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For those that have had lumbar fusion, some questions about how you moved around

I'm currently preparing for Lumbar fusion L4/L5.

I have what may seem to be some odd questions. A quick tid-bit about me - I have a genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos that effects my collagen. All of my joints are very hypermobile, I do things like dislocate shoulders in my sleep. My back was the one thing that worked until that day I picked up more than I should have. I've been looking through things and have some concerns about how I am going to do a few things. I wanted to hear from others, if they could think back as to how much they relied on their knees, ankles, wrists, and shoulders to get out of bed, get out of a chair, or anything else. I want to make sure that I have all the appropriate braces to minimize dislocations and subluxations.

It doesn't help that I've gotten much weaker since my injury in most of the muscles around my joints. I use my muscles to hold those joints together, so no bueno. I was reading that for example the log roll you push up with your arm from the bed. Eeep, that's a wrist dislocation right there if I'm not careful.

So could you guys maybe shed some light on some of the ways moving around, getting up, sitting down, changed for you? How you did it after surgery. I want to make sure I do my out of the box thinking before surgery about how I will handle these changes. Thank you so very much in advance. This group seems to be very helpful!

Up coming Lumbar Fusion at L4/L5

My blog: livingbendy.com


  • Shari514SShari514 Posts: 121
    edited 08/28/2013 - 2:32 AM
    I'm 4 months out from my L4/L5 fusion. I do not have the condition you mentioned, but I don't completely trust my joints and am careful to not put too much pressure on any of them. For instance, one day, when home alone, I wanted a piece of toast, but the toaster was in a lower cabinet. I opened the cabinet, looked at the toaster and stood there trying o figure out how I could move it. I wasn't about to squat and trust my knees, so I found something else for lunch. I didn't find the log roll to put pressure on my elbows or wrists; you could consider alternating sides of the bed, so every other morning you change which elbow, wrist. I took a pre-op spine class which was particularly helpful. They talked about all the things that need to be moved to waist level; towels, underwear and clothes, extra shampoo, soap, toilet paper, etc. I would most definitely purchase a Grip and Grab; I was amazed at how much I could do with that tool! I used it to do laundry for weeks. Personally, I was unable to sit in my recliner for about 3 weeks and sitting was too uncomfortable so I laid on my sofa. I was good about getting up frequently to use the bathroom and putter about the house. I didn't purchase anything other than my grabber such as a toilet raiser or walker; the only thing I would probably get if I were to do it again, would be a wedge pillow. Make sure you have a good assortment of pillows so you can get yourself all propped up and supported in bed and definitely put a pillow between your knees; I still do that as I find it prevents me from rolling onto my stomach during the night. If you have a person living with you, you might ask them to help you get up. At the 2 week point when I started going to my daughter's softball games, I needed to have my husband stand right in front of my folding chair to pull me up. From the 5 week point on, once the initial surgical pain diminished and my surgeon lifted my BLT restrictions, I haven't had any issues with moving. The only thing I notice is that when seated I seem to have some difficulty twisting around to see something behind me. Hope thus helps and best of luck to you!
    Lumbar laminectomy L-4/L-5, 2006
    XLIF with posterior pedicle screws L-4/L-5, 4-23-2013
  • You may want to work with a Physical Therapist who can hopefully design some exercises and procedures for getting around. I wore my brace anytime I was in a standing or sitting position for nearly two months. Once I got word via numerous x-rays that I could lose the brace, I did. It felt a bit weird when I first started moving without the brace, but over time, I felt comfortable not having the brace on.
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • youngatheartyyoungatheart Posts: 42
    edited 09/01/2013 - 8:23 PM
    Hi there, I had my L5 S1 fusion in June of this year. I would do the log roll when getting on and off the bed. Be sure to get a grabber, ask for one in the hospital. I did use a walker and/or cane for the first few weeks. The walker mostly when I would go outside to walk. After I did away with the walker I used a cane for a few weeks. I used my back brace faithfully and I've been weaning myself off it, per my surgeon. Remember if you are going to use a back brace, that tightens your core area and after wearing it for a while, you have to get those muscles back to doing their job. That is the reason for weaning myself off.

    I purchased some satin sheet sets and they were a big help in sliding around or doing the log roll in bed. Best investment I made. The most difficult thing I found was getting in and out of the car in the beginning. The first time I had to get in the car to go for my first set of post op x-rays I thought I would never get in. Remember when you get in the car, you have to swing your entire body in so as not to twist....I placed a satin pillowcase on the seat and voila, no more problem getting in and out.

    You will do fine if you follow all that they tell you. If you can get a physical therapist to work with you go for it. I started therapy 3 days after my surgery in the hospital...every day and then they transferred me to a rehab hospital where it continued until I was released. I don't know if your insurance covers it or not but check into getting a physical therapist to come to your home. I had one that came 3 times a week until I was discharged from them about a week ago.

    Good Luck and if you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask.

  • Thank you so much! I doubt that insurance will cover much as it is w/c. But, I am realizing doing reading around here i certainly need to invest in some better wrist braces before surgery. Thank you for your information, I'm sure I will have more, and more questions as things move along. Surgery is hopefully happening 10.1. I'm so ready for it to happen, so I can start getting better. I miss work so much, I love my job, my office, and what I do. It's been so hard not being able to do it, or do the things I normally do in my life. I feel like I'm missing everything, like the world is going by while I lay here waiting.
    Up coming Lumbar Fusion at L4/L5

    My blog: livingbendy.com
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