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how long until I feel normal again?

emtnellyeemtnelly Posts: 20
edited 04/07/2015 - 8:51 PM in Recovering from Surgery
2 1/2 wKS ago I had a lumbar L2-l3 fusion done. Was discharged from hospital less than 24 hrs after surgery and then ambulance took me back for another 2 days I was told to walk as much as possible and start weaning off pain medicine. Tomorrow my Dr has set up physical therapy to begin. I'm able to walk for about 15-20 minutes, but numbness and pain when sitting I'm still in a great deal of pain and terrified of starting therapy so soon. Not comfortable with it at all. What can they possibly do for me when I still can't drive, twist, bend, or lift? All I can forsee is more pain. Has anyone else been pushed this fast? Is this normal to still have bad pain and no energy at this point? Just so scared and confused right now. Any advice would be helpful.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Wow, that is way faster than what mine was! I had no pt, couldn't even stay out of bed for long for the first few months! I was in the hospital for 3 days. I can't imagine going home sooner. If you aren't comfortable , talk to your dr. Make sure he knows how much trouble you are having. As for pt, they might just do heat and electro-stim (like a TENS). I doubt they would have you doing anything but walk.
  • I think that all sounds too fast too. I had a single-level fusion and stayed one night in the hospital (they might have kept me, but I was much more comfortable at home, so it was my choice). I was on pain meds around the clock for at least 3-4 weeks and then I started to wean off of them. I think I was done by 6-7 weeks (except for Lyrica which I might always have to take).

    I started physical therapy around 6 weeks after surgery. I can't imagine doing anything more than trying to rest and recover much before that.
    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
  • I think we all wonder that. I think I'm going have to redefine "normal" for me. At least for now. Good luck and don't push yourself too hard.
  • Sounds way too fast for a lower back fusion recovery. I have had 5surgeries on back and soon to have 3rd fusion. you did not say why you had to be rushed back?.your age? Its possible for insurance companies to have an influence on hospital &physician protocol. My Dr. mentioned that the time in hospital is an average 1-2 days and a longer stay has to go thru red tape as per the insurance company. I waited at least 4 weeks till I felt good enough for p.t.and progressed fast enough. Walkng is the only thing my surgeon wanted me to do till then. Vry Best wishes for your recovery and let your own body determine your needs.
  • Have you checked out the Surgery Recovery page on this site. It tells how P.T.works after surgery.
  • Walk.Walk.Walk. That's all I'm allowed to do. I will be going back to my surgeon for 2nd post-op appt at 9 weeks out. I don't know what will happen after that.
    Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) Surgery (Open) L2/L3 (23Mar15)
  • I actually didn't get any help from pt as there wasn't much I could do. So surgeon said I didn't have to go back. But am still having significant pain and was just diagnosed with pots due to de conditioning so now I have a huge risk of passing out if my heart rate gets too fast. Lucky me! Just seems like one thing after another. So recovery is going slower than expected. I did find it strange that my Dr told me I could bend and twist now if comfortable and to my tolerance. I didn't think that was allowed until fusion starts to occur, but I'm sure all surgeons are different. I'm not at all where I want to be in my recovery yet, as I can only walk 10-20 minutes at a time, but am going to a pain clinic so hopefully they can help with meds, therapy, injections, or whatever. Just trying to stay positive, but it's getting harder and harder. But this can only make me stronger in the long run.
  • Although I have cervical issues instead of lumbar, I believe I have POTS too - I'm on atenolol and it helps greatly. Are you on any meds?

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    edited 05/10/2015 - 6:51 AM
    Your positive attitude....so important. It's good to hear you have it!
    That will help when...as you said..recovery is going slower than expected.......being patient while healing is good investment in best recovery for future.

    Going to pain management sounds like terrific decision. Another pair of eyes......always good!
    And PM doctor gets to know all about your issues and is probably best for prescribing meds and or other treatments....that will be effective for you without interfering with your other conditions.

    From your picture with your name, seems like you have some support. To have support as you navigate through the tough and confusing times......priceless!
    I have found people to want to show they care, but don't know what to do

    Sometimes we need to know for ourselves what we need to best take care of ourselves....to take a little of load off.
    And then we can ask for it.

    I wish you very best in your recovery and.....be patient with yourself!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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