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restrictions after L5S1 fusion surgery

hend0383hhend0383 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone,

I am scheduled for L5S1 surgery at the end of July. I have been living with numbness, back and leg pain on both sides for the past 23 years... sometimes debilitating mostly bearable although I think I have just become used to being in pain.

My question is this... After the surgery, what restrictions will I need to observe? I am very active in the gym and love weight training, always being very aware not to do exercises that would aggravate my situation. What daily limitations will I experience? Is fusion at L5S1 a stable area that will not lead to other issues down the road? My concern is that fusion will lead to follow on problems later in life... I only want to do this once... finally what can I do physically and mentally to prepare for the surgery?

Thank you all for you input.

HS
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1

Comments

  • Hi,

    I had L5/S1 fusion the end of march this year. Your doctor will tell you when you can get back to weight training. I do core exercises and free weights. You have to start small tho. I also walk and swim. It is wonderful to be weightless. My L5/S1 is the 3rd fusion I have had in 4 years. I had a serious accident being knocked unconscious by an out of control snowboarder (hit & run). I had lots of PT and other things to try and fix my SI joint and back. Then a laminectomy at L4/L5. Then a fusion of L1-L5. And then L5 started slipping this year and had to be fused. My spine was very unstable after the accident and I know people say if you get fused one level it puts pressure on the lever above and below. I know lots of people who have had only one fusion and are fine. I think because my spine was so weakened that the non fused parts just couldn't take the stress. At one point my spine actually started collapsing in on itself (that was when I had L1 to L5 fused; they tried to straighten as best they could but still lost 1/4"). I don't think I am the usual fusion scenario. Like I said lots of people have only one fusion and are fine. It just takes time to heal and you have to respect that. You will get back to your activities, you may have to substitute other things for awhile or scale back. Good luck!!

    Jani

    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • I've finally decided to go for an L5S1 fusion July 5. Since this will be my first spine surgery I too want to know what happens next.

    Michael
    Disability retirement
  • Hello All! I've had multi- levels done. What I can tell you is NO LIFTING of anything heavier than a gallon of milk for several weeks. Your DR. and PT will guide you on progression of activities. Walking is about the only activity at first. You will see what you will be able to do as well. Some people are very debilitated before surg. and have to progress slowly, but it sounds as though you are in great shape,so recovery will be better too. Going up and down stairs is difficult, walking long distances, sitting for long periods. Bending and twisting are restricted also, so activities that require that are limited. I must tell you from my experience that you can't overdo anything, don't push your body beyond what it's telling you or you will pay the price. For example, I would try to mop the floors and do a few too many loads of wash and I would be practically bed-ridden for the next day. LISTEN to your body, You will learn as you go along what you can and can't do.Core strenghtening exercises are great,but ask your physical therapist what you can do. Your job immed. post-op is to heal and rest. If you are a type A like me it was hard to adjust to at first. Look at this time as an opportunity to catch up on all those books and TiVoed shows you've been meaning to watch. You deserve it. Best Wishes for your recovery!
  • I am not in too bad shape physically even though I don't exercise anywhere enough. The only thing slowing me down these days is back pain and pain meds.

    I too am a Type A personality and already cannot sit still when there's nothing for me to do. However, I do have a couple of hobbies that force me to stay in one spot for sometimes hours on end. I'm hoping that I'll be able to focus on these activities (when I'm not rehabing) to keep my mind occupied.

    Michael
    Disability retirement
  • I think you will be fine--the first 3 months are the toughest--but manageable--get a hospital bed for first month, esp if you have a two story home.

    All good advice above

    One thing to note--L5-S1 is low in the spine and not as susceptible to movement as higher vertabrae. So, a good chance with following DR's advice and advice here you will do well.


    Ken
  • Thanks for your comments. On a bad day I can't wait for the surgery. On a tolerable day I ask what's my hurry. On a good day, who knows? I don't really have good days. Every positive comment helps me to come to terms with the necessity for surgery.

