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New member intro + nerve pain post op due to screw injury



  • yikes! You've been through the wringer.  Glad to hear you're on the mend!  I think it takes a real special person to be able to put up with a spouse in pain all the time.  I often wonder how I would do if I was the healthy one...I hope you can be gracious to your partner and understand that they have moments when it's just too much, too.  I hope that your relationship is mending as well as your body is.  Earlier on, you mentioned being emotional, tearful.  That's to be expected, and I can guess that you've seen improvement on that scale as well.  I sometimes think I should be crying more, there is some health benefits to shedding tears - releasing endorphins, etc.  I pray your recover is just beginning and you have only more good reports ahead!

    Thank you, I hope this is the worst of it over too. I cried when my incision started draining again after the drains pulled, but it is drying out steadily. I was so scared that the problem was back and my incision would break down again. Almost nothing drained today, just a small spurt once when I rolled onto my back. My husband is wonderful. However, with few to vent to, I got the brunt of his frustrations and I could hardly handle it in my state. So there was a lot of tension and upset conversations. But as I improved and recovered, his and my moods improved immensely. We are back to joking around and laughing a lot more again. It is easy to sink into despair and fear with so many complications. I still don't know what might happen next. I'm hoping only good things...like a successful fusion and eventually my left L5 nerve heals completely from that screw injury!
  • No sign of fusion at 6 weeks on x-ray which makes me sad but I know it's still early and sometimes they can't see anything for months. Now that I am getting over the hump of my complications, my other fear is that I have a nonunion. The wait to know if it will happen is awful and the surgeon okay'd me to lift a lot of the bending and twisting restrictions, just no core exercises, repetitive bends/twists like vacuuming and the weight restriction stays in effect. I'm scared of moving too much, what if it affects my fusion? They said my hardware is fine for those movements, just scared. :(
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971
    edited 08/02/2016 - 6:17 AM


    Moving too much won't affect your fusion unless you somehow break the hardware holding your L5-S1 joint together... but to do that you would need a car wreck or worse.  Moving that is within the limits of restrictions your doctor has ordered is GOOD as it helps promote good blood flow and strengthening of your back muscles which are both important to your bone fusion process.  Other things you can do to help promote the bone fusion are using a bone growth stimulator if your doctor agrees to it... as well as taking a daily Vitamin D supplement also if your doctor agrees.  The fusion process is slower than snails... and at 6 weeks the snails are just leaving the starting line.  How about the daily walks outside... how are you doing?  

    Harry - 65 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
  • I'm walking and doing more activity in general, running a few light errands, more trips up the stairs to the second floor, pushing that bend or twist an extra inch or two here or there if it feels ok to do. They said I could bend and twist, just trying not to do this too fast. I understand staying rigid out of fear of hurting the fusion will decondition me badly, but I have to do this at my pace. It takes time to find the balance of trying not to do too little but not too much either.  I quickly saw an increase in back pains as soon as I had a day of doing more activity this Monday. I know pain is expected, but I'm trying to learn what's normal just "deal with it" type recovery pain that comes with moving more and what's "slow down you moved too much" pain. I'm guessing the Monday pain was "too much" type pain. Despite that, I went to work for a few planned hours today since I'm 6 weeks in and figured it's time to try. Just desk work and to show my face around. I was not in much pain actually, just felt uncomfortable/unwell in general and exhausted by lunch when I left.  I learned a new lesson today: choose doors carefully. One I pulled was definitely over my weight limit, but once I pulled obviously I was beyond the point of no return. Just yanked out of habit. It hurt for a moment and I panicked at what I had done. Will learn the handicap doors and stick to those as much as possible! It's interesting you mentioned Vitamin D, I've had a legit deficiency for years going on and off supplements but never really sticking to it enough and that's my fault. I was on my supplements a good 6 weeks straight before surgery, then fell out of habit the past month. Had to stop before the op and then again before the wound op 2 weeks ago. Just started them again yesterday. I am not on daily though, it's a super mega dose once a week prescribed by another dr. We've never discussed bone stimulators though, but if we don't see signs of something growing at my 12 week apptmt I'll be worrying and asking lots of questions about that sort of thing.
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510

    Sounds like you are making great progress.

    I know that balance between doing too much and too little can sometimes be a fine line.  @Kimmy72 and I refer to mine as pushing the line, and I sometimes push a bit too hard.  When that happens, I just slow down for a day or two to let the line come back to me - or for the pain to subside and I return to normal.  I think of it as a moving line, as long as it is moving forward, and I can do more things, I am making progress.

    Doors - don't even get me started on doors.  They all got heavier during my surgery!  I have trained my family that when we approach a door, I stop and they open it for me.  I have moved that line and can open most doors, but if the door looks especially heavy, I just wait.


    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

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  • Thanks Bruce, I think there is a bit of a learning curve with the "line," but I'll get there. I need to learn to read the pain and know which to work through and which means STOP. But yes, those doors. It's only taken one to learn not to do it again. But doors were something I definitely didn't expect as something to challenge my restrictions. Today was my first day without my husband escorting me everywhere. Checked out your story, man oh man you have had a merry-go-round...mine only just started surgery-wise. 3 operations in a  month, that was my start, ugh. I'm hoping for some smooth times ahead, but I cannot relax until I know I am fusing. Good to know there are things like stimulators out there to help if there's troubles later.  I was very stubborn too in the beginning, hid my pain for years, even from my husband. 
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