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Post Surgery Swelling

I am a 30 year old male. I injured my back in January 2013 while working in West Virginia. I went through a nasty Workers Comp battle and was finally approved in July 2013. My MRI showed severe disc deterioration L2-L5 as well as bulges and herniations throughout. I did it all PT, epidurals, traction, massages, facet blocks, and finally ended up having surgery Sept 20 2013. My neurosurgeon implanted Coflex devices at the L2-L3, L3-L4, and L4-L5 levels as well as used Io-Flex to remove bone and arthritic components L3-L5. I walked the night of the surgery which was an emotional moment because it was the first time this year I was able to walk without a limp and lower back and leg pain. I am now two and a half weeks out of surgery. I am still not feeling lower back or leg pain but am really struggling with the swelling. I have a five inch scar that is swollen roughly half inch away from my lower back as well as having swelling in my lower back and hips. I have followed all instructions of the doctor as far as walking and restriction of activity and icing. I begin PT next week and know I still have a battle in front of me. I am posting to see if any one could suggest any natural ways to reduce swelling. I went for my post op appointment and the doc is happy with everything and I asked about anti-inflammatory meds and he said they dont prescribe those until about 3 months after the surgery. Other than icing is there anything I can eat or take or do to reduce my post op swelling? Thank you for reading this. By the way if you are looking into a surgery and have reservations, I would fully endorse a Coflex surgery.


  • My surgeon and PT says swelling is NORMAL for at least six months after spine surgery.

    I am starting out patient PT and my in home therapist says when i get to outpatient they would use ultrasound and STEM to reduce the swelling as well as the icing

    I know the swelling is a pain in the butt.

    God bless
  • I just had a single level fusion at L4-L5 1 week ago on October 1st. I too am having a lot of swelling. I was very concerned so I took pictures and emailed them to my Dr yesterday (my Dr is 1 1/2 hours away except 1 day a week where they have office hrs in my hometown). I just wanted to make sure the incision wasn't infected. He said it looked ok but I will let him see it in person next Monday.
    My swelling is also very hard and painful. I am unable to really lay on my back to sleep or rest. Laying on my one side is my only option.
    I also have to wear a hard brace and it really does irritate it. I folded up a King size flannel pillow case and put that against my back before putting on the brace. That seems to help. My Dr suggested going to a craft store and purchasing a piece of soft Sherpa and possibly Velcro that on the inside. I have to wear the brace every day for 6-8 weeks so I may try that.
    Rose, what type of surgery did you have? How many weeks ago? Are you able to lay on your back with the swelling?
    I was hoping that this swelling and pain diminished within a week or so. ???
    Micro-D June 21,2013
    Micro-D August 30,2013
    L4-L5 Fusion October 1,2013
  • Oops Rose, ha! Just saw you are 2 months post op. Yikes.........you are still having problems with the pain/swelling. Now I'm a little worried. I was hoping it may go away before that.
    Micro-D June 21,2013
    Micro-D August 30,2013
    L4-L5 Fusion October 1,2013
  • I was told by my Doc that it can be up to 3 months before your swelling goes away. I wish you luck.
  • Do you have the coflex device at two levels or three levels? I've never heard of more than 2 levels with that device. I'm intrigued! I've read a good bit about them (in the past) and they sound amazing. I was not a candidate for them.I'm surprised more surgeons haven't gone that route. Best of luck to you in your recovery! You'll have to keep us posted.

    And as far as the hard brace... I put in my prison sentence of 3 months. June/July/August/September.... in Florida... I feel for you guys! Just remember they aren't permanent. One of my friends put a superman emblem on mine... my son who was about to turn 5 was amazed when he saw it. It didn't help my back but it did help my spirit.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I am 1 week post op for a ACDF for 2 level fusion on C5-6, C6-7. I too have a lot of swelling which is normal. I am still having trouble swallowing, so I am seeing my neourosurgen tomorrow. Has anyone experienced return numbness or pain from sitting for an extended amount of time say 1hr-2hr. I started experiencing these symptoms yesterday and kind of freaked out.

    Today these systems have gone away. What's up with this?
  • My swelling makes me nervous

    Its suppose to be making me MoRE NUMB

    But now the numbness is going into my other foot and leg

    Am i doing too much activity?

    Am i re-injuring myself?

    Am i making the swelling worse?

    These are the things on my mind when i think of them and thats not often.....

    My next post-op is at 12 weeks and i dont even think its with my surgeon, i think its with his physician asst.!!!!!

  • Kiichi3KKiichi3 Posts: 147
    edited 10/10/2013 - 4:17 AM
    My swelling is just so painful. I actually tried to sleep a little on my back last night and I could tell this am for sure.
    I think if I could get rid of this painful swelling I would be feeling great.
    I just think my body is going through a ton right now. I'm 9 days post op and I'm trying to wean myself off of the Lortab (Vicodin) that I was sent home with. They make me dizzy and a little sick to my stomach. I haven't taken any since yesterday around 4:00 pm and I still feel awful. I actually just took 2 extra strength Tylenol and hope I can get by with that till later today.
    Has anyone else suffered with dizziness, headache, nausea while taking their pain meds?
    Plus, on top of everything else I quit smoking. Pretty proud of myself but I know it wasn't an option after fusion surgery. From everything I've read smoking can cut the rate of fusion success by 40 percent or more. My husband is thrilled. I have battled smoking for over 20 years. I am confident though that this is actually what I needed to secure success with it.
    I wonder too if some of the way I am feeling is coming from lack of nicotine in my body on top of everything else.

    Micro-D June 21,2013
    Micro-D August 30,2013
    L4-L5 Fusion October 1,2013

    pain meds do cause nausea, dizziness, headache and worse side effects.

    I know this personally...

    Call your doctor and see if you can be given a non-narcotic pain med like ULTRAM????
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