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L5 S1 Post Op Update

PC914PPC914 Posts: 19
edited 12/15/2014 - 9:47 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi All,
After 4 months of lower back pain and problems sitting and excercising i decided to find out what was wrong.
After an MRI and Xrays we confirmed the nerve was pressing on my herniated L5 disc. I tried physical therapy for 2 months, then 2 epidural shots, as well as stonger anti inflammatory medication.
Although the pain didn't go away completely, I learned how to deal with it and eventually started working out again, but was smart and listened to my body, not pushing it.

I very much want to continue my running and gold so I decided that after exhausting all of the above traditional therapies, surgery was the only option.

I had surgery December 3rd. Although I had to stay 2 nights, I eventually got home and slowly started the recovery process. I needed the walker for about a day and a half.
I have gradually started walking 4 days after surgery and continue to increase or maintain the same each day. I haven't worked at the office for two weeks and will gradually get back to the office after the holiday.

I wante to use the month of December to have a solid 4 weeks of recovery.
Tomorrow is my first doc appointment and I am very optimistic.
The only main issue I have is moderate pain in the immediate area with some minor sweelling. Other than that I am showering on my own, cooking dinner, doing light errands, and working from home. Combination of sitting at a high top chair bc its easier to get in and out of and also spending time iin my bed. I also am consistently icing my lower back

I hope for a great check up tomorrow and look forward to staying on pace with six weeks recovery before I start light work outs again.
I'm 36 and take good care of myself. I hope you all find this helpful and wish you all the best with your recovery and or future surgeries.

God Bless


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • littleonellittleone Posts: 77
    edited 12/16/2014 - 7:56 AM
    I'm 36; and waiting for insurance to approve an ALIF of L5 - S1. I'm so happy to hear your recovery is going well. it gives me hope.
    may I ask what kind of fusion you had?
  • Hi. I'm 52 and had fusion with rods on Dec 2 and am also able to do light housework, etc. The recovery is tough but not nearly as painful as before surgery. Also spending a lot of time in bed and thinking I'llbe back to work feb. 2. Very nervous about going back and wish I was independently wealthy. I believe I need a good 6 months to a year until Igo back . I don't have a part time option and can't imagine sitting 8 hours a day in a stressful job could be good. Hope you continue healing!
  • edited 12/17/2014 - 9:15 PM
    Please keep posting its hard finding good stories on here and the bad ones scare me something fierce !
    Holly House
  • PC914 - Did you have a fusion, or a laminectomy?
  • Positive vibes:
    You wanted a good news story so I thought I'd share mine with you. After 5 years of trying different treatment options and a micro discectomy I bit the bullet and had a ALIF @ L5-S1 done on September 22nd this year. I'm very pleased to report that 3 months on I'm doing much better. I've reduced my meds, hopefully will be off everything early in the new year. Pain free after 5 years of pain and wishing we'd made the decision sooner.

    My advice is to find a medical team you trust and who will work together to get the best results for you, and of course, stay positive
    July 2009 - L1, L3, L5 disc hernation
    Jan 2011 - L5/S1 Microdiscectomy
    Dec 2012 - return of neural symptoms
    June 2014 - fusion recommended - awaiting insurance approval
  • PalsmomPPalsmom Posts: 2
    edited 12/22/2014 - 7:48 AM
    I am 5 months post op from lumbar anterior/posterior l5/s1 spacer...I was pain free until a month ago. The lumbar area started hurting again and my leg pain increased. Two weeks ago I noticed a mass or knot at or just below the waist. It is on the left side posterior. My pain feels as if it is more in my tailbone and has a burning sensation along with a lot of pain. The pain management dr say it is the iliac crest. My surgeon has been great up until this point. The X-rays showed loose screws the surgeon says that is from the first surgery. He didn't operate the first time. That surgery was at XXXX. The neurosurgeon put the screw in the incorrect place of the bone causing kyphosis. The fusion never took place in the lumbar from the first surgery. That was three years ago. I have had four spine surgeries in three years and have hardware from top to bottom. The surgeon says my cervical 6/7 never fused from 2009 and I need surgery from that. Has anyone experienced the lumbar issue concerning the Iliad crest? My follow up appt. isn't until January and the dr doesn't seem concerned. He has been awesome up until now and no it is not at XXXX.....
  • It is a big surgery however , there are positive stories out there! I used the walker only on day 1 post - op.
    After that no walker for the remaining 2 days of hospitalizations. At home I was walking about 2 miles per day 1st week - 7 weeks post op. At about 8 back to the gym for the treadmill and elypitical. Back to work at 10 weeks with no restrictions.
    Now back on the bike and more weights at the gym. Unfortunately , no Skiing this season as I really need to wait for full fusion to take place for this activity. In all , I'm doing pretty well for a HWP 52 yo male.
    That said , there are positive outcomes for fusion patients!
    Wishing all who have had surgery a great recovery and best of luck to those considering such:)
    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
  • Hey PC, great to hear your recovery is travelling ok. How did your check up go, and was that your first follow up appointment?

  • This is such a useful site. I appreciate reading people's experiences and know they are all different. I'm scheduled for L5-S1 laminectomy/fusion in 4 weeks and am anxious to get it over with.
  • Wow, ive really noticed how everyone seems to have different recovery and even different post op instructions for this surgery.

    I went home the same day, was walking the day after, doing about two miles by end of the first week.

    I'm 26 though and in relatively good shape. I'm sure that has some impact on it...
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