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ALIF fusion question?

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Old 03-12-2007, 12:23 PM   #1
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fusionman HB User
ALIF fusion question?


I was wondering if anyone has had the problem of twisting ones spine while getting out of bed post-surgery? I had an ALIF fusion L3-4 7 weeks ago and getting out of bed has been very hard to do. I learned the proper way from the PT dept in the hospital but even using that method my spine keeps getting twisted, causing pain in the muscles and pelvic area. Has anyone else experienced any problems with this? It seems that an adjustable bed (electric) like the one in the hospital would be great to have.

Because I had an ALIF (stomach approach) I was not given a back brace or a walker. Supposedly one does not need either item since the muscles of the back are not disturbed during the surgery. But I find that most of my pain now is in the back muscles and pelvic area. I know Iím not supposed to bend forward at this stage but I feel so stiff in the lower back area that I couldnít even if I wanted to? Is this the normal response from this surgery even though the back muscles have not been opened up? Also my back cramps up after only walking 5 to 10 minutes and from lying on it flat. I have read most people are walking a lot at this point but that seems to lead to spasms for me. I have informed my surgeon of this and he told me to just give it more time and that is should get better. Yet, I feel this is not the norm for this stage in recovery? Any insight from others that have had this type of fusion would be appreciated. Thanks.


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Old 03-12-2007, 12:49 PM   #2
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ms_west HB User
Re: ALIF fusion question?

Fusionman, have you tried using a plastic trashbags under your hips. It helps you to slide easier when getting up.

Old 03-12-2007, 01:13 PM   #3
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fusionman HB User
Re: ALIF fusion question?

Hi Diet,

I will have to try it. Thanks for the tip.


Old 03-12-2007, 07:11 PM   #4
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clover60 HB User
Re: ALIF fusion question?

The hardest thing for me was getting in and out of bed and going to the restroom. For some reason I could not get the log roll thing down. I think we are so used to just getting in the bed and out that we seem to forget.

Just take your time and try to tell yourself to keep your hips and shoulders aligned.

My surgery was thru the back so I have the brace and had the walker at the hospital. I think the brace helps. Your muscles are going to be flared up just from the changes in the back.

Hope you have a easy recovery. I will keep you in my prayers.

Old 03-12-2007, 07:39 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Jungleland HB User
Re: ALIF fusion question?

I find wearing "satiny" type sleep wear makes rolling over in bed and getting out of be much easier than "cottony" type sleep wear. Like Satin boxer shorts or satin pj pants.

My night stand is set just in the right position for me to be able to "log roll" over and then reach over to the night stand and push with my arms, keeping my body "log like". Hope this makes sense, my night time meds are kicking in and I am having a heck of a time thinking of my words, lol!! I didn't have as extensive a surgery as you but I still have to keep my lower back straight, NO TWISTING!

Good luck! Might be worth looking into renting a hospital bed and insurance MIGHT cover it if the doc orders one. I know, if/when I need the next surgery, I will be most definetly asking for a hospital bed!

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Old 03-13-2007, 07:01 AM   #6
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fusionman HB User
Re: ALIF fusion question?

Thanks everyone for the excellent suggestions. I will have to work on keeping the shoulders lined up with the hips during the log roll.

A hospital bed would be great but I doubt the insurance company would pay for it. Having said that it can't hurt to ask.


Old 03-13-2007, 12:52 PM   #7
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zeroman HB User
Re: ALIF fusion question?

I had a double fusion at L3-4-5 through the stomach and I had both a hard brace and a walker. guess its the surgeons choice.

at seven weeks it should be getting easier to get out of bed with the log roll bit, but everyone is different. I still had some pain getting out of bed around that point but after week 8 it got a lot easier.. hang in there! walking was pretty good though, it seemed to help with the cramps. maybe it was the brace..

if youre cramping big time maybe you could ask the doc for a muscle relaxer.
back surgery in JUN 06 - two level ALIF (L3-4-5) with cages and BMP - SUCCESSFUL!

Old 03-13-2007, 02:30 PM   #8
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fusionman HB User
Re: ALIF fusion question?

Hi Zeroman,

Thanks so much for your response. There are not too many of us that have had the ALIF so I have been wondering what it has been like for others? Last week while at the doctors I told him about all the spasms and pain in the muscles. I asked him for a muscle relaxant. He didnít want to prescribe one because he believes they donít really work. Instead he gave me a painkiller called Ultram 500 mg, 2 tablets every 8 hours. Theyíre stronger than Tylenol but not as powerful as percocet. For a year before the operation I was taking Celebrex on a daily basis, which took away most of the pain and a lot of the inflammation. But since the surgery I canít take it because it interferes with bone growth.

If you donít mind my asking how stiff were your back muscles, if at all, at this stage? My whole lower back is extremely stiff and painful. How long ago did you have your fusion? I hope your well now.

This is my second fusion. I had my first one 20 years ago and it never helped me. Iím thinking that most of this pain may be do to the first fusion. Unfortunately since the second operation Iím in more pain than before. Iím just praying it has to do with healing from having hardware, screws, etc. put inside?


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