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Not getting better

Hello my name is Melissa,

 I am new to this site and I'm looking for advice.

 I had a bone Fusion on my L5 S1 September 20th 2017, I was healing well in the beginning and all seemed good but the past 3 weeks I feel like I am declining with recovery. It's just about 3 months since my surgery and I am still in a ton of pain when I walk. I go for physical therapy, I'm out and about and do as much as I can tolerate. I was doing fine with more pressure in my back then pain. Now I feel I am back to square one. I have no strength in my lower back, even the slight Bend at the sink to brush my teeth hurts and I have to hold the sink to stand myself back up. Im getting very frustrated. Is anyone else going through a tough recovery. Im getting no answers from my Dr. Not really sure what to do. 



  • I had the same surgery in Nov, 2017. I’m 3 months out now & feel much better. I walk daily (try for 10,000 steps) & ride a bike maybe 15-20 min daily. I can’t sit for long at all which is frustrating. I still ice my back most days due to a mild to moderate burning pain. And I rest as well. It’s a long, tough recovery I’m told. Two steps forward, one step back. It sounds like you, Melissa, are sliding backwards. You mentioned you’re in PT. What does your therapist say about your recovery? I hope your Dr has given you some answers by now, but if not I’d go to another Dr. Let me know how you’re doing now please. Chin up!! Gail 

  • Melissa-

    I had the same surgery on December 13th. I am dealing with the same issue.  I think mine may be more of me doing too much but I am feeling like things are going backwards as well.  

    My surgeon will not approve me to do any PT until 12 weeks so I can't comment on that. 

    I agree with Gail- if your Dr. doesn't address your concerns, I would get another opinion.  From everything I have read, it can take much longer than the average "12 weeks" to feel better.  My surgeon told me that I was going to hate him for 3 months, dislike him for another 4 months and possibly like him again at a year post op lol.  I actually thought he was joking at the time but he was serious.  

    Good luck and keep us posted!

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  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,493

    3 weeks is still very early healing days!  from my experience-if your pain is getting worse, you need to make sure nothing has loosened or shifted (to be safe) and slow down if you are feeling more pain....also remember your nerves will be healing, and when they wake up and heal they can be very painful.  I had 10 levels fused, and was told flat out, 2 years.....i also felt at 3 months that i was not making the gains that i thought i would, it's a long slow slow process.....i also didn't start physio until 3 months, and even then it was no weight bearing (but my fusion was 10 levels so quite a bit different).  and it's a 3 steps forward 2 steps back, 4 steps forward 8 steps back 4 steps forward kind of healing.....

    Veritas-Health Moderator
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

  • Hi follks. Had an L5s1 fusion for Spondy  1/1/18. I was doing great at 6 weeks and even went back to my office for a few days—then whammo. Things that had not been painful started to really hurt. Now at 2 months i am much worse. They ruled out infection and my doc got a new MRI last Thursday. Waiting to hear about that. Helps to know others are having long, difficult recoveries. I had a so-called minimally invasive TLIF that was not that minimal. I have two 3 inch scars, which seems pretty invasive to me. Hope we all improve soon! My doc originally had me believing i would be working from home in weeks and back to work in a month. If i could i would be ROTFL.   Take care-

  • gee, I'm supposed to get a l4 - s1 fusion for my left hip pains, stenosis and spondy grade 1.  All of these issues has me worried beyond belief. Especially since I have a 40hr job and I can't afford to retire on disability.  I hope to be off work for the 6 weeks but reading all these stories I worry about sitting at my IT desk job.  yikes!  I so fear not being able to return to my career...sad.

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  • merlin2k:

    I wouldn't assume the worst.

    I had a full lumbar fusion in December, and by 6 weeks had recovered significantly.  Now on no pain medications.

  • I’m recovering from 10-level fusion, a little over 7 months now.  A fractured L5 after 3 surgeries really set me back as I had to have 8 weeks of bed rest in the beginning.  Once I was cleared I started PT, but it was only a couple of weeks in that the doctor had me quit because PT was causing severe nerve pain.  He was right; I quit PT and that pain eased.  My right leg is partially paralyzed because of the fracture.  No one knows if it is temporary or for life.  I am mostly in a wheelchair, but use my walker for exercise and such.  I have fallen several times.  My biggest problem is that I can’t stand up straight no matter how hard I try.  Even standing hunched over, it feels like I have a concrete block in my back.  It feels so heavy and I feel so much pressure as soon as I stand until I sit again.  I know I should expect a long recovery for my surgeries, but it is so frustrating not knowing what’s ahead.

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