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2 Month Check-up For L4-5 TLIF

dapopo315ddapopo315 Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello to all my fellow Spineys. Hope that so far your holiday was good. On Dec 23 I had my 2 month follow up from my open TLIF procedure. The doctor is still happy with everything he is seeing. He even said he saw what seems to be the beginning of some fusion starting. YAY ME!!

I continue to have lower back pain, sudden jolts or catching pain, numbness and tingling in my toes (just on my left foot) and muscle spasms. I know our bones cry out for being drilled into...& bone pain is deep, indeed. Waaaay inside, in places never meant to have been touched, let alone assaulted by surgery I just had. There is a lot of poping & grinding that's going on in my lower back. When this happens it doesn't feel good at all. Wouldn't call it a severe pain but it IS uncomfortable.

I know that recovery takes time, and most of all patience. I know you will feel all sorts of weird sensations, and most are just part of the normal healing process. But I've been having a burning sensation in my left butt cheek. There has also been pain on the outside of my left knee along with a sharp pain behind my knee on the back of my leg.

My doctor doesn't seem to be too concerned but am I wrong in thinking this type of pain should be gone or at least easing up by now?

He has taken me off the Percocet & now has me taking the following:
Vicodin 5MG/500MG - 1-2 every 6-8 hours
Ibuprofen 800MG - take 1 tablet 3x a day
Amitriptyline 25MG - 1 every nite at bedtime (to help w/sleeping)

I almost forgot . . . I've started back at the police department doing paperwork for lite duty. (not exactly loving this part of my job) I've been sent back for 4 hours a day, but by the time I'm off work & at home I'm drained. I have to lay down, take a couple pain pills, & rest. I'm nervous about my doc sending me back to lite duty for full shifts too soon. With my schedule I will work 12pm-12am, 4 days on then 4 days off. I go back to see the doc on Jan 19 & hopefully I'll have more energy by then.

Sorry for such a long winded post, hope all my Spiney Friends have a safe & Happy New Year!!!

It IS possible to get your life back IF you can just bear to allow yourself time to heal



  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I'm a little surprised he's recommending ibuprofen since many docs want to avoid NSAIDS (aspirin, advil/ibuprofin, naproxen/aleve) for quite a few months. Some feel NSAIDS impede fusion. But perhaps he's okay with using them at 2 months post op.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Wow, I am almost 2 months post op my L4/5 TLIF and I cannot imagine going back to work at any job right now. I'm generally okay if I take things easy but even doing light PT stretches winds me, and leaves me in a lot of pain.

    Congrats on the fusion! I am jealous. That's so awesome. Make sure to be vocal with your doctor. If you are in pain from just 4 hours, tell him. Maybe it it too soon even for light duty.
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  • I didn't know that ibuprofen could make the fusion process slower until after my doc had me taking vicoprofen and I was taking 2 generic ibuprofen as well as 2 tylenol pm at bedtime.

    You may want to check with the doc regarding the ibuprofen.

    I hope you start feeling better shortly. You should give the surgeon a call and express your concersnt o him. That will help put yor mind at east.
  • Oh I meant to comment on the Ibuprofin as well... my surgeon won't let me take any NSAID for at least a year after surgery. He said it does inhibit the fusion process. I would be wary of taking that, even though you've already began to fuse.
  • Thanx for all the quick replies. I have so much going on in this head of mine I wasn't even thinking about the danger of taking Ibuprofin. You are all correct, with all the research I've done I should have remembered about the NSAIDS, & the fact that they impede fusion.

    When I told the doctor about the poping & grinding he once again said that all the hardware looks good. I even explained to him how it was uncomfortable when it happened. If it keeps up or gets more uncomfortable before my next appointment on Jan. 19th I'll let him know.

    The numbness in my left foot was one of the same problems I had before surgery. It was gone right after surgery, but has come back within the last month or so. In the last 3-4 weeks is when the pain in my butt, the outside of my left knee along with the back of my knee. (I'll call it my leg pit) When I told the doctor he said we'd just keep an eye on it.

    At all my post-op appointments the doctor has said how happy he was with my surgery. I even asked him if it warrented a celebration "Happy Dance" when he was thru. =)) After surgery I was in a lot of pain & he felt terrible for me feeling that bad.

    I'm not a whiner & I have a relatively high pain tolerance. (because, for the 3 months before surgery I was walking around with a broken bone in my back ) The fact that I'm still hurting as much as I am concerns me. I hate the fact that I'm still taking the pain pills. But when I don't I'm miserable & have problems functioning.

    Sorry to get off on another tangent!
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  • It's draining being in constant pain. That can account for some of your lack of energy. It's a big step going back to work. Especially at 2 months. Has the doctor suggested any type of nerve medication? Did he have any thoughts as to why the pain has come back? Did he do an x-ray or a ct scan?
    I'm having similar issues and have only had 1 level done. I call it different pains for different positions. Laying causes tingling and burning in both legs. Sitting can be the same but also a deep burning in right butt cheek. Walking can be ok for awhile and then burning, cramping etc can start. Does your pain change?
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