    Michael
    Disability retirement
  • Hey guys i read your forum and decided to chime in.Looks like a few of us will be going through this around the same time,I also have surgery scheduled for July.Not sure on the day yet. I am having L5/S1 fusion with ADR L5/L4. Good Luck to us all.
  • I am supposed to have ALIF S1-L5 on June 6 (although the hospital called me and they think its June 8 which is a problem I have to work out tomorrow) and I am getting nervous. I also wonder about the recovery period. But, honestly, when I heard the hospital has possibly messed up the date and I may not have the surgery as schedule I started to cry like big baby. I didn't realize until then how much I was hoping for it so I could be in less pain. I am in so much pain. I don't take any painkillers. I am even allergic to NSAIDs which leaves me with nothing. I can't stand it anymore.
  • had the surgery April 4th followed all the rules,haven't exercised for over 2 months, started PT last week and I am in such agony, can't stand or walk still taking hydrocodone, doesn't work. HELP, is this a common problem? Had this pain 10 months before going for surgery; and now it's back with a vengeance.
  • My advice to anyone feeling unusual or relentless pain is to call your Dr. until you get some kind of satisfaction. Hulaw.. you can get a nerve block or cortisone injection to tide you over. You can be referred by your surgeon or sometimes they can do it themselves. I was in the same boat as you. Prior to my surg. my surgeon sent me right to a Dr. in his bldg. that day and I made the arraignment for later that week and I had a nerve block in my spine. I don't know what I would have done otherwise.And pain-in-the-leg,what did they do to you in PT? You are never supposed to come out afterwards with more pain than you started,as I always say "If you feel like something is wrong then it is". ASK, talk to your physical therapist and surgeon.Maybe are you doing too much at home or work. I know that this far out after surgery your pain level should be dropping down. Call you Dr. tomorrow, I am concerned for you being in so much pain. Hend,haven't forgotten about you...I came on to see if you had anymore questions. Hope you are feeling better.
  • Got everything worked out and the date is, indeed, June 8 for the surgery. I guess I can handle one more week of this pain. My partner feels so bad for me. She hears me cry at night and helps me out of bed sometimes, and she and the kids help me do things like get my shoes on. Etc. Its amiserable way to live. I really hope it works.

    Good luck to all you having your surgeries in July...
  • Got everything worked out and the date is, indeed, June 8 for the surgery. I guess I can handle one more week of this pain. My partner feels so bad for me. She hears me cry at night and helps me out of bed sometimes, and she and the kids help me do things like get my shoes on. Etc. Its amiserable way to live. I really hope it works.

    Good luck to all you having your surgeries in July...
  • Thanx for the advice, Joyfull, I wasn't a candidate for anerve block prior to surgery and the epidurals did not work at all. I have a 1pm PT today and I will demand an answer, all I get from him is "that's what you are here for" I just know if I call the surgeon again, they'll want an MRI or X-ray. I cannot believe this is happening I was also old " the nerve was compressed for 10 mos ad it will take a long, long time for it to adjust (huh) I literally have to lay down or recline & it doesn't matter if I've slept 8 hrs or rest for 1/2 hr, within a minute of standing, the pain shoots back so I cannot stand!
    I guess I will have to make some decision today, but thanx again!
    pithl
  • Thanks for the luck. I think that those of us in the class of July 2011 will certainly need it.

    Michael
    Disability retirement
  • May it be the best result & recovery you could hope for.Rest well.
    Keeps us posted !! :H
  • Surgery scheduled July 7th :)))
  • I also was very involvedmin weight training before my fusion. You need to know that it will be a few months before you can train regularly again, and I would throw out deadliest and squats. I have had four surgeries in a year, so just know that you will need to take it real easy. mentally it is going to mess with you because you are used to training your body, so you may lose some mass and for sure will get tired of being couped up. But I want to encourage you tomkeep your head up and follow doctor instructions carefully, you will feel better but stay on task forrest recovery. If you over do it or get back in the gym to fast you will irritate the sciatic nerve, or mess up the fusion. You faun do it just be real mindful and aware of your physical limits. Good Luck
  • I'm scheduled for July 5, bright and early at 8:00.

    Michael
    Disability retirement
  • Let me know how it goes. I am recovering from L5/S1 in march. Good luck!!

