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Upper Lumbar to Mid-Back Pain after L5/S1 Fusion

On 5/1/13 I underwent an L5/S1 MIS TLIF procedure due to numerous issues including a pars defect, large paracentral herniation, spinal stenosis and DDD. The first 2 months out of surgery were great- no pain down my legs and the only pain I had was from surgery recovery. I am almost 3 months out and just saw my surgeon to ask about the pain traveling down my left leg again. He looked at my x-rays and we determined that the nerve must be irritated due to physical therapy- I explained that the one day they used the resistance bands I couldn't move after the stem treatment! He wants to see me back in 6 weeks with me following the no bending, lifting, twisting restrictions and more x-rays.

On another note, for the past few days I've been experiencing a tightness in my mid-back to upper lumbar spine (can't determine which level) - it is painful and when I move the wrong way it tends to get worse. I've pressed on it a little bit to try to massage it out, but it is sore to the touch. I've used heat (have that on now) and ice therapy as well as ibuprofen with no success.

Has anyone else experienced this? If so, was it related to there being more pressure on the levels above the fusion? I'm wondering if I could have injured that part of my back (although I don't recall doing anything that would injure it).
Olivia Douglass
MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13


  • Hi. I have a brand new TLIF done July 18th. I have uncontrolled pain since surgery. I watch everyday for symptoms, pains, new things. I am in the middle of trying to get assigned to pain management. I have suffered for to long and to many years.

    I hope to never have injections again. I hope they figure out what is wrong with you and how things go. You are one of the few people here I have read that had TLIF. I am on a brace for 3 months and I find it hurts and causes pressure because my fat tummy isn't used to restriction. Do you have a brace?

    Don't feel alone because your not.
    40 year old mom
    Tlif July 18
  • Hello!!

    I wore my brace for a total of 6 weeks, and then on and off when I needed it. I went to physical therapy after 6 weeks of recovery (for a total of 6 weeks, 2x a week). Overall the pain that I had before surgery was a lot worse than the random aches/pains that I have now during recovery. My TLIF was minimally invasive, not sure if yours was either... but perhaps that is the reason for your wearing the brace for 3 months?

    What kind of uncontrolled pain are you having? Is it new pain or the same symptoms you had before surgery just worse? I hope to never have injections again either, but maybe after surgery the injections will be more effective... not sure.
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
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