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20 Weeks Post Op L5-S1 ALIF - Abdomen Pain Recovery

I am 20 weeks post op from my ALIF. I have a spacer with internal hardware and no external hardware at all. I had a ridiculous fast recovery in the beginning. I was in the hospital for two days. I was on a plane from Florida to California on day 12 after surgery. I was back to work 15 days post op full time. I wore a back brace for about 6 weeks. Around the 6 week mark i was getting pain in my calves and had ultrasounds for blood clots, all came back negative. My neurosurgeon then put me into PT at 7 weeks. I starting walking 1 mile a day at that time and I'm up to 3 miles at 20 weeks and doing a modified Turbo Jam workout. I have 0 back pain, mostly tight muscles, stretching helps. The surgery was by all means a success. My biggest problem has been abdominal nerve pain. About 70 days post op it was so bad I was taken to the emergency room because I couldn't actually stand from the pain. I spent 8 hours in an ER for them to tell me there was nothing they could do but give me morphine and ride it out. I now have my general surgeons cell phone number in case it happens again. I would love to hear from more people as to how long and how severe your nerve pain was in the abdominal region. I can only wear dresses because pants cause unbearable pain after 4 hours of wear. It is by far my biggest recovery problem. My abdomen is still hard, numb, and very sensitive, although the incision has healed beautifully. Both surgeons told me to give my abdomen a year to heal. They love to say "At one point you had 4 man hands and a drill inside you." They do not want to put me on any medication for it. I would really like to hear more from others on this. All and all I would do this surgery again. It has been a great success. I've had no complications and my pain that led me to surgery is completely gone.


  • Hi Stef24, I had a similar problem around 14 weeks post surgery. The pain progressed and I spent 4 days in hospital till they ruled out anything serious. I don't know if it's the same but mine turned out to be a "rectus sheath nerve impingement". Basically a nerve from your spine that travels through your abdomen gets trapped and hurts like hell!
    Does it feel like being stabbed? Can you pinpoint an exact sore spot on your tummy?
    Mine was greatly improved with steroid injections into the area which were repeated 6 months later and now I only get an achy pain in that area.
    It's sounds like your recovery has been amazingly smooth and rapid. Take it easy though, you've been through huge surgery.
    I hope this helps and that you'll relief soon. One year on, I still don't like wearing jeans or tight waistbands!
    DDD. Married,Mum of 2, Age 45: 2007 & 2008 L5/S1 Discectomy
    April 2013 L5/S1 Anterior Fusion
    & L4/L5 Artificial Disc Replacement
  • My abdomen has also been sore. I have a 4 inch vertical incision from my navel down to my c-section scars. I have a lot of numbness and pins and needles around it. Some days it feels like it's burning. I haven't talked to my doctor about this yet. In fact, at my 6 week post op, he didn't even look at my scars.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • Hybridhattie, My general surgeon told me that most likely the pain I had in March was a "trapped nerve" that was beginning to heal. I did feel like I was being stabbed. It was very specific to my left upper quadrant. Above my incision. I am still getting the pain but on a smaller scale. Like the nerves are firing. I also feel like my abdomen is "stretching" when I stand sometimes. My general surgeon stitched me super tight. I guess I just need to be patient.
  • This is the closest I can find to my problem. I get the same pain, but only when falling asleep. It jolts me awake and happens every time I start to fall asleep. Thus, in the short 4 days since my operation, I have gotten very little sleep.
  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 767
    edited 11/11/2014 - 1:12 PM
    4 days is so early! Your body is still expelling the effects of anesthesia and all those other things that were a shock to your system. Give yourself time. Each day should slowly bring improvements
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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