Hi, I had a spinal fusion 1 year ago today, L4-L5-S1. I am a 26 year old female who had no back pain prior to pregnancy just over 3 years ago. I have a grade I spondylolisthesis. I had a slipped disc, with lower back pain, sciatica etc. starting when I was 16 weeks pregnant. It wasn't properly diagnosed for about 18 months or so, it was thought to be normal pregnancy back pain. Does anyone have any information about recovery after a spinal fusion? I am still aching all the time, but have no sciatica since the operation, the pain is a little better. Can I expect improvement still a year after the spinal fusion? I was told it may take up to 2 years for nerves to heal etc. Does anyone have any more anectdotal information for me? Thanks. Good luck to anyone having or had a spinal fusion.
Mim, Did you do therapy? If so how long? I am 4 months post op-same level fusion and I can't walk without a cane outside of my house. I haven't started therapy yet, they say that makes all the difference. I wonder
Hi, I'm 5 yrs post op and still have pain everyday, it does take a long time to heal.I felt best in my 4th yr, seem to be going back down hill this year. More surgery is a possibility. I konw it isn't something you want to hear but it is the truth. Walk as much as possible. It is the best therapy there is. Good luck.
Welcome to the Healthboards. I am very sorry to hear that you are still in pain a year later. I also had the same levels fused. I have to ask if your surgeon has said if you are completely fused or not? Some people do take longer that others. It is great to hear that you know longer suffer with sciatica. That is definitely a blessing. I have read on multiple web sites that it takes from 3 months till 1 year to fuse and sometimes longer for other's. Have you done any physical therapy? Also you have to make sure that you are not putting any kind of strain on your back. I hope that you are still taking many walks as that is very important for a successful recovery. Sitting to long can also increase your pain. I really hope that you do indeed find pain relief and that your surgery becomes a success.
How is the bionic man today?
I also have to use my quad cane, however I started using it right after my discogram. I did purchase a regular cane to use on my better days. I haven't started therapy either.
I am sorry to hear that you are still in pain. I really hope that you don't have to go through surgery again.
I hope that you all have a good night.
[b]Cervical[/b] MRI 10/02
Loss of cervical lordosis with reversal of the curvature.
C4-5 and C6-7 disc bulges resulting in flattening of the ventral margin of the cord.
C5-6 there is a left foraminal herniation which results in moderate foraminal stenosis In addition, there is flattening of the ventral margin of the cord due to bulging disc.
Cervical Epidural 5/19/03
[b]Lumbar[/b] MRI 10/02
L5-S1 disc herniation with moderate thecal sac deformity.
L4-5 disc desiccation with bulge which results in mild thecal sac deformity and mild bilateral foraminal stenosis.
L2-3 disc desiccation with Schmorl’s nodule of L3.
Lumbar Epidural 1/30/03
Lumbar Epidural 2/12/03
Lumbar Epidural 2/26/03
Lumbar Discogram 5/23/03
Lumbar CatScan 5/23/03
[b]Posterior Fusion & Infuse on L4,L5,S1 6/30/03[/b]
Lumbar X-Ray 7/24/03
Lumbar X-Ray 8/27/03
Still no pain relief....
Lumbar CT Scan 9/24/03
Waiting for results....
Hello all I have had a 3 level fusion L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1 6 months ago in Melbourne and going very well, the Neuro told me 3 weeks ago mine will be fused in 12 months, I walk 12km a day and ride a exercise bike 20-30km and that is all i am allowed to do till my 12 months is up, no lifting or bending for 12 months,all my leg pain is gone which is great, I hope that helps anyone out about post op fusion, I know some people will be different [quote]Originally posted by Mim:
[b]Hi, I had a spinal fusion 1 year ago today, L4-L5-S1. I am a 26 year old female who had no back pain prior to pregnancy just over 3 years ago. I have a grade I spondylolisthesis. I had a slipped disc, with lower back pain, sciatica etc. starting when I was 16 weeks pregnant. It wasn't properly diagnosed for about 18 months or so, it was thought to be normal pregnancy back pain. Does anyone have any information about recovery after a spinal fusion? I am still aching all the time, but have no sciatica since the operation, the pain is a little better. Can I expect improvement still a year after the spinal fusion? I was told it may take up to 2 years for nerves to heal etc. Does anyone have any more anectdotal information for me? Thanks. Good luck to anyone having or had a spinal fusion.[/b][/quote]
Welcome to the Healthboards. I have been meeting a couple of people from Australia, the only place I really want to visit one day. You should go read the thread "What does Pre Testing for fusion surgery entail," as Brooke is also from Australia.
I am very happy to hear that you no longer suffer from the leg pain. It seems as if you are doing very well and I am happy for you.
Yea, it seems we just keep bumping into one another...lol
It is great to hear that you are still making it to the office.
I'm hanging in their and since my recovery is still being delayed I figured I'd swing around the boards and say hi.
