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Pain six months after spinal fusion surgery affecting my life!

Hockey1234HHockey1234 Posts: 1
edited 12/21/2014 - 6:45 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello, my name is Oliver.

I am 26 years old. I required an L5-S1 Laminotomy and Spinal Fusion six months ago. I have attended physical therapy sessions 3 days a week for four months post-surgery. Though no longer attending physical therapy at an institute, I stretch daily and continue the exercises 3 days a week minimum. My doctor told me at my last visit (2 months ago), I should start being able to do the things I used to do with some pain but it would eventually go away. It hasn't. I used to play hockey. My doctor knows that. I started skating again, not playing games or even using a hockey stick, but just skating. It went alright, I'm nowhere close to competing, however, I can't even cough or sneeze without cringing! Putting screws in a bookshelf made my back hurt for three days! A full day of sitting in class (I'm in college) is the worst. I haven't been on pain killers in nearly 1 1/2 months; My doctor says at this point I should be seeing improvement and the pain should subside. I signed up on this website because I feel like I've hit a plateau. If I compare month 2 of recovery till now (month 6), I don't feel like the pain has decreased. My CT-scan and X-rays show everything is normal. I don't overly exert myself. What's the deal?

This is greatly affecting my life. My overall mood has changed. I feel tired all day most days. I am recently married and my sex life is almost non-existent because it's simply too painful. I've looked up forums, but haven't really found someone near my age (I probably haven't looked hard enough) with a similar surgery going through the same ordeal? I guess at this point I need to hear that at 6 months, feeling a decent amount of pain is normal? If I could compare the pain to something; imagine a hard leg workout, the muscle soreness the next couple days - my back feels like that all day most days. Yes I ice it!


  • 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
  • Well, I am 10 years older than you, but I can relate. I'm only 3 months out from my L5/S1 fusion and just doing a few normal tasks throughout the day is exhausting. Now I have the added issue that the fusion seemed to have affected the nerves in my left foot and it doesn't work properly anymore, so just walking (with a cane) is hard. I knew the fusion surgery/recovery would be long, but it's hard to be patient. I can't even begin to imagine trying to ice skate!!

    Are you taking any nerve meds like Gabapentin/Lyrica/Neurontin? Is it possible what you're feeling is nerve pain and not muscle? It's so hard to go through a surgery this big and know that it was necessary and yet still lose half a year (or more) to recovering. My guess is that you are just doing too much too soon.
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
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