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2 weeks from tlif and in severe pain..need help

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello everyone, I have posted a few times about how well I was doing and now I am looking for some support..I had a TLIF on 09/26/11 for a l4-l5 disc herniation/annular tear, ddd. I was doing fairly well. Came home from the hospital to have a few lousy days but then was feeling good, starting walking like the dr told me and finally felt good. Well I should have known it was too good to be true. Saturday the pain started again. Not the same pain as before surgery thank god but I think I would take that over this right now. When I try to stand up the pain is so severe in my back I actually scream out loud. I need a walker to help me boost up. Getting out of bed, forget it, I do the log roll but then trying to sit up ugh the pain and once I stand up the pain takes my breath away. The dr told me they are muscle spasms, has given me 4 different muscle relaxors yet I am still in severe pain. I am also living on dioltin every 3 hrs. Is anyone else having or had this type of pain? It feels like my back is going to collapse. I dread having to use the bathroom trying to sit down on the toilet is torture and then to stand back up, forget it. I am so frustrated right now, I know i am only 2 weeks from surgery but I don't know how much more I can take! any encouragement/stories would be helpful. BTW I am 36 yr old overweight female but was very active right up to the surgery. Was still going to the gym,mowing the lawn etc so this is really frustrating


  • Hi I have read some of your posts and it looks like we had our surgeries around the same time. I had mine on 9-23-11. I have had some of the same problems. I have good days and not so good days. I really think I am over doing it. I am a nurse so I make a horrible patient. I have had similar problems with intense pain when getting in and out of bed but it is improving. I do not sleep long periods at a time, three hours is about the max for me. I do take plenty of naps. I am having to take my pain meds and muscle relaxers around the clock. I have tried to wean off but I am not comfortable and can tell when it is time to re-medicate. I have added a multivitamin, and increased my protein intake to help with healing.

    I still have the same type of pain you are describing when I first get up and it takes a while to get around and get it eased. I have the same difficulty with getting up and down from the toliet but it is getting better every day. I have found that I have to time my medication with my schedule. If I take my meds at 12 I know I will wake in 2 or 3 hours and it will be 2 to 3 hours before I can take my next dose. By the time I get up and get to feeling some relief it is time to take another dose and I can sleep a few more hours without so much pain.

    Do you have a brace? My MD did not send me home with a standard back brace, I was given a binder in the hospital and I have been using that. I was told I would be fitted for one before leaving hospital but they never came and the MD said the binder would be more comfortable. I was unsure about this and wondered if a brace would have made a difference in my recovery.

    I have not had a good last two days, I overdid it on Saturday and I am still paying for it. I find it very difficult not to bend to pick something up and getting out of bed requires me to twist and I do the best I can. I was in tears on day 10 or 12 but then turned a corner and started doing better. I just took two steps back by going out this past weekend.
  • Thanks so much for your reply. It makes me feel so much better that this is normal. I don't have a brace either but the NP told me to go buy one at CVS but to only use it when taking a walk. I woke up today and seem a little better.

    Can I ask what your days consist of? I am trying to figure out just what I can and can't do at this point. I feel better when up and moving/walking around, yet I think thats how I overdid it. I just don't know what I should be doing at this point and my husband thinks I should be laying in bed 24/7!
  • I didn't have the same surgery but I was pretty much asleep for 2 weeks due to the pain and pain meds. My walking was done around the house for the first few weeks. I agree about the brace, my NS didn't give me one, but I had one from before my surgery and when I did start really walking I used it. It made a huge difference.

    Set your cell phone calender to remind you about the meds. If you have a smart phone you can download a free medication reminder. It is best to stay ahead of the medication. Trust me when I tell you that :)

    Hang in there,

  • Thanks Julie I spsoke to the Dr today who said again this is still all normal surgical recovery. They are now adding lidoderm patches for the back pain as well, I haven't gone to pick them up yet but hoping that will help. I am also having some calf and leg pain so now they are having me keep an eye on that to be sure it isn't a blood clot! UGH I swear this just doesn't seem like it is going to end. Again before surgery I was in pain but nothing too bad, I had some really bad days and then I would have stretches of good days. I knew the surgery would be painful but this is crazy!

