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My XLIF 11-2-2012

I am 6 weeks out from my L3/L4 XLIF I had been living for 5 years with extreme numbness and pain walking less than 5 min. I was told 5 years ago I had sponolthesis with disc degeneration and disc herniation and that the disc was slipping. I continued to live with out pain meds or anything because my chid was only 4 at the time. Although my left leg numbnes and pain is now gone I am still having some muscle spasms and some lower back pain. I am still under doctors care and we have extended me for another 6 weeks. My only excerise is walking. As my physician wants to be extremely careful since he did not put screws in he wants it to hopefully fuse around the little implant. I have to say I am very thankful that I finally after 5 years. I wont to make sure i dont need an addtinal surgery to have screws put in so i am only walking per physicains orders and as he calls it the BLT no bending lifting or twisting. I am allowed to drive now only as long as i have not taking any meds. I will be taking an addtional 6 weeks off from work as i am still having some muscle spasm and a little pain in the back when i stand long periods of time. I can walk up to .6miles and i cant wait to walk a full mile a day so i can start getting this weight off. My boss wasnt to thrilled with the addtional 6 weeks but as my physician said he wants me to be safe and take it easy not doing things to fast. Sad thing is i am in the medical field. !! Has anyone else felt this way after their XLIF?


  • Hi Dawn. Welcome to Spine Health.

    Seems like its going well for you so far. And your trending towards continued improvement. :)

    Recovery often takes longer than anticipated. It's a big operation.

    I am not exactly sure what your question is? Could you please rephrase it for us?
  • Had a XLIF L4-5 without screws on 12/11, and got referred to home PT. I was told I would be off work for minimally three months, possibly six months, and I too am in the medical field. I was told that light walking was encouraged, stairs were permitted, and am doing the standard back exercises. I'm still in a chairback brace.

    As long as you are trending towards improvement, you're doing okay. The psoas muscle spasms are the most irritating, and they occur if I either sit too long, or overdo it with PT. And yeah, I'm no BLT either--which my neurosurgeon screamed at me in the hospital: "You are to do absolutely nothing unless I personally approve it!' (I retired from professional ballet, nursing is a second career for me, and he knows how flexible I am.)

    I'm wondering if, instead of doing 6/10 of a mile all at once, you do 3/10 of a mile a couple of times a day. That might help the spasms a little. There's a real tendency to overdo without realizing it. I set a timer instead of using a pedometer. Right now it's icy out, and I will just pace around the house for twenty minutes a few times today, instead of going out for my daily walk. I started out with walking for five minutes at a time several times a day, and gradually increased it.

    Watch out for the driving. I got cleared to drive as long as I didn't take any pain meds for the last five hours, and only in light traffic in good weather conditions. Make sure you are proficient at using your mirrors as opposed to turning to back up, etc. Even with prescription meds, you could get written up for DWI, and insurance companies aren't likely to smile on driving with a brace on.
    I'm not a spinal diagnosis. I'm a human being with a spinal diagnosis.
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