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Sudden Tummy Pain 7 weeks Post Op ALIF

Hi! I am a 51-year-old woman. I had an ALIF L4-S1 about seven weeks ago. Recovery has had its ups and downs, but has basically been very good.

2 or 3 days ago (time is so hard to keep track of, especially with my sleeping pattern all messed up), I got a sudden, sharp, localized pain in my tummy, just to the side of my incision scar. It hurt when I was standing, even more if I leaned forward a bit, but felt better when I was lying down. So, I stayed in bed for the day. The following day, it still hurt when I was stood up, but not as much, and I found if I put pressure on the site, it really helped. I wear a low California-style brace, and the pressure from the brace was sufficient.

Yesterday afternoon, I went for a walk around my block, which I try to do everyday it doesn't rain. It's about 2/3 of a mile. I live on a hill. My walk consists of walking uphill for the first 1/4, downhill for a 1/2, then uphill for the final 1/4.

On the final uphill, the pain came back, this time more to the center-left. It's almost like I popped a stitch or something, but I assume the internal stitches are already dissolved? The very bottom of my incision now has a bruise. It seems too localized to be a muscle, but I don't know.

Any one else have this happen?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi Alif,I had a similar problem around 14 weeks post surgery, which was around the time I started hydrotherapy and taking my brace off.
    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 about the size of the tip of your finger?
    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.
    I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other questions and good luck with your recovery.
    DDD. Married,Mum of 2, Age 45: 2007 & 2008 L5/S1 Discectomy
    April 2013 L5/S1 Anterior Fusion
    & L4/L5 Artificial Disc Replacement
  • Thank you for the quick response, Hattie! No, it doesn't feel quite like being stabbed, and the area is a bit larger. What you went through sounds awful! I still have nerve pain in my right thigh, and this does not feel like nerve pain.

    The pain has lessened after a night's sleep (as it did before), and now feels more like a muscle pull. My surgeon is about 2 hours away, and it doesn't seem serious enough to make an appointment yet. I'll take easy again today. Thanks again!
  • Glad it's feeling a bit better today.
    You're still in the early days and it's tough for you. Every day brings improvement and new pains. It sounds like you're doing well with your walking and that's what really helps in the long run.
    Another tip I found helpful was to look back to where you were a week or two ago and to see how far you've come.. Sometimes you don't recognise the little improvements you've made day by day but when you compare to say a month ago, you can pat yourself on the back!
    Keep in touch and let us know how you're doing.
    DDD. Married,Mum of 2, Age 45: 2007 & 2008 L5/S1 Discectomy
    April 2013 L5/S1 Anterior Fusion
    & L4/L5 Artificial Disc Replacement
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