Have a great day and don't put to many hours in at work....
Hi JanieD, I started physio a few months after the fusion. I remember when I first came home from hospital it was extremely difficult to walk to the letter box. I really think that time is the greatest healer. Physiotherapy helped a little I think they were mainly focussing on strengthening my stomach muscles (to support my back) and some stretching exercises so the nerves were working okay. Also it is important to really strengthen your legs up as they should be being used instead of your back. So physio gave me exercises for that. You get sick of doing exercises, a year later I still do them sometimes (when I remember). My knees are now playing up because I am using them all the time instead of bending over, so you have to try and strengthen them as much as possible. Try and work within your pain, if you get sore sitting for too long then stand up or lie down for a little while. Best position for me has always been lying down. I still can't sit or stand for terribly long. When I think about how far I have come in a year though it is all relative, I am better than I was when I first came home from hospital. I am able to walk for a lot longer etc. I was wearing a brace for at least 4 months, and it isn't until you stop wearing that, that you then start to use your other muscles. It does take awhile, and it is painful. I mean your muscles have basically all been cut, there isn't much strength left in them. Take care, and just be as patient as you can, I know it is hard, but it will take time. Swimming was recommended to me, even if you can just get in the water, it is great to be weightless! There is no pressure on your back. I am not a big swimmer, but I think I started doing water aerobics (just gently, once a week) at about 8 months or so, this is really good for toning up your stomach muscles, and supporting your back. Look after yourself, and do whatever is most comfortable for you. God Bless, Mim
[quote]Originally posted by JanieD:
[b]Mim, Did you do therapy? If so how long? I am 4 months post op-same level fusion and I can't walk without a cane outside of my house. I haven't started therapy yet, they say that makes all the difference. I wonder[/b][/quote]
Thank you very much for your message. I am sorry that you are still in pain too, you are about 6 months post-op? I hope that they can find something that works for you. Apparently my back if fused, but I am not sure if this is complete or not, I had a CT scan about a month ago. It is interesting that everyone says to walk, I must try and do that more. I have a 2.5 year old, and I work at home, so it is hard to find spare time to walk. Also any lifting I do with my daughter does aggravate my back. I am not supposed to lift more than 5kg for the rest of my life apparently, as I have a lordosis etc, and there is a risk that the discs above the fusion can also slip. So that is annoying. My daughter weighs about 13kg, so obviously I still lift her sometimes. Sitting is still painful after a long period of time. I thought that this would improve with time, but it doesn't appear to have done so significantly. I am lucky I can work at home lying down with a computer, so that is good. I really hope that you become pain-free soon. My neurosurgeon recently said that I may have residual pain, as most of the pain should be gone at 12 months. So maybe we just have to learn to live with residual pain, if you have done everything, and to learn to work and live within your pain limits. Take care, and I hope they can find something that works for you. God Bless, Mim
I was amazed when I read your story! You are able to walk 12km a day and ride 20-30km and you only had a fusion 6 months ago? Were you incredibly fit before you had the operation? I would like to know your secrets!! I am 12 months post-op as you probably know, and still have pain all the time. I need to get fitter, but find it hard to find the time. I have a 2.5 year old daughter and I work at home, so that keeps me fairly busy. I would be REALLY interested to know how you manage to do all that. Are you still in much pain, or does the exercise really help? I am incredibly amazed, I wish you all the best, Mim
[This message has been edited by Mim (edited 10-03-2003).]
Thank you for your message. I have read lots of postings by lots of people, and it has been most helpful and informative. I didn't realise that you had a spinal fusion just recently, I hope you are continuing to do well. You have an amazing positive attitude that appears to have helped you a lot, and you are certainly a good inspiration to so many people. Thank you for your input. Before I came on this site a week or two ago, I had not talked to anyone that had had a spinal fusion. Except my boss who had one about 20 years ago. I had no idea what to expect, or what was normal, and that was the hardest thing about recovery etc. I had no idea it would be so long. This is a great idea, and it will be incredibly helpful to anyone that has to go through surgery. Thank you for your continued positive input. Take care of yourself, God Bless, Mim
Good Morning. I am only 3 months post op. I recently had a ct scan and they have found complications that I really don't understand. I have started a thread with my results in "post op ct scan results." I finally see my surgeon on Friday to go over these results. It looks as if my disc above my fusion has already bulged and unbelievably the disc that I had fused are bulging. I always thought that while having a fusion that they removed the disc's. I also guess it could be a possibility that the radiologist read my films incorrectly.
Anyway sitting for the long periods of time and lifting your daughter could be causing you more pain. Believe me when I say that taking those walks can be difficult at times. But it is very important as it is what makes us stronger. I really hope that you do indeed find pain relief.
Thank you for your words, they’re greatly appreciated. I hope this site helps others as I think it has. It was tough having no idea prior as you know but now I feel much better and in a weird way, speaking with others who are going into the procedure is helping me to make-up for the lack of info I had prior.