I am a 28 year old male and am having a single level lumbar fusion performed next Friday. I know that it involves L-5 I do not know which one the doctor will be fusing to. I am a pretty active person and I also have a 16 month old daughter. I love doing things outdoors and love playing with my daughter. I am having the normal pre-surgery jitters, like what if something goes wrong, what if the fusion does not work, will I be in the same or worse pain. You know the normal stuff. My biggest concern is after the surgery, months even years down the road what will be my limitations? Will there be a weight limit as to what I can lift and are there certain things I cannot do? The reason I ask is my daughter will continue to grow and will want to be pick up and held, I am sure she will want to ride roller coasters one day and my wife will not ride them. Also my dream has always been to be a State Trooper and I would like to know if that will still be possible. I will be asking the doctor these questions, however I would like to know what your doctors said and your thoughts. Thanks.
Rob, welcome to the boards! You'll find a lot of great info and support here. I had a 2 level fusion almost 3 weeks ago, so I'll be glad to share with you what I know. Right now, I'm not allowed to bend, twist, or lift more than 5 lbs. I'm not entirely sure what the limitations months or years away are. I do know you always have to take care of your back, and make sure you always lift correctly. You need to be aware that when you have a fusion, it puts additional stress on the discs above or below it. I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to ride roller coasters with your daughter, and lead a pretty much normal life. You just have to make taking care of your back a priority.
I wish you the best of luck with your surgery, and hope it brings you the relief you need. If you have any questions, or just need support- you know where to come!
I am 29 and just had a fusion at L4 L5. (I've also been fused from T1 to L2 but that is aside the point).
Your jitters are absolutely normal. I was terrified too but come to find out, the actual surgery was not bad AT ALL. The pain in the hospital wasn't bad either. It was the morphine and all that made me sick but I'm only about 120 lbs. and 5' 7 1/2" so the meds gave my small body stomach problems.
When I got home, the pain was controlable. I had more leg muscle problems than anything. The whole thing is more frusterating than anything. You will have limitations always, you will always have to be careful of course. Roller coaster, I'd give it up. I was told after my first fusion never to get on one again and I didn't and I still had problems. It all comes down to pain. If your willing to risk putting yourself back in agony, you may take those chances but is it worth it.? You will be able to do outdoor activities and all that again but with lots more care. It's one of those things that you have to manage your lifestyle differently. I'm hoping and praying that I can get back to what I was like 4 years ago. I was in pain for that long and very immobile and it's going to take me time. I am 3 months post op and I'm frusterated but just being patient.
Good luck with your surgery, you'll do well with a positive attitude. Keep us posted!!
Many doctors put you on a permanent weight restriction like 30lbs for life, and some do not. Like the others said you will always have to be careful with your back, it will not be a normal back anymore, it will have hardware in it, and lifting heavy objects will put strain on the good remaining discs, and you do not want them to go bad. A roller coaster would be very hard on your back, and why would you want to make the pain come back,or risk further injuring your back?..As for being a police officer, if you were already a police officer I think they probably would have to take you back if your doctor said it was ok, but if you haven't trained or been one yet, I don't think they will accept you in the police academy. I know they don't take you in the military with any kind of spinal fusion...Good luck..StarAngel.
Last edited by StarAngel3; 01-25-2005 at 09:23 PM.
I can only echo the thoughts of others in relation to rollercaasters - not a good option. Being nervous is very natural - fear not - What you have to remeber is that following surgery the mechaniscs of your back will be different and any stress on your back will be felt at the levels below and above the fusion. Following a 2 level fusion l4/5 & L4/S1 I have lived a relatively normal life however I have had to avoid risk taking activities. Despite being reasonably careful I am now experiencing a bulge at l3/l4. The key to preventing ongoing problems is maintaining a good exercise program that fosuces on strengthening and conditioing your back and assoiciated stabilising muscles(stomach. My complacency in this area has resulted in the current difficulties I am experiencing
In terms of bcoming a trooper u may have difficulties passing any medical exam. I m not sure about this but that is ceratinly the case in Australia for anyone wishing to be a police officer
I appreciate your kind words and opinions. Maybe I am not seeing something, but I just cannot understand what the big deal about roller coasters are. I understand that fusing two discs together will put more pressure on the joints above and below.To me it would be no worse than riding on an airplane, driving a car, riding a horse, or any other outdoor activity. I have read where people get back to doing those things after fusion surgery. As far as the weight limit if you lift properly and condition yourself correctly, I cannot see what the big deal is. Please do not get me wrong, I do not want to end up in more pain nor do I want to have to go through this again. However I also refuse to have this sideline me in my life and dreams. I still plan on being active and living life as I have although being ever aware of not damaging my back further.
[QUOTE=Robfusion76]I appreciate your kind words and opinions. Maybe I am not seeing something, but I just cannot understand what the big deal about roller coasters are. I understand that fusing two discs together will put more pressure on the joints above and below.To me it would be no worse than riding on an airplane, driving a car, riding a horse, or any other outdoor activity. I have read where people get back to doing those things after fusion surgery. As far as the weight limit if you lift properly and condition yourself correctly, I cannot see what the big deal is. Please do not get me wrong, I do not want to end up in more pain nor do I want to have to go through this again. However I also refuse to have this sideline me in my life and dreams. I still plan on being active and living life as I have although being ever aware of not damaging my back further.[/QUOTE]
Hahahaha.. ok what I DO know right now is that I don't want to get into a car with Rob (giggle). No worse than driving in a car or riding in an airplane???
Ok, lets think about this.. I mean seriously. A roller coaster goes 60+ miles per hour (I know of one that actually goes 120 mph), they twist you (a definite no no ), turn you, and make you go updisde-down.
Check with your doctor and see what they say. I wouldn't think horseback riding would be the smartest of choices either. If the continual bouncing didn't put enough stress on an already weaker area, or other discs being compromised, then being thrown definitely could cause problems
To me, it's just common sense. Just because people have said they have returned to certain activities doesn't mean they should!
As I said, check with your doctor... do what you want...but as for me, I'm going to do my exercises, and find milder more back-friendly things to enjoy because it was my abuse of my back that got me into this situation in the first place.
I'm not so sure that my pain was sciaticia. I think it was more muscles. But, it is definetely not uncommon to have more leg problems after surgery for awhile. I had few and the doctor told me that the nerve roots (to the legs) can remain very ****** off, so to speak, for awhile after fusion. They get in there and tug on them and pull them around to get done what they need done. This is very common.
I had MAJOR muscle pain, spasming, tightness....you name it. My leg muscles felt like they were entirely too short for my legs. I took muscle relaxers for a couple of weeks and they finally got better. Now at 12 weeks post fusion, my leg muscles are really really bad as far as tightness and atrophy. I'm working on that with PT now. It is a very long and tough process but I'm confident I will work through it.
Don't worry you are sooo early into this. I'm sure it will be gone in a bit!!