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spine surgery

I had back surgery, fusion at L4 & 5, 11 wks. ago. I am still having pain in my legs and feet, which have been described as the nerves haven't "settled or calmed down" yet. I was hoping by this point I would have less pain (and be off the pain meds) but it hasn't happened. I am going to PT, 3 days a week, and the physical therapist continues to tell me this is "normal". I do water therapy 2 or 3 x there. It feels great while they work on my legs and in the pool, but then later the exercise really exhausts me. I can't seem to be on my feet much more that day. Driving is difficult so I don't go too far from home.
I'm assuming by reading the blogs that this is normal. I wish I knew how long it would last. My surgeon told me at 6 wks. everything looked great on the x-rays and I need to just be patient and things would improve. I hope by Christmas, I will be off the pain meds anyway. Any advice?


  • 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 had severe stenosis at L4-L5 which led to a decompression laminectomy and posterior fusion at that level on Oct. 18, so we had similar procedures but you are ahead of me in the recovery process because I have not even been cleared for PT. I had the sciatic pain after surgery but it gradually faded. However, I have significant weakness in my thigh muscles which worries me. Perhaps the nerves recover in different ways, sometimes with pain and sometimes with weakness. Also, I'll have to see if the pain returns when I start PT. How was it for you with the return to driving? One problem I am having is the social isolation of being at home alone while husband is at work. I wish I could get out more but haven't tried to drive yet.
  • Give it some time, I am a little over 6 months out of a single level fusion and I have some nerve pain- it isn't nearly as bad as it was before surgery though. When the pain came back it was about the same time as you and my surgeon said that my nerves were irritated and damaged so I needed to give it some time. I've been doing a lot better since the initial pain came back and every day is getting better too! :) Stick through it, your surgeon knows best! :)
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
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