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Really silly question about coughing....

So I had some sort of posterior fusion of L5/S1 on November 4 2015 (I know I sound like I don't know what surgery I had, but I kind of don't. We had intended an anterior approach, and on the day of surgery the surgeon said, oh no, we are doing it all posteriorly. I was too sick of the back problems to discuss it much). I figure he will explain it in follow up...

I do for the most part feel fairly good. I'm able to do everything I need to for myself now (with the grabber) except lift heavy stuff. All the doggie obedience school has really paid off big time as I can spend my walking time with my golden retriever which I think has been fun for him...he probably wants me off work having back surgery and walking him 6 times a day every year....

My back still feels really funny when I cough or sneeze. The sneezing I've sort of figured out, but I do wonder.... am I ever going to really be able to cough ever again? I have a lot of allergies/mild asthma, so I do tend to clear my airways by coughing a bit here and there, but wow.... every time I try alarm bells go off.

Minor complaint but I am wondering how long did it take others till a cough or a sneeze wasn't sort of an "event"!?

Otherwise, I really do feel 85% better than prior to the surgery, and feel that it was just short of a miracle.


  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 573
    That was only 11 days ago! Sounds like your doing great!

    I'm older for sure, but going on eight months post op from posterior L4-5 fusion, laminectomy, the coughing is still rough on me, unless I'm laying flat on my back. Sneezing used to be the same way, but my stomach muscles are finally participating once again, making the sneezing a breeze....unless I'm mid stream doing something and can't prepare myself fast enough.

    Be careful though....don't overdo, or push yourself too fast.

    Your recovery does sound miraculous, along with your being able to walk a dog; golden retrievers are furry angels though.
  • Hi there,

    I'm 6 months post-op from an L4-S1 fusion and sneezing still feels as if I'm being shot in the back…….but it's not as bad as it was 2 months ago.
    Micro Discectomy L5/S1 Feb 12
    Anterior Fusion L5/S1 June 12
    Posterior Fixation added to L5/S1 Nov 12
    Hardware removal Nov 13
    TLIF at L4/L5 May 15
    Posterior Fixation added again at L5/S1
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 901
    It's probably just a muscle thing that will go away as you recover... with all the "pushing aside" and "stretching" the surgeon did on your back muscles when he was inside doing his thing... it's not surprising that that your muscles can't get organized to sneeze or cough smoothly. Try hic-ups instead... LOL. You're only 10 days out... DON"T get carried away with the walking and other bits yet... the running can wait for now!!
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Everyone!
    I take singular when I'm running, but I guess I need to take it now so I don't get so cough-y.
    I REALLY am doing well, I think. I had put off the fusion for one year and by the time I got to the surgery, I had started to actually fall down some when walking. When I was allowed to get up and walk the day of surgery and I walked without a limp, I had to really work to not cry, and I honestly kind of believe my Surgeon was some kind of God sent miracle worker, but... considering it's only 10 days out, I'm trying to contain myself. To be honest, I have to admit though I'm not really your average active person. The entire year up to surgery I continued to train in open water ocean swimming (I just didn't do a whole lot of kicking) so I was in great shape before surgery. The second surgeon was kind of in shock when they came to check on my incision and my Doc said, just sit up so we can see it...and instead of rolling on my side, i just sat up. Ab muscles for us back people are really where it's at.

    You all have encouraged me so much!!! Though I admit, I want to make sure to avoid clods an flu like crazy now, if coughing and sneezing is going to be a continual issue. :(
  • RunnerHKTRRunnerHKT Posts: 230
    edited 11/16/2015 - 8:45 AM
    So today, after a brunch out, I learned that you can indeed not only cough sneeze with a fusion, but also vomit. Oh man, that was awful. Hopefully I'm over it but oh no one warned me about tummy bugs whilst recovering. Bleh!
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  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 573
    Yes, I got real sick in hospital day after fusion, but was lying down, no pain, other than feeling bad about making a mess for someone else.

    When I got sick a few times after being home from surgery, again I was lying in bed, but prepared with bucket. Even though being on side while vomiting, and making sure I had at least water in my system, the wrenching probably isn't as hard on you as would be standing....maybe not....don't want to test that theory to find out.

    Hope your up and around feeling better soon!
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