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Spinal Fusion - The Weeks After

EvsolutionsEEvsolutions Posts: 21
edited 12/29/2014 - 2:49 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi guys!
I had a 12 level spinal fusion 3 weeks ago. Just came home from hospital & would just like to hear from anyone who has had similar. I am in lots of pain still and tire so easily. I just dont know what to expect as time goes on and what goals i should be hitting etc with regards to recovery. Basically just hungry for info. I am male, 33 yrs old and had it to correct shearmanns disease, similar to scoliosis , as the pain and discomfort was just causing me misery. I have found it hard to get info on my situation so it would be great to connect with anyone, i would really appreciate it.
My days at present is i sleep in a recliner as i cant get into bed or lie comfortably, i wake up , have shower and get my pain meds into me as mornings are hellish. I then go for a walk (shuffle ) for around 30 mins as directed then sit down again.Throughout the day i sit and take pain meds while doing small stretch exercises, little walks etc but am exhausted & in pain after only 15mins of any activity. How long will this go on for? Anyway, any feedback would be great :) thankyou


  • 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
  • Wow that is a huge surgery. Just think about what you and your body have been through! You're tired because your body is trying to heal on multiple levels. A 12 level fusion is serious and it will take a lot of energy from your body to heal. The best thing you can do is rest and let your body do its thing, as it seems to me you have the walking and stretching down. That is also important.

    Stay on top of your pain. There are no rewards for suffering at this phase.

    Good luck!
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 158
    Yes, that is a big surgery. I had a 7 level fusion. I am about 3 weeks out from surgery myself. The pain is bad, sleeping in a chair too. On the pain meds. Its going to take time heal, and its not the fast lane. I use a heating pad and long hot showers. The only thing that brings some relief. Let me know how your doing,
    Greg fisher
  • Oh my! I would say you're doing as well as could be expected. I only had a fusion in on area 4 weeks ago and am still tired and sore. Be patient and listen to your body.
  • Thankyou sarah,gfish & Christi ben. Yeah the surgery was 17 hrs! I & my family could not beleive it. I was stunned when i was told. I have bad pressure point scars in my forehead ( which sux), on the points of my hips and thighs from being face down for that long. My surgeon also hit some nerves & i am totally numb in both front thighs & the left part of my chest that wraps under my arm. This im told will heal but take months & months.
    yeah gfish, the hot shower at night & in morning is nice, it does bring releif. Tell me guys, are you worried about the pain meds being an issue down the track? I am on paracetamol, gabapentin, endep but also on high doses of slow release oxycontin & immediate release oxycontin. They work so well but i know i am probably addicted already & understand that too will be a battle in a few months time im guessing. What are your thoughts in this or experience? My doc is great & said i shouldnt worry just yet as staying on top of the pain is paramount, but commended me on being aware of the side issue of the drugs being addictive.
    Anyway il keep reading & posting here let me know how everyones recovery is going. Anither day here for me i stayed ip late as pain was bad, woke upabout 9am did ny hit shower & got my meds in. Stated sitting for a couple if hrs as the night was bad before i had my missus drive me to docs to get more meds. Did my 30 min walk around the shops which was nice to get out but yeah back on my couch tired & sore watching tv. Thats my life at moment, pain is under control right now which is good, just still have that fatigued flat feeling which sux. Have started to notice to that i have lower back pain where the us no fusion really bad in morning, have to get thise core exercuses going when i can id say.
    Thsnks heaps to all who posted on this, il reply to all so keep up the chatter and info! It means a lot :)
  • Wow. That's alot of surgery. I had a tiny surgery and huge nerve repercussions so I know what it's like to feel numb and weak.
    I'm impressed you're showering. In between terror from slipping and the exhaustion I was lucky to get a shower in twice a week. Maybe I was depressed too. I'll never know for sure. It's not like that anymore. I'd say following orders to a T would be your best bet.
    Is your core work simply holding in your abs? Id be cautious of any movement otherwise unless you're being handled by good physio. I didn't start physio until 6 weeks post surgery... easing in slowly.

    Recovery takes months. The first time in my life something has taken a long time to heal.

    The narcotics you are on that are helping for now with daily life will be adjusted over time. I wouldn't be thinking about that right now. Keep us posted on your progress! You post is so positive and it sounds like you have the mental strength needed for the long haul.
    Take it day by day.
  • I couldn't imagine having that grand of a surgery. Stay strong and know you have a long recovery and LOTS of support!! I wish I found this website two years ago. Every day is different and so are we, but we KNOW the value of supportive and understanding souls.
    46 F Avg Hgt/Weight non-smkr/drkr, ex-runner
    Chronic back/neck pain/urticaria (pic)
    ADCF C6-7, 11/13
    C3-4-5 , L3-4-5-S1 DDD bulge annular tear

  • EvsolutionsEEvsolutions Posts: 21
    edited 12/30/2014 - 12:36 AM
    Hey Spiny-malone & DS2B! Thanks for the feedback & kind words. Yes this website is great as i said its hard to find info and people with similar experience and who are willing to share. Yep 27 hr surgery & 12 level fusion. I feel ok at moment, just get tired so easily and my pain is under control with meds but i know about it when they wear off, like in the early hrs when i am sleeping. I also notice mynlower back hurting ehere there is no fusion so i am keen to get into the core exercises when i can move a bit better.
    Cheers for the words il keep it up if you do :)
  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 158
    Yea, I still take them. Keeps the pain level under control. But I only take them if I no I will be moving alot that day. Im sure your pain is quit high. So If it helping you rest. then You must need tem. Hope it goes well for you. Keep us updated.
    Greg fisher
  • Thanks Sandi i will check those links out.
    Thanks Greg i will keep yhe updates going, you to let me know how its all going. Pain meds are a constant 3 times a day at moment. Just have to do what i hsvd to do and roll with it
  • You have had a huge and awfully painful surgery and it should go without saying that you will need your medications like clockwork for several months, at least. I commend you for having the self awareness and caution to want to avoid addiction, but right now, only weeks out of surgery, your pain level demands relief.

    I think it's great that you keep an open dialogue with your surgeon at your follow up appointments to talk about how you're feeling and eventually discuss tapering off the narcotics, but right now, you just need to trust your surgeon that you don't need to worry about that at the moment.

    The one thing you can hold yourself to is NOT overusing your meds. And keep moving. I think you're doing great!
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • That is a very large surgery I have 5 levels fused still no 12 level that pretty crazy. I found taking pain meds as your supposed to don't wait till pain is bad just keep taking it as directed. Walks are good but nothing more then the Dr. has approved but lots of walking is good for you. I had needed lots of help from my wife and Mother so things Mom just can't do anymore but the ole wife can. Take all the help you can get and best of luck.
  • Thanks for the kind words.
    Yes at moment pain is there but i keep it under control with constant meds. Mornings are the worst but i walk and move around the house every so often. I have found a way of dressing myself to which i couldn't last week. I also helped wifey wash the cars today! A good goal snd it was nice in the sun. I am confident i will be back to work in 2 months ( signwriter/maker /installer) i teat myself everyday with little movements and crouches & bends to see whwre i am at. 15-20 mins max of any movement/up and about is all i can manage as i feel just exhausted so easily. But yeah just gotta roll with it & stay positive :)
  • Ok I am a little jealous that you're washing cars in January. You must be somewhere warm!! I am in frigid Minnesota!

    I went back to work in two months as well but did not have a physical job. I would be sure to ease into it.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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