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After Surgery pain

BridgetBBridget Posts: 1
edited 10/29/2015 - 5:16 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hello my name is Bridget. I'm 46 years old and have had a pars defect and spondylolisthesis since I was 16. I have actually done really well over the years. At 16 when it was discovered it was because of severe back pain resulting in physical therapy and a back brace for 1 year. After that I always did my exercises and watched my weight and have only ever suffered with occasional sciatica. Then 4 years ago I fell down my stairs and my nightmare began. To make a long story short my condition was increased from a Level 2 slip to a Level 4 slip with my spondylolisthesis. This resulted in severe sciatica that has not responded to any physical therapy or cortisone shots in the spine. The pain in my hip was so severe it would take me quite some time to go from a sitting to a standing position. I was also having severe charlie horse type pain in my toes and collapsing of my arches in my feet.
5 weeks ago I had a spinal fusion at L5 S1 with a TLIF. The surgeon did a bone graft using my own bone. He did have to completely remove my disc and put in a plastic disc filled with my own bone as well as using my own bone for the fusion.
I was actually doing really well in my recovery. I was completely off of the narcotic pain meds by 2 weeks post opp. But at about 3 weeks post opp some of my sciatica began to return when sitting or bending my knees. At 4 weeks post opp I developed a new pain close to the area of my bone graft. This new pain has been plaguing me now for a week. Every time I try to walk if I put too much pressure on my left leg (the side of the bone graft as well as the side I had/have all my sciatica) or if I step wrong, it feels like I am being stabbed with an ice pick. It started Friday. I called the nurse Monday after a weekend of total rest with no relief. (I have no pain when sitting or lying down...only when I try to walk) The nurse told me I likely have overdone it and to just take it easy (that is highly likely since I was feeling good and I am a busy mom in a family of 5 and have a new Havanese puppy in the house that I'm potty training). Well I have been on total rest now for 7 days without even the inkling of improvement. I don't know if I should call again or if I'm just being impatient. I'm concerned that something really is wrong because the pain is so severe I cry out every time it happens (I rarely even cried out when giving birth to my 4 children) but she insisted nothing was wrong and that I just need to remember that this healing process is 6 months not 6 weeks. I know that but still am worried and frustrated.
Has anyone else experienced this sort of pain and if so any advice would be greatly appreciated. With the continued sciatica and now this I'm starting to wonder why I even had surgery. Then feel guilty for being so negative!

RECOVERY - The most important phase


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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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
  • At 5 weeks post C4-7 acdf with instrumentation and no hard or soft collar prescribed, I took a small jolt to my left side which sent me into agonizing pain on the left side of neck for 3 days. I had no pain by that time previous to thus incident other than a bad ache in my left shoulder blade if I overdid it. For three days I rested, heat and ice, took Tramadol (which I had been taking before surgery for another problem but stopped when I had surgery), went back on Flexeril, and had my husband massage a Biofreeze like product into the left side of my neck. I told my PT what happen and they altered my PT program and did more massage. The pain went away. But I fully expect more incidences like this in the next year. Overdoing things and small traumas to our body at this early time in recovery can result in a lot of pain. Have you talked with your doctor about a different med right now to help you through this? Or maybe PT or massage? I hope this resolves for you quickly.
  • Recovery2015RRecovery2015 Posts: 48
    edited 11/16/2015 - 2:53 AM
    Hello Bridget, did you see the doctor or did your pain go away? I am 4 weeks post opp and have the same pains you described so I'm wondering how your doing.
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