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Questions/ALIF post op

HeidiLynnMHHeidiLynnM Posts: 445
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hello everyone :H .

I have a few questions. First off, nope, I am not pain free yet! ;) I have pain, lots of it at times! My worst is in bed, oh how I do not like going to my bed! I use pillows, heating pad, ect.

Okay, I still have lots of leg pain. I still get the tingling off, and on too. The ODD thing that my surgeons assistant told me is that it is normal for my legs to still have pain from the stuff that they use in the cage instead of using my one bone. Okay, that seems rather odd. It is a month now, and my legs hurt from that? Hmmmmm.

My back is very sore a lot of the day, but thank god it is not horrible to the point where I need major pain meds. I do take hydrocodone, but that really doesn't do much.

I was given excercises to do, and such also. I do what I can, and I do some housework too. I am able to move, and I do just that. I have to catch myself a lot bending, and boy do I feel it!!!! :''( .

I am hoping over time things will get better, or worse case, things will stay the same. I am hoping for the best, but am open that this may not even take. I know it is early, but as many of you know, it gets tiring!

Thanks for reading, and any thoughts are greatly appreciated :D


  • Heidi,

    Have you talked to your surgeon about the pain you are continuing to have?? I know the recovery is a long one and we are all different but I have never had leg pain
    after any of my fusions.

    I did have back pain for a longer time after my L5/S1 fusion since they had to separate the vertebrae to put in a spacer.

    Check with your doctor and let us know.

    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 do believe that many surgeons do play off your pain. I have had a hard time with my back lately maybe because of the cold weather coming? I was doing so good.

    I am just worried that the leg pain will never go. The assistant said it is normal, but he seemed to act like it was nothing. Just reaching out to see if others have went through this. Yes, with them seperating the disc space will cause pain for sure.

    I was told that one of his patients for instance went back to work after 3 months! WOW! :jawdrop:
    I want to go back to school, but for now I will be waiting.
  • I am glad you have an app't with your surgeon. Everyone is different and reacts differently but it certainly seems like the leg pain should be gone. I am no doctor but my leg pain went away after my fusions. I went back to work after 3 weeks with the first 2 and 6 weeks after the 3rd one.

    I am hoping your leg pain goes away soon or that the surgeon has some answers for you.

    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.
  • That doesnt sound good :(. The assistant told me at my post op that the leg pain should go away. It is worse now than before. Lets keep our fingers crossed that the surgeon doesn't think I am a quack!!!!!
  • It could be from moving the nerves around to create more disk space - that's an explanation I have heard from my surgeon. I do not have leg pain post ALIF.

    Do you know if they left the back wall of your disk in or removed it?

  • Hello Heidi

    It took about 3 months for my leg pain to go, but it wasn't anything like the pre-surgery pain.

    Has your doctor suggested Lyrica or Gabapentin (Neurontin) for the nerve pain? I was given that as well as Oxycodone and Oxycontin.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I am not very happy at all that the leg pain is bad. I have a feeling my surgeon may play me off. I sure hope it goes away. I believe they took the whole disk out? I have bone marrow in my spine that is made in a lab I believe. :?

    I dont take a lot of meds at all, I dont like the way they make me feel at all. I only take them when I cant stand myself anymore, and that is hydrocodone. I havent taken anything for nerve pain.
  • From both my surgeries I would say that about 3 months of continued leg pain is about normal. It does go away. Did for me at least.
  • Many times, it depends on how long the nerve was compressed. The longer the nerve has been compressed, often, the longer it takes to heal and thus quit hurting.

    Recovery is long with so many ups and downs, it gets quite frustrating and often so hard to stay patient.

    With both of my fusions, I have been guilty of "over doing it" and my leg pain returns or gets worse, reminding me to slow down and take it easy. It usually takes several days, but if I really do slow down, it does get better.

    Are you keeping a pain journal? I have noticed that surgeons seem more receptive, when you come into the appointments with info written and organized.

    Maybe write down when you feel the pain, what, if anything makes it worse or better. What were you doing when the pain increased. That kind of info.

    Hang in there! Talk with your surgeon and let us know how you are doing!
  • Hello Heidi

    My understanding is that they took all of my disc out - there wasn't much left of it and so would be pretty useless. The surgeon inserted a large cage and used the "cement" (interfusion) to assist with the fusing process. With ALIF, they use a plate and screws.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • My leg pain comes, and goes, sometimes in MAJOR ways! Sitting too long in a chair is horrible. I do believe that the longer the nerves were compressed, the longer it takes to heal. Thanks for that info! :)
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