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Spinal fusion

Hi,my name is steve,I had a micro discectomy 1 year ago, work for a while then all the symptoms came back,Now on the 22-10-2013 I have just gone through a spinal fusion.into the first couple of weeks recovery,I was in hospital for 3 days,I,m up on my feet taking it reel easy walking slowly around.bladder and bowls back to normal 2 weeks later .pain still like I've been hit by a bus but manageable.had my first check up today and they said I,m doing well.
s. j. aplin


  • Glad to hear that you are doing well. Be sure to take it easy
    5 MRIs since 2010 | Severe DDD throughout entire Lumbar Region | Facet Arthrosis throughout | Spinal Canal Stenosis | Herniation L4/L5 | Broad - Based Bulging L1/L2, L2/3, L3/L4 - but still kicking - just not very high. :)
  • I had a fusion done on L4-L5 on October 1st. Tuesday was 4 weeks and I am feeling really good. Take it easy, walk everyday and rest when your body is tired. I think you'll see that every day you really do start to feel a little better.
    Micro-D June 21,2013
    Micro-D August 30,2013
    L4-L5 Fusion October 1,2013
  • Hey!

    Glad to hear you're up and moving, today is my 6 months after an L5/S1 fusion. I was also in the hospital for 3 days and the first few weeks were a little tough but nothing near the pain that I had before the surgery. It is SO worth it, just keep moving little by little and you'll continue to get better! :)

    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • Yes, I agree with the above posts, rest a lot, walk, eat healthy. It is a long recovery process and everyone is different. I have had numerous fusions (am fused L1 to S1 and just had both SI joints fused). I returned to work at 3 weeks out from the spine fusions but had to take more time off for the SI since the recovery is partial weight bearing for 3-6 weeks.

    And do what your doctor tells you with regards to bending, twisting, lifting, etc. Don't push it!!

