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5wks post op L4/S1 fusion. Severe pain.


I am almost 6 weeks post op. had L5/S1 instumentation removal, L4/S1 fusion and decompression with instrumentation. I have no back pain, just pain over the bone graft area on my right hip at the back. Since the beginnig of the week, I have been experiencing lower back pain. Not really pain, almost a discomfort as if you have your periods. Also, my right knee started acting up. When I stand, I don't feel pain, but when I walk it is painful and when I lie down, it almost kills me. Painkillers is not helping, ice helps a little bit, but not much. It is so painful when I lie down, I cannot sleep. It does not matter if I lie on my back or sides, legs straigt or bent, elevated or flat, brace on or off, it is really hurting. It feels like it is inside the knee, I cant really pinpoint where the pain is. Can my back be causing this? I cannot ask my doc as he is on leave for this week.

If you maybe have advice on how to lie to have minimum pain, that will also help alot!

Ps, I have an infection at the top of my incision. Currently cleaning the wound once a day and dressing it with medical silver. Also on double strengt antibiotics. Doc did have a look and said the infection is superficial and did not go deep, but I'm still worried that maybe, just maybe it is deeper than they think and somehow that is causing the knee pain...


  • charlie6017charlie6017 Posts: 412
    edited 05/06/2013 - 9:45 AM
    I wouldn't be shocked if it is the infection causing much of the issues, but I'm no doctor. Is there a way you can still call doc's office this week and speak to anyone? If you're having pain at the graft/hip area, is it causing you to not walk normally? That could cause problems if that's the case.

    Hope you can find some relief!

  • Spine stuff can change your gait and therefore contribute to knee issues that were already lurking. This would probably be something to bring up to both your surgeon and your physical therapist (when you start PT).

    As for laying down, that seems to vary by person. I have to lay on my side with a body pillow between my knees and hugging it, and even then I still have issues sleeping (I'm almost 4 months out from an L5/S1 TLIF, no hip graft though). Laying on my back still makes my legs go numb and electric, but I know a lot of folks that can only lay like that, or can only sleep in a recliner immediately post-surgery.
    1/16/2013 Minimally invasive TLIF with rods, screws, and cage on L5/S1 joint to treat grade 2 spondylolysthesis, pars defect, degenerative disc disease. Dealt with chronic pain & nerve issues since at least 2007.
  • wensuewwensue Posts: 1
    edited 07/16/2013 - 4:08 PM
    I now am recovering from my 2nd spinal fusion due to a failed fusion 2 yrs ago. I have permanent nerve damage in left leg from first surgery a well a some due to prior damage from waiting to long to do surgery. This time I am experiencing bilateral knee pain and am 9 weeks post op. This started about 4 weeks after surgery once pain meds were weaning off. May be due to weakness prior but I've been through this before with no knee issue. First op was L5- S1. This surgery was L4-S1. L4 also is area where nerves affect thigh/top of knees. So is this nerve related, I'm leaning toward that, or exercise related. Only time will tell. Ice back and knees! It helps temporarily even though pain is constant unless knee/leg muscles are contracted. So at rest hurts worse. Hope this helps some who posted about new knee pain. Unfortunately many doctors will not prescribe pain meds after 6 weeks post op. And ibuprofen should not be used for 6 months due to inhibits bone growth, so ice ice ice! I am nurse also so I ask a lot of questions. Back surgery is not perfect but I'm just hopeful to be in less pain and not more.

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