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L5/S1 recovery and walking

AceAAce Posts: 26
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Spine friends - I am 8 days post-op from TLIF on L5/S1. Maybe I am not using enough pain meds, but I still cannot walk normally. I have shooting nerve pain from the base of my sacral area down through my butt on the right side and through my hamstring. Also have a nerve-ache (feels like a toothache) in my left outside part of my shin when I lay down. I was walking pretty good the first 3 days, but the last 3 days have not been as good. For those that have nerve pain post surgery, how quickly does that subside? At this point and I can walk out the the mailbox and back (about 50 yds roundtrip) but not with a normal gait and when I get back am really ready for the ice pack. Am I rushing the walking? Everything I have read says the more you walk the better you will feel. I am not find that to be the case. I have some lower back pain but nothing compared to these shooting pains through my butt. Too early to worry?
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Comments

  • in your recovery. you are feeling the effects of swelling from surgery and it will subside. I walked in the house the first few weeks. Take it easy. Small little walks are more immportant than distance. Just walking around the house is good. Keep taking your pain meds so that you dont have to catch up. It is easier to keep pan at bay that try to catch up. Be paitient, you have a long recovery ahead, but just take it one day at a time and you will do fine.
  • Thanks for the reply. I will try to limit my walks to in the house for now.
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  • Ace,

    Were you having difficulty walking (the same symptoms as now) before you went in for your fusion? I had some nerve issues in my left leg but that was all before surgery. After surgery I had a lot of swelling that was contributing to nerve pain in both legs. Now at 6 months I still have difficulty walking and my nerve pain is mostly in my bum and down the back of my legs. The nerve pain in my left leg which was present before surgery started to improve after 3 months and I would say I got about 80% back. I am currently investigating whether or not the hardware is causing the problem down the back of my legs. I certainly hope that my S1 nerve root was not damaged. What interests me is that my pedicle screws exit my bone and I wonder if they are hitting nerves. Sitting is horrible for me as is walking any appreciable distance.

    At any rate, you will want to bring up your symptoms in your post-op appointment. I hope it is just inflammation but in my case it is clearly more than that.

    Take it easy and I wish you continued healing.
  • Your plan sounds good. Just increase it when you can, in slow little gains. I had mine done in winter so I walked circles in the house for a long time. If you need anything, feel free to PM me. And when you have your first post op visit, your Dr will tell you how you are doing.
  • Yes, I had trouble walking before surgery. Actually I had trouble walking upright. I did not have much pain running down my legs but I do now. Same as you, much pain in my bum mostly on the right side which is the side I was having the most problem with before surgery. I do not have trouble sitting. Same as before surgery. My whole problem has been the inability to walk for long periods or stand for long periods. Since my surgery was only 9 days ago, I am not freaking out yet. I was hoping I could walk more so my bowels will get straightened out. Thanks for all your info and advice. Good luck with your recovery.
    1994SanFrancisco said:
    Ace,

    Were you having difficulty walking (the same symptoms as now) before you went in for your fusion? I had some nerve issues in my left leg but that was all before surgery. After surgery I had a lot of swelling that was contributing to nerve pain in both legs. Now at 6 months I still have difficulty walking and my nerve pain is mostly in my bum and down the back of my legs. The nerve pain in my left leg which was present before surgery started to improve after 3 months and I would say I got about 80% back. I am currently investigating whether or not the hardware is causing the problem down the back of my legs. I certainly hope that my S1 nerve root was not damaged. What interests me is that my pedicle screws exit my bone and I wonder if they are hitting nerves. Sitting is horrible for me as is walking any appreciable distance.

    At any rate, you will want to bring up your symptoms in your post-op appointment. I hope it is just inflammation but in my case it is clearly more than that.

    Take it easy and I wish you continued healing.
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  • I was fortunate enough to get through surgery and have limited "new" pain. I feel that my lower back hurts much less than before surgery but the huge incision is the difficult part. I do have some pain in my left leg where the artery is located and I do need to talk to my Dr about that.

    I do walk slow and with as much bed rest and different positions I have been in I notice that my hips have been out of whack causing more discomfort than anything else. I have been taking walks of 100 yards or so as soon as 4 days post-op and have been doing about 15 minutes the past couple of days.

    Everyone heals different and everyone has a slightly different problem so I would say to let it come to you and don't force it if there is too much pain. You will do great!
  • Buddy 2nd week out. I feel for yah buddy. Ok here is what I learned about my surgery and I'm sure qwennie will tell yah a little better version soon.

    When my Dr. does a fusion, he moves around the nerves and irritates them a bunch. The thing is is that after the doc is finished with the surgery they irrigate the area with steroids and an analgesic to numb the nerve. This medicine is only temporary

    This is why most of us feel a little better just after surgery for a few days or weeks and then the medicine wears off and then we feel an increase in pain for a while.

    For me it took a little while for the increased pain to subside. But it did become less, just a lot slower than I would have hoped.

    Although I did have a conversation with my surgeon's office about the increase in pain, He wanted to schedule x-rays and CT myleogram just to see if everything is honkey dorey in there with my hardware, because it can also mean other things too. But for me the increased and new pain due to the wash wearing off.

    Good luck with your recovery ace. Hang in there.
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