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almost 3 weeks from having multiple spinal fusions L4 to L5, L5 to S1. A lot of new things going wro

Hi there...This is my very first time posting here. I hope and pray this can be a place I can come and talk with people that are dealing with the things I am. I'm 40 years old and never have I had to deal with this or see this with anyone. So it will be nice to have people to talk to. This coming Tues will be 3 weeks since surgery. I have a huge scar and is still draining some. I'm supposed to be letting it air dry but when I move the swapping brakes open :(
The pain has gotten better in my back per se...but my legs hurt me alot. My left hip is so swollen...Mtleft leg all the way down hurts...and is a constant thrombin aching feeling. Makes it hard to get comfortable or even sleep. Is this normal??? Anyone have any ideas on what I should do??? I've read I need to ice my hip. I'm going to try that tonight. Any ideas would be great.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,910

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • If your incision is still opening some three weeks post op, you need to make an appointment with your surgeon to make sure that there isn't any sign of infection going on.
    Nerve pain commonly flares post op, so that pain down your leg could stem from that, although you can ask the surgeon
  • you poor girl .its very early in your recovery and things can get worse before they get better you have had major surgery and your recovery will be in months even years not days or weeks .ice is good if the painful area is hot but if the area is cold then try heat also a TENS may help TIP put the electrodes on either side of your pain NOT on your pain and select a fast pulse mode {if you decide to try a tens Omron e4 is a very good unit } a recliner is also a good idea if you can fit one into your home and if you want to push the boat out an electrically adjustable bed helps too as do raised toilet seats and grab rails in your shower don't forget a anti slip mat [there is a very good list of must haves on this forum } just take your pain killers /try to rest and don't be rushed or pushed buy anyone its your body and its been to hell and back
  • faytay said:
    Hi there...This is my very first time posting here. I hope and pray this can be a place I can come and talk with people that are dealing with the things I am. I'm 40 years old and never have I had to deal with this or see this with anyone. So it will be nice to have people to talk to. This coming Tues will be 3 weeks since surgery. I have a huge scar and is still draining some. I'm supposed to be letting it air dry but when I move the swapping brakes open :(
    The pain has gotten better in my back per se...but my legs hurt me alot. My left hip is so swollen...Mtleft leg all the way down hurts...and is a constant thrombin aching feeling. Makes it hard to get comfortable or even sleep. Is this normal??? Anyone have any ideas on what I should do??? I've read I need to ice my hip.
    I'm going to try that tonight. Any ideas would be great.
    Hi Fay, I completely understand what your experiencing. My op was 8/11 - both anterior / posterior S-1 - L-4 fusion. That said, my pain seems to move to different areas from day to day. From what I've read, this seems to be normal as your nerves are adjusting from their formally compromised state. Ice, rest and and a good balance of meds seems to work best. I know that when I walk too much, the pain level can be such that another Norco is in order. I find the worst is continued standing. So again, it's all about a balance. I hope this helps somewhat and wishing you less pain and a smooth recovery!
    Bilateral L5 spondylolysis L5 with grade I anterolisthesis L5-S1.
    Stable multilevel degenerative spondylosis contributing to mild canal
    narrowing L2-3 and L3-4.
    360 ALIF & PLIF L-4 - S-1 on 8/11/14
  • I have some pain similar to what you are describing. I was told that my position during surgery led to pressure on certain nerves of my right leg and that although it is temporary it may take a long time to go away. I also had terrible muscle spasms in my left chest wall, then daggerlike pain in right chest. I ended up back in hospital for three nights (got home late afternoon today) It was pleurisy with atalectesis and was extremely painful and scary, sif nothing else, keep on breathing deeply.
  • This is my first post but was happy to see Fay ask about leg pain. and to Fay and to anyone else I am happy to have someone to talk to about all these things coming up, and can be here for others going through something similiar.

    Yesterday was the 2 week post op for me, and My leg Pain started after I had my stitiches(14 staples total) were removed during my follow up on DAY 8 ,( my Doctor is gone for this week. )

    The Pain feels as if I walked for days on an incline. It radiates from ankle & feet up to calves, thighs into my bottom. And OMG I try everything possible to get rid of it because bc i need SLEEP. My Incision is a little swollen, and feels like there's a pocket above the top of the incision where the drainage tube was during my hospital stay..My incision is closed. I would definately find out what is going on, if yours isn't..How awful for you! :(

