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after surgery, nerve pain

I had a spinal fusion 2 weeks ago, fused the bottom vertebrae to the tailbone with rods and enlarged the holes in the bone where the nerves pass through, and added a bone graft so the 2 will grow together. I've been looking through the posts about post-op nerve pain and how long it takes the nerves to settle down again, and all I can say is, misery loves company! I feel better knowing I am not the only one having this issue. It took almost 20 yrs for a doctor to finally pinpoint the problem, so those nerves have been pinched/compressed for a very long time, and now after the surgery, they are "waking up" again, and oh, boy, does it ever hurt!! I still have good days and bad days, and when I get to feeling too good, I tend to do too much, and end up paying for it later. I guess the trick is to just take it very easy, even if you are feeling much better!
I do have a question that no one has addressed yet that I have seen: compression stockings. How long do you have to wear them after surgery?
Another concern I have: staples. They say they aren't taking them out until 6 weeks after, which kind of freaks me out! Isn't that too long, and won't they have started growing over by then?? I did talk to the nurse who spoke to the doctor and they are going to look at them after 4 weeks, but even so, that still seems awfully long to leave them in!


  • KatelessKKateless Posts: 2
    edited 07/06/2014 - 4:07 PM
    i know i cant help but wanted to tell u i recently 5 months now have gotten nerve pain in both hands. excuse my horrible tying due to it. i had a fusion l5-s1 2012. im still in a lot of pain but so sick of the pain meds because i have no energy. good luck to you. no one should have to go through this.
  • Hi ... the easy answers first. I had staples taken out at my local home doctor at 12 days ... more comfortable after that.
    Compression stockings ... sorry, wore them for six weeks! I also had to do Heparin, blood clotting shots at home for six weeks.
    As for paying for what you do and nerve pain ...

    I had a two level TLIF at L4/L5 and at L5/S1 and they took out one disc and put bone graft in, also decompressed the nerves and drilled out some bones to make room, took out a cyst and cleared some veins which were engorged with blood.
    You say you had your surgery just a few weeks ago. Everybody here will tell you that these are just the very early days of a much longer recovery. I thought I could be a superwoman and 'sail' through it ... not so at all. Spinal surgery is unlike anything I have ever had done before and this was my 10th op so I thought I knew what to expect. I was just exhausted beyond anything I have ever known and it took till around two months post op before I could be up all day. Even now, nearly five months on, I still pay for what I do, though the pain and tiredness are lessening.
    I still have nerve pain and just a week back went back into hospital and had two nerve blocks ... one nerve was still giving me dreadful leg pain. It is a slow recovery and you cannot hurry it. At this stage you need to rest and walk, rest and walk.
    At two weeks I still put myself to bed and slept a couple of hours after lunch and could not fight it.
    Make sure you don't try to come off your painkillers too quickly. They will not want you to stay on narcotic painkillers longer than needed, but you should not think when you are in a reasonable state that you can reduce or not take them. The best way is not to allow pain to build up ... we all try and do this, but it backfired badly for me. I found my own GP was much better with helping me here than the surgeon.
    Progress will be slow, but don't look at it on a day basis, try per week to see what you can do and then at the end of a month see how you are.
    I do wish you luck ... post again for advice.
  • I had an ALIF two weeks ago and they took my staples out at 13 days, which made me soooo happy, until I woke up the next morning and my incision had re-opened. So my advice would be to leave the staples as long as possible, even if they are uncomfortable it is better than having an open wound :(
  • Mine were getting highly sensitive and the edges were starting to get red and irritated. They were not infected, the nurse said it was like having a splinter in your finger. After a couple weeks your body wants those foreign objects out of your system, so it tries to push them out on its own and it gets irritated. My doctors office said that the in home care nurses could take them out before my three week check up if they were really bothering me, but it best to wait until the 3 week mark. I couldn't imagine 5 weeks! Mine were just so irritating and sensitive. I'm 9 weeks out, and still have days where nerve pain is annoying. I don't take any nerve medicine though sometimes I wish I did. I'm thinking until 2 years is up, I'm going to experience some kind of nerve issues because I've been told it can take that long. Everyone is different.
    Julie K
    L4/L5 fusion TLIF for spondylolisthesis on 5/12/14
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