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Hi. I am having fusion at L4-L5 and L5 -S1 and a laminectomy on 11-11-13. I am very concerned because of the level and position of the slippage. How painful is the recovery. I have a high pain tolerance and have been dealing with this back and leg pain for years.
  • I am 3 days out from an l5 s1 fusion. I am amazed at how good I feel. The hardest thing for me to do is get up from lying down. I'm sore from the surgery and my legs are a little sore too. I was in a lot of pain the day of surgery and I had horrible muscle cramps in my legs. As long as I stay on top of the pain and take my medication when I need it I feel awesome. All of my pre surgery pain is gone. I hope this lasts.
    PILF of L5 S1 on October 29, 2013. Psoriatic arthritis, spondylolisthesis L5 and fractured L5 and DDD
  • So glad to hear you're doing well just 3 days out. I was in the hospital for 3 days not really in too much pain (just surgical pain) and then out of work for 8 weeks. I am 6 months out now and have some nerve pain but I am SO glad that I got it done! :)
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • I am 7 weeks out from an ALIF L5 S1 fusion and I hate to say it but I'm still in pain. I did the stupidest thing and went back to work a little over 2 weeks after the surgery.
    I went for my first post op 2 weeks ago and my dr said that he did not see as much "fusion" as he would have liked at 5 weeks out. I believe it's because of my going back to work, I work for a dentist and I sit most of my day. I have now had to cut back to part-time due to my pain at work and not being able to take pain meds all day.
    My advice, is listen to your body and your dr. and don't rush it. My dr. told me that having this surgery is like having a broken bone but not having a cast to heal it. He said our bodies are our own casts, so rest and staying on the meds was his recommendation to help it heal.
    I hope you have great success in your recovery. I start physical therapy this week, am hoping it will really make a difference. Good luck with everything.
  • gbowman71ggbowman71 Posts: 14
    edited 11/04/2013 - 1:25 AM
    Don't rush the going back to work thing. I had a L5/S1 fusion last Nov. I started working from home 10 days after my surgery. It was only for four hours a day but still too much. I returned to work full time at 10 weeks. I travel a lot for business and resumed my normal schedule after 5 months. I woud be on the road two to three weeks a month. At my six month check up my doctor said the fussion looked good and removed all my restrictions. No weight lifting restrictions, no restrictions in the gym, like I was a normal person again. Of course I was not ! I went on behaving like I was 40,I am 60 , doing everything I did before all this happened. Then at the eight month I started experiencing pain in my right leg and lower back. I was in Denver on a ten day road trip followed by a vacation for our anniversary in San Diego. When I returned from my two week trip that was agony I got in to see my surgeon. After listening to me he came out and said sounds like you have a broken screw. A CT scan confirmed the broken screw and the fusion failed. I had revision surgery Oct 21. So I am starting over. My advice to you is do not do anything to inhibit the healing process. Take it slow, this is major surgery and it takes a long to heal. I rushed back too soon, this time I am taking six months off work, I know most people are not abe to do that , but take as much time as you can. When you start resuming your life be very careful and listen to your body it will tell you when you are over doing it. I have posted more about my journey in Oct surgery buddies if you are interested to read more. I wish you well and do take it easy don't rush it.
  • Hi everyone. Tuesday will be 8 weeks since my fusion. I am getting ready to go back to work part time on Monday, December 2nd. I'll be working 4 hrs per day for the first 2 weeks and then hopefully back full time on the 16th.
    I am allowed to discontinue wearing my hard brace on the 2nd as well.
    My question is this, has everyone experienced a very weakback after their fusion. I'll be starting my PT the week of the 2nd as well. My surgeon does not have the PT started until after wearing the brace for 8 weeks. I have just noticed how weak my back feels when not wearing my brace. I had 3 surgeries on my back in 5 months so I know that my muscles have been manipulated a lot over the past few months and assume this is pretty normal.
    This morning I strained my upper back muscles when getting up. I think I am just over compensating so much for my back now being weaker than normal. Just hoping my strength is built back up after PT. Other than walking a few miles every day I really haven't had a lot of activity to strengthen my back.
    Just curious if you think this is pretty common.
    Micro-D June 21,2013
    Micro-D August 30,2013
    L4-L5 Fusion October 1,2013
  • Sometimes I can barely stand upright and most of the time when standing it is a struggle to support my torso. It makes it difficult to walk properly. I have a PT evaluation tomorrow to start water based PT. I was also told I could gradually come out of my brace. The neurosurgeon told me the brace becomes counterproductive at some point because it fosters core muscle inactivity which leads to weakness.
  • One week from tomorrow and I will be having my L4-L5 Fusion. I called my surgeon because I had a few questioins about the procedure and talked with his nurse. I wanted to know if I would have to wear a brace, like most of you have. She said that I will not be getting one. He very rarely orders them any more because he has found that they cause more "harm" than good. That the harm is weakened back muscles. Your body loses strength because it has the brace to rely on, which prolongs recovery because then you have to work to gain that strength back. The brace is there only to protect you from bending and twisting. So if you listen and do as you say you shouldnt need it.

    So it does not surprise me to hear that you all are having weakness in your backs after wearing a brace for so long. I am starting to think that I will be glad I dont have to wear one. Yes it would stop me from doing BLTs but I dont want to lose strength in my back and then have to go to PT longer to get it back.

    Hopefully you all will gain your strength back without any issues.

