Hi I am new to this site and have been reading the post for a PLIF with Lami. I am a 44-year-old woman and have been scheduled for surgery March 31st and I feel like I need more information. I have dealing with back pain for quite a few years and have had the epidural shots with sedation (which still hurt tremendously) and it did absolutely nothing! My doc thinks it is time for a L5-S1 spinal fusion with donar bone. He believes this is going to help greatly with my pain. I guess my biggest fear is after the surgery. Is there anyone out there who can tell me about recovery and how painful I should expect it to be? I have been taking Ultram for a couple of weeks which seems to take the edge off. I have a hard time at night trying to sleep and get comfortable. I would appreciate any feedback anyone can give me. Thank
Maggie, I had decompression and fusion of L2, L3, L4, L5, and S1 last summer, but had rods and screws inserted as well as some of my own bone. The recovery wasn't terribly painful because it was a relief not to have pain in my legs and buttocks anymore. I took pain med for a few weeks; the worst times were getting out of bed and finding a comfortable chair. There were only 2 chairs in my home that I was able to sit in for several months but now any chair is fine. Walking was hard at first; 10 days in a rehab helped. There are still days, now 8 months post-op, that walking is painful, like today, but I force myself to get out there and walk. I have to admit, though, that the best time of the day is when I can go to bed for the night and stretch out; then there is no pain at all.
Hi Maggie, First off good luck with surgery. Iam almost 3 months post op from a PLIF at the L5 S1. I see my surgeon April 28th. What ever you do, make sure your doctor prescribes a back brace, that has helped me so much. I don't wear it while sleeping. Also you will probably have tail bone and hip pain, ask your doctor about cold therapy, its a must. I haven't started PT yet but hopefully I will after my doctors visit. Take it one day at a time, don't over do it by no means. We are in this recovery for the long haul. It takes anywhere from 3 mo. to a year to be healed. We all can do this
I am now four weeks post-op, and I couldn't be happier that I had my surgery - 360 Degree L4-S1 fusion. I would strongly recommend that you read the "Post Surgery Tips." Almost every item listed there made my life easier.
For me, the first week was probably the hardest. I basically had to learn what all of my limitations were - meaning what caused me pain and what didn't. Once I got past that, things were much easier. I was initially sent home with a very strong narcotic, and I am now taking Tylenol for the day pain, and one Ultram before bed (as I keep rolling onto my stomach). During the day, I walk around the house and outside. If I feel like my legs or back beginning to get tired or sore, I simply sit in a very ergonomic office chair that has great lumbar support. If sitting does not calm the soreness, I will lay down for an hour or so. I make sure to put one large pillow under my knees, and one smaller pillow under my feet. The most important thing is to remember that walking helps to feel better quicker, and there may days where you feel like you have taken several steps backwards, but just remember that the surgery is pretty intensive and that recovery will take a while.
Yesterday, I was able to drive to my mother's home, approximately 30 miles away, and then I was able to go up the stairs into the second floor of her home. Prior to my surgery, this was not possible. I did not experience any pain whatsoever last night. When I woke up this morning, the only real pain I had experienced was due to me rolling onto my stomach again. There was some slight stiffness in my lower back and hip (where the bone graft was taken from) but nothing that I couldn't overlook.
I wish you the best of luck and hope for a speedy recovery! Just stay positive and remember that your friends and family will help in your recovery too by providing a positive atmosphere and support.