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I'm Scared I Ruined my Fusion

Liz49LLiz49 Posts: 39
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had L4/5 fusion 9/29, TLIF method. My nerve pain was gone until I overdid, including getting up from kneeling without leaning on anything. What a fool I was! And I was also walking too much, I think. So my nerve leg pain is back.

I asked my nurse and she said this is a waiting game and it's still too early to tell if the surgery was not a success. I'm nearly 5 weeks out and the nerve pain came back at 3 -4 weeks. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I'm so very scared!!!

Thank you so much for any comments,
Liz49
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1

Comments

  • I think its to soon to tell anything. As you heal, its natural to be more active which in turn is going to make you take some steps backwards. Try not to worry about it. Dial it back a little and see how that goes.

    Dave
  • Hi Liz, I agree with Dave. I had a PLIF & 2 discs removed,L4&L5, rods,6 pedicle screws on August 25th 2010.So I am at 9 weeks post-op and I too was feeling better in terms of my sciatica nerve pain 99% gone.Pre-op, that pain was unimaginable.As I am doing more, I worried about why I felt some of the original pain and new areas as well.My surgeon assured me that this is a long recovery, and I am still in the early stage and with nerves re-firing that I would have some good days and some not so good.He also told me what Dave said- which is to not walk and go up & down stairs as much as I was,to tone it down. Wishing you a successful fusion,try not to feel scared! When is your next appt., and will you be getting an x-ray at that appt.? Are you wearing your back brace when walking,kneeling,etc.? Hope this helps,let me know
    Julie D.
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  • The doctor didn't want me to wear a back brace, he doesn't believe in them in 90% of his cases. So I have no physical reminder or support to take it easy. I wish I did have a brace. I suppose I could wear the one I got at the drugstore myself years ago.

    Yes, I'm doing much less today and yesterday. But that pain was 100% gone and is now back, sometimes lightly and sometimes very heavily. I'll try not to be scared but it's hard, knowing how good I felt initially after the surgery.

    But thanks for the support --- I need it!

    Liz49
  • I only wore a brace for a couple of weeks. Your body is gonna tell you when enough is enough. It's a learning process.

    Dave
  • your back is pretty resilient i would imagine with all sorts of protective mechanisms, even amidst all the mess. the day after i got out of the hospital i was sitting on my bed when the doorbell rang. i just got up really quickly, forgetting about the fusion and damned near passed out from the pain. so ... i did something even more dumb, i just let myself go to drop/plop down immediately onto the bed since it was right under me. well this time, i kinda "crunched" my spine and felt like someone had just taken an axe and chopped me off at the hips. i had more inflammation for a few days but did not harm anything. i hope things work out for you.
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  • Hopefully, I can help to reassure you along with the others.

    I also overdid it and caused a sudden increase of my pain in my right buttock and down my right leg.
    I was afraid that I had done something to harm my fusion.

    My physio told me that he believed that I had just flared up and inflamed a nerve and that I should ease right off and take it really easily. I did that, and after about a week or so, things really calmed down again.

    Try to learn from this. Most of us fusion patients have done the same thing at some point in our recovery.
    >:D<
  • So very sorry to hear of the new onset of pain, I know all to well the feelings you are experiencing. Of course you are scared, you just had a major surgery and you want the best outcome.

    Listen to your nurse and take some Liz days! CHILLAX, heat and ice can help. Prior to my surgery I lived on ice packs, even right after the surgery, now the heating pad has been helping the best.

    I did wear the brace, hard full back rigid type for 7 weeks, but I had an ALIF without ped screws or augmentation. So for me it was essential (even though I felt like a turtle! It was great to be rid if the shell back at week 7. NS did say at that point fixation, hardware & cage should be holding their own.

    Now I still where the smaller (break down) portion of the belt when I am up and about, it helps me in two ways, one it restricts "the overdo" motion and two sometimes I just need the support, I am still very weak. This is all per doc's recommendation. My brace is specially designed and was fitted to me specifically.

    Everyone heals differently and every doctor has his own methodology of post op care, so before you breakout that old brace, get a green light from your doctor or nurse. The OTC brace may hit the wrong spot and could do more harm then good.

    Julie D asked a very good question about Xrays, I'm sure you had one recently, right? Post op, I mean. I had mine at just about 4 weeks, maybe a few days earlier, and everything was where it should have been (whew!)

    Liz, what were you doing when this happened? I know you mentioned a lot of walking (from what I've heard, really good for fusion process, circulation). You also mentioned bending and standing un-assisted, please try to avoid those moves, please!

