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10 Weeks Post TLIF L5-S1

Losing faith.
I am 10 weeks post Op L5/S1 TLIF with screws and rods.

Started PT 2 weeks ago. Doc told me to do what I could tolerate and set my own restrictions. At this point I can walk the treadmill upto 3 miles a day. Any uneven or outdoor, mall walking results in less distance and back pain. I still can not sit up for longer than 30minutes and somethimes only for 5 minutes. There still are many meals that I can not make it through without having to stand at the table with my family. If I attempt any activities that might be considered normal, i run out of steam quickly and once the back pain and sciatica starts, all my energy is zapped and I can do nothing but go rest in bed.

Friday after some pretty aggressive PT and a little too much activity, the leg and foot pain (burning and tingling) were worse than prior to surgery.

I am seriously starting to consider that I may never be able to return to work at all if I can not sit!

Where do I go from here??


  • I am also about 10 weeks post TLIF L4-L5. I cannot stand for any more than 30 minutes, nor can I sit for more than 15-20 minutes. If I go any longer my back is in spasams and sciatica down my right leg is almost unbearable. I am still on pain medicatioin (vicodin). I hope things progress or I will feel this was all for nothing. I try to walk daily. Hope that you will be improving with time. Hang in there.
  • Thanks for the thougths Dianne. I'm sure you join me in thinking that I would be feeling so much better by now and taking the world by storm again. The recovery steps for the first few weeks were so dramatic that these past weeks have felt like no progress at all. I am wondering if anyone else out there has been down the same 10 week plateu that we are at and can offer some insight. Everyone keeps saying that it is still very early but I dont know how long my employer will be so patient and when do things get "as good as its gona get". Will we be recovering fora year,2 years, or forever?
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  • Just a note to exclaim to anyone who might be looking into recovery times by reading this. IT IS A LONG RECOVERY! A series of trial and result. Taking a day to see what you can get away with and judging later that day and the next day how your body reacts to it. In a few weeks, I will try a plane trip to visit my parents before returning to work part time. If I can sit for the plane trip, I should be able to return to work for a few hours.........
  • Already walking 3 miles on a tread mill? Sounds like you are moving in the right direction. It is major surgery and will just take time. I returned 7 week after surgery to a desk job. I took a heating pad, an ice pack, and one of those blow up exercise balls and rotated throughout the day. I also tried to stand and move around every 15 minutes or so. From that I was able to progress back to teaching. Sounds like you might need to make an (additional) appointment with your surgeon in the next few days. Discuss your pain/standing/sitting issues to be sure he feels like you are progressing (and not seeing any structural problems, etc.) Everyone is different, every surgery is different, every recovery is different. Sounds like you have the motivation... but sometimes patience is actually harder. (now someone save this posting and read it back to me in a few months.....lol).
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Well the airplane trip did not go so well. Two days in I had to take Lyrica for the first time since surgery. The trip back was worse. I have not been able to string any days together to say I could return to work or normal activity. I will not go back to work and be in pain. If i can not concentrate fjlly on work,i will be in danger of making mistakes or in a postion ghat would be unsafe.
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  • Now i am feeling muscle and joint pain when i relax...the moment i lie down and relax.
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