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Old 03-27-2008, 08:15 PM   #1
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laf761 HB User
Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

Just curious has anyone out there had just L3-L4 fusion/decompression w/ screws/rods...and NOT L4-5 or L5-S1 also..

I'm wondering if because my fusion is higher up the spine than the more common L4-L5 and lower fusions does it heal differently??. Since it is up higher I feel that that area of the spine moves a bit more and it is still swollen on the top portion of my incision (surgery was 7 weeks ago)

I kinda feel since I don't have 2 levels fused together and since one isn't "anchored" to the S1 area, that I'm sort of floating and it feels rather weak up there. Not sure if this makes sense...It still feels stiff and un-natural
and kinda weird when I get off my bed in the morning and after a nap...Will this eventually feel stronger as I progress with my recovery?

Today I had my hair colored (my roots were over 2 1/2 months ladies) Leaning back into the shampoo chair even with the bed pillow I carried into the salon, didn't feel bad as I did it but sure feels weird now..I'm sure it was a new position for my new spine and perhaps too soon???

Should we just stop living or try doing these different things when we feel up to them???

Any thoughts?

I hope you are all doing better as you read this latest post...Thanks

Last edited by laf761; 03-27-2008 at 08:18 PM. Reason: spelling corrections

 
Old 03-28-2008, 10:41 AM   #2
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Re: Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

Hi LAF,

Actually L4-5 takes the brunt of all movement in the spine. That's why it is the most common area for problems.

I know what you mean about that untethered feeling. I think it is a matter of the muscles getting weak while you were favoring that area prior to surgery, and then just the lack of movement while you are recovering.

I was feeling much stronger a couple weeks ago...and then I backed off a bit, and now I feel weak again.

I think it just takes a long time to get back to some state of normalcy.

I'm glad you got those roots taken care of. That is on my to-do list for next week!!

xx mm

P.S. I would try living and resting on alternate days!!

Last edited by mznell; 03-28-2008 at 10:43 AM.

 
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Old 03-28-2008, 11:48 AM   #3
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Re: Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

Take it easy...feel better this weekend...and bring a bed pillow with you to the salon.......I do feel better with less gray around my face........it was an uplift...

 
Old 03-28-2008, 05:52 PM   #4
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Re: Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

Hi LAF ~

I wanted to mention that the reason my doc does not use a brace any longer is that he found it irritates the surgery site more than it really helped. In my case, the brace would end just at the level where my L4-5 is located. He said it would not protect the area and in fact, would just cause me to hold my body a little differently, which could actually put additional stress on the instrumentation.

I wonder if what you're feeling at the top of your incision is from where your brace ends?

We had several fairly long conversation about bracing as several surgeons I respect use them for 3 months, and I had asked about it many times. My doc said he did that too when he finished his residency and fellowship training, but he gradually got away from it as he saw that patients did just as well without it.

Any more dates with the nice man??

 
Old 03-28-2008, 06:24 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

That's very, very interesting MM...Yes they told me to use it for 3 months....I will try it a bit without it....today I also put some foam rubber inside where it appears to be rubbing a bit...but it sure makes sense what your Dr. said....I always wear it when I drive and I have more soreness on days I drive more......Many thanks....

My new guy lives a good hour and 1/2 away...he's called quite a bit...He wanted to come down again this week but I said I needed a bit more time to heal...Last time we got together I had to get up several times during dinner which I hated...So I hope in a week or so I'll feel more up to it...It seems to be leading in the right direction..Thanks for asking.

Gee...you have become such a nice on-line pal, wish we could have a cup of coffee and compare more notes...Oh well, guess that won't happen....But thanks so much you have been such a great source of comfort and guidance for me...

I hope you rest up this weekend and don't over do...Are you able to walk a bit more these days???

Hope you have a good weekend. Stay positive...

Best,

Laurinda

 
Old 03-28-2008, 06:36 PM   #6
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Re: Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

MM..........Have you tried any simple exercises just sitting in a chair...Holding the arms of the chair, keep feet flat on the floor, then lift the heels while keeping toes on the floor....(do 20 times)...also the reverse...keeping the heels on the floor raising the toes....

Also standing in the kitchen holding the kitchen counter, keep your feet flat and while holding the counter just raise one knee very slightly to simply balance on one foot (this strengthens each leg...repeat on other side) Then I do the other simple ankle pumps while laying on the bed when I wake up, alternating feet.. Then also while laying on the bed legs straight and together slide the right leg out about 4 inches and then back in, repeating 15-20 times, then the other side.... Also while laying flat, feet straight out simple start w/ arms staright at your sides and then keep them straight and then raise them above the head all the while keeping them straight...All these exercises strengthen and stretch but don't really put much weight on anything...Perhaps they'll help you get thru the weekend combined w/ some walking..

Good luck and feel better..

