Hi All, this is my first post here and I'm hoping I can get some information that my surgeon can't from those who have actually experienced what I'm going through.
I'm 35 years old. Very active and fit. My back has been an issue for the past 4 years and I just found ways to work around it. I finally came to the realization after every therapy, injection, medication, etc. that none of it was going to relieve my symptoms. I opted for the ALIF procedure for L5/S1. After surgery, the surgeon was really pleased with how it went. He feels it was a perfect and nothing to be concerned about. When I had my first consult he said I would lay around for a couple weeks afterwards, then start getting back into normal activities slowly. At my follow-up (about 2 weeks) I was up and about without a walker, but in a ton of pain still. He said it's normal, but he would be surprised if I didn't see significant improvement and be off the pain meds by the 4th week.
Well, the 4th week came and I had to call him. I was still in a lot of pain. I asked him what should I REALLY expect. After all, he was the one who said that he "would be surprised" if I were still taking pain meds after week four meanwhile I'm still taking them regularly and even throwing ibuprofen in here and there in between doses. Not to mention the countless ice packs I run through in a day. He told me to just relax and let my body do it's thing. He said I have nothing to worry about. He then moved it to 6-8 weeks as being a time where I should start seeing some improvement.
I still like the Dr. and feel he does have my best interest in mind. I just wish he would have helped me understand the recovery expectations a bit more instead of only giving me a best case scenario. I'm now in week 5 and I'm still in a good bit of pain. I walk on a regular basis and do things outside of the house in 1-2 hour chunks. After that I'm hurting too much. I haven't had a good night sleep in 5 weeks because the pain wakes me up every night. I'm still on the pain meds and to be honest, I can't imagine what it would be like without em, but I don't want to live on these things. I suffered through 4 years pre-surgery without em and a bit frustrated that I couldn't get through a day without them right now. My goal is to be off of them in two weeks.
What's strange is one day I will have a certain pain in a certain spot and the next morning I wake up with new pains in different ways. It's wild how many ways pain can attack your body and then attack your spirit at the same time. Sunshine is my saving grace for sure.
I'm not worried or anything that there's something wrong with my procedure. I'm just looking for some input from people who have had my exact surgery. From others I know who've had a PLIF it's not comparable so I'd love to hear from people who've have an ALIF at L5/S1 and share a bit about where you were at in week 5. Were you climbing Everest or sitting in bed all day?
Any input is appreciated. Thank you.