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4 week post op ALIF/PLIF

MLT01MMLT01 Posts: 171
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:35 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

Hi everyone I started week 4..I was wondering if anyone else suffered from fatigue..I can't believe how tired I get. and also I had a question about walking? I know walking is a big part of healing.


AlIF/PLIF August 5, 2009 L4-L5


  • and you have went through a very major surgery. It takes alot out of your system and right now your body is healing alot and you will feel fatigued for awhile. It is normal. You do need to walk. But focus on walking three or four times a day and not as much with distance as just moving to get the blood flowing. Baby steps, just start out and listen to your body and try not to overdo. Start off with a few blocks and repeat that for a few days and then add a little more distance for a few days and repeat. But dont go ten blocks one day and suffer the next. Baby steps. Any questions, feel free to PM me.
  • I am having a 360 surgery on Oct.9, and am getting scared, any positive feedback out there, I could really use it right now. I am so tired of being in pain all the time, I am taking dillaudid every 6 hours and about to run out, the only bad thing to get it filled I have to travel about an hour to get a script for it. Does anyone know what type of meds will be on following surgery, or how long I will have to wait til I can ride in a car? Thanks, Id appreciate it.
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  • I had two level PLIF and was on the same meds coming home that I was on going in. During hospital they were bumped up, but went down coming home. Riding in a car is the one thing that probably hurts the most. Both healing and pain wise. I could go for short to the store and stuff within a couple weeks. Didnt feel like going anywhere. Wasnt really an issue for me. I think he said just local for the first month. And I didnt drive for 3 months. Hope this helps. Any other questions, please ask
  • MLT01- how was your pain in recovery? How long of a hospital stay and what is your pain relief like if any? I wish you a speedy recovery one baby step at a time!!~

  • It is very common to feel fatigue for quite awhile after fusion. It is a BIG surgery, and it takes a lot out of you. I think it was around three months before I started to feel like I was regaining my strength...and even then I could only do one activity a day. If it was a PT day, I was pretty well shot for the rest of the day.

    But a lot depends on your conditioning. I had pretty much been a couch potato for three years prior to my fusion. I imagine if one is laid up briefly, and then has surgery, the recovery is easier.

    a couple answers to others' questions:

    Pain meds will depend on your individual surgeon. In both my surgeries I was kept comfortable in hospital, and was sent home with plenty of meds. Some surgeons are better about this than others. Some won't handle this issue after the 3 or 6 month check-up. Mine still asks me every time I see him if I need anything -- and I am 21 months out of my fusion surgery.

    Some surgeons want you off all pain meds for a couple weeks before surgery, so that the meds will work again after surgery, when you really need them. You might want to ask about that, if it hasn't been mentioned. My surgeon didn't do this...but then, I wasn't on much anyway.

    Most people are in the hospital three days or longer for an open surgery. With the 360, it can be longer.

    Robin is right on about the walking. You should be walking several times each day. It is the only thing that gets the freshly oxygenated blood to the surgical site as there aren't many blood vessels in the spine. It is the best exercise for stretching out the spinal nerves and it helps to prevent scar tissue from attaching to the nerve or another unwanted location.

    My advice is always, walk and rest, walk and rest. Right after you get home, plan your day around trips to the bathroom. Rest until you need to make a trip, then take your walk. At first I could only go the length of my house, inside, with my walker. The first day, I had to sit at the end of one-way before I could make it back to my bed. But, by the end of the week, I didn't need the walker. I couldn't go outside because there was snow and ice everywhere so I would just walk back and forth in the house.

    Speed and distance are not important. If you get sore walking, make your stride shorter and see if it helps. Walk several times rather than one long walk. Limit the amount of time you spend sitting, and be sure to use good body mechanics and posture. Do not cross your legs. Always keep the weight evenly distributed between your feet, and keep toes pointing forward.

    You may find that you have been overcompensating while in pain, and will have tight muscles on one side of the body, or spine. Soft tissue will have to relearn new patterns to hold you up evenly, aligned and straight.

    Recovery will probably take longer than the doctor tells you it will, and longer than you think it should. You will need to develop patience and look at progress in terms of weeks rather than days, or you will be disappointed, or assume something is wrong. A positive attitude is a very important part of your healing and recovery.

    I wish you all well. Know you can always come here for answers and suggestions.

    xx Gwennie
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  • Thank you for your reply, it helps to know that there are people out there who knows what you are going through! I did try to walk yesterday..:0) It made me feel good mentally but physically felt extremely whipped felt like 90 rather than 34.

    I hope you are doing well! I noticed you just had your hardware removed...make sure you rest and thank you again for your advice


    spondylolisthesis at L4-5; stenosis
    Lumbar staph infection in 1999
    Meningitis x 5 from back surgery complications
    Brain shunt 2000
    Brain shunt removed 20001
  • Wildcat78

    Sorry to hear that you are in so much pain. I hope and pray that the surgery will help you! I am just starting my fifth week. I will tell you I do see improvement. I was never able to sit in one spot longer than 5 minutes without my legs going numb and always pins and needles. After I sat then stood It would feel like I had no legs and or no toes.

    I always had pain in my back couldn't sit long, stand long, sleeping was awful ect. My back would slip constantly just by doing everyday task. I see little improvement when it comes to the back but with my legs I see allot !!! I was encourage when I saw my X ray at the Dr's office. The spine is so straight it almost brought tears to my eyes. Now it's just waiting and being patient.

    I had many surgeries. I will tell this surgery is very slow and painful when it comes to recovery but, if you think about it's for a short time considering this surgery can change our lives for our future!!! I to have to remind myself of that. I have two young children their ages are 6 and 4. I'm praying that this will be a beginning of being able to do more things with them.

    I'm still not driving and I still need to take my meds every four hours. I just started to try walking up and down my street. Make sure you have help at home, be patient, take your meds on time to prevent the pain getting out of control and you will do great!!!

    Maria :0)

    spondylolisthesis at L4-5; stenosis,
    Lumbar surgeries 1999 L4-L5
    Lumbar staph infection 1999-2000"
    Menigiats x5 in 1999-2001
    Brain shunt 2000"
    Brain shunt removed 20001"
    ALIF/PLIF fusion 8/5/09
  • Hi Shannon,

    Sorry to hear that you have to have surgery! I was in the hospital for 5 days. I will say that the recovery for this operation is very slow and painful. If you keep on your pain meds you will do find..

    I do see much improvement when it comes to my legs the back not yet but, still recovering from the surgery. I have faith that I will see improvement!!


    spondylolisthesis at L4-5; stenosis,
    Lumbar surgeries 1999 L4-L5
    Lumbar staph infection 1999-2000"
    Meningitis x5 in 1999-2001
    Brain shunt 2000"
    Brain shunt removed 20001"
    ALIF/PLIF fusion 8/5/09
  • IMO - just the right amount of information and guidance. You nailed it.
  • It was months - at least 3 - before I started to get past the totally wiped out fatigue. Even then, like Gwennie, 1 hour of PT wiped me out for the rest of the day. On non-PT days I could plan 1 or 2 activities outside the house - maybe lunch out and a trip to the grocery store. At about the 5 month point I began to be able to do more. The fatigue slowly got better over time. (I had been so sedentary for so many months prior to surgery that it took awhile to begin to get strength back.)

    You are so early in the recovery process - try to have patience (easy to say - so hard to do)!
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