    I am also very confused as the dr says today remember you can't sit for longer than 20 minutes and I hope your not just laying in bed sleeping allday. I asked what should I be doing, I am doing my 3 20 min walks, but then pretty much in bed. No she says you should be up and moving..DOING WHAT! No housework or laundry she says but just wander the house...Um for 12 hours a day! I am so confused, what should I be doing..Anyone have advice I would appreciate it..
  • My schedule is pretty much sit, walk, sleep, take meds... Like I said before I am not sleeping so I wake frequently. I am on a 6 am, 12 pm, 6 pm, 12 am etc... schedule with my medications. I do not have small children or school age children at home so this is just how it has worked out for me. I do have a 20 year old daughter who lives at home. She is a college student and works part time so she has been a big help to me. My husband works out of state so he is not in the home, so I am alone a lot of the time. By being alone, I have to get up and move quite frequently so this may have helped me in the long run. I do think not sitting or laying for extended period of times has helped me personally. This is what my Doctor and nurses said to me.... IF it hurts don't do it.. Do not bend or twist. Pick things up by bending your knees and going down to pick it up and keep back straight. (I did that until my right knee started hurting)
    I have found that having a griper has helped me a lot. My friend brought the Gopher for me and I am able to pick up just about anything with it, also I am able to use it to retrieve things from shelves that I was unable to reach comfortably. I have sisters and friends who have helped as well. (Like cleaning and bringing in food) I have really had to resist getting up and cleaning and it is driving me crazy. I have a really hard time with this.. I sit and see things that need to be done and in the last two weeks I have been doing it rather than asking someone to do it for me. I have stopped that and now I feel better physically... Mentally it is driving me crazy. But, I am trying to cope..

    I am living my life in 6 hour increments. I am on Loratab 10 mg every 6 hours and Robaxin 750 mg three times a day. I try and stay ahead of the pain and can tell when my pain meds are due, but have noticed in the last couple of days pain is not as intense and I am getting relief faster. But to be honest I believe I am feeling better because I have quite trying to be wonder woman. I was trying to continue to wash dishes, throw a load of laudry in on days I felt good, and really I shouldn't have been doing that.

    I have also found it is more comfortable for me to sit on a pillow (it is not a fluffy pillow but it seems to be more comfortable than just sitting on the chair or couch cushion) I have little throw pillows I also use to help support my back when sitting up. I just try to remember proper lumbar alignment when I am sitting up. I am sleeping with plenty of pillows to help off load some pressure when I am in bed. I have just now in the last day or so been able to lay on my back. I am a side sleeper so I always put a pillow between my legs and it seems to help. I tried to just lay in bed one day and that didn't work, I was more stiff, sore and had more difficulty walking. What works for me is to do light activity during day, walking around the house, getting up every hour or so when sitting up in chair or couch, not sitting or laying too long in one position. Wearing the abdominal binder has helped as well.

    Also, If you are taking pain medication you tend to get constipated or bowels are more difficult to move. The first week I noticed if I had not had a bowel movement my back hurt worse. I am taking stool softners daily and after surgery my bowels didn't move for 5 days but once they did my back felt some better. I recommend stool softners for sure to anyone who is on pain medication! A must have!
  • I can't say enough how this chatting back and forth is helping me! Thanks everyone..

    @Rena08 thanks for the info on your day. That helped and was very similiar to me as well. I have 2 school age children as well and a hubby who works probably 70+ hours a week so I am alone during the day. I try to sit on the couch but am unable to get off of it by myself and keep forgetting to bring my walker. If I sit in the bed I end up falling asleep and waking up miserable and stiff. Last week I too was trying to be superwoman. I loaded the dishwasher(difficulty I must say) cleaned the bathroom, did some laundry etc. And then I went downhill even worse. I am now trying to read, watch movies etc, but wow it takes everything in me not to stand up and clean.

    I also got a grabber thing which is great I find for pulling up pants etc. My sister who works at a nursing home also got me a great thing to put my socks on..Helps so much.

    And lastly I am thrilled to say I was able to walk 3 times today outside for 20 minutes! I am sore but I guess sore will be in my vocabulary for a while!

  • Hi there, it's really still pretty early in your healing time, try to take good care of yourself!
    I had my TLIF in mid May, unfortunately I had a couple of complications so I had an extended stay in the hospital, 11 days.
    My healing has been slow, I developed new pains post op. They weren't sure if it was just a normal side effect from the surgery. Right now I am scheduled for an injection in the SI joint next week.

    My best friend after the surgery was a nice new recliner :) Sitting is the toughest thing. Just remember to keep on getting up and walking around as much as possible.
    Give yourself time and heal well!
    take care
  • Oh I am so sorry you are having new pains:( How soon after the surgery did the pain start? I have been feeling so good the last few days I haven't even taken my pain killers during the day but i am nervous as I am only 17 days out. The more I read on here the more I see people do good and then suddenly develop worse problems than before. Its making me very nervous
  • hi i am 5 days post op tlif l5s1. having leg pain when i didnt had it preop. so how u doing now? thanks
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