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Recovery after PLIF

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:20 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Having just had a 2 level PLIF 6 weeks ago, I was just curious how long it took for everyone to really feel like they were normal again. My NS promised that I would be able to do everything I could prior to my MVA 5 years ago so I was just curious how soon people returned to their lives again. Anyone go running??? Can any women wear high heels again? I am under restriction to not lift anything over 5 lbs, bend or twist. How long did these restrictions last for everyone?

Also, I was not sent to physical therapy although it is my intention to request aquatic therapy at my next post op next week. Does anyone have any suggestions for activities that helped in your recovery?


  • Hi...everyone recovers at a different rate and each doctor requires different things. Some stuff is pretty standard, like no BLT. But others like when to drive, when to start PT and such vary greatly. Just check with your doc. I asked for some home stretches and such before he approved pt. It helped to do something productive for myself.

    Good luck!
  • Yes, I've seen a lot of differences in opinions - maybe 'cause we are all different people with different backs ;)

    Anyway, I just know that my NS is not allowing me to do anything but walk for the first 3 months. Then he will consider PT.

    No word yet on driving - I'm not feeling up to even thinking I can drive. I guess I'm stuck until my next apt. in 3 weeks before I can know more on that score. It kind of sucks as I live in the middle of nowhere - albeit one with a view, just the middle of nothingville. It could prove a tad boring for a bit! Thank heavens for INTERNET!
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  • My surgeon only allowed me to walk for the 1st 3months and then he allowed me to swim-freestyle only. I asked about PT and he said we would talk about at 6 mos. I'm at 5 months now and very eager to get back into the gym. So it appears it's just up to the physician and what his standard of practice is for the recovery phrase.
    It is difficult at times not to do more but I'm doing exactly what he allows me to do. I sure don't want to screw up at this point.....:)
  • Told me he usually starts PT at 3 months, all depends on how the person is coming along.

    Christina :)
  • My OS sent me Rehab where they started me on some minor exercises and walking for those 2 weeks. When I came home I had PT come there and we did some core exercises. Thought I would be able to go to the clinic, BUT came up with an additional problem - with my heart. Now I am down to only core exercises until cardio says different.
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  • I had a three level fusion 25 weeks ago. I was not allowed to start PT until I was 20 weeks post-op, until my Neurosurgeon saw fusion. (very frustrating, cause I was really wanting to do PT) But on the other hand, it's smart and conservative!! Didn't want those screws popping out!! :O

    I don't want to burst your recovery bubble, but my surgeon told me 6-8 weeks, I'd be feeling like a millon bucks!! NOT :& Shoot, at 6 weeks I was still using my walker, cane, potty riser, shower seat, alot of pain killers and tears...I had my hubby totally assisting me with showering, walking, waiting on me, cooking, cleaning, laundry for atleast 12 weeks solid!! He still does, bless his heart. But I'm slowly started to do more and more.

    The biggest thing I can tell you, is the fastest way to recovery is walk, walk, walk when you can and as often as you can. Walking promotes bone and tissue growth, and it's about the only thing you're going to be able to do. I was in the hospital for 5 days, then transfered via ambulance to a nursing home re-hab program for 7 days, just to learn how to walk and do stairs, JUST so I could come home!! @)

    Your surgery is all about patience, patience, patience, and slow, slow, slow... and do exactly what your surgeon tells you TO A "T"!!! Absolutely NO BLT's.

    Like I said, I am now on 25 weeks. I started PT 5 weeks ago, which includes just real simple core strengthening, walking, and just last week I started on my stationary bike. I'm now up to 5 miles on that, and I walk 1-1/2 miles per day EVERYDAY. I'm working on getting my legs strong again, well shoot, my whole body. I've gotten real weak laying around for almost 6 months. (6 months on the 8th of Aug).

    Walking comes real slow also. I started out just walking up and down my stairs on the inside of our home 3 times is all I could do dailey. Then I started walking down my stairs on our deck, with my walker, walking to the end of our driveway, and then back up the stairs and in the house, and that would kick my a##! :(

    I JUST shaved my legs for the first time by myself without crying my eyes out, and without my husband assistance 2 weeks ago. That one really HURTS!! I tried on the shower seat, I tried with a chair cushion down in the tub to sit on, OMG...with assistance from my hubby, crying my eyes out :''( bought some nair, but hubby couldn't scrape it off good enough. So ya, shaving is a complete pain in the a##.

    I recently started loading and unloading the dishwasher, still hurts bending. Turning behind me while driving still hurts. Twisting is out of the question, I can't dance, bummer, I really miss "bustin' a move" as my daughter would say.

    I take about 3 percocets a day still. I take 1 ambien, and 1/2 valium and pain pill just before bed, so to not wake up from pain when I turn over.

    But all in all, things are getting better. I didn't mean to sound so "doom-n-gloom". On a happier note, the original pain is gone that I had the surgery for, now it's just recovery pain. You just have to have a "come to Jesus" talk with yourself, and realize that your life as you knew it, will never be the same, just different, you just have to aclimate, and you will.....We're fortunate just to be walking.... good luck and take care.
  • here's me, pretty hu? :D image
  • Next week will be my 6 week mark for my L5S1 PLIF. I still have quite a bit of pain in the mornings and in late afternoon/evenings. I have found that the muscle relaxers make a huge difference, and even tho I try, I am still not able to go off the pain meds just yet. Riding in the car is still very painful for me, so my walking is restricted to making laps laps in the house - very boring. I have ventured to Wal-Mart twice - both times I cried all the way home. I am having a hard time being patient as well as recovery is very slow. I try not to be hard on myself and do at least one thing a day, even if it is only to shower and get dressed. Just that one thing a day is sometimes a big challenge. I guess I'm not really answering your question, but can sure tell you that I don't feel normal yet...maybe this is my new normal...hard to say at this point. Hang in there, you're definately not alone :)
  • Just in case you hadn't noticed, this thread is 2.5 years old and the OP is no longer here (Hence the Anonymous).

    6 weeks after a surgery such as yours, isn't a great deal of time. I have walked miles inside my home after surgery, before I finally got a treadmill so I could walk during any weather and at all hours day or night. I agree with you that it is important to make yourself do something each day and a shower and change of clothing really makes a huge difference.

    I hope your recovery continues to progress and you start feeling better soon.

  • PabullockPPabullock Posts: 1
    edited 07/06/2015 - 6:08 PM
    Had PLIF surgery on 6/3 after fighting with the pain for 5 years was expecting horrible pain after surgery but really didn't have that much at first. Started Physical Theraphy (PT) on 6/7 (mainly walking and climbing stairs"). On 6/10 I was moved to a Rehab Hospital and their requirements were 15 hours per week of both PT and Occupational Theraphy (OT) and they did not take no for an answer. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. You learn so much more than just walking. I was discharged on 6/16, got my stitches out, and was told I could drive and started Home PT the following day, this is my last week. I was out of the wheel chair on 6/12, off walker and walking on my own on 6/14. That's the good part. Went for my one month follow up doctor said I was doing great and I felt fine. On the way home my lower back began to hurt, but not to badly. Saturday 7/4 I woke up with pain shooting from my incision to my hips and it's not getting any better. Is this one of those little nerve activations or should I be more concerned.

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