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TraciTTraci Posts: 92
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a PLIF in Sept 2010. Was wondering how other people were doing that had surgery around that time?


  • Hi Traci -

    I had PLIF in October 2009. I was just starting to feel human again about a year out, October 2010. I was still having major flare ups that would set me back a few days, and my lumbar felt weak. But after a year of exhaustion and never feeling quite right, my one year anniversary is when some sense of normalcy returned in terms of how I felt.

    Looking at the two year mark next month, I feel even better. I still have twinges of pain and occasional weakness in my back. But I haven't had a major flare up in months (knock on wood). The worst thing that's happened over the last year is that I started waking up every morning with horrible lower back pain this past spring. It wasn't the radiating pain with sciatica like I had before the surgery and when I had flare ups; it was a deep, penetrating pain in my lower back every single morning. Nothing helped - putting pillows under my knees and taking Advil did nothing. I was really worried because regular morning pain stopped around 6 mos. post op and I had no idea why it came back with such a vengeance.

    I still don't know. I found a remedy in a 3" firm foam mattress topper. Ever since I started using it, I've gotten the best sleep that I've had since before my spine injuries. I don't know if the pain would come back if I slept on a regular mattress again, but as much as possible, I don't plan on finding out.

    So, I guess the moral of the story is - I started feeling better a year out, almost 2 years out, I feel really very good, but there have been issues, and I suspect there always will be.
  • I sure needed to read that post. I am still having flare ups and don't really feel like myself. Went for a yearly physical at the family doc and am still anemic. Thought that might end - been this way since the surgery - but I feel soooo tired and probably that is what it is. Taking more iron. Going thru a flare up now - seeing spine dr on tuesday. See what he has to say about it. I kinda feel like the pain is a "cycle" thing. Goes away and comes back. Thanks for the comments. Really helped.
  • I had the same problem after I got past the initial recovery hump - I'd be okay for a while, then something would happen, usually without me knowing what, and the pain and sciatica would come back.

    My surgeon told me it was normal. With all the hardware in there, scar tissue, etc., there are plenty of ways for something to get aggravated and cause some swelling, which in turn presses on the nerves and causes the symptoms to return. He explained that periodic episodes like that will be something I'll have to deal with forever, but as I get stronger, they should occur less often, and so long as the pain goes away, it's fine. The ruler he gave me was three weeks - if the pain persists for longer than three weeks, make an appointment to see him to make sure everything is okay and there isn't a new injury. If it goes away within three weeks, assume all is well. Obviously, if something feels REALLY wrong, or there was a specific incident that I suspect may have caused further or a new injury, I was instructed to see him right away.

    It's good that you've made an appointment with your doctor to evaluate your specific situation. Up until about seven months ago, I was in to see my doctor every couple of months, and emailing back and forth with his medical assistant all the time. You've been through an ordeal; even if just for the peace of mind, it's good to talk to your doctor when something doesn't feel right.

    Definitely discuss the exhaustion with him. I was pooped too, and frankly, I still get tired way more easily than I used to. I think that's probably normal, too. Dealing with daily pain for an extended period followed by a major surgery that really does affect your entire body, and a long healing period, not to mention the stress of it all ... it's exhausting, even if you feel better than you did before the surgery. But, good to be sure, so I'm glad that you're going to check it out.

    Good luck!

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