Originally Posted by ME6210
I'm Not Actually Sure Of The Procedure I Will Need. I Was In An Auto Accident That Left Me With A Fractured L-5. Has Anyone Encountered This? How Long After Can You Drive And What Is The Healing Time?
Yes, I've had a spinal fursion at 2 levels L4/5, L5/S1. I didn't drive until at least 6-8 weeks after the surgery...at least. The healing or fusion time depends on many factors...one is if you smoke or not. I do not. Smoking impedes the healing process and the ability for the bone to fuse. It is not an easy recovery. I have had many complications and had to undergo 2 additonal surgeries because I developed a severe chest infection after the first surgery which due to the coughing it shifted the hardware in my back.
The fusion surgery was June 2006, and my last surgery was March 2007. I was supposed to have a spinal cord stimulator inserted but again developed pneumonia that prevented the surgery from taking place. I have been out of work since the date of the first surgery. I still have severe back, groin and
hip pain- as well as the sciatic pain, and numbness in my feet and toes.
Typically I was told for a one level surgery (as it seems you will be undergoing) is about 3-6 months. I had a level 2 surgery, so the healing time for me was longer. But remember I also had many complications along the way... but the best advice I can give you is if you smoke quit...it prohibits
bone growth and don't let anyone smoke around you. My back began to fuse weeks after the surgery...and it was very visible on the x-ray.
Another issue that will determine your ability to drive is the type and strength of the pain medication you will be prescribed. Make sure you continue to do all of the exercises that physical therapy prescribes... it is very important. Eat healthy, and you will probably have to take some type of stool softner, as the pain meds will constipate you and the last thing you want to do is strain...not only does it cause hemmroids/fissures but also put unneeded pressure on your back and the muscles.
I hope the information I have posted is helpful. Best of luck with your surgery. Please feel free to ask me any questions, if I can help in any way I am more than willing to do so.