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Spinal Fusion L-5 S-1 4 months post surgery

hello all!
I'm about 4 months removed from having a posterior interbody fusion of the disc between L5 and S1.
when i first when in to have the surgery it was suppose to be anterior but once they got in and moved everything aside.... i had a blood vessel right in the way and they didnt want to risk damage to it. They put me back together and when i came to told me that they were not able to perform the surgery. i thought they were joking at first but then they explained what happened.
so i had to go back in a week to have the posterior procedure done. so i have a nice C section scar for nothing!!!

The procedure went fine with no complications. The recover has been slow as i have had to deal with the healing on both sides. i'm aware that had the anterior been successful i would be much further in my recovery.

so here i am four months out. i started PT at one place but after 2 weeks decided to leave there. they were unprofessional and very vanilla with their program design.

the new place i'm at is wonderful. they are very professional and the program is very custom to my situation. it seems to be going well and progressing. The only problem i have is pain still.

i cannot sleep in my bed still. i am forced to sleep in the recliner i had to purchase right after surgery. i tried the pillows everywhere and every position. any length of time and i can barely move after i get up. it's super frustrating and i just don't get it. i got a massage the other day and it was the same thing... i dont know what to do at this point!! i feel like the pain should be going away and i should be able to do much more than i have been. my dr keeps telling me the pain is normal and is okay but i'm starting to have my doubts. i'm 32 years old... i was in great shape considering the back pain i had....and i'm just frustrated and stuck. i need some light at the end of tunnel and i'm just not sure it's there!!!!!!!!

Any feedback or input would be great!! thanks for the support.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 05/20/2014 - 8:48 AM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • dfhughes57ddfhughes57 Posts: 32
    edited 06/08/2014 - 4:21 PM
    I had a L5-S1 Fusion July 19th, 2013 and still and taking pain meds, I am at about 85% of what I could do before my back injury which means I can work in the yard even lift 30Lb bags of rocks, ride my motorcycle and walk a bout 5 KLMS a day. Looking back its easier to notice an improvement on a monthly basis rather than daily or weekly. With this type of surgery you have to be patient and try to avoid the super success stories as they are an exception to the rule rather than the norm. I resolved myself to the fact my recovery could take a couple of years as opposed to a couple of months like I was first led to believe. As of now I am back at work since about 2 months after surgery and feel better if I am active without over doing it I guess my back will let me know if I do.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/09/2014 - 5:45 AM
    out recovery. It is a journey, not a destination. There will be days of success and decreased pain, and there will be setbacks.
    Some residual pain is to be expected.......for some lucky individuals, the pain disappears over time but you have to remember that your muscles were cut, moved around and then sewn back in place, so it is going to take time, and lots of it. The one thing that I would suggest is to find a more supportive mattress. Usually, mattresses are too soft and to make it easier to get into and out of bed, a firmer mattress is necessary.
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