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Depression after surgery?

Chawk1CChawk1 Posts: 1
edited 02/02/2016 - 7:44 PM in Recovering from Surgery
I had L4 and L5 fused 8 weeks ago and while things are going slowly, l am improving constantly. My biggest problem seems to be depression which has set in over the last few weeks. I should be thrilled...it is the first time in years that I have no pain in my legs but I am miserable. Is this normal after surgery? Have any of you dealt with this or am I going crazy?


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

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I have felt this too. PM me if you want more detail. Seems semi normal, as it is a big event.
  • First off, I'm glad you are seeing constant improving!! I had my L4-L5 fused about 10 weeks ago. I am often finding myself struggling with depressive feelings during this recovery. Are there any particular things that trigger your feelings?
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 726
    Who doesn't get depressed..!!!! Fusion surgery is a MAJOR surgery and recovery can be a long tough and sometimes lonely road. But as you say you are recovering steadily and should be thrilled... you're only at 8 weeks... that's fantastic!!! My simple advise is go to this forum every day and you will find people that are 10 times worse than you and you will realize that you are one of the lucky and blessed ones. This forum can be great therapy and a great relief during recovery... kinda like AA for busted backs. Reading the forum will also help you understand more about your surgery and the recovery process and you will realize you are not alone and be less aprehensive about it.
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Very normal after fusion surgery or chronic pain. I was put on depression meds after all my issues started and stopped after recovery from first surgery. Then after my last surgery I have been on it ever since due to chronic pain but I don't have a issue with it as it helps me through everyday life for the better.
    TLIF L4-S1 2007                                         TLIF L3-L4 2008                                          TLIF L2-L3 2016
  • I think the narcotics (& withdrawal from) contributed to my feeling very down. I had a single leve lumbar fusion 2 months ago. 
  • carlafcarlaf Labadie,MOPosts: 27
    I feel for you; I am just new to this but I definitely feel my anxiety ramped up. And I find myself  needing a space like this to just reassure myself. The line about AA for busted backs is a perfect way to describe this forum.  I'm in awe about the validation and empathy here. I was initially thinking to just get info by using the site and then I decided to create an account once I saw how helpful the members are. It really lifts my heart to read it. 
  • Yes. I was surprised. I had just weaned off all my antidepressant and anti anxiety meds 3 months prior to my surgery.  I was pretty devastated once I realized depression was creeping back in. But after research, it seems it is quite common after back surgery or any major surgery.
  • I had L4&L5 fusion done July 12,2016, 3 months prior to my surgery my anxiety level, depression and crying spells went out of control and I tried sooo hard to get it under control with natural meds and teas, nothing worked, finally had to go to a psychiatrist and ask for meds which diet do much for me and here I am
    in the same boat as I was prior to surgery, I went Friday the 29 to get my stitches removed and the doctor told me I am doing great and to start doing lite activities around the house, still can't get out of the crying spells and the heart racing and the depression. I thought I was a strong woman???? NOT so sure anymore, I am going back to psychiatrist to see if I can be put on Zoloft to help me at least until the doctor clears me to start more activities and hopefully I can get a job at my 10 week post op so I can feel as a human and not as a burden.
  • I think it's normal. I feel on the verge of crying at any stress or setback. I am 3 weeks out from microdiscectomy. First few days were horrible. I am just now feeling improvement. After surgery pain went away I had exact same back pain as before. Yesterday was first day I was able to get out of bed without horrible pain. Resting and walking are your friends. I don't know if it's the surgery, the pain, or the frustration but I definetly am fighting depression. Hang in there.
  • twindhamttwindham Tennessee Posts: 25
    I had L5 S1 Spinal Fusion >>Yes I go through roller-coaster ride with my emotions.  The pain, the lonliness, frustration of dropping things and so on but it really does help to have this Forum and knowing that you are not alone. There are plenty of people experiencing this type of surgery and all that goes with it.  I hope you have better days up ahead.  We really need to self motivate and encouraged ourselves and others going through the same thing.  
    I have a empty nest :)  and my husband is sometimes out of town with work so i blast my Music loud throughout the house  I like to listen to all kinds of music but lately I mostly listen to Christian Contemporary on Pandora it helps. 
    Stay Strong
  • MagistraMarlaMMagistraMarla San Antonio, TexasPosts: 180
    I had never been depressed in my life, and I was taken by surprise when I became quite depressed after my L3-L5 surgery in April, 2015.  I did a lot of research, and the best answer that I found was that the anesthetic that is used to keep us out and still for such a long surgery tends to cause depression and can take up to six weeks to completely clear the body. 
    When I found out that my fusion had failed at my one year check-up, I started going down the road to being depressed again.  I had found a great PT, and he was the person who was willing to listen to me and helped me quite a bit.
    With his encouragement, I found a new surgeon to do my revision surgery.  He found all of the reasons for my very real back pain, validating my feelings.
    I'm now preparing for that surgery on October 25.  I'm back on the roller coaster again - sometimes feeling happy that my pain will soon be addressed, and sometimes feeling very down and angry about having to go through it all again.
    Forewarned is forearmed.  I'm talking with my husband about it, and I think that he is going to be willing to take me seriously and be there for me this time.
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