    L4-L5 Herniated 02-02-2013 (Slipped on Ice)
    L4-L5 MicroD 08-07-2013, Reherniated 10-21-2013
    L4-L5 MicroD Revision 10-07-2013, Reherniated 10-17-2013
    L4-L5 PLIF/TLIF 10-02-2013
    Released From Surgeon & All Restrictions 03-06-2014
  • I'm looking forward to starting PT. I think it will really help. Even now it feels so good just to stretch a little or get a light massage. It makes sense about the brace making your back weaker. Although, it gave me some peace of mind right after the surgery. Of course, I probably treated my back with kid gloves more than everyone else, but after 2 failed micro-d's I think I was probably a little more paranoid than normal.
    Micro-D June 21,2013
    Micro-D August 30,2013
    L4-L5 Fusion October 1,2013
  • My surgeon also rarely orders braces... they are following out of favor I think for reasons already stated. Unfortunately I did have to wear one for three months because my surgeries were a little more intense than predicted. They fitted me for the brace in the hospital. With that said though I started PT immediately and they always had me take the brace off for PT.
    Best of luck to everyone healing and preparing for surgery.
    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.
  • My spine surgeon has me in a brace for 3 months. I'll see what the outcome is regarding losing muscle strength in my back, but I trust him and he is a top spine surgeon. He said I won't have to do any physical therapy either, just walk as much as I can.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • I had a l5/s1 fusion in July. I wore a brace and it helped a lot. I am wearing my brace to work in hopes that it will hep with my sitting all day. I had a weak back before surgety and it is going to take a long time to rehab it. My doc discharged me from Pt because the pt wanted to do 10 more weeks, but he told me the wrong disagnosis and i dropepd him. I wish you luck. I have had a very painful recovery and go to pain management. The pain i am suffering from is not what I had surgery for. I have nerve pain real bad. I will be having an MRI soon.
    40 year old mom
    Tlif July 18
  • Kiichi3KKiichi3 Posts: 147
    edited 12/12/2013 - 12:49 PM
    How's everyone doing after their fusions? Hope everyone is coming along in their recovery and feels better for the Holidays!
    I had my fusion on October 1st. Just passed the 10 week post op mark on Tuesday this week.
    I started back to work part time last week. Been working in the office 4 hrs/day for almost 2 weeks and it's been going well.I just started PT last Monday. Feel a little sore sometimes depending on what I do. Every few days they introduce me to something new or "step up" something I've been working on. I think I'm getting stronger and starting to maybe build up those core muscles some.
    Hope everyone is doing well!!
    Micro-D June 21,2013
    Micro-D August 30,2013
    L4-L5 Fusion October 1,2013
  • Hi everyone. I had my surgery on Nov 26 and doing very well. My major complaint is being tired.my results have been great. I have reduced my OxyCod to one or two a day. I am walking about a half mile every other day.. My husband feels I am doing to much. I find myself forgetting ans sometimes bending and picking stuff up. I have been working at home for the last two was, I am a financial office manager. Will probably go back to work part time in a few weeks. Any suggestions!!
  • MollyAkMMollyAk Posts: 114
    edited 12/31/2013 - 7:08 AM
    Hi, I'm assuming you didn't get a brace because it inhibited my movement so bending was a no go. Please remember the pain meds are keeping you from feeling pain and allowing you to do things you probably shouldn't be doing, like bending and picking things up. I'm cringing just thinking about it. I had a single level fusion a month before you and I still do not bend and lift. I was just cleared for half days at work a week ago, I'm not going to lie, it's way more tiring than I expected. I am also a manager with an office type job.

    You might want to consider walking more, I have walked every day since my surgery. I even bought a treadmill to help. I walk an hour a day now, usually about 2 miles but if I'm feeling sore, I'll slow down but still try to walk an hour. I actually feel better after walking, so if I'm sore from physical therapy, a slow walk is really helpful. Of course, talk to your doctor if you have concerns about walking more.
    L5 S1 MicroD - August 21, 2013
    L5 S1 Fusion - October 17, 2013
    44 year old
  • I have had a month of aqua physical therapy and have just started the transition to land based therapy. I am feeling better, more able to stand upright. Land based therapy is more work but will likely build more strength. My PT group is very good at listening to the patient and not pushing for me to do something I am not comfortable doing. Yesterday I was in the kitchen and turned to my husband and said, "My back feels normal today!" It was a bit of a surprise to realize this. I find I have to be careful and remind myself about limiting my bending and twisting, but my surgeon did tell me I could carefully expand my range of motion a little.
  • I have been walking everyday,mostly in stores and I do not know how far I have been going.It is so cold here, I really have to try inside walking. I do have a brace and was told to wear it if I go out, or if I am doing light house work. I am trying really hard not to do the bending. Today my thighs are aching. I started putting a heating pad on my back today. Thanks for all the help and concern.
  • I had my 3 month post op appt today from my fusion that I had on October 1st. My x-rays looked good. Starting to slightly fuse. My surgeon has released me from Physical Therapy which I had for the past 5 weeks. I had been going 3 days per week. The therapy helped with my stretching a lot. I can tell such a big difference in my mobility. I can easily put my socks and shoes on now. Ha!
    I'll be going back tomorrow to let them know and ask for some additional core exercises to do at home. I've also been released to use my elliptical at home so looking forward to that along with continued walking on the treadmill.
    Looking up for 2014!!
    Micro-D June 21,2013
    Micro-D August 30,2013
    L4-L5 Fusion October 1,2013
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