Re: L5/S1 Recovery
Welcome to the board. I'm so sorry you were the victim of an accident that has changed your life.
The speed of recovery varies a great deal in lumbar fusions. I think ALIFs can be more uncomfortable at the beginning.
I've had two fusions but they were both from the back. After the first one which was a one level PLIF at L4-L5, I was practically comatose for the first two weeks...and it took every ounce of energy I had to walk the length of the family room. The second fusion was a revision from L3 to S1. I was feeling good by the 4th day and was off all pain meds by the 10th day...but recovery was long and I took it very slowly because I didn't want to do anything that would aggravate the sciatic nerve.
The important thing is to follow your surgeon's instructions to a "T" and to learn to listen to your body. Do not be in a hurry and do not push yourself. Growing bone takes lots of energy so you need to rest, and it is very important to take frequent short walks. Walking helps to stretch out the spinal nerves. This helps to keep scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it forms and fills in, especially during the first 13 or so weeks post surgery. For this reason, many short walks are better than taking one or two longer walks per day.
Of course you want to avoid any activity that involves bending or twisting at the waist, pushing, pulling, reaching up overhead or to the side, and don't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Rest and walk. Rest and walk.