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Recovering from surgery - spinal fusion and decompressiom

bressiebbressie Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I was wondering if this is all normal for my recovery. I had an instrumented L5/S1 spinal fusion and decompression. He states that i had a compressed left L5 nerve root with the nerve root quite small more so than an average L5 nerve root in an adult (i'm 35) i wonder how or why is this possible???
He preformed an L5/S1 fusion and local bone graft.

My question is on the area of the operation i still feel like i have alot of pressure and down my left leg where the compressed nerve was i had still a feeling that its sore just to my knee and i can feel the pull.
I have kept up my walking but then my hip started to ache just like i have a stitch and if i put a bit of pressure with my hand on it, it relieves it a bit.
I forgot to mention i had this surgery 4 weeks ago and have to see my consultant in another 2 weeks for a check up and x-rays of my knee's.


  • Being 4 weeks post surgery, you are very early in the recovery process. It will take awhile for that nerve that was compressed to calm down. Walking is the best thing you can do right now.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Thanks dick for replying i really find it difficult to when i walk as it seems to bring it on more..then i just get so annoyed and p***ed off with the pain and sit to see it that reduces it but i find i get pins and needles. Also i am still wearing the clot preventing tights and the calf in my left leg is still numb and my 2 small toes, is this normal i wonder?
  • Bressie,

    I wish I could tell you that what you are experiencing is normal but I can't. Having a spinal fusion is anything but normal and the healing process is so different for everyone. You should call your doctor if the issues you described trouble you. Otherwise, wait to see him in a few weeks. From my own experience, I had nerves firing and re-awakeneing for many months after my fusion.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Thanks, I feel a little better today I really just gotta go with it for the moment. I see from your comment that you yourself have had alot of bother with your back.
    Take care
  • Welcome to spine health. You have come to the right spot for support from people who "get it".

    You are early out from major surgery. Especially when there is nerve involvement, it can take a long time for the nerve to settle down, depending how long it was compressed.

    I am 5 weeks post op from adr surgery. Two days post op physio and the surgeon saw that I regained some power in my bad foot/leg which was great. Unfortunately that was all of the improvement with it, and it is still totally numb and slower to react than my right foot.

    I was told something similiar about having a small/narrow space where my nerves were, when I had my discectomy/lami, which I think meant that it was easier to get impinged and was why I had the laminectomy I think. I would give your surgeon a call and ask them to explain things to you, and you can let them know how you are feeling if you don't wait until your appointment. If not, make sure to bring a list of questions to your appointment. I have my 6 week checkup next week and have questions / concerns.

    Wishing you all the best with your recovery. Let us know how you are doing.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • I had surgery 2/1/12 Spinal Fusion Decompression Surgery on my L3,L4,L5. my back is not bad but my legs (especially my right) thighs to ankles hurt and burn, should that not have stopped by now.
  • Hi Karen

    Thank you for your reply. How are you after your check - up??
    I have mine next week and i have done what you said i have a list of questions all ready for my consultant.
    This week has been ok but i still have the issues with my leg and feet they can feel very restless and nothing i do will help me out.
    Take care
  • Hi Joey

    Sounds very similar to me but i can't answer your question.. Its all my left side that bothers me - from my hip down to my feet. I am currently coming into my 6th week after operation and still have very cold feet and numbness in my calf of leg and also my toes (2 small ones), at night when i sleep on my left side my hip feels like its numb and this wakes me. I am seeing my consultant next week and i will post his reply to my problems it may help.

    Take care
  • Great that you are ready for your appointment and hope that your doctor can address your concerns. I had my appointment and xrays. They were happy that my foot regained some power and hip hurts less, but I only have about 20 percent pain reduction. I still have same restrictions...no blt..no lifting over 5 pound and walk walk walk.

    How are you doing with your walking now, since you are having such trouble with your leg.Are you doing lots of small walks? I find that easier than a couple of long walks.When they are longer, the spasms start.

    My foot is also very cold. Feels like ice most times, and used to feel like I had wet, cold ,soggy socks on.

    Look forward to hearing how your appointment goes next week.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Hi all,

    Thank you so much for all the kind words. Met with my consultant today and good news really.
    Xrays show that all is healing as expected and the feeling like pressure and stinging on the operated area is normal.
    The funny feeling in my calf and toes is due to the decompressed nerve which the doc released is normal too.
    I am back again in 6 wks to see him, but for now I have to keep the walking up and swimming ( I'm someone that wouldnt be caught dead in a swimsuit,so I don't know about taking up swimming) I can also start driving small journeys.:-)
    I also have very swollen ankles inside but he says this has nothing to do with my operation so thats something I have to see my gp about.
    Overall good news.

    Lou :-D
  • Thanks let me know what they say, I keep asking and all I get is that it's normal and it can take up to 6 months to ge the nerves to work properly.
  • Hi all,

    As time is going by i have noticed other little changes - driving is a little sore, i have twinges in my back just above my scar and sometimes its a feeling of pressure which seems to be also coming from my shoulders.
    Still walking but pain is still there not severe but i'm aware of it.
    Seeing my consultant in another 2 wks to find out.

  • I finally registered after reading posts for the last 2months. I had surgery 3/20/12 and was having terrible lower right leg/foot pain. Unbearable during the first 2weeks, my leg/foot felt cold and the pain would get worse. Night time soon became my worst enemy and I thought of asking my surgeon if I could use a heating pad. Being able to put my leg and foot on this heat helped me turn the corner and I am finally starting to sleep thru the night without waking from leg pain. The heating pad was a life saver for me, it might be helpful for others suffering from these problems. Reading these posts has helped me learn to be more patient while recovering as I thought I should be doing better earlier than was realistic (along with the reassurance of my surgeon everything is normal for this early stage in recovery).
  • Hi all,

    I am still off work and currently waiting to see my consultant for my 12 wk check - up.
    I was at my GP last week, i woke up last friday night to turn in the bed the the room started to spin around and i felt like my eyes were doing the same, this happened every time i turned over. I went to my GP and was told its probably vertigo, i never suffered from this before so i am thinking this may be due to surgery.
    I also have 6 worn disc's in my neck, i get very bad electric like shocks all done my arms when i raise them or sometimes for no reason, my consultant is dealing with this when i see him for my check up. He was saying that he thinks its a neurology problem can anyone give me any info on this.

    I also still have aches sometimes very bad above my operation and still feeling alot of pressure on my back that just really makes me really cranky and annoyed.
    My feet are still sore and again GP just mentioned that is could be because i am a smoker but i am pushing this the next time i visit as the pain in my feet is also very annoying and sore.

    thanks for reading :)
    talk soon

  • Hi I had spinal fusion S1L5 L4 three weeks ago. I am 62 so worried that it will be hard for me to recover. But I had no choice. Could not move from the pain attacks Had right leg pain for first couple of weeks but okay now just feel incredibly weak. Hard to get up off the bed. Hard to get down again. Can sit for 5 or 10 minutes. Can walk around for 20 to 30 minutes. Bored because lying down a lot. Any other 60 year olds out there?
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