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Recent L5 S1 fusion

I am a 39 year old male recovering from a recent (Oct,2012) L5 S1 fusion surgery. It's 3 day's before the 1 month mark.I have been a lot more mobile this week but still need lots of rest breaks off my feet. Still feeling thatcore pain issue at times but am praying that it will go away. It is still early in the process so I'm optimistic that it wiil subside. My surgeon has me wearing a two piece hard brace to help the fusion to set up. Very limited physical activity for three months then build lifting and bending tolerances slowly. Was hoping I could hear from some people with their recovery process and maybe. Some advice. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks! Vange
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13

Comments

  • I didn't have a brace but had to take it easy too. At 3 months, still have to rest off my feet for periods during the day.
    There is a great recent thread on the surgery recovery topic, discussing not overdoing activity, you may wish to read. Lots of good recovery info in previous post and on web site you may wish to look at.
    It takes quite a while for the muscles at the surgical site to relax after the trauma of the op.
    Welcome to SH.
  • My surgeon is adamant about taking it real slow for the first three months. He has a great reputation and seems to be a very active individual himself so I know its not just a biased opinion. A couple sessions on the treadmill for a half hour each day is my program for now. Been fighting this for over a decade now so no rushing it for me!
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  • KevculesKKevcules Posts: 89
    edited 10/30/2012 - 12:40 PM
    I had the same surgery as you in July of this year. I still have a fair amount of nerve pain down to my foot. I'm still fairly stiff in the lower back but am mobile enough for anything.
    I keep hearing it takes months, even a year to fully heal. So far I still suffer but don't need narcotics anymore ,so it's not that bad.....I still use gabapentin and tylenol occasionally.
    I'm still amazed at the different directions given by each different surgeon. Your guy says do nothing for 3 months, mine said do nothing for 5 weeks then basically no restrictions...within reason. He wanted me to walk as much as my body would allow, as that's the best excercise for the back according to him. I have consistently walked about a mile ,on average 6 days a week since 2 weeks post surgery. When I walk, i have very little pain. It's when I sit or stand , my gluteus bothers me and the pain will radiate down my leg. (sciatic nerve pain)
    I went through physio at 6 weeks post surgery at a back institute which made the pain worse. Again, everyone says it will get worse before it gets better....They were right about the worse part but the better part I'm still waiting for ! :) Again , no hard drugs needed so I am better.... I'm going to swim in a pool doing laps this month then try to go back to work....Have to see what the surgeon says but I think he will want it too..... Good luck with your recovery and take it slow like your doctor says.... Take Care
    Kevin

    Different degrees of back pain since 1994
    Chiro-Physio-Ostheopath-Homeopathy-Acupunture
    Cortisone shots Jan/09
    Discectomy and lamenectomy April/09
    L5 - S1 spinal fusion July.13th/12
  • Vange, Dave Fusion, Kevcules,

    Great to hear your stories, I have an l5 s1 PLIF coming up on 9 November. My wife is due in March with our first bub, so really keen to be up and about by then to help her out. It looks like I'll be treading a fine line of helping vs jepodising recovery.

    Please keep posting comments, love to hear more on how it goes for you all.

    Because of all the horror stories I've heard, I've set up a blog to track the recovery, heaps of images from scan's going back to 2002

    l5-s1fusionrecovery.blogspot.com
    Fordy
    PLIF L5 S1
  • KevculesKKevcules Posts: 89
    edited 10/31/2012 - 1:29 PM
    Good luck Carlton with your surgery. You "should" be up and around fairly well when the new one comes into the world in March! That should increase your movement around the house which is good for the body.
    I'm 3.5 months post surgery and can do anything I want to but still suffer with some sciatic nerve pain and not back to work yet. . It's not that bad because I no longer need narcotic pain killers .
    Movement creates irritation but movement is necessary to heal. It takes from 4 months to a year to fully heal......... Take Care
    Kevin

