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4 weeks post L5S1 PLIF - anything we are missing?

Hello all,

Dad recently underwent a PLIF L5/S1 for a bulging/degenerated disc on that level. He is recovering well is now 4 weeks post op. Our post op xray/appointment is scheduled for the 6th week.

Currently, we are following the program set by our Dr including walking as much as possible per day. We are starting to wean/taper off pain medications. So far, we have reduced Lyrica to one dose of 75mg and getting towards 10 mg of Oxycontin twice per day. There were some withdrawal symptoms but nothing severe. Pain is pretty much not present.

Hopefully, after the post op appointment we will be told to do hydrotherapy and/or physio.

My question is this - is there anything you think we might be missing that we could do now or plan for later that might help his recovery and ultimately his rehab?

Things I had in mind are - exercises we can do now to regain some muscles safely, some psychological help, activities he can do at home etc to make him feel more helpful (rather than helpless), and any other tips that you feel might help.

Thanks all for the continued support. We are hoping things turn out well. The real test will come when we are able to see what type of pain is experienced when all pain meds are removed.
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Comments

  • As I have said before, do not have your father doing any rehab excercises until he sees the surgeon for his first follow up appointment. I know that you are trying to help your dad, but his recovery from the surgery is a process. Has he decided that he doesn't need to take as much medication or is that something that you decided that it was time for him to taper off it? Did his surgeon/doctor approve the reduction in his dosages?
    If you push him too hard, or try to get him rushed through this recovery period, you are risking his surgery outcome. Yes, he should be walking multiple times per day, and sitting is limited to 15 minutes for meals and for a break from resting, but his body has undergone a major surgery, and he is still recuperating.
    If he is feeling up to it, he can help prepare meals by sitting and doing some of the prep work if he feels up to it....but not lifting things, moving things, bending, lifting or twisting....he can watch tv or read a book or relax, but the rest of it needs to be left for his surgeon to clear him for.
    He only has two weeks left before he sees the surgeon, so let him recuperate at his pace, and then the surgeon will tell him what activities he can expand on , and when and if therapy is something he is ready to start.
  • I could not agree more with what you said. Even though I am still a bit new here, I have seen too many people trying to rush the recovery process. Whether it be the patient themselves, their spouses/partners or friends/family, it is ultimately all up to the surgeon/doctor. I have an upcoming 360 fusion surgery July 1st and everyone in my support system is well aware that this is a long long journey and simply not one to be rushed, whatsoever.

    Sydney, please please heed Sandi's advice. After reading ALOT of her posts/responses, she clearly knows what she's talking about.
    Grade 1 Anterolisthesis/Spondy L5/S1 with Modic changes and mild disc protrusion, DDD, Osteoarthritis L2/L3, Stenosis, Sciatica, Herniation L4/L5. Scheduled for 360 spinal fusion/decompression July 1, 2014.
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  • Sydney siderSSydney sider Posts: 25
    edited 06/23/2014 - 2:22 PM
    sandi said:
    As I have said before, do not have your father doing any rehab excercises until he sees the surgeon for his first follow up appointment. I know that you are trying to help your dad, but his recovery from the surgery is a process. Has he decided that he doesn't need to take as much medication or is that something that you decided that it was time for him to taper off it? Did his surgeon/doctor approve the reduction in his dosages?
    Sandi, thanks for your response as always. Sorry if I came across as trying to be too forward with Dad's recovery etc. He is taking it easy, rest assured. We haven't done anything unless being confirmed by our doctor, don't worry :-) Tapering is under instruction too.

    I think this was a reminder not to get too far ahead of oneself. He is just so much better comapred to pre op that it makes it feel like a miracle. However, as you said, the body has gone through a lot and it's sadly easy to forget that at times. I just want to see Dad back and confident and not feel like a burden as soon as possible. However, I understand that in reality it will take a year upwards to see that change. It's just that I read a few post surgery blogs and such and it seems they are doing so much to get ahead but everyone is different I suppose.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice. I am planning to start playing some card games with dad (for 15-20 mins of course) while he sits to get his mind working as well.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 06/23/2014 - 7:08 PM
    Some patients appear to do really well post op, in the immediate time frame, then they start pushing and doing things that they are not medically cleared to do, and wind up doing serious damage to the outcome of their surgeries. Spine surgery is not like any other surgery except maybe open heart surgery, and the recovery process is long, and needs to be in baby steps.
    It's a journey, not a destination......or more like a marathon and not a sprint. Pushing too early can ruin the fusion process or dislodge it.....or damage the hardware that is meant to secure his spine's stability while the fusion occurs. Rehabbing too soon or too aggressively can cause tears in the muscles and tissues that were sewn back together during his surgery.
    Everything needs to heal, and scar over, interior stitches need to dissolve and be reabsorbed, before he will be ready to start working a rehab program and even then , they will start him very slowly and increase it over time.
    That is why spine surgery recovery is such a long process......too much can go wrong if not done correctly and I know that we all would hate to see your dad have to go through this again.....once is more than enough for all of us.
    I say what I do on the forums because I see too many people come through here, after undergoing all of the months of testing, and treatments then have surgery, and because they feel better than they have in a long time, rush through the recovery or ignore the post op restrictions and think that it's okay.......then a few months or a year later, they are back because they are facing a revision of their previous surgery, or a bigger one because they pushed too hard, too soon.
    I don't want to see that happen....so if I am a bit firm in my replies to threads when I see that, it is because I care......and don't want to see what should be a success story become a failure.
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