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Recovery and life after lumbar spinal fusion??

AgainstAllOddsAAgainstAllOdds Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:57 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm 18. In Jan I was in a serious car accident and fractured my L1. They fused T11-L3. 2rods 8screws and a cross link. My hardware can never come out due to how unstable my back was. I am now 8mths post-op. I still have a lot of pain in my lower back. It's a heavy, cramping feeling. I also have a lot of nerve pain. I try to make the best of things but at this point the pain keeps me from the quality of life 'd like to have.

I'd like to hear about other people's recovery and the things they're able to do after surgery. My dream was to be a paramedic in the Army but now I can't enlist. But I'm wondering if my back can handle the duties of a medic now with fusion? I'm open to any and all advice on how to deal with the pain and recovery.


  • You are at a good age to have a significant amount of recovery from your horrendous accident, but with all the hardware in your back, I'm here to tell you that it won't be easy. I was 38 when I first injured my back, and 44 when I had my fusion of L4-L5-S1. I don't have any rods, but with keeping my weight down and taking pain medications and muscle relaxants, I was actually able to work until 3 years ago, when I was reinjured in an auto accident. The main thing for me was to listen to what the doctor and the therapists told me to do and what not to do. Especially when younger, we all think we're invincible, but you only have one back and it needs to be treated with respect. Good luck and God bless. Oh, and I was a nurse until after my second back surgery, but the pain in my legs made it impossible to spend 12 hour shifts on my feet, so I changed to a paralegal.
  • I wanted to go into nursing also, emt too. I got hurt lifting a resident when I was a CNA 5 years ago. I finally decided to go with the big surgery on wednesday. I have a feeling I won't regret it.

    Is there anything else that you would like to do that you wont have to lift?
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  • I haven't really thought about anything else. All 4years in highschool I took allied health science and JROTC to prepare for the army and being a medic. Majority of my family were either drs or nurses so its something I've always wanted to do. The accident just put a big dent in things and now makes me question if Ill even be able to do it. I know it'll take a lot of work. My drs say since I'm so young and healthy I'll recover faster and most likely be able to do it. As long as I keep my back strengthen and use proper body mechanics when lifting things. Before my accident I went to the gym 4xs a week so keeping in shape wont be too much of a problem. I just dont want to further damage my back and have more complications in the future.
  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,786
    and back problems permently sidelined me .... I trained physicians and nurses and staff on electronic medical records. H.I.T. (Healthcare Information Technology)is and will remain a growing area needing qualified implementation, project management, and software trainers.

    Just a thought ... kept me in crackers for 25+ years!


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    Post Edited by Authority Member Liz
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  • I'll pm you in a minute so check your inbox. Im a paramedic so have some insight.
  • Hi,

    I have had 3 fusions and am fused from L1-S1. I have always been active and had a very strong core before the surgeries. That really helped. Plus I continue with my core exercises.

    I am still active, swim with a masters group, but can no longer run. I still teach kids to ski, just have to be careful lifting them and my bending down has to be adapted a bit.

    The recovery is quite slow and sometimes frustrating. Just when you think the pain will never go away it does. You start out walking to the end of the driveway a few times a day and then its around the block and so on.

    Pay good attention to your surgeon's instructions about no lifting, bending, twisting. I had a safety installed in my tub/shower and used a plastic stool to sit on. I also had a long handled shoe horn and reacher. Make sure things you need on a daily basis are in places where you don't have to bend to get them.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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