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6 weeks after and seeing where I'm at :)

Hello all, was diagnosed about 7 yrs ago with a 17mm spondylolisthesis between L5 and S1. I blew it off to continue ( I am now 54) my active lifestyle of Ice Hockey, skiing and golfing. Last year it became increasingly difficult to Ski and Golf and I had severe weakness in my legs during Hockey games so I went back in for another MRI in march only to reveal a now 22 mm slippage. I actually played Hockey and Wakebaorded 2 nights before having surgery on 6/23. Now I'm getting frustrated with the severe shooting Sciatic Pain on the Right side as well as a numb Quad which I was told would be gone by now ( did not have that before the surgery). I have been walking and standing since day 2 of the surgery. Unfortunately I am bone on bone in both knees ( thinking of having new kness this year as well) so I am seeking other workout ideas? I have been over to my community pool and am up to 50 min of breast stroking and then back floating w/ light kicking with the use of 2 noodles for buoyancy and balance. The original plan of skating again at 16 weeks seems like a Pipe dream based on the first 6 weeks of recovery. I have kept my physique lean for a big guy 6'3" and 225 with good a diet and try to get abundant sleep. My only real concern at this point is the sharp , debilitating pain as described above. When it happens it's worse than any pain I had before the surgery and freezes me in my tracks! I have had to keep taking the muscle relaxers 1 or 2 a day to keep from having such bad flair -ups more often. Of course Dr. office says all normal but can't wait for the x-rays on the 8th week to see if fusion is happening or something is awry!
Thanks for any input!
Good Health to all!


  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 767
    edited 08/09/2014 - 3:35 AM
    Hello, first of all, you are VERY early in your recovery and it is very common to have lingering or even worsening nerve pain after surgery. Remember that the nerves were probably impinged for years and will take time to recover, if they were not permanently damaged. In addition, you are probably very swollen around your sciatic nerve from the surgery. I had very sharp, angry pain shooting down my right leg after surgery when I had never had right leg pain before (only left leg). It took about three months at minimum for it to completely go away. I also have numb areas on my thigh but my doctor isn't worried and nerves do regenerate, just very slowly.

    I am just shy of 8 months post fusion, and my X-rays are only just now showing fusion, so don't worry at all if it takes months to see evidence of bone growth. Your surgeon should be able to gage your recovery and know what is normal for your case.

    Swimming is great for recovery and I also do PT with a focus on core.

    Good luck!
    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
  • A significant flare up of nerve related pain is common post op and can last several weeks or months, depending on the extent of the damage to the nerves prior to surgery. On top of that, you also have the retraction and movement of nerves and tissues to access the area of the spine being worked on.
    You can talk to your surgeon about the use of neuropathic pain medications such as gabapentin or Lyrica, Cymbalta or amitryptaline to help ease the nerve pain until the nerves heal.
    You are still very early into the recovery from the surgery. Fusion surgery can take a year or a little longer to fully recover from and the fusion process takes time to occur. Over the next months, as the bone grows, it should become more solid but it does take months for the process to occur. At 8 weeks, you may or may not see evidence of bone growth.
    Has your surgeon approved the swimming and excercises? Doing too much too soon post op can interfere with the fusion process and most patients are given no bending, lifting or twisting restrictions, along with weight restrictions for the first three months or longer.....physical therapy is usually not started for at least 6-8 weeks and then is limited in what you can do.

  • Hi and thanks for the replies! Yes I had called the Dr office and spoke with the Gal who does all the follow ups and care instructions. The Doc was not available........I told her about my plan to swim at 4 weeks and she said that was fine. I'm sure there are plenty of others who have thought "what the hell did I do" here on the forum. I got so used to the pain and numbness and weakness that I worked my way around all activities somehow someway and now feel like my head will blow off because I can not do the simplest things! It seems patience and time are the only way but I'm finding that is the toughest part of all of this! 7 weeks yesterday..........
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