    Jani

    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Hi I am new here and I had a microdiscectomy in November and a disc fusion on April 19th. I am having a very hard time with my recovery and tend to overdo things. At first my mother-in-law (we live together) would help alot. I have 2 children and they also help when they can but it seems like now I feel I have to do it all. When I sit to long I hurt, standing to long hurts, and on top of that I was squatting down on Friday and fell backwards. That hurt alot. I don't want anyone who is going soon to think this is wrong for you, just I hope you have a good support system and DON'T overdo it. I am learning that the hard way. I go for my 6 week checkup in 2 days, hope all goes well.
  • Hi Tonya77 this was my first post ever because I was desperate to learn more about recovery from the lumbar L4-5 laminectomy discectomy I had on 4/4 - I know I overdid also, after 1 wk I've been alone and trying not to do too much, but come on. My problem is when I went to PT they said that I was't doing any better and give that up - called doc to complain about horrible pain after standing no more than 2 mins (down my thigh, calf, etc) and was prescribed muscle relaxant, Robaxin which so far, is not helping at all (this is with the hydrocordone I take every 4 hrs. I am so afraid I will have to hve a fusion too, the doc said maybe have scar tissue but hasn't asked for an x-ray yet, wants to send me for an epidural - is this what you went thru?
  • I did physical therapy with no luck there also. The pain shot down my thigh and calf to from the scitic nerve. I had to wait like 6 weeks to have an mri after 1st surgery and then had 2 steroid shots in the back. I got very little relief from this. I also take Robaxin and Neurontin. I have to see what the doc says on Thursday about the pain I have in my legs. I just made dinner for my family and my legs are hurting especially my calves. Hope you feel better soon.
  • my doc hasn't asked for an MRI yet, will be calling for an epidural shot as well-does he tell you why the nerve is so "active" for lack of a better word.can you stand for longer than a couple of minutes without having to sit?
  • Had my pre-op appt today.

    TLIF @ L5S1 scheduled for 6-16-2011

    Looking forward to the beginning of getting my life back :)))
    Jun 2011 -TLIF @L5-S1
    Mar 2012 -NonUnion @L5S1
    May 2012 -Multi Level Discography
    July 2012 -XLIF 2Cages @L3L4/L4L5
    Aug 2012 -All New Hardware @L34L45/L4L5/L5S1
    Mar 2013 -FBSS = Pain Management until they figure it out.
  • Hope your surgery will be a success and you will be pain free! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Thank you for the kind thoughts.

    Things have been going on for 10+ years but the last 18 months have been really bad. That's when the legs and hips started killing me and walking or standing more than 15 min was very ugly.

    It's funny sometimes I think I am fine and don't need it, then I remember that I am on Soma and Percs 4x a day and when a dose starts to wear off it all comes screaming back.

    I am very excited for my surgery. Things already stink, I have nowhere to go but up.

    I look forward to taking the road back to normal-ville.

    The 4-8 weeks out of work won't kill me either.

    So a TLIF it is and hopefully not too many hospital days.

    I have a pedometer app on my iPhone ready to count my post op steps :)
    Jun 2011 -TLIF @L5-S1
    Mar 2012 -NonUnion @L5S1
    May 2012 -Multi Level Discography
    July 2012 -XLIF 2Cages @L3L4/L4L5
    Aug 2012 -All New Hardware @L34L45/L4L5/L5S1
    Mar 2013 -FBSS = Pain Management until they figure it out.
  • I had a pedometer too after my 3 fusions. Since it was the only thing I could do at first and I am a mileage junkie it was fun to keep track of my progress. Seeing how I used to keep track of my running mileage this was the next best thing. Good luck on the upcoming surgery.

    Jani

    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • I am a gadget nerd so a pedometer in my iPhone is right up my alley.

    My spine place laughs at me because I have all my films on my iPad ready for review at all times :)

    Thanks for the Good Luck Wishes :)

    Cheers
    -wsn




    *note: There is a free utility for the Mac called OsiriX for importing MRI and xray films.
    Jun 2011 -TLIF @L5-S1
    Mar 2012 -NonUnion @L5S1
    May 2012 -Multi Level Discography
    July 2012 -XLIF 2Cages @L3L4/L4L5
    Aug 2012 -All New Hardware @L34L45/L4L5/L5S1
    Mar 2013 -FBSS = Pain Management until they figure it out.
  • I posted my latest x-rays on my Facebook page. That is pretty bad!!

    Jani

    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • I am firm believer in taking ownership of ones challenges and think one should get as much education of the subject at hand as possible. I like to advocate for myself.

    I like my neuro and trust him, but I found him
    After 4 years of looking for the right answers from the wrong people.

    It was worth it as I trust my team now, and they are really nice and positive people which I think helps set the tone.

    I walked away from more than one god complex to get to the right people.
    Jun 2011 -TLIF @L5-S1
    Mar 2012 -NonUnion @L5S1
    May 2012 -Multi Level Discography
    July 2012 -XLIF 2Cages @L3L4/L4L5
    Aug 2012 -All New Hardware @L34L45/L4L5/L5S1
    Mar 2013 -FBSS = Pain Management until they figure it out.
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