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first week post op L5 S1

Today marks 1week since my L5S1 spinal fusion. I have been wearing my brace any time I am out of bed. I have been walking a little further each day. Everything seems to be going very well. I am only taking Tylenol for very little pain. Is there anything else I can do to help with recovery? Also, when sleeping do I need to sleep on my back or can I sleep on my side? As you can see I am a little nervous about doing the wrong thing. Thank you for any information to help ease my hesitations.


  • I slept on my back for awhile, mostly because I didn't feel ready to be on my side. Now I can sleep either way. When I'm on my back I put a wedge pillow under my legs to take pressure off my spine and when I lay on my side I use a knee separator pillow to help keep my spine in proper alignment.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    I dont want to rain down on you at all, but I believe in upfront honesty.

    Generally the first week post surgery you are dealing with post surgical pain. Hopefully, most of that is gone by the time you leave the hospital, but that will linger on for about a week. Depending on the surgery, OTC medication to narcotic pain medication may be necessary to keep that under control.

    Once that surgical pain is gone, then the recovery period really starts. If you read some forums here, you will read that people a week out of surgery all of oa sudden are in major pain, as if before the surgery. Its not all that uncommon. Here is where the medication that your surgeon provided you will come in best.

    Over the next several months you may experience a roller coaster ride. One day you will be feeling ok, the next you are down and out. The main thing is that you NEVER ignore the limitations and restrictions that your doctor gave you on exit from the hospital.

    You will probably also experience more of this up/down once physical therapy starts. At first PT can seem to be so painful, that you want to stop.... Don't, PT is there for a purpose, its to get you back on track after surgery.

    Every situation is different, every one is different, no two surgeries are exact, so its hard to pinpoint anything.

    But some will say it will be at least 6 months before you can really start to feel better after spinal surgery. And if there are nerves involved, it could be up to 18 months or longer.

    The main thing is that you never give up, keeping a positive attitude is as strong a medication as some high potent narcotics. And always remember, when something does not feel right to you, does not make sense, pick up the phone and call your doctor.
    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
  • That was very helpful.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
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