Laurinda

 
Old 03-29-2008, 05:44 PM   #7
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Re: Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

Thanks, LAF for all the information. It would be fun to get together. We could compare scars!! (Just kidding!)

Your exercises sound like what I was given when I went to PT the one time before falling on the ice. She also asked me to stand on one foot and rise up on my toes. That was really hard for me. I can do it with both feet, but not very well with just one foot. On my right foot, I barely budged! That is my weak leg.

Are you getting along OK by yourself? Do you find that any of your furniture is comfortable? I find I spend most time sitting in my "office" chair at the computer. It was used by my husband before he bought an Aeron chair for his office...and it is still comfortable for me...but I don't have another chair that I find comfortable. They all sink down or feel too low.

I'm doing OK. This just caught me by surprise -- feeling so stiff. I decided that's what it is. I'm not really in pain like I had after surgery -- what I do have is a painful stiffness. And my legs get weak when I walk. I haven't been able to increase the amount I walk. I start PT again on Wed. I feel like I am weaker than when I first went, 3 weeks ago.

Hope you're having a good weekend.

xx MM

 
Old 03-29-2008, 07:36 PM   #8
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Talking Re: Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

It's actually less stressful on my own....My Mom was starting to drive me a bit crazy...being in her house she wanted EVERYTHING her way, which wasn't always comfortable for me....

There really are no comfortable chairs in my condo...I hade some friends visit a few times this week and they sat on the couch while I sat in the one comfortable upholstered chair with a pillow behind me...I , like you, find my computer chair the most comfortable....it has a small cushion and I put the pillow behind me..but I do get stiff quickly..I try to walk around a bit but I don't have the nice space that my folks have in their house....Once I run out of places to sit I head back to my bed put a pillow under my knees and read in bed...I still like the feel of the ice pack which is soothing.

My friends have been great bringing in food, I supply the wine but I only have a sip...still taking the Darvocet....My Russian friend is coming tomorrow to stay until Mon and she wants to make a Russian specialty...I had been good about losing weight after surgery (they say healing takes more calories) but lately I find the lbs. coming back on......I'm sure it will be somehting super caloric....

I took your suggestion and wore the brace a bit less today and DID feel better..Thanks.....Have you heard of the product Medera for scars to help them to disappear..I just started using it.....we'll see.

It's funny my stiffness seems worse now too....I think as we heal things thighten up a bit more and perhaps that's what we're feeling in addition to moving more and more muscle stiffness....A friend reminded me today that for OVER a year I was hardly using any muscles and our bodies were so used to responding to the PAIN....that you now need to re-train every muscle...I continue to have that groin pain but again I think I favored the other leg being in pain for so long it takes time to straighten it all out again...Sort of makes sense...

Are you taking vitamins??? I'm taking, one a day multi.... B complex which seems to help the nerve pain, calcium of course and drinking protein (powder) drinks which a I mix w/ strawberries or bananas, skim milk and put in the blender with ice (really tasty) sort of like a smoothie....but good for healing...A friend that had lumbar as well as cervical fusions recommended this and I think it has helped me..

Good luck with the PT again this week and take it slow (at YOUR pace) and ice any areas afterwards....they say it helps....

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, it'supposed to be sunny and nice here tomorrow...ENJOY..Look forward to "chatting" next week.

Regards,

Laurinda

PS..What's your first name by the way??

 
Old 03-31-2008, 09:44 AM   #9
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Cool Re: Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

Hello LAF ~

[B]....A friend reminded me today that for OVER a year I was hardly using any muscles and our bodies were so used to responding to the PAIN....that you now need to re-train every muscle...[/B]

These are wise words that I need to remember...and to remind myself of every time I start grumbling about being stiff or in pain!

I decided to start acupuncture to see if it will help with the stiffness. The alternative is taking Tylenol by the handsful. I will start on Friday. I'll let you know if it makes any difference. To me it is all a bit of voo doo, but it has been helpful in the past. My daughter graduated from college in May, when I was in bad shape. She worked on me like crazy so I was able to withstand the car ride half-way across the country, entertain our family members in the house I had rented, and was able to attend all the activities. I survived, and actually was able to enjoy the event. Then I came home and started re-interviewing surgeons!! And that took til Nov. when I finally decided on the one who did the surgery in Jan.

Well, that is more than you wanted to know...but I wanted to explain one way acupuncture had helped me!

I need to go walk. It is about to start raining any minute. Talk to you later!!

xx MM

 
Old 03-31-2008, 10:42 AM   #10
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Re: Recovery progress for L3-L4 Fusion ONLY

Laf,
do you wear your brace over shirt? You can't wear it on bare body, you know it?
I had different braces during my both fusions - nothing like this bother me ever. But i always put it over my clothes.

Good luck on your recovery.

Sorry I can't help you with your question: I had L-3 L-4 and lower levels done as well...

Best of luck!

 
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