I''m a 60 year old male that had initial diagnnosis of L4 L5 grade II anterior slip with moderate spinal canal stenosis and L5 S1 DDD. I did not respond positively to physical therapy so my doc and I decided a fusion of L4 L5 S1 via TLIF was the best way to go. I had the procedure 7 days ago and was discharged from the hospital one day after surgery.
I did have some pain from the surgical site, but that has largely disappeared. Since the surgery I have had excruitiating (spelling may not be right) pain in lower back that radiates down my right buttock and then down my leg. Laying down and getting back up brings tears to my eyes as the pain is awful. I'm on all kinds of pain meds, but they don't seem to relieve any of the pain I have while laying down or trying to get out of bed. Once up I do have pain in my right leg, but the more I walk the better it feels. Right now, as I type this, my pain level is around 1 on a scale of 1-10.
Walking is interesting. No problem with my left leg. My right leg is different. I really don't have pain it is more like using a muscle that hasn't been used in a long time - especially the calf muscle. I'm walking because my doc said that is the best thing to do. I do wear a brace and that does stablilizes the back and improve the comfort of walking.
Meds: I'm taking Motrin (already trying to wean myself off that), Percocet (at night), Neurotin (3x/day) and Valium (5mg at night). I have had to take twice the dosage of Percocet and Valium because of the pain at night getting in bed and the pain of getting out of bed. The down side of using pain meds is constipation so I'm on an extra high fiber diet which seems to be working now. In order to get myself going I did have to use mag citrate with very positive results.
Bed: I'm using an egg-shell foam matress and that has helped some, but not relieved the pain completely.
Use of Ice: Icing the back at night has helped some what, but it is difficult to place the ice where it would do the most good.
Comments: I've read a lot of horror stories and very few success stories on the different forums. I think many people have are now pain free and living a fairly normal life, but never followed up on the forum to let us know that. I know I have a long way to go and it won't always be easy, but my goal is to walk through parts of Patagonia the latter part of this year or early next year. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Until then be happy and well.