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Just had a L-4/5 and L-5/S1 fusion Surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Two level PLIF with 6 screws and 2 rods.

:''( ~X( I am sure that I am not the only one on here with this type of post-op pain. OMG!!! my pain level is 10 times as bad now that I have had the surgery. After sitting for 15mins or so my Rt leg starts to hurt like heck, and then my foot goes numb. It's been 9 days now, how much longer do I have to go before this goes away? Should I realy do NOTHING like the Doc told me to do for 4 weeks?

Thanks for any and all comments!



  • Were you told to walk or literally, to do nothing? I've never known anyone who was told to do nothing. Many patients are told to avoid any activity that involves bending, twisting or lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk for the first three months. I would also add, no reaching overhead or sideways, pushing or pulling. But walking is the very most important activity you can do as it stretches out the spinal nerves which helps to prevent the formation of scar tissue around the nerves, and it gets freshly oxygenated blood to the surgical site.

    Usually sitting time is limited to no more than 15 minutes at a time at the beginning. You are much better off lying down when you are not on your feet walking. Sitting puts 30% more force on the spine that standing...and obviously from the pain you are feeling, your spine is not strong enough to handle it.

    Healing time varies greatly. I was on pain meds for the first eight weeks and didn't feel like leaving the house. By twelve weeks, I was starting to feel better...but I did not start PT until around 15 weeks. (Again, that is the surgeon's individual preference -- some start much sooner.)

    Some people feel better sooner.

    Fusion is a very difficult surgery and takes a long time to recover from. Some surgeons are not as up-front about this as they should be.

    Good luck to you. Try to be patient. There is little you can do to rush the process. Try to learn to listen to your body and remember that total healing is a slow process.

    xx Gwennie
  • You are very early in your recovery. As Gwennie said, my Dr told me no sitting unless going to the potty or eating. No longer than 15 mins. But to walk around the house, up and down driveway etc. Just take it slow. No BLT as Gwennie said. Log roll getting in and out of bed. I was on pain meds for a long time afterwards. I had my hardware out,in Sept and hoping that it helps. You will have good days and bad days, and you will slowly feel better. It takes about 3 months before you start to feel half way normal. Hang in there, and keep your chin up. It will get better. Love,Robin
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  • My dear, you have a long way to go and are going to have to adjust accordingly!!! I am 9 wks out of my fusion surgery and still do not sit unless I have to, to drive etc. I am either standing, walking or laying. Still no blt, and sitting is a major sorce of stress and pain for your back right now. I feel your pain and am thinking of you. Just hang in there, treat yourself kindly, talk alot either to us or friends, and walk around the house or outside frequently. Keep in touch and let us know if you need a smile or hug!!!
  • I was told no sitting also! You should be up walking around and going out for short walks as tolerated (unless you have to go out in snow and ice) to help get your movement back. Otherwise you should be resting, preferably in a spine-neutral position with your knees up. I am almost one whole year out from surgery and YES - I AM STILL RECOVERING! I had one more level than you did, but still -- you need to realize you had major, MAJOR (yes, I'm yelling) surgery, and you need to take it easy. Until your spine begins to fuse, you run the risk of really hurting yourself. Relax, take your drugs, move forward in baby steps. You'll get there.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Well I didn't really mean "do nothing" Gwennie. Just it's nothing to me, I was a VERY active person until now. Now I Feel like I am just in the way here at home. Anyhoo the Doc did tell me to walk as much as the pain will alow me to. Now I have a new problem I was walking around yesterday and my cut started leaking "something" not bleeding just leaking a clearish fluid with some blood in it type stuff after my walk. Is drainage normal?

    You are right on Isteller I had NO idead what the post-op Pain and Limitations were going to be like. My Doc was very up front about the surgery. I just thought it was going to be like the Mico-D I had back in 2002. Didn't have a clue the recrovery was going to be this long
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  • i had L3,4,5 laminectomies with spinal fusion at those levels.i am6 weeks post op. i have lower leg and feet numbness. it is difficult for me to walk.i was not prepared for this at all. my surgeon did not say much about post op possibilities.i am finding out that my symptoms are about normal. normal is diffent for everyone.i have had 4 prior surgeries for ruptured discs atL4,5.that could be a factor in this recovery.anywaay thanks for the info.it is helpful.i am sitting too much. i walk but need more.stay positive. keep walking. thanks mike
  • Sitting and recovering is almost as bad as the whole procedure, boredom is so hard to fight, the endless days on the couch "resting". When this is all over I am going to burn my couch!!!
    Anyway, hang in there, it's a long haul!!! (Today feel's long for me, I really need to get out and take a walk!)
    Take care,
  • Mr Man...I just read the post and hope that by now you have contacted you surgeon about any kind of drainage at this point. Dont ever be afraid to call them with questions. Better off knowing what to do than wishing you had called. Dont try to do marathon walks. Just frequent ones and increase distance slowly..Like do the dame thing for 4-5 days and then increase a little and 3 or 4 days, increase a little. Just dont have a great day and double it or something. It will set you back like you wont believe. Baby steps in everything you do...And it will get better, trust me, been there done that...

    Mike, Try getting a roller walker, if you dont have one. When I have had bad days or weeks, they help cause you can stop and rest or it is just helpful to have the walker for stability. I was scared of falling for so long. It helps. Keep your chin up guy, I know everyone tells you that, but time does change alot of things for us. Hope you have a good weekend..Love, Robin
  • I keep fretting about the pain I have. It is truly terrible. I'm 10 days post op from 2 discs being fused. Had all the other issues too. I don't remember ever having seen where I should not sit up. I sit all the time crocheting, watching tv etc. Is this harmful in some way? I can walk a few steps at a time, but mostly with my rolling walker. I'm currently on Percocet, Dilaudid and Neurontin. I barely make it to the 4 hour mark for taking more meds. I feel worse than before! I can't tell if there has been any improvement yet. I do acknowledge that I am way early in the recovery and try not to expect too much.

    Unfortunately my surgeon isn't really proactive. Rather standoffish I would say. Everything is cut and dried by the book for him. His out of work note simply states I can return to work in 3 months with no limitations. Is this even possible? Well I guess it is just different for everyone.

    Oh one more thing have any of you experienced strange sort of spasms in your body? I am getting these like 'jerks' and it happens anywhere. Leg, foot, arm, hand, and sometimes my entire torso which causes a great deal of pain.

    Thank you all for being here this site is the best thing that happened to me since all of this started.

  • It is very normal to hurt, it is a very major surgery. As for sitting, it will definently harm your fusion. You are only to sit to go to the bathroom or eat. You can recline, walk, stand. But sitting puts 30% more stress on your fusion. Definite NO NO. Also when you get out of bed, make sure you do the log roll. Walking, takes time. You are doing ok. Just do it several times a day, and try to increase it gradually. Like a few steps this week. Next week to the kitchen and back. Next after that, down the driveway. 10 days is very early. Keep up with your pain meds, so pain doesnt get ahead of you. I took mine every 4 hours also. The spasms are normal. If they get bad, you might need a muscle relaxer to keep them calmed down. I will be more than happy to help you in any way. Just PM me. Remember no sitting, recline or lay down or stand. No driving, no riding in car, only local and to dr. Keep your chin up, better days ahead, I Promise..Love, Robin
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