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L4/L5 fusion - post op HOW & WHEN did you get your strength back?



  • You and I are about the same time line post op(I'm 13 weeks). We are also about the same age. I'm certainly still not back to normal. I have a lot of leg pain and butt pain. At times more than pre surgery. At about 4 weeks or so I got a lot of my energy back. I wasn't taking any pain meds. My surgeon cleared me for physio at 7 weeks. I was doing simple core and stretching exercises and still am at home on my own. And I was walking a lot!! But I feel like I have gone backwards since about 4 weeks. I am taking gabapentin for the nerve pain which makes one tired. I also feel that being down about the progress contributes to the overall fatigue. But all the posts above say that we are very early in the recovery. Maybe we really are expecting too much of ourselves. All I was told by my surgeon was that I should be ok by 6 months instead of 12 months like with the full open surgery. There are so many variations in recovery posted on this site. I found it hard not comparing myself to others. Gee why am I not walking 20 miles a week at 4 weeks? I better get moving. We all want so badly to get better after years of pain. Have you been to see your surgeon post op? If so what did he say? He is your best guide as to exercises, physio etc. Keep your chin up, I know it's hard at times. We'll get there!!
  • I am sooo glad to see this post. I am 14 weeks post op l5s1 plif fusion and feel the same! I have good days, even a good week or so, then I do too much and suffer awfully for a week or two! At work it seems that I am supposed to be back to normal and people look at me funny when I say I am tired or in pain!
    Most of my pain is muscle pain but I have noticed nerve pain in my feet/buttocks when I am really tired.
    The worst bit is getting comfortable in bed. I am not really comfortable in any position so wake up and move a lot which hurts! So I am not really resting. I take the codeine at night but not in the day.
    I find that going from lying down to sitting up is really hard with the last move from 45 degrees to upright the worst. This gives me horrid pain around my lower back that feels like someone poking at a hole in my tooth. The doc says its nothing to do with the fusion but I am not so sure!
    I am banking on being better at 6 months as we are going on a walking holiday then!
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  • Just a suggestion, but make sure you log roll out of bed. I still do that a year later. Be easy on yourself. I am 49 and still have pain from mine in Dec 08. It takes a long time to recover, and it sounds like you are doing well. Just try not to bend life and twist as it can still bother me.
    Good Luck, and keep your chin up. It will get better. Love, Robin
  • Thanks Robin. I am log rolling! If I don't it actually hurts less but is more difficult. It seems that pushing myself up to fully vertical is the hard bit. Last night I actually shrieked with the pain as I rolled onto my bum! If I go from lying flat and push myself up using my elbows that doesn't hurt but I find it hard to sit up like that with my legs out in front. It must be the sideways movement I think?
    I am only 33 and I suppose I thought I would get better faster. My surgeon says it is going well so I suppose it must be! I am trying to keep positve.
  • I think you are doing really well. You are back at work already. I know that you don't feel great at times but that is a huge accomplishment. Do you have a very strenuous job? I'm thinking you should be near ready for your vacation. If not quite you'll have to take it a little easier.

    Saltzworks I've read your various posts mentioning your dad. He sounds like quite the guy. 3 fusions! Wow! It's wonderful that you have him to give you encouragement. How are you doing?
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  • I am definitely going to be ready for my holiday. No two ways about it! Last year's was ruined as it was the week after my disc prolapsed so I was in full on agony! This year I am going to get up those hills- it is my goal! My job isn't that strenuous, I am a teacher, but I do spend quite a bit of time on my feet. I know, I know but that is the way I teach! It is really hard to manage a class doing an experiment without walking round!
    Today I managed to swim 20 lengths in the pool up from the 8 I started with about 7 weeks ago. Before all this I used to do 64-100 soo that is my other goal. I am feeling better today again!

  • It sounds like you are doing much better now.
    Mind you don't overdo it on those hills!

    Do you work full time?

    Glad that you are having a good day today, and hope that you have lots more.

    Take care.
  • Thankfully I only work part time - teaching is so full on I couldn't manage full time at the moment! I will be careful when it gets to the holiday and will listen to my body. But it does help to have a goal. Today I also walked up a mini, gentle hill and feel quite proud of myself!
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