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7 months Post-op OH NO!

ldmobleylldmobley Posts: 36
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey everyone!

It has now been 7 months since my back surgery. I had a two level fusion L4/L5-L5/S1. I was doing fantastic until about a month ago. I started really feeling sore. I am a school teacher and I am on my feet ALL day long. Long about 2pm I start feeling really sore and EXTREMELY tired. I get home and sit down and I can't get back up because of the pain. I lay down and I go stiff and can't even turn over without crying out in pain. I was hoping that it was just weather changing or something that would go away in a few days but it has been much more than a few days it has been WEEKS (4-5 to be exact). I have gotten to the point that I have to get back on my pain meds because I can't function without them. What is going on? I am scared to go back to the doctor because I am afraid that something might be wrong. I keep trying to make myself believe that it will pass.

Has anyone else had this happen or something similar, this far post-op? Any ideas what might be the problem. I was doing SO good, I was taking care of myself and not doing anything stupid to mess up what I had done.

Let me know what you think.



  • first welcome to spine health.
    iv never gone back to work after so i am not really a good one to take advice from.
    but i would think if your just sore and tired it means your body is trying to get back into the routine of things.
    you had a major operation and even at 7months out your still recovering.
    do you go to physical therapy at all??
    that might help release those tight, achy muscles at the end of your work day. and help you build up more strength.
    of course if you have any increases in pain besides soreness i would call your dr.
    we don't realize how much muscle tone is lost during these ops. plus all the nerves etc take a long time to heal, plus i would imagine your still fusing??? can you sit at your desk and teach to take breaks???
    mabye a back massager to put in your desk chair??
    also another good idea (ask your dr first) the therma care heat wraps for the back, knees etc. a bit pricy but boy do they feel great!! i used them when we went on a trip when i was 6 months post op.
    plus ice packs mabye you can get some disposable ones or reusuable ones and put them in a freezer like at the nurses office etc?? just some ideas im thinking off at the top of my head.
    i would talk to your dr if already havn't about PT. and go from there. thats your best bet in the whole world!! or mabye if you already have done that, mabye a session a week or so would be good for ya.

    thanks for all you do for kids!!!!!!
    >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • and I had a fusion in Januray & went back to school in Aug...also on my feet all day, running around after a class of 2nd graders (7/8 yr olds). I felt I was up for it so my NS released me WITH RESTRICTIONS...which I feel has made a huge difference. I can do no BLT-ing & must wear my brace. I find sitting almost impossibly painful, so lucky, being a teacher, I'm on my feet all day; but like you, around 2PM I just feel like my whole back is in flames...& when I get home, I do the meds/ ice pack thing & rest up for the next day...

    My Ns said to expect my pain levels to rise back up when I started teaching again, & they sure did. I was off of everything except some OTC & Valuim, but now need small amounts of dilaudid (NOT AT WORK!!) & more frequent Valuim in the evenings to "un-do" the days' discomfort. I think it's not that we CAN'T do this--it's just the nature of teaching--you are going at your students' pace, not yours, unlike when you were home recovering & could take that 2PM nap...

    I find it very helpfully "distracting" to be back to work, albeit more painful. I saw my NS a few weeks ago & everything looks great, & he said again that the increased pain is most likely from teaching again & the rigors of the job,etc. At 7 months, you are still early on the 2-year time-line, so go easy. I appoint a teacher's helper every day to assist me w/ classroom duities, etc (I can't bend/reach/twist or lift) & my class totally understands my limits & is really helpful, as most little kids are. But I know how you feel! By afternoon, I wonder what the heck I'm doing in the classroom again! I think we are NOT doing anything "wrong"--we are productive again & enjoying our profession & if you're a good teacher (which I'm sure you are or you wouldn't be back to school so soon) you are expending HUGE amounts of energy every day that previously were going into healing the wound. Remember: anything you do that takes that energy away (like working) will make you feel lousy or worse. Doesn't mean there's a "problem", only that your energy is now being used to cope w/ the demands of a very active profession, instead of being used to mend your fusion.

    I'd keep an eye on it, tho. We're going into the 2nd quarter now & I've learned what I can & can;'t do each day. See how you feel at the end of 1st semester. Check w/ your doc about a soft brace to wear during the day. It helps support your back & will remnind you not be over-do the acitivy! Plus it';s a VISUAL reminder to your students & colleagues that you are NOT YET NORMAL...!