    My leg pain is just like what I felt after my discogram the year before only 100 times worse. That pain took weeks to go away, but my doctor explained back then, that when the contrast was injected into my discs to get a good picture of why I had so much pain, the tissue in my discs didn't hold the fluids and my doctor said the discogram revealed the contrast dye running down the back of my nerves into my legs .
    And this is the same feeling I get now. so much worse So if its still draining, (I had the Posterior type of entry) then that could explain the excruciating pain.
    I have tried ice, heat and elevating my legs up while laying flat on my back. I have called the doctors office this morning to see if I can get and MRI instead of the XRay he ordered for my next appontment in 2 weeks.
    now that i came out of lurking i will be here asking more question.
    Good Luck to all
    8/21/2014 Laminectomy, double discectomy w/multiple hardware, & multi level fusion, L4,L5,S1 (PLIF)
  • I am soo grateful to have this forum to talk with others about the ups and downs of recovery. I am 10 days out from an ALIF of L5-S1 and have alternating nerve pain down my legs. My incision is good other than itchy. My back isn't bad but I turned wrong getting in the car today and feel it. Sleeping sucks! I am still log rolling until I hear otherwise from my doc. I lay side to side and on my back with pillows to prop my legs. I keep telling myself it's early and everything has just been completely disrupted in my back, so yes I should expect the nerves to be pissed off. I ventured out of the house today and felt pretty good. I do notice when I stop and just stand in one place, the pain starts. I've been out walking every day and trying not to sit or lay too long. I stopped by work today to get fmla paperwork and everyone was amazed how well I'm getting around. Guess they thought I'd be down and out for awhile. I am determined to beat this and get back to where I was!
  • MaregoldMMaregold Posts: 46
    edited 10/16/2014 - 2:34 AM
    A surgical wound, at 3 weeks post op should not be open and draining. Your surgeon should address this as soon as possible. The wound could be infected. EDITED

    Post edited for providing medical advice.......5.06 You agree not to post information that is considered to be formal medical advice.
    5.12 You agree that any information, opinions or other content provided by doctors or patients on Spine-health.com forums is for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical diagnoses or treatment. Always consult with a physician for any health problem or medical condition.
    5.18 Spine-health.com reserves the right to edit, monitor and/or delete comments at our discretion without notice.

  • hello everyone... 1st post.
    I am about 11 days out. Had L4 to S1 laminectomy/ fusion. And guess what... I feel your pain! And there is comfort knowing there are other people going through the same thing and, yes! we hope and been told...things will get better. This is what I've been dealing with so I'd like to share. ....
    -trouble with sleeping positions. On back ok, sides not so good. Keeping away from stomach because of other posts and really don't want to mess with the super basics recommended not even 2 weeks out.
    -much worse leg pain than back pain.. my ankles do feel like I've walked from Miami to.. and climbed mount rushmore, and in all truth I've walked less in these 11 days than before surgery. My thigh/ hip area is on fire, like a Shakira workout on auto repeat for 1 year.
    -fighting with tapering pain and neuropathy meds to try and ween off too soon. (Between....Suck it up, or no nono it's too soon, shaking head, what do I do)
    -prepared house with grabber, toilet seat, hospital bed, showerbrush. Highly recommend! !
    -doing ankle pumps to relieve some pain.
    - reading all the posts that contain the same bones, skipping the cervical ones.
    - feeling arthritic and muscles pounding after doing too much.
    - underestimated recovery time.. who has time to recover??? But... finding out the importance of rest, proper moving techniques .. ie closing your eyes on your side breathing in deeply while doing... the log roll..

    Shooting to go back to work post...16 days at part time. I set a goal. It will involve pain to reach it. I know and am prepping mentally for later next week.

