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Newbie one month post op bilateral laminoplasty, L4,5 bone fusion spondylolithesis

EllenEEllen Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am new here. I am 65 yr , was very active in good shape pre op, had back issues all my adult life, managed to keep surgery at bay with exercise, chiropractic, inversion table, but the slippage and stenosis finally produced intractable pain, tried epidurals, acupuncture, no long lasting relief. Went to top Ny hospital and top surgeon, but I have more pain and neural symptoms now than pre op. I am very discouraged. Doc did follow up !MRI, says it looks good, but I sure do not feel good.
Sleeping is almost impossible because of pain in all positions a d parasthesia on outer thigh with electric shocks and burning , and claudication on both sides of leg and calf. I just do not know what to expect, what do people use for relief. Could not tolerate percocet, caused loss of appetite and hallucinations. Any words of wisdom?
Thanks, Ellen


  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You've found a great place for information throughout the site and the members of the forum are very friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and supportive. We've got quite a great group here, as I'm sure you'll find.

    One month out from lumbar surgery is still very, very early in recovery and I also found myself getting worse before getting better. You probably won't feel close to normal for about six months and then hopefully, close to normal at about a year.

    Lumbar surgery is very invasive and I remember after mine, I had nerve pain where I'd never had it before, to the point of having to use a walker for a couple of weeks. It's a real difficult recovery.

    Try to hang in there and measure your recovery in weeks, not days. One day, you'll realize that the pain you're feeling is left-over surgery pain and not the pain you're feeling now. I say this with the hopes that all goes well and from your recent doc visit, it looks like it is.

    Patience, patience, patience, and walking, walking, walking. Do what you can with the walking, rest when needed and take your pain meds on schedule. You want to try and stay ahead of the pain because when it gets ahead of you, it's hard to get back under control.

    Use this site and these forums to keep in touch and continue to get support - that's what we're here for. Many of us have walked in your shoes and understand the frustration of the long lumbar surgery recovery. I personally will never forget it.

    Feel free to PM me if I can help you in any way or if you just need someone to talk to. Take care of yourself and when you start to feel better, don't overdo and give yourself a setback.

  • Thanks so much for taking the time to answer me. My doc told me very little about what to expect, and I surely never expected to feel worse, which is what happened, especially with all these new neural pains I did not have before.
    I did some investigating regarding natural anti inflammatories, fish oil, arnica, etc. Seems to be giving me some relief. Many thanks! Elln
  • You can't take anti-inflams, natural or otherwise, after fusion surgery. It inhibits bone growth and you MUST have bone growth for fusion.

    So please stay away from the anti-inflams until your doc says you've fused and it's ok. Big no-no.


  • :H

    I agree with Cathie that 1 month is very early in this long recovery.

    I also developed some new pains after my surgery. When you think that things have been changed in your spine and the alignment has probably changed too, it is not surprising that your nerves are screaming at you.

    I also found sleeping very difficult for a long time after surgery. I only seemed to sleep for about 2 hours at a time and then would have to try to find a new position to get comfortable again. Often, I would have to get up and take a walk around the house before I could find that comfy position. Have you tried using a pillow between your knees if you are on your side, and the pillow under your knees if you are on your back.

    I do still keep waking during the night, over a year later, but I think it is due to my neck, shoulders and arms now.

    Ellen, I hope that very soon you will manage to get more sleep and that you will be aware of moving forward in your recovery.

    Keep visiting us here. We can all get through this together. >:D<

  • #:S
    That is amazing, that is exactly what I have to do, get up and walk I take half an Ativan to get to sleep, although I am tired, the aches and pIns keep me awake. I have pillows all over the place, but there is no one comfortable position. My goodness sounds like you have had a lot of surgery! How do you Fu ction? Are you better now? How long for your recovery.
    Thanks for Input!

  • I have only had the decompression and fusion in my lumbar region last year. I was off work (Teaching Assistant, so lots of bending) for 6 months, and then had to have a phased return. I am pretty much back to normal as far as the recovery goes now, but I am having other problems with my spine, which is being investigated.

    I have very much less pain than before my surgery, which was awful sciatica which caused me to keep having to lie down (sometimes on the floor at work!). Although I am getting pain and various tingles, cramps and burning etc., my pain levels don't mean I need daily medication, only on a particularly bad day.

    During my recovery, I tried to walk every day (still walk 2 miles a day), do all my exercises and not to do anything that would cause me pain (lifting, bending or twisting too much). I really didn't want to risk damaging the surgeon's work and be back needing another surgery.

    I now wonder if I will need a cervical fusion in the future, but am trying to just do my best to get on with my life, while I wait to see the neurosurgeon again in 6 months. As for my thoracic area, although I am getting classic symptoms from the discs, I am coping with the pains and spasms that I get, and so have not really had that area investigated yet (apart from the lumbar MRI that happened to show up the 3 problematic discs).

    Give yourself plenty of time to get over this major surgery. Don't push yourself, but look to a year after it, before you expect to really feel the benefit of it. You will probably feel much better before then, but you will probably still need to take good care and be aware of not overdoing it.

    There are several people on here who have needed further surgery or are still in pain, who wish that they had been more cautious. I took my lead from reading their stories, and decided that I didn't want to be down the line, wishing that I had been more careful.

    Keep healing. >:D<

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