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Pain Question

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:18 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had 2 level (TLIF) fusion surgery on April 21st. As all of you who've had fusion surgery know...it's been rough. Here it is just over 2 months later and I still get a lot of pain. I just started back to work on June 17th (I worked 3 days the first week and then went up to 5) and I honestly didn't think it would affect me so much--but boy is it!! The pain is pretty bad. Yes I'm on pain meds still, use an ice pack and a special pillow and blah blah blah. I have my 3 months follow-up in July and that's when we'll see on the x-rays if my bones are fusing or not. Please God let them be!! Anyways, I guess what I'm wondering is if everyone else has faced this amount of pain. Am I just being too stubborn and expect too much of myself? I'll get energy bursts and then I get EXHAUSTED and so sore about about 15 minutes or so. Is this "normal"? Thanks, in advance, for any insight!! xoxo


  • I am a 3 level L2-L5 fusion patient and I am still in recovery and I just had a spinal cord stimulator to reduce my pain levels...... I am in some meds still but not as many as before. My surgery date was 11/15/07 and then I had a laminectomy for repairs on 1/23/08, so I guess some of us get kinda of unlucky and some recover quickly! :? I also was diagnosed with fail back syndrome, so that has a lot to do with all of my issues. I hope that you get better soon!

    Millie ;)
  • Hi Lizzie & welcome! Can't offer much insight other than YES, it hurts a lot & for a LONG time. Sorry! I had a 1-level 21 weeks ago &just now can begin to be more active--but as you say, you get that "energy burst" and then the exhaustion & pain WHAM you...yup, that's correct.
    And you're working now, so that energy you expend at work takes energy away from the healing process, so you'll be doubly hurtin'! I think you are marvelous, working already...at 8 weeks I was still almost comatose...

    It does get better, tho, so don't get discouraged. It just takes A LOT longer than you expect or anyone anticipates. My NS said to figure 12-18 months b4 I'd feel ALMOST normal...so in a way, that was both discouraging yet encouraging...

    Hope your July x-rays are great! I showed a start @ 10 weeks & a recent MRI shows continuation...& that's what it's about...so rest when you can & go slow! Think in terms of weeks/months, not days. Makes it easier to get thru this.

    Stay in touch!

  • Hi Lizzie:

    I think everyone will say that we all heal at different rates. I had a 1 level TLIF in Sept. 2007, was fully fused at 6 weeks. I don't work so I can't compare that. I do find that if I do a certain task I will hurt more. I do have pain from day to day. I take Tramadol around the clock, I tried to reduce it but I was unhappy with the pain level. I was told that full recovery can take up to 2 years. I am happy to wait and hopefully things will gradually improve. It also depends on what kind of work you do, how physical your work is, are you on your feet, sitting for long periods of time, etc. All of these issues will make a difference on how you feel at the end of a work day. I think you will find gradual improvement. This is a very long recovery process.

  • Hi Lizzie

    I am 3 months out from ALIF. I still have lower back pain and hip pain, not as severe as it used to be but still there. I also am just generally sore and achy. The fatigue is overwhelming and I have it almost daily. It is really hard for me to get things done when I am so drained. I was told my my surgeon that this is normal at this point. I just started PT so hopefully that will help my stamina get built back up.

    We have to be patient and it is hard when life returns to normal and our bodies have not!
  • I am sure what you are experiencing is normal, especially as you have just basically taken on a second job- the first one being healing yourself.
    Give yourself as much time out as you can, go for lots of short walks and organise someone else to do dinner etc so you dont have to.
    I am nearly 7 weeks PLIF L3-S1 and even though I am doing really well I am still on the pain meds and some days would like more. I cant imagine having to be thinking of returning to work soon.
  • And yes the pain comes and goes crazily, 1 day I feel great and have all sorts of energy, then the next day the pain is horrible and I'm so so so tired!!!!! I couldn't imagine going back to work yet and that would be even a low level of energy job! You just have to give yourself some time, if you do too much too soon you just won't heal properly, best of luck to you~

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