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8 weeks post PLIF L4-S1

Hello this is my first post. I'm 8 weeks post op from posterior 2 level fusion L4-S1 with screws and rods. I had read all the horror stories and wanted to post because surgery has been a huge improvement. My original pain was gone when I woke up and my post op pain was never close to as bad as the times when my back flared up. I was out if the hospital in 3 days, off pain meds at 2 weeks and working from home at 2 weeks and back to the office at 7 weeks. I do feel tired when I do too much and have to be diligent about everything but I couldn't be happier with my progress. I wanted to make sure to come on here because there were so few positive stories when I was reading before my surgery.i start therapy in 4 weeks and I'm hoping everything continues this well. It is so important to go into this with a positive outlook and frame of mind because it is hard not being able to do much and to take it slow, especially when you are used to being active. But mine has been so worth the short term sacrifice so far. Good luck everyone.


  • 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
  • Hi, im so glad to hear you are doing well! I am also doing really well so can't complain (too much). I have found I get tired quicker too, but I know my body is focusing on healing so that's alright! I hope you have a great day!
    L5 S1 MicroD - August 21, 2013
    L5 S1 Fusion - October 17, 2013
    44 year old
  • Glad to hear you are doing well. It is nice to hear the positive. I too feel like I have come a long way in 6 weeks. I did go out all morning, doctors visit, the bank, grocery shopping and by the afternoon, boy was I tired. I am giving into that and resting!! Keep up the great recovery!
  • Hi - Good to hear the success stories cause I was looking at the board and it's all things that are wrong. I am about to have surgery on Friday and I am getting really scared. Reading all these it's like how come no one says how much better they feel. I am having second thoughts but really can't keep living in pain. I hope too I can post a happy story after recovery starts.
  • What kind of therapy will you be doing? I overdid it today and my legs are cramping and alot of aching. Are you walking alot? I expect that when I go back on Feb 6, I will be able to start some kind of therapy.
  • I'm not sure of the exact type of therapy yet as I haven't started. I go back on Feb 4 for my 3 month follow up and Xrays. I'm hoping I will get to stop wearing this brace. As for my activities now, I'm walking as much as I can. I was walking 3-4 times a day before I started back at my office. Now I usually work from a stand up desk and take small walks during the day. When I get home, I go for a 30-45 minute walk depending on how much time I have. Walking makes me feel a ton better and I try to do as much as time allows, but you are right, my legs do feel tired and achy at times when I'm done. I'm also getting some muscle spasms in my upper back muscles at times, but I figure that's probably because I'm not using them very much. I'm just glad I don't have the nerve pain in my hip and down my leg anymore. Most of my pain now feels like muscle soreness and stiffness. I'm really looking forward to physical therapy and I'm hoping they can really stretch me out. Are you back to work yet? I do notice that I do get tired and sore from working all day, but it's not the same back/nerve pain that I always used to have.
  • Jilro14534JJilro14534 Posts: 69
    edited 01/22/2014 - 4:33 PM
    I went back to work this Monday. I am working a half a day. When I come home I am whipped. This morning when I got up I was so stiff. I am sure the weather might have something to do with it. -2 this morning. I am walking around at work ( I have a office job), so not doing my usual walk. I go back to the doc on Feb six. That will be my 2 1/2 visit. They have already started to wein me off my brace. I like wearing while I drive. I feel alittle more protected. Hope you still are doing well..
  • bwalt43bbwalt43 Posts: 6
    edited 01/24/2014 - 6:17 PM
    For the most part, I feel really good. It's cold here too and not getting my walking in sucks and makes me feel weaker. I go back Feb 4 and hope this brace is gone for good. I don't wear it at home but they tell me to whenever I leave the house. Glad to hear you are improving and back to work.
  • Glad to hear you are doing well. I had the exact same surgery in early December for the same 2 discs. It has sorted out the pre surgery pain I had with sciatica and hip pain so good result. However, I am suffering severely with nerve pain in my feet, much worse pain than I ever had with my back problems. Surgeon didnt discuss this with me as a possible post surgery problem, but to be fair I would have still had the surgery if he had discussed it with me.

    Really having trouble sleeping and have now been put on Gabapentin 300mg x 3 per day and 10mg Amitriptylene 1 x per day and Tramadol as and when needed.

    Must admit that the Gabapentin doesnt seem to be giving me any side effects which is good news at least as I went straight onto the 300mg x 3 per day (ie didnt build up to that) and was concerned about the drowsy side effects etc. But also no pain relief from them yet either

    Back to work last week after 6 weeks off and it was hard going as can hardly stand having shoes and socks on, but hopefully the medication will work soon as I understand it can take 4-6 weeks to show results.

    In the UK it seems they dont use a brace post surgery which is probably a better thing as it must be uncomfortable?
  • Sorry to hear you are having trouble sleeping. I've lucked out and having had to deal with that, other than an occasional muscle relaxer if I've been on my feet a lot that day. I didn't think I was going to have to wear a brace much, but they said they want me to when I'm out and about, especially driving and walking outside with the ice and everything. They want me to have it in case I would fall and they like that it reminds me not to bend or twist. I have to admit that I've forgotten when I'm at home because I don't have much pain and I will move wrong, so I have to be diligent about how I move. I can't wait to start physical therapy and get back to working out and being active.

    How long had you had pain down your legs before you had your surgery? I've heard that the longer you have the pain, the longer it can take for the nerves to heal.
    edited 01/31/2014 - 6:23 AM
    well that could be the reason for my troubles as I endured sciatic pain for 3 or 4 years before finally getting corrective surgery.
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