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Alif L5S1 back pain when turning in bed 4 weeks post opp

Recovery2015RRecovery2015 Posts: 48
edited 11/10/2015 - 3:07 PM in Recovering from Surgery
I am a 34 year old male. Had Alif on 10/20/2015 on L5S1. I am just starting weak 4 and have a lot of low back pain especially when I am in bed and try to roll to a different position. The pain fells like it comes from below the disc in the upper butt cheeks tailbone area. Has anyone had this before? Also just the whole low back area in general. Will it go away? I also walk a mile to 2 miles a day. Am I doing to much? I'm not seeing any progress in the low back pain going away and am getting depressed and frustrated. Please help! Thanks!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 11/10/2015 - 4:49 AM
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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
  • Back Pain 99BBack Pain 99 Posts: 3
    edited 11/10/2015 - 7:47 AM
    I'm 1 week post ALIF. I too am noticing a pain in the lower left portion of my back. It appeared while I was at the hospital and when I brought it to my Dr.'s attention he pointed out and reminded me that they create a space between your vertebrae so you will feel pain / discomfort while muscles get used to this. You may also be pushing it too much with walking 2 miles a day. I tried walking an extra lap around my block yesterday b/c I was having a "pain free" day and today I'm paying for it.
  • Hello,

    I think your right I may be walking too much. I also try stopping my pain meds and the next day I am in severe pain. Just more curious about the pain when trying to move to a different position in bed. That is what worries me the most.
  • I had exactly the same symptoms after my ALIF 3 years ago. 4 months later I needed another surgery (posterior fixation of the the same level) as the "micro motion" was causing tremendous pain. The new hardware fixed those issues and the pain was gone when I woke up. They have since stopped doing ALIF's as a stand alone device over here in Singapore as my problem was quite common.
    Micro Discectomy L5/S1 Feb 12
    Anterior Fusion L5/S1 June 12
    Posterior Fixation added to L5/S1 Nov 12
    Hardware removal Nov 13
    TLIF at L4/L5 May 15
    Posterior Fixation added again at L5/S1
  • I'm almost 4 weeks myself and just yesterday went around the neighborhood block in a walk..and it was at too soon. Those last yards were difficult and I'm in great shape.

    Understand guys I come to you after not just this fusion but two other plifs over 12 years. DO NOT OVERDO AND DO NOT OVERDO.

    The most important gift for yourself is to rest and walk. It is hard to know which one to do more of because the surgery has made your body tired and the healing is exhausting. At the same time, your body feels stronger so you want to stretch and walk, which as anyone knows this is the key to your recovery.

    After my second fusion I was trying to walk as much as possible, as far as possible. And at that time it worked for me, so if it works and you have no pain, do it. I was walking constantly and adding miles daily. It didn't hurt so dr said it was okay. He said if any pain, stop.

    This time marathon walking would absolutely not work for me. In fact my pt told me the more important thing this time is to ensure my posture is correct and I'm holding my frame correctly instead of total number of steps. So she has me walking back and forth in front of my home instead of far from it. Some days I feel the need to go farther, but I reign that in. It is too important to heal first.

    Equally important to walking is sleeping and eating healthy. I do this in equal measure with the walking and four weeks out find I'm in better shape than the marathon walker I was last time. I too have little aches that come, but they are little and are the nerves re-firing from being squished for months or they are upset because I have walked too much and inflamed the area that then presses on the nerves. In those cases ice solves.

    A trick that really works is a small bottle of green Palmolive poured into ziplock bag and frozen. It acts like a gel frozen pack and feels so great to lay on. My back gets poofy (hump) if I'm on feet too long, but again..I know from previous fusions not to panick, ice and it will be fine.

    In short, I feel totes amaze balls! Totally phenomenal. I went last night with zero pain meds and yet to take this morn. I have an ice pack on one leg that the nerve is ticked off from laying on it all night, and it is feeling better. It is very hard to know if I have walked enough or rested enough in a day but I think my key is to listen to my body.

    If I had acute pain all of a sudden that came out of nowhere, then I would be on the phone to my doctor immediately. It is easy to know: if you have a sudden acute sharp pain that is new or not a pain before surgery, then call Doctor. If you have pain after walking two miles just one month from surgery, then ice and see how you feel. If it feels better, then have an honest talk with yourself and decide if you want to scale back a bit. It is not a race on this trust me. You only get one spine. You do not want to have another back surgery, ever. Ever. Try to go as slow as possible...even if you have been pushing yourself until now...stop. There is no rush. You have one spine. Cherish and baby it like it is the hot girl in the room and tiptoe and court it.

    I'm no doctor, it is just my experience that rushing the outcome of surgery may work for five percent of the population. But don't rush, it is not worth it. I sure hope this is everyone's last back surgery, including mine. Walking slow. Walking with exceptional posture. Eating. Sleeping. It's not exciting and yes boring...but I'm telling you it works.
  • Didn't your back fuse? Wouldn't the fusion itself stopped the micro motion was it was set? Just curious why they made you do another surgery when the bone fusion is supposed to stop all motion ion that level? Thanks
  • Thanks for your comments! I have been icing for two days now and quit walking and the pain is still there. I did go back on pain meds and that helped tremendously.
  • It had started to fuse but the anterior screws were't strong enough to hold things in place so the micro motion wasn't allowing it to fuse solidly. Full fusion takes unto 5 years…….I've only recently been told this by quite a famous surgeon in the UK.
    Every time I sneezed, tripped, rolled over in bed etc I could feel the the sharp bony pain in my sacrum as if something was moving…..and it was.
    Micro Discectomy L5/S1 Feb 12
    Anterior Fusion L5/S1 June 12
    Posterior Fixation added to L5/S1 Nov 12
    Hardware removal Nov 13
    TLIF at L4/L5 May 15
    Posterior Fixation added again at L5/S1
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