    Sorry for the long post! Just want you to know that teaching (I;ve found anyway) will make the pain worse. And have lots of SEAT PADS around the room for when you must sit, & also use them at mtgs & conferences, etc. I have 3 Tempur-Pedic seat pads that literally save me every day. But again, sitting just kills me. So thank God I can be up & about all day!

    Rest on the weekends & save your energy for the classroom, Say "NO!!"to anything else for those 183 days! It does get better but it just takes forever!

    Good luck! Tomorrow's Wednesday! Only 3 days to go, & 2 weeks to Thanksgiving Break, then a few weeks to Christmas, etc. Gotta think in terms of "breaks"! And those nice 3-day weekends when there's an early release day!

    Stay in touch! What grade do you teach?

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  • Hello:

    If you are in pain I would think it might be a good idea to contact your doctor. Especially since you say the pain has continued for several weeks. I hope you feel better.

  • You may feel better if you check with your doctor - sometimes not knowing and wondering if there is something wrong is terribly stressful. But teaching takes huge amounts of energy and if you are on your feet as much as most teachers have to be it makes sense that you might be sore! (Also, most school floors are certainly not "cushiony" even if they are carpeted.)

    Are you doing any PT or other streching to keep your muscles from getting too tight?

  • Hi I had surgery Complete Disc replacement 6 months ago, went back to work what in my trade its called light duty,

    so now i'm on a desk 8 hrs a day. I dont get the doctor honestly, i couldnt be sitting for that long when my back wasnt so bad!!, trying to get back to my usual work i really dont want to raise concerns on my doctor but i think i will have to, i'm good until after lunch but at mid afternoon its all just downhill.

    anyways i hope you feel better soon and it all is a bad memory soon.
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  • Thank you all for your comments. I always feel better after reading posts on this website.

    I teach 1st grade 6-7 year olds. Like you Lakeside, I am on my feet ALL day because it hurts to sit down. If I do sit down it is like my back goes into "stiff" mode and it hurts to try to get back up and walk across the room. The last time I saw my doctor was in August and he said that everything looks great. I do not go to any PT. The doctor didn't seem to think it was necessary. Although if this continues, I may see if I can get in to see him during the Thanksgiving break. My doctor is 2 hours away so it is always a pain to go (don't like long trips), but if things don't improve I will go ahead and take that step. Something needs to change, I am starting to not feel like myself. I know my family has noticed, and I sure don't want it to start affecting my work.

    Thanks for listening! Have a GREAT DAY!!
  • Well, I have seen the doctor since the last time I posted here and found out some pretty upsetting news. Since November, I have had 3 ESI's. Had a Myelogram/CT and went in for the results on April 9th. Doctor says I have two MORE bulging discs above where I had my surgery a year ago. He says I have Chronic Pain Disorder and suggested I go on disability because the future is not looking good. He does not want me teaching in a classroom any longer. :''( Doctor has also put me on Neorontin in hopes of helping me cope with my pain. I have been taking 3 a day for the past week, only have a few more weeks to go before I am supposed to start feeling some relief. I have another option and have since decided that I will try it out before I make the disability decision, which by the way, I can not afford to do!! As of next year I will be teaching in a small group environment. It is in a Special Education classroom. Small groups and sitting down rather than standing all day and bending over little desks. Hopefully this will all work out. I can not even consider the disability route. My family would not be able to survive. I will keep you posted on how things go from here.
    Thanks for listening!! You guys are GREAT!!
  • one day at a time....being a spiney is a long road....take care of yourself. Terri
  • I've been warned that my surrounding discs (L3 to start) may go at any time. I've asked repeatedly 'what can I do to prevent it?' All I get is a shrug of the shoulders and crossed fingers.

    Sounds like you really have had it rough - and that it's not going to get easier anytime soon.

    Are you considering more fusions? What do the dr.'s say about that?

    Best of luck and I'll be watching for more posts/updates from you.
  • Doctors haven't really given me any suggestions about future fusions. I already have two levels fused. They did say that I might be a candidate for a Spinal Stimulator in the future. We will have to wait and see. I am hoping and praying that I get relief with this new medication (Neurontin). Going to take three a day this month. Six a day next month and bump up again (not sure how many yet) the next month. The doctor is going to hit me hard with this new med and hopefully everything will work out.
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