My surgeon did not want me to walk much (other than in the house or half a block outside) until my 2 week follow up. I have just been given the go ahead to begin increasing distance gently. He has told me that he doesn't want me to rush but to keep making small increases for the next 6 weeks. Then he will allow me to begin pt and walking for distance if everything continues to look so good.
    This may not be what you wanted to hear Carol, but everyone wants you to have a great recovery. I'm relaying my doctor's directions, but yours & your situation might be different. I was very active prior to my injury. I'm hoping to be very active again.

    Good luck and thanks to you both!

    Pat Gibson
    L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
    Now L4 Retrolisthisis
  • When I read your post, your progress was so like my own experience. Yeah gently gently is the best way during recovery, isn't it.

    You've got great support from your doctor too, and that makes a difference.

    Lots and lots of short distance walking is what helped the healing process and kept me sane !!

    As long as the dogs can be with you, they adjust to not going out for walks. Because I live on my own, my dogs didn't get out for 7 months.

    I'm sure your posts will encourage a lot of members and others who come onto this forum.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Thanks Trish,
    It was so nice to hear from you. Encouragement and reassurance really makes a wonderful way to get through the not-so-good days. I'm happy to report the trend of more good days than bad continues!

    Although I don't live alone I do spend the majority of my day alone. My 2 briard dogs are my constant companions and they have been so gentle and cautious around me. Briards are very large beasties and they are herders who take caregiving very seriously. Google them and you'll meet a most unique breed. We have a dog door that opens into an enclosed yard so they can go out as necessary.

    I brought up not walking with them not because I was afraid of them dragging me off, but as just another of those little things we spineys have to watch out for, like grocery shopping - the ultimate task requiring BLT. All it takes is a breaking bag, or a dog making a unexpected move causing us to move by reflex and hurting our backs. It's not just the big things that we have to watch out for, it is those little things we aren't thinking really thinking about that prove to be the most common way to get into difficulty.
    I'm so happy to hear your recovery has gone so well Trish. Your postings have been instrumental in my understanding what to expect in those first weeks. Thanks for taking time to encourage others - you're generous in sharing your own condition & observations.

    Pat Gibson
    L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
    Now L4 Retrolisthisis
  • Hi Pat

    Back in the 80's when I was showing dogs, a friend had two Briards, and they were ever so gentle and a very handsome breed.

    With my Labs, they seemed to know that Mum was different and were so gentle around me. The younger one would normally be all over me for attention, and she held back for a few months. Once I started feeling much better, then she started asking for more cuddles.

    What would we do without our furbabies !!


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
Sign In or Register to comment.