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3 wks postop lumbar fusion l4l5 increasing pain on right side of back

I had my surgery Aug 21 and the first 2 days were easy. I have had ups and downs since including a readmit with pleurisy and atalectisis. Last Monday I overdue it - walked 3.8 km. With a 15 minute break in the middle and then went out in evening mostly standing, walking or sitting for short periods. Needless to say my pain got worse and I had to take pain meds 3 times in 24 hours. I took it easy for the next few days but resumed shorter walks. ASIDE from my back issues I also Have rheumatoid arthritis and have taken daily ant-inflammatory since age 28 (now 60). I have had to stop them as kidney function appears to be getting worse. I had been back to taking only 1 oxi-ir 5 at bedtime, but since Thursday have had increasing pain to the right side of my incision which is worse when I try to get up from my recliner or out of bed. Pain is so intense I yell, but once I am moving it is tolerable. I can't help worrying about whether I have damaged something on that side. Any thoughts? It is a week-end so not sure what to do. My GP was pleased with me on Thursday and we restarted methotrexate for my RA.



  • Linda,
    Hello just noticed we had our surgery on the same day. I am not sure how your surgery went, mine was longer than anticipated, and I had a blood transfussion plus bad facial swelling and horrible pain. I didn't know I was going in for Decompression (laminectomy) and thought it would be just a Discectomy and fusion of L5S1 but both L4 &L5 were bad so they had to be removed and then replaced with hardware spacers with bone graft and fused.
    My first night after surgery, I was in horrible pain, I had nerve pain in legs and pain in the incision site.
    I researched the fusion but not the decompression or multi level fusion. I had not prepared enough for this pain. I was unable to get up with out help and knew I needed to try to move as much as possible, I managed to use the bathroom 4 hours after surgery when being placed in my hospital room.
    I have been doing walking since day 8 , when the stitches came out, although I was off almost all pain meds until today when this morning I woke up again in throbbing legs feet calve pain again and I had to take the strong stuff again, hadn't needed them in 5 days so feel a set back.
    In reality, I remain in degrees of pain since before surgery.
    From what I have read here and other sites of Spinal Surgery Info is that the incision pain is still from Muscle walls healing and that can take time. I know the pain in legs are from nerves moved from the discs that were pushing on them, and will be giving me some issues.. A lot of healing still going on.

    Pain or no pain, I do push walking and do a mile at least 3 times a day and trying to less walking with cane but still need it to feel stabilize.
    In between the oxycodone and Tylenol I use heat and ice, the incision is still swollen. I keep a spandex brace on when at home rather than parachute brace issued after surgery. I am not doing housework or any shopping at all. Not driving yet, dont want to take chances of my surgery failing so when I am not walking I am lying flat on back.

    I find that everyone is different in healing as I get deeper in forum threads from last year. But if you are still feeling bad and unsure i would contact your doctor.
    Good luck with your healing,
    8/21/2014 Laminectomy, double discectomy w/multiple hardware, & multi level fusion, L4,L5,S1 (PLIF)
  • Wow! My staples didn't come out til day 14! I have been using a cane around the house but walker when I am out walking just in case I need to stop and sit for a rest. I am impressed with how, much you are walking. My longest was 3.8 kilometres return trip and when I get home all my body seems to want to do is sleep. I am avoiding Tylenol because it is hard on both liver and kidneys. Today I took Valium 5mg for the spasms and it pretty much knocked me out. I don't take anything for pain when taking Valium and have taken 2.5 mg tonight. Typically nightime is when I need meds. I keep reminding myself to soldier on and stay positive. I too use ice, heat and TENS. I was warned day of surgery that my face would be bloated from lying face down and I surely was. I also had nasty abrasions on my face from pressing against the oxygen mask.While I was in hospital I also developed altered sensation in my right leg which I was told was because of my position in surgery. It has been very annoying, but I am told it will go away eventually. My pre-surgery nerve pain in butt and down to knees, is thankfully gone.
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