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Lumbar Fusion via XLIF

PainSurvivorPPainSurvivor Posts: 1
edited 08/29/2015 - 12:10 PM in Recovering from Surgery
History of lower back pain that matured into chronic lower back, right sciatica and, left quad pain. Got progressively worse over a 25 year period with pains moving into groin area that eventually prevented sitting. First surgery on 4/2/14 was a Discectomy/Foraminotomy at L3-4-5 and it relieved the leg and groin pain for only a month. Within six months I was in pain when walking, sitting, sleeping, or standing. Pain followed the side I slept on which made it impossible to sleep without pain. Tried yoga, bicycling, swimming, epidural injections. Injections gave limited relief for a week or two at best. I could hear my bones grinding and clicking during certain movements and the MRI confirmed that the discs were herniated, degenerated, and slipping out of position (retrolisthesis, spondylolisthesis) with osteophyte complexes. After several opinions, reading a few books on Spine Surgery, and collaboration with first surgeon, I elected to have an XLIF decompression in which they remove the disc material and replace with a fusion graft material inside a cage.

Day 0 (6/19/15): Pre Surgery. Pain in Lower Back, Left Side Ribs, Radiating Left Quad & Right Hamstring, groin.
Day 1: Discs between L3-4 & L4-5 removed via Right Side. Implants inserted. Pedicle Screws and Plates added via 6 small cuts in back.
Day 2: Very sore lower back, mid-back, buttocks, and legs above knee.
Day 3: Very sore lower back, mid-back, buttocks, and legs above knee, walk short distances.
Day 4: Very sore lower back. Bodily waste functions restored, Left hospital via wheel chair.
Day 5: Very sore lower back around incisions. Walk short distances. Pain and Fatigue.
Day 6: Sore lower back around incisions. Walk short distances.
Day 7: Sore lower back around incisions. Fatigued Legs. Walked 700 feet. Intense spasms left quad through the night.
Day 8: Slept most of day. Sore lower back around incisions on right. Fatigued Legs. Stretched quads and hamstrings.
Day 9: Lower back less sore. Walking slowly around house without walker. Fatigued Legs requires resting frequently.
Day 10: Lower back less sore. Walking slowly around house without walker. Fatigued Legs requires resting frequently.
Day 11: Weakness in legs. Friend took me for 45 minute car ride. Slowly climbed 14 steps to restaurant. Spasms in right legs prevented sitting.
Day 12 (7/1/15): Crippling pain Right Leg felt during sleep and walking. Woke in pain several times. Weakness and fatigue while standing.
Day 13: Woke with sharp pains in right quad (side of entry) that went away after an hour. Reviewed X-rays with surgeon and the new disc spacing looks good. Lumbar lordosis greatly improved. Surgeon explained the sharp pains in quad are from the psoas muscle that was moved during the surgery. For first time, I don't feel fatigue or weakness when standing and walking. I see myself walking on a long beach with no pain in another 2-3 weeks.

Days 14-16: I discovered that taking Flexirol is much better than Metaxallone in terms of my leg pains. With Flexirol , I'm able to do short walk and stretch.
Whereas Metaxxalone puts me in bed with symptoms of a severely strained hamstring. This is all due to the nerves being irritated by the instruments inserted into my right low back during surgery. Healing pains (On a scale of 1-10 pain is 10). again. Staying with Flexirol for now. The right side of low back around incisions remains sensitive. The feeling in this area is slowly coming back and the pains to my right quad is directly related to healing in this area. Looking forward to PT on Monday after this 3 day holiday weekend. My emotions were on a rollercoaster this weekend with the hamstring pain but I managed to reach out to several family and friends via phone and this helped me to relax. Even went on Facebook and listened to standup comedy via audible.com for few to keep my minds off the leg pain and tightness. I'm doing my best to keep an upbeat attitude. Better days are just around the corner and I will recover. This I'm sure of.
Day 17: Had a spring to my step this morning. Only Flexirol and Tylenol now. No more Oxycodone. Drove to PT. They stretched my quads and hamstrings.
By afternoon, feeling weakness and low back and leg pain while walking. Testicular(groin) has less pain today. On a scale of 1-10 pain is a 6 today.

Day 31: Leg weakness 95% gone. Sleep on left is preferred over right due to healing pains around abdomen incisions. Walking 1/3 mile 2-3x per day. Right abdomen gets sore following crunches or light pedaling so I'm going to stick to walking next two weeks.

Days 32-43: 6 weeks post-op and seeing the surgeon today to discuss my recovery, next steps, and possible meds. Taking Tylenol daily for pain. Left lower back and left quad finally feeling better. However, any type of sitting -especially driving car- increases testicular pain. Sciatica shooting down right leg into arch of foot after an active week of walking 1-2 miles(not at once) day and highway driving car 10 miles to beach each day. Stretching hamstrings helps sciatica in right leg but Testicular pain increases with sitting. Taking a break from driving and long walks in order to calm down Sciatica. Breaking out the donut cushion which keeps the tailbone suspended while sitting. It does help a little. I feel disappointed and frustrated that this old pain is back with increased activity. I hope we can find a way to free up this right sciatica nerve.

Day 71: Testicular pain is 95% gone. Sciatica 90% gone. Increasing physical activity each day. Feeling happy and upbeat about the success of the procedure. Taking one day at a time. Moderate beach walking, light swimming, 10 minute bike rides. Going back to work very soon. Woo-hoo!



  • 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
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