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pressure to recover quicker from fusion.

Hi. Firstly I am new here and this is my first post. I am now 4 months post op from L4/L5 fusion with the hardware etc. My op has been a success in that I no longer have any serious back, hip and leg pain on my right side, however have been left with quite a nasty pain in a previously no pain left side. Overall im happy with the results but recovery for me is very slow. Im still having good days and bad days and was expecting ot be more capable at this time.and this is the area for my problems. I have a very physical job that requires heavy lifting and twisting alot on a production line doing 12hr shifts, I am having my physio with the company physio and it is now become apparent that my company and my physio is expecting more than i can deliver. I returned to work doing light duties after 8 weeks. At the moment I am working online for 1hr then 1hr offline and am doing 8 hr shifts this is all I can manage at the moment as my back just cant offer the resistance needed,.but have been told in the next 2 weeks I need to working 12 hour shifts, and at around 6 weeks from now to be working online full time. I will be chuffed to bits if I can manage this but the way i feel now I cant see it.The situation is starting to get me very stressed and anxious. My question to you guys is do I just need to knuckle down and get on with it or is my employer expecting too much too soon. Also am I behind with my recovery.
Thanks for listening


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I also was concerned about getting back to work. I'm 5 weeks out today still no bending or twisting. For the most part I feel good still taking pain meds every 6 hours.. I also have a physical job and worry about how soon I will be back to normal work. I need to lift bend and twist in my job. However I only work about 5-6 hours a day. I feel like there is a bit of a push to feel normal and all better. I read some post and feel like I'm not as good as I feel since I'm still needing the pain meds? I had ALIF on Feb 19th on L5-S1.. My stomach is still sore from the entry. My back no longer has shooting pain more of a ache or burning pain.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,863
    Four months is really not a long time post-op. You have mentioned that you have seen good results and are happy overall with the surgery results. And yes, there are good days and bad days. It takes time to really get back into proper condition. I dont think anyone could put a time frame on this, because every one is different, each surgery is different, etc.

    But what alarms me the most is your statements about heavy lifting and twisting. For most people, those are permanent restrictions. Doing those types of actions can easily result in additional spinal problem. Did you doctor give you approval for heavy lifting and twisting? For many post spinal surgery patients, 40 lbs is the max limit. If you havent already, I would seriously discuss all of this with your doctor.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • the surgeon i spoke with over a year ago, never mentioned weight limits, regarding the microdiscectomy. but if thats the case i will never probably be ableto get it.i must lift up to 75lbs at work.
  • JackmacaJJackmaca Posts: 3
    edited 04/02/2013 - 11:01 AM
    This is part of the problem. My doctor has given me zero, none, nadda advise or support on what I can and cant do. I know for sure if I had another appointment with him id get exactly the same response " early days early days sure sure". I tried my best last time to get advise without joy. I told him of a bad pain in my previously good side and he just said he would inject it if it was still there at 8 months, and still no examination. The problem is my gp my physio and my company doctor all ask what the specialist has said so im goosed. I definitely feel worse now than before I returned to work and am starting to get some old symptoms back. My company has its own physio department but its obvious their priority is to get me back on production asap. Also I got my dates wrong , when I wrote my first post I'd only just gone 3 months not 4. my bad. I know deep down that im not ready for stuff im doing i can feel the pains coming back but who can I turn to? The one thing that had been on my mind is shall I ask to see a different specialist or is it too soon. Do you think it would be a good idea to ask my gp to contact him with my concerns. (Sorry it took so long to reply)
  • Even after you heal from this fusion you should still have weight restrictions. Because we are fused at certain levels, all the bending , lifting, twisting will fall to stress on the other discs. Due to your work you might have to look into disability maybe or a new area without those physical requirements.
    DDD 2 level ALIF L3-L5 in 2007. 4/11/13 posterior fusion w/decompression on L5-S1.
  • Hi I had my neck fusions 3 surgerys C3 to C7 , I was told no lifting not even shopping bags and to be carefull in everthing I do. I also have other spinal promblems but the lifting was told to me after every surgery they even told me what type of shoes to wear like I was going to wear 6inch heals LOL. Really I dont think it would hurt to go and talk to your boss and maybe ask him if he could put you on lighter duties for a while, its worth a try it worked for me after my first surgery my boss was very understanding he cant sack you for asking. Goodluck
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