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fusion recovery

pipefitterlu42ppipefitterlu42 Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all, Im John 37 years old and just had L4-5 spinal fusion. I went through a L4-5 disectomy about 14 months ago and the disc eneded up collapsing. Im wondering how much walking is too much after surgery. I just had the surgery Monday April 9. I still have considerable back pain from the surgery. Its terribly hard to lay on my back, so I have been splitting time between sleeping in bed on my side or sleeping in a chair. The nerve pain I was having seems to be much better so far. I get up and walk every 45-60 minutes unless Im sleeping, which is a lot! I walk through the house about 5 times and also walk down the street about 4 houses and back. The DR claims the only way to get the back pain from soreness and stiffness to go away is to walk and not lay around. How do I know if Im pushing too hard with the walking? Sometimes the muscle pain subsides a bit and next time its back full bore. Guess Im just confused and dont want to mess this surgery up.....but the pain subsiding would be nice too. Thanks for any insight you all have.



  • Hi John,

    I can completely relate to your confusion. The PT people seem to want you to move all the time, but my surgeon keeps saying take it slow. I wish they would get together and AGREE on how much, exactly, to do!

    I think it varies a lot from person to person. My surgeon said "with the hardware in your back, there is not much you could do to actually harm what I put in". So I think (and this is just me, I'm not a doctor) the real issue isn't hurting your surgery, but perhaps overdoing it to the point where you interfere with the process of slowly building up your strength and instead go way beyond your capabilities.

    To me, it sounds like you are doing a lot already. I was given a walking program by one PT that said, basically, start with a 10 minute walk and increase it by 1 minute each day. My doctor didn't seem impressed by this program, but at least it was something to go on.

    At the end of the day, I feel like it is totally random how I'm going to feel each morning. Yesterday I felt terrific, much looser and less pain. Today, I feel like I have brick in my back and every motion sends me little stabs of pain. There wasn't much difference between what I did any of these past days, so who knows what causes what! Gosh its frustrating.

    Good luck to you though. When will you start a formal PT program (if you haven't already)?
  • Thanks Xena. Its good to hear that it will be hard to damage anything with the screws and all that was installed. I go to see the therapist on April 24 to discuss a program. You are right about the drs and others all having different ideas. I cant get 1 concrete answer from my doc on ho much to do, how often, what position to sleep in and its a bit aggrivating.
  • you're doing just fine and I think I'd stay with walking no further now than you are currently walking. It's great that you're up and moving around quite a bit for only a week PO. It's a major surgery and you will get better every day. I'd stick to what you are doing now and don't feel bad if you even walk less distance until you meet with your therapist. Just don't over do it to soon. Your body has been through a lot and also needs time to rest so it can heal. The best of luck in your recovery! Kevin
  • its been 4 months nearly since i had my 2 level ALIF and for the first 6 weeks it could not move .i was so tired all i could do was lay on my recliner and sleep .i can't believe you are walking so for after major surgery in only ONE week .i still can't walk /drive/swim far and i have a dull ache all the time .sleeping is hell too .i have had 2 previous operations and been in pain for many years .i have been told by my consultant that my operation was a gamble and the recovery would be long and hard work and take around 2 years ....good luck with you recovery but remember your not superhuman and your spine will be very weak so even if you feel well be very careful i know a few who over estimated how well they were and ended up back in the operating rooms !
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Thanks everyone. Today is better and I actually feel decent. Takes a load off knowing there is progress happening. If I could just get over the pain of getting up from bed. I spend most of my resting time sitting in a chair because of the terrible pain when getting up from laying in bed. Im sure time will help this subside.
  • How long until most of you don't need any dressing on your wound? Late Friday my wound started draining a lot clear pink fluid and hasn't stopped yet. Spent last night at ER. They did a ct scan and blood work and said everything is fine and just let it drain. Its getting a little unnerving as its draining a bunch. I have to change my dressings 5 times a day.
  • I had a Laminectomy fusion of the L5-S1 discs. It has worked out pretty well for the most part. I started walking more than to the bathroom after two days. I think that you need to push yourself without being foolish.

    The more you push yourself to return to an active lifestyle the sooner your pain will begin to subside. Get into the rehab as soon as possible and keep walking. I know you may be hurting now but you have to listen to your body while you are starting to walk again. If it is to painful for you get a walk around in then you may need to use a walker.

    Greg Cowart

    Link removed, solicitation not permitted
    Post Edited by The Spine-Health Moderator Team
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