    Liz have you started p/t yet?

    As we begin to heal, we forget important little things, especially with the pain meds, perhaps you were feeling like wonder women, but can you imagine what hurt you would feel, if you weren't on any meds (scary, I thought wow with all these pills I am still rocking a solid 7 - on a good day!) Treat your body a little more like as if it was still in pain. Because it is! The pain meds are just masking some if it.

    You are a newborn spiney and you need to be very careful, kid gloves and baby steps. Keep in mind the rules of moderation.

    You only get one shot at this recovery, so take your sweet time Liz and FUSE BABY FUSE!

    Also, if surgeon was any good (which I'm sure he is) your hardware should be really secure at this stage.

    Feel better and take it very very easy! Don't forget to CHILLAX!

    Virginia
  • Hang in there Liz, you have gotten some very good advice. Often during surgery, the surgeon will put some mediciation on the nerves which helps with the pain.

    After a few weeks, the medication wears off and one feels more pain.

    We have all been thru so much, it is so hard to remain calm and not worry as new pain/symptoms arise...

    I kept a notebook of what I was feeling, where, rating on a scale of 1-10 and what helped or made it worse....this notebook was so helpful giving my PM and surgeon info they needed to help me....

    Wishing you the very best! Take care! :)
  • So very sorry to hear of the new onset of pain, I know all to well the feelings you are experiencing. Of course you are scared, you just had a major surgery and you want the best outcome.

    Listen to your nurse and take some Liz days! CHILLAX, heat and ice can help. Prior to my surgery I lived on ice packs, even right after the surgery, now the heating pad has been helping the best.

    I did wear the brace, hard full back rigid type for 7 weeks, but I had an ALIF without ped screws or augmentation. So for me it was essential (even though I felt like a turtle! It was great to be rid if the shell back at week 7. NS did say at that point fixation, hardware & cage should be holding their own.

    Now I still where the smaller (break down) portion of the belt when I am up and about, it helps me in two ways, one it restricts "the overdo" motion and two sometimes I just need the support, I am still very weak. This is all per doc's recommendation. My brace is specially designed and was fitted to me specifically.

    Everyone heals differently and every doctor has his own methodology of post op care, so before you breakout that old brace, get a green light from your doctor or nurse. The OTC brace may hit the wrong spot and could do more harm then good.

    Julie D asked a very good question about Xrays, I'm sure you had one recently, right? Post op, I mean. I had mine at just about 4 weeks, maybe a few days earlier, and everything was where it should have been (whew!)

    Liz, what were you doing when this happened? I know you mentioned a lot of walking (from what I've heard, really good for fusion process, circulation). You also mentioned bending and standing un-assisted, please try to avoid those moves, please!

    Liz have you started p/t yet?

    As we begin to heal, we forget important little things, especially with the pain meds, perhaps you were feeling like wonder women, but can you imagine what hurt you would feel, if you weren't on any meds (scary, I thought wow with all these pills I am still rocking a solid 7 - on a good day!) Treat your body a little more like as if it was still in pain. Because it is! The pain meds are just masking some if it.

    You are a newborn spiney and you need to be very careful, kid gloves and baby steps. Keep in mind the rules of moderation.

    You only get one shot at this recovery, so take your sweet time Liz and FUSE BABY FUSE!

    Also, if surgeon was any good (which I'm sure he is) your hardware should be really secure at this stage.

    Feel better and take it very very easy! Don't forget to CHILLAX!

    Virginia
  • I can definitely relate! I had revision surgery Oct. 18th. I feel like I came out of this surgery better than the original fusion surgery done 1 year ago. Then when I feel certain pains, I get scared that I did something wrong. After a day or 2 of rest, it seems to calm down and I just have to remind myself, I'm not superwoman and take it easy. Last night my left hip started to hurt and pain started to go down the outside of my leg and my leg felt swollen, but wasn't. These are similar to the symptoms I had before surgery. It did calm down after rest, but still hurts, so yes, it does worry me. It seems scarier the 2nd time around, because it didn't work the first time, so I have to be more careful the 2nd time so that it will hopefully fuse this time. So, do everything you can to relax and take it easy. You don't want it to be done a 2nd time!

    Tomorrow is my first follow-up appointment. I have a lot of inflammation next to my incision which I didn't have from the last surgery, but the surgeon said it's from him doing the bone graft. It hasn't gone down at all since it appeared last week, but I guess the surgeon isn't too worried about it when I called.

    Hope the pain gets better and take it easy!

    Val
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