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shaunzldysshaunzldy Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi my name is Annette and I am new here and thought I would tell you a bit about my injury. I herniated L3-L4 back in 2005 as a result from a fall at work, since then I have had a discectomy and was fine for a few months then bcak to the same problem so I dealt with it until May of this year when my R leg started giving out and having tremors which forced me to leave my job. So I am waiting for insurance approval to have a spinal fusion done, can you tell me about your experience with this.
annette m ichenberg


  • Welcome to Spine Health. If you wander through the forums you will find a ton of personal experiences with lumbar fusions. There are also some great articles written by Spine Health contributing physicians that might explain things real well. There are also many videos and animated files that should allow you to gain a better perspective on spinal Fusion.

  • I have been looking around on here for a few days and I decided to join. I have watched the videos and have done quite a bit of research on the fusion. Thank you again for the welcome.
    annette m ichenberg
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  • I forgot to mention that with the new problems in May I also started having major pain while walking or standing. I usually can only walk or stand for about 10 minutes until the pain kicks in like someone has my leg in a vice or it decides it wants to have tremors and the only way to get relief is to get off it and elevate it for about a half hours which can be really hard to do while grocery shopping or anything else.
    annette m ichenberg
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. "C" was right on with the valuable information you can find here and I'm glad you've been doing your pre-op homework.

    I had a lumbar fusion, L4/5, in January and am improving all the time, with occasional setbacks due to overdoing things like we all do.

    My surgery lasted about 3.5-4 hours and I was in the hospital for only three days. My surgeon really wanted me to stay one more day, but my nurse conspired with me to get me home on Friday. Long story, but she was very wonderful in getting me home before the doc wanted me to.

    Lumbar surgery recovery can be pretty rough, but everyone is different in how well they fare and the timeframe that they feel better. I think I started feeling better at about three months, decent at six months and now, I'm pretty good. Because I also had standing and walking problems before surgery, I still have those issues, but where I couldn't stand for more than five minutes pre-op, I now can stand for a couple of hours before I need to sit down.

    The general saying is that you feel better at six months and back to normal at on year, but like I said, it's different for everyone. Walking post-op is very important, starting with baby steps like just to the bathroom and back and eventually working up to walking around the neighborhood or park. Walking is the best thing for us spineys to do to help our backs heal, but it's a slow process increasing the length of them.

    Take a look at the Post-op Must Haves in the Surgery section and have some (not all - it's a daunting list) ready for when you get home. The common consensus around here that are absolute must-haves after lumbar surgery: raised toilet seat, silk pajamas or sheets to help with log-rolling out of bed, pillows, pillows and more pillows, and having someone to help you at least for your first two weeks post-op. Some of us have also needed a walker in the first few weeks after surgery due to nerves getting ticked off after surgery. I didn't have one and started having those issues so my caregiver (MIL) had to scramble to get me one so I could be mobile.

    Most of us also have a "station" set up - for me it was my recliner with a rolling table next to it that held my laptop, drinks, kleenex, etc. Hopefully you'll have a caregiver the first couple of weeks to help you take your meds on time, as you'll need them to stay ahead of the pain.

    Also it's a good idea stock up on things to keep your mind busy as you heal - books (although difficult to concentrate sometimes with the meds), puzzles (electronic ones are good), movies, etc. Sometimes it gets to the point where you're feeling pretty good but still have to adhere to your restrictions, and that's when we tend to do more than we should and risk hurting the surgery results.

    So that's a glimpse of some things to expect. Let us know if you have more questions - we'll be here to support you along the way. Most of us have had at least one surgery and will be able to offer support and suggestions along your journey.

    Take care and feel free to PM me if you have questions or just want to talk.

  • Hello and Welcome.....Yes there are alot of great people on this site!!!

    I am very sorry that you are hurting so much!! What tests and treatments have you had?? Any PT or injections??

    Fusion surgery is a life changing event and please, please research it and think it through!! I am 2 and a half years out from my L4-S1 fusion and it is a very painful recovery ( this is my personal experience...NOT medical advice! )

    If you have any questions you can PM me any time!!!

    Again Welcome to the forum!!
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  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. you have gotten some good info already! be sure and have a good look around and make yourself at home. good luck to you and keep us informed! Jenny :)
  • Thank you all so much for your help and relaying your experience. I have went thru pt twice and have been going to the pain clinic since my surgery in 2008, injections every 6 weeks. i have consulted with my family doc about this surgery and I expect it will be a long painful road to recovery, after having the discectomy I was begging to be up and walk around along with telling them to remove the iv for pain meds (they make me sick). You all have been very helpful and im glad I found a site to visit that people have the same problems.
    annette m ichenberg
  • Hi. Sorry you are in so much pain. I know how much it stinks to be out completely. My last bad spell I couldn't walk at all without a cane.

    I just got a 2 level fusion L4/5 L5/S1 and at 20 days post op feeling pretty good. Can't do much yet, still on some meds but I get a feeling this is going to be worth it in the long term.

  • Angelanic I hope you get feeling better very soon, Hopefully your surgery will be a success and you will soon be pain free once again. Something we all dream of.
    annette m ichenberg
  • Welcome to the site. I hope you find the info you need, and the support that is necessary to get you thru all of this. Sometimes you just need a friend!!
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