    Different degrees of back pain since 1994
    Chiro-Physio-Ostheopath-Homeopathy-Acupunture
    Cortisone shots Jan/09
    Discectomy and lamenectomy April/09
    L5 - S1 spinal fusion July.13th/12
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  • Hi, I had a decompression L5-S1 fusion with interbody ( thats what was on the consent form) on Aug 6, so I am shy of three months post op. I was one of the lucky ones, in the sense that I noticed a problem and went to the my spine doctor in April, had two spinal injections for the stenosis of the L5 nerve, then met with the surgeon in the end of June and scheduled the surgery. But in that short time I went from walking up three flights of stairs for my weekly college class to using a cane and dragging my left leg. I had a rating of 7 on the pain scale but for mobility and stability it was very bad. Even though the slippage had progressed to a just grade 2, I had spinal instibility and movement pretty much every time I walked. That, more than anything, prompted the surgery. I have started therapy now, and am getting off the hydrocodone very soon (get my mind back!!!) My doctor has added Lyrica and it's been wonderful not having so much nerve issues: I am on two types of muscle meds to relax the muscles but was still very stiff and rigid. I didn't get a brace. I think that if I had, I won't be in trouble for doing to much to soon! (my husband swears he's going to get a spy cam to watch me during the day)
    I was told that it could take anywhere from 12months to 18months for the fusion to be complete. I was also told to not take ANY anti-imflammatory medicine as it would inhibit bone growth. It is ironic if you think about it, we have a lot of inflammation due to the surgery, but we can't take anything for it! Does anyone find it hard to not do the items on the doctor's don't do list? I am a stay at home mom with two girls and it is hard to stare at the kitchen sink with dirty dishes in it for 8 to 10 hours before someone comes home to do it! I am not allowed to bend down to the dishwasher and not to do more that 20 min of dish washing before walking away (Dr's words) How do you walk away from half-washed dishes? And the Laundry!! Any advice on how to coordinate things better so that I don't keep ending up in charge of the housework? My husband works all day, I have a 10 year old and a 5 year old, both full time in school. Thanks!
    NewLeaseOnLife

    Decompression with L5-S1 fusion and interbody 8/6/2012
    spondylolisthesis grade2
    vertebra instability
    L5 nerve compression
    congenital defect of pars interarticularis

  • i just had my ALIF/PLIF on 10/29/12. I have a brace that I wear except in bed and in the shower. I have to remind myself everyday that I just had a major surgery and that I can't just pick up and go. I'm pretty stiff and still have some not fun spasms but the leg and hip pain I had before the surgery is gone. If I sit too long my hip still hurts really bad. I am progressing though somits just one day at a time.
    Jodi

    Single level L5/S1 360 fusion with 6 screws and a rod (10/29/12)
    Diagnosis: Grade 1-2 spondylolithesis, Pars Defect, L5/S1 disc tear anterior and posterior, DDD, spinal stenosis
  • JulieMacJJulieMac Posts: 5
    edited 11/04/2012 - 7:50 PM
    I am 5 weeks post Op, I had L5 - S1 PLIF both my leg nerves were compressed and I had Grade 2 Spondy. My surgery took 8 hrs and I was in hosp 12 days and in rehab for 1 week. I am still on a few med's Targin, Lyrica, Anti inflam Tablets and Oxy's that give immediate relief when needed ( which I have not taken in about 1 week ).The pain I endured pre surgery has gone which is great. I still have lower back pain when I sit , stand and lay in bed too long. I am not sleeping well at night, just cannot get comfortable. I am walking and doing hydro during the week. The pain now is tolerable but still annoying I do wonder what it would be like if I took NO medication. My neuro has told me that I need 3 months off work, so I am off until Jan 2013. I go back to see my neuro next week and have heaps of questions to ask him. I know I had no other option but to have this surgery, I did try ALL conservative treatment over a 2 year period to no avail. Surgery was my last option. It is still early days for me but do hope things can only improve from here. It's hard to know what to expect. My left leg is still numb since the surgery. It was not numb prior to surgery this came on at about 3 days after surgery. My Neuro is not that concerned about that but cannot indicate when or if the feeling will come back. :-(
  • We're you prescribed these by the surgeon? I thought they were a no no for post fusion patients as they interfere with the fusion bone growth? Hope I'm not putting foot in mouth here. :)

    Glad your your pain is reduced and nerves are decompressed now . Hopefully your numbness will go soon.
  • justduckyangiejjustduckyangie Posts: 4
    edited 11/10/2012 - 2:32 AM
    Vange you sound to be at about the same stage I am. (T1-L2 fusion 10/3) At my 4 week mark is when I started to feel alot better and was up and about alot more. BUT for me I need to watch it and make sure I take breaks which you just sometimes forget - having four kids doesn't help :-). (My husband has been a huge help) Wearing a TSLO brace gives me a reminder to not BLT, although I think I need it refitted. The only activity I'm suppose to be doing is walk, walk, walk. I won't start any type of PT until 3 months. Surgeon said we would talk about that at my 10 week appointment. I still have pain. Alot is muscle and everything being in a "new" place. I don't take alot of my pain meds anymore, if I over do it I'll take one in the afternoon. I sometimes take 1-2 muscle relaxers in a 24 hour period, sometimes not at all. It sounds like you are doing well.

    Healing thoughts to everyone!
    1989 T5-T11 Fusion with Harrington rods for Scheuermann's Kyphosis
    October 2012 T1-L2 Revision fusion for hardware dislodging, bone spurs and degenerative discs above and below
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