I am 3 weeks post op from an L4-S1 PLIF without instrumentation. I have suffered lower back pain for almost 20 years from a spondylolisthesis at L5, herniated L4 disc, ruptured L5 disc, spinal stenosis, SI joint pain, and arthritis. I managed fairly well with conservative treatment (nsaids, occasional narcotics, PT, injections, nerve blocks, etc.) until a couple of years ago. I was finally authorized to have a fusion with instrumentation at l5/s1 only (insurance didn't agree that a fusion was necessary at l4/l5). During surgery on 4/27, the doc found synovial cysts at both levels and removed them. He also found that most of my symptoms originated at l4/l5 and determined that a single level fusion w/ rods & screws wouldn't help and may be detrimental. Instead he did bone grafts at both levels workout the instrumentation. I stayed 2 days in hospital before coming home. Fortunately, because my mother had some serious medical problems a few years ago, my dad gave me a hospital bed for the main floor of my multi level home (5 total). I spent the first two weeks getting out of bed only to walk and use the bathroom and shower.
Over the last week, boredom and frustration have driven me to be more active. I have gone to a school play, out to dinner, done a little grocery shopping, and pulled off a little housework, been up and down all of our stairs, and can drive sport distances. The problem is I find myself reaching, bending, twisting a little and trying to lift small things. My pain level, which was easily manageable is now through the roof. I can walk a block with my cane and not feel to bad, but the stairs are killing me. I'm worried that I am pushing took hard, but on the other hand isn't activity good for me if I am more careful and avoid the bending and twisting? Doctors orders are so vague - "Take it easy. No bending, lifting or twisting. Just rest and walk."
Any advice/instructions? I don't think I can stay in bed for 3 more weeks, but I need this to heal properly.