    Please keep this thread going for a little while at least so that we can all share and recover good and bad.. together.
    Sending positive vibes (not through the tens unit) everyone's way.
    quiet wonder
  • Hey there everyone...Thank you for all your comments...so much has happen since my last and first post. I had said thatthat following Tuesday would had made 3 weeks soncemy surgery.....Well that Tuesday I ffoundout why I was aching so bad...iI was in bed all day. Hurting in every joint. It was my first day alone after my surgery. Only got up to use the restroom or get a drink then straight back to bed I went. Later that day my fingers woke me. Theywas tingling and had turned a very pale color. I knew something was bad wrong. I could not get them to stop. So I text my mom told her I was not feeling well at all and about my fingers. She then called my baby sister which whom works at a Dr's office. And so she came by, the fun begin. ... I had a fever. ..couldn't keep still cause I was In so much pain. She called the hospital that I had my surgery which they got a hold of my back dr...then he calls her back. She explains all my symptoms. .. With no hesitation he tells her to get me to the ER. I live 2 hours from my hospital. So my 18 year old and sister proceed to get me around. I'm crying. .The pain is horrible. Thank goodness I took a bowl cause I had felt like I could throw up and sure enough I start. During my trip to Little Rock that night i had my night gown and shorts...little did i know my incision was poring. I had soaked my nightgown. make the trip in an hour and half. I was so sick. Sure enough we get there they take my blood finally letting me know my white blood count was 19. Normal is 5 to 10. So admitted I go. Then it seem like hours before they came back in the room to give me something for the pain. I slept good that night. Then here comes my Dr making his rounds. He said I had an Infection in my incision and he was going to have to go in and clean it out. Now this is on a Wednesday now...which Tuesday is his surgery day. They came to prepare me for surgery by 9 am wed morning. I set down Iin a cubicle from 9 am to 4 pm. Crying in so much pain...can not drink anything nor eat. Which eating was not on my mind. Nor did ihave any tissue. The reason was my Dr had to wait for a operating room to open up. I was so sick and kept begging anyone and everyone to get him there. But at that time I didn't understand why it had taken so long. Anyways...After surgery I do not remember anything. My Dr came to talk to me and said he had a infection Dr to ddetermine what kind of infection it was. Sure enough I had staph in my back. Which prompt the picc line that was a God sent. The antibiotics for the length I needed them would of blown out my vein. So I got hooked up to my carrying bag which held my pump and medicine bag that gave me my medicine. I had to learn how to change it all myself. I had in home nurse's show me and there I went. Actually enjoyed that part. That was about the coolest thing I had ever seen. But the problems don'tend there. The 2nd surgery they used real stitchings. 27 of them buggers.... which I had kept in me for over 5 weeks because that same place was gapping again...drainage was horrible. He couldn't remove them cause he was scared ifwould all open back up which would land me in another surgery. It has been a nightmare. 2nd surgery was sept 3... I still have in home nursing coming to see me. Still on antibiotics. ...still have a huge gapping wound. I am doing the wet/dry gauze and it seems to be healing slowly but it is healing praise God. I still have bad pains. Which I understand that I will. And this will take time. But some days it does get very depressing. I have had such a set back. But good news is my white blood count is down to 7.2. But as long as I am having drainage I will be on the antibiotics. 2000 mg a day so you can imagine the lady problems this has caused. Yogart is my best friend lol. I'm very great full for my in home nurses. If anything questionable comes up they are on the phone with my drs. Which has had me in their offices every week since my 2nd surgery. I'mnot ccomplaining I'm so tthankful my drs keep such a close eye on me. 2 surgeries in 3 weeks was bad enough. I'mnot ready for anymore for a long time I hope. This getting my Iincision to heal has been one of the most frustrating ordeals in my life. No I don't have diabetes. ...it's seriously just being mean lol
  • Well no doubt I had a bad infection. Part of why I haven't been on here til now. Man was I ever a sick sick lady. Don't think I've ever felt so close to death as I did with the staph infection.
  • My left leg doesn't kill me while standing any longer, bumps Iin a vehicle do not cause me to yell out. Those have been the 2 most noticeable things I've noticed thus far. Then the flip side almost 3 weeks ago while walking I had a sharp pain start up in my lower left back. Nothing like before surgery. ...that has been pretty painful and depressing....but then too I know things are gone be deferent....New pains will start up while my nerves are recovering from being smashed in there for so long lol. My spirits are high....I have color again and seem to be getting around really good. But that has also been hard with new pains. Some days I feel so good till I get up and move around a bit. Then I get so stoved up I have to lay down. But in time I have faith things will get better. I keep praying and have an awesome prayer team behind me.
  • Good thing that now you are on the mend. I am really sorry you had to go through all this. Let's hope from now on your recovery will go smoothly. Keep up the spirit, and good luck!
  • Oh my goodness Fay, as I'm reading what you have been through, I'm seeing a similarity to my story .

    I had L4-L5 fusion on 8/5 got a staph infection in the hospital and had to have a second surgery on 9/10. I also had a picc line in until just last week. And 3 drains. Sad thing is my back actually felt better after the first surgery. During the infection surgery, they had to cut out about 8 in of infection that had created a tunnel under my incision, then move muscle from the sides of my back over to fill in the gap. The muscle stiffness pain is horrible. And about 2 weeks after the 2nd surgery I started a bad pain on my right pelvic area. First thing in the morning it is awful, like when I first had surgery. I've tried stretches and it will ease it up some, But as soon as I get still for any length of time the pain is back. I'm sure this too shall pass. After all it took about a year for my knee to feel great after I had knee replacement surgery.

    So I hope you are still healing well and your home health nurses are taking care of you! Good luck with your progress!
    Dianne W.
    Boiling Springs, SC
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