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Success returning to work after fusion??

Soooo my surgery went great, I was moving around well right away, sciatic pain gone and surgery pain well managed. At 3 months I was off pain meds and started PT. PT felt great but I became very sore doing daily activities until I was taking pain meds again to manage. So at 5 months Surgeon told me I over did therapy and to rest for two months and eliminate anything that aggrivates my back. I complied and felt great after 3 weeks and no pain meds. I was unexpectedly returned to work 40 hrs a week at that time (workmans comp issue). Now 3 weeks into work I'm very uncomfortable most days and when really aggrivated takes a few days to walk without pain. Also It gets so bad sometimes my sciatic pain returns. I'm at 6 months now and am extremely concerned if it will get better, will I continue to heal again (I was doing so well before so it can't be a failed surgery right?)... Looking for anyone else who feel they had a good surgery and overcame pain returning to work etc... Just so discouraged.
Lumbar fusion L5-S1 06/11/13.


  • I'd recommends giving it some more time before assuming a failed fusion has happened. Your body has undergone a major assault and it will take time to adjust. My doc said that one year from the fusion date will be the decision time frame as to if things are better or worse.

    Hang in there!

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Hi. I had an L5-S1 fusion in June 2011 and am now doing great (just minor pain at times). Fusion occurred for me between 6 and 12 months, I can't recall which. But my job involves just sitting and reading and writing all day long, so I don't put a lot of strain on my back at work. At first it was painful just to sit here, but I had to go back to work about 6 weeks post op and I've worked through it. 6 months is just too early to tell if things will be good for your or not so don't give up. I think doing walking and the PT helped a lot too.
  • Thanks for your responses. Last week I decided I needed to try new things to manage my pain, so I started walking the treadmill for 10 minutes every 2 hours. This actually seems to help a lot keeping my pain below a 5. I got too comfortable and stopped making my trip to the treadmill and had a horrible day yesterday so I guess I better stick to walking. I saw my surgeon today and he said just to hang in there. However, he was concerned about my radicular pain because I had none for 5 months after surgery. So I'm awaiting approval for an MRI. Not sure if I should hope its ok and tough it out till I recover, or to see a Robles and try to fix it! Ridiculous. My 5 months X-ray showed a good fusion, exactly how he wants it to look..
    Lumbar fusion L5-S1 06/11/13.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    Recovering from any Spinal surgery takes time. A lot more time then we think. Its beyond the time frame when we are feeling good, etc

    Many times its not until after 6 months can a fair evaluation done to your surgery and that outcome. But that also depends on the fact that you were 100% compliment with all the restrictions and limitations (you, meaning any post spinal surgical patient) Its kinda of rare to find someone who was that dedicated after surgery. So any of our 'wandering' off course, that will add time until we are really fixed.

    The main thing is that you dont start to feel major problems cropping up, new ones, something you never had before. Flare ups and discomfort in the scope of everything could be very normal.

    As long as you provide your doctor with ongoing input and they did not seemed concerned,. then you probably shouldn't be concerned either.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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