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Post L4 L5 spinal fusion

americanwoman49aamericanwoman49 Posts: 3
edited 06/09/2014 - 11:04 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I'm new getting insight from reading other people's stories who share in the understanding of pain and frustrations it brings to ones life. I am 50 and its been 10 days today since surgery. I thought I would try and not take any pain meds last night. I caved in and went for the meds. It's upsetting not knowing how long I will need these meds. I use to feel like my back would snap in half while walking. On November 13th 2013 I had a discectomy and a laminectomy only to have it fail. I was besides myself emotionally, physically and spiritually. I was helpless depressed and I was wanting my right leg to be gone. The meds took me to a level I never thought of. I was wanting to depart from this earth. I'm on workers comp so I needed to follow all protocol for my surgery I just had. I found a new doctor that is a neurosurgeon. I never had a second opinion before and our backs are our livelihood. I don't have any pain in my lower back at all. I had atrophy in my right leg and no feeling due to sciatic nerve impinging and trapped between my two disc. The doctor went through my side and placed a spacer between the disc which caused the nerve to have room and move away from where it caused me to not walk. Well today I'm on meds feeling pain on my right leg. From knee down it hurts to touch the skin. I put voltaren gel on the area to alleviate the pain. I use my walker and cane. I have a shower chair and everything is in my reach. I prepared myself to be as independent as possible. I went to Home Depot and bought a suction bar that stays right where I position it to hold on while in the shower. I sit and dry off in the seat. In my room I have a nice outdoor chair with arms and I put a towel there for me to sit and get dressed on. I have one of those claw helpers and I use it to help me get dressed. I made it easy on myself and I have pull over cotton dresses and night shirts. I will put my knee brace on for extra support when walking. I take Tri flex for my bones and joints. I recommend that anyone prepare before surgery. I pray not to stay on meds long as I know first hand what and where it can take you. Tomorrow will be my first post op. I hope for all positive news. I know we all heal differently and suffer and heal at different times. I would love to hear an uplifting story to look forward to. Sometimes I feel like a baby and cry because it seems that I have suffered so long. I want to be strong and I also want to be uplifting to someone else. Being at the mercy of others was not meant to be. I also believe this is temporary and I keep telling myself that. I'm up for any advice from someone who's been where I am. Thank you for reading my story. I pray good health to everyone who is on this site looking for advice and hope. Thanks ~Americanwoman


  • my name is tony and I am in the uk {48 married to a nurse} I just wanted to say hi ..I will write to you again when I am feeling up to it ..I am in too much pain to have a good chat ..take care will be in touch soon
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Post op recovery is tough........especially in the acute phase of recovery. Those first few months can seem endless, but if you take it one day at a time, and when you need to, one hour at a time, you will get there.
    Follow the restrictions your surgeon gave you, walk as much as you can tolerate, following the instructions you have, and you will get there. Little by little you will see improvement come, not so much day to day, but in a few weeks, you will be amazed at how much more you are able to do as time passes. I remember gauging my progress by month to month for the first year.
    One step at a time......

  • I had spinal fusion from L2-L5 in March as a result of scoliosis with vertebrae pressing on nerve roots causing sciatica pain down right let so that I could not stand or walk hardly at all. It's been 3 months and I am just now getting weaned out of my brace. I was in hospital for 9 days and in skilled nursing facility for 2 weeks. Came home and since I live alone had my daughter here for 1 week...then on my own. Quit taking pain meds after a month and muscle relaxer after 2 months. I feel that I am doing pretty well as I have no pain and am getting stronger every day. I do leg strenghtening exercises and other back stabilization exercises. Started walking with a walker right away and then quit using it after 6 wks or so. I started walking 1 mile every morning and doing okay altho I have a tightness in my lower back. My main concern is that I don't seem to be able to stand up straight...tilting forward a little. Also, my lower back looks stiff and there doesn't seem to be an inward curve at my waist as before. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, does it ever go away or get better? My Dr. says it will take at least a yr. to get back to normal, but I'm wondering if my back will ever be normal? Has anyone else had this problem?
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/22/2014 - 4:20 PM
    The reason that your spine appears flat is because that area of the spine has now been or is being made into one longer segment, rather than several smaller ones.....the rods and screws, along with the fusion, do that.
    As far as not standing up straight, it is going to take some time and work on your part to get those muscles gently stretched and you will have to work on being aware of not standing straight.. It is a common occurrence, we tend to lean forward , for balance, and because it eases some of the strain previous to surgery......
  • Hi all, I had ALIF and PLIF L4-L5/L5S1 surgery last August and have been back at work in insurance claims processing since Thanksgiving. I spent 10 hours on the table and 4 days inpatient with the worst pain the day after surgery due to intense muscle spasms, solved interestingly by Valium. My neurosurgeon (who is duo-specialized as an osteo-surgeon as well) advised that he would be able to rid me of 70 % of my pain and he did! Living with pain at a 3 on a scale of 10 is way better that the 9.5/10 I was at before surgery last year. I think I'm about to get medically released from my surgeon. But what I'm looking to now is what's best for the long haul. PT was not as helpful as I was hoping for, so now I'm looking for ways to strengthen my core in an effort to strengthen my spine. I'm exploring the idea of bringing yoga into my fitness routine. I am not the fittest person I know, and wasn't before surgery either. I want to hear my surgeon tell me what kinds of excercises I can do or can't do now that PT has run its course. Good luck to all! :)
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/23/2014 - 7:20 PM
    I would talk to your physical therapist regarding rehab and core strengthening excercises and talk to your surgeon about yoga classes. I know that there are special yoga classes for people with spine issues, and modified poses that work to strengthen your core and muscles.

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