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Old 06-24-2009, 09:43 PM   #1
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2.5 weeks after ALIF. Back pain horrible. Help!

Hi everyone,
I had an anterior lumbar interbody fusion of L4-5 with a cage, pedicle screws, and bmp (instead of an autograft) done about 2.5 weeks ago. I knew that this was going to be a tough recovery, but by the way my surgeon talked, I was expecting less back pain. My stomach is obviously sore from the incision, but the back pain has been horrible. Has this been anyone else's experience? How long has it taken any of you to finally feel some relief in your back? My surgeon's PA seemed to be surprised that I was in such pain only 1 week post op, so now I'm definitly getting worried. Has severe back pain following an ALIF been anyone else's experience? Please tell me this gets better. As of right now, I'd say this surgery has NOT been worth it, but I'm hoping that down the road I will feel differently.

 
Old 06-25-2009, 05:02 AM   #2
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Re: 2.5 weeks after ALIF. Back pain horrible. Help!

Hello Becky,

It will get better. Your body needs a lot of rest and tender care now. You've just gone through major surgery and it just takes time (lots of it) to heal. In the beginning, progress is slow, but as the weeks pass, you will likely notice positive changes more and more. Be careful not to over do it during times of frustration! You'll get to a better place, a place of less pain and more mobility.

Best wishes to you.

 
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:41 AM   #3
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Re: 2.5 weeks after ALIF. Back pain horrible. Help!

Hi Becky,
Sounds to me like your doctor sugar coated the recovery of this major surgery. It's measured in months, not days or weeks. Figure on about 3 months 'til you start feeling more or less normal again, 6 months to a year for a full recovery. But you should be having gradually less and less pain. I was mostly in bed for the first 2-3 months, up and walking as much as I could, but not able to sit for very long. I had a long fusion, so your recovery should be easier than that, but it's still no walk in the park.

Is your doctor giving you appropriate pain meds? If he's not willing to prescribe for you, you may want to contact a pain management doctor to help you get your pain under control.

I'm sorry you're not feeling better. I hope you turn a corner soon.

Emily

 
Old 06-25-2009, 11:37 AM   #4
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Re: 2.5 weeks after ALIF. Back pain horrible. Help!

Becky,

I just had the same surgery (minus the screws) last week. I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such a hard time. As much as I hate to take pain meds, I have found that keeping on the scheduled dose had made a HUGE difference. Since I spent 5 years in constant back pain, this recovery has been better than I expected. My pain is generally in the morning and night. I agree that you should contact a pain specialist to get the relief to do the work necessary for recovery. In addition, I am on a bone stimulator 4 hours a day and will be in a corset beginning next week. I also do leg exercises in bed that were perscribed by my physical therapist prior to leaving the hospital. I'm not sure what the magic trick is, but I am feeling VERY blessed to be out of constant pain.

I hope that you get the care needed to get you on your road to total fusion without pain!!

 
Old 06-26-2009, 10:03 PM   #5
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Re: 2.5 weeks after ALIF. Back pain horrible. Help!

[QUOTE=Becky2008;4021179]Hi everyone,
I had an anterior lumbar interbody fusion of L4-5 with a cage, pedicle screws, and bmp (instead of an autograft) done about 2.5 weeks ago. I knew that this was going to be a tough recovery, but by the way my surgeon talked, I was expecting less back pain. My stomach is obviously sore from the incision, but the back pain has been horrible. Has this been anyone else's experience? How long has it taken any of you to finally feel some relief in your back? My surgeon's PA seemed to be surprised that I was in such pain only 1 week post op, so now I'm definitly getting worried. Has severe back pain following an ALIF been anyone else's experience? Please tell me this gets better. As of right now, I'd say this surgery has NOT been worth it, but I'm hoping that down the road I will feel differently.[/QUOTE]

Hi becky, I had the same surgery and the pain is measured by months but it does get better and better and as every tells you make sure your on your schedule of pain meds and over time you'll see that you'll need them less and less but as much as it hurts make sure that you do your walking as this will help you heal instead of staying in bed! Unfortunately you may have some sore spots due to scar tissue but mine popped for lack of a better word when I sneezed it felt like it popped in my belly and hurt like all get out but all for the better and later to work it out there is an exercise ball that you can use but I highly doubt you'll want to because it's quite painful! I'm still quite tender around my L5 but you know what once this is over it's much like having a baby, you'll remember you were in pain but you won't remember what it felt like. You have to remeber the type of surgery you went through it wasn't a walk in the park so give your body time to heal and part of that time is going to be painful but not for ever. Hugs and Prayers Vivian

Last edited by redsmom; 06-26-2009 at 10:05 PM.

 
Old 06-26-2009, 10:54 PM   #6
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Re: 2.5 weeks after ALIF. Back pain horrible. Help!

Thanks to everyone for your responses. I've really been down in the dumps lately and your replies have really helped. I think my surgeon did a little too much sugar coating...He told me I'd be able to go back to work (I'm a dentist) after only one month. I took 6 weeks off to be safe, and now I'm not sure I'll even be able to do that. I'm thinking it'll be part time for a while by the looks of things. I have been doing my best to get up and walk a lot even though it can be very painful as I know that it's good for me. It seems like being up and walking, while painful, helps me to feel better emotionally because I feel like I'm doing something. Anyway, thanks to you all. I'll keep you posted.

Becky

 
Old 06-29-2009, 10:12 AM   #7
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Re: 2.5 weeks after ALIF. Back pain horrible. Help!

Becky,

I think you're right about him sugar coating it. I'm a stay at home Mom and was told that if I was working out of the home that they would have put me on 3 months of disability. That is the standard timeframe for my surgeon's office. Keep up the walking if you can and keep making your requests to your dr. office. You shouldn't have to suffer.... you deserve to have the best experience with the surgery!
Best wishes to you for your recovery.

 
Old 07-09-2009, 08:25 AM   #8
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Re: 2.5 weeks after ALIF. Back pain horrible. Help!

Hi Everyone,
I'm one month into recovery after my ALIF and thought I'd give you an update. I'm slowly recovering, but am getting better. I made an attempt to go to work to just see a few patients and it didn't go very well. I'm going to take more time off of work and just focus on getting better. I'll have my 6 week post op radiographs and check up soon and am hoping that everything looks good. I definitely still have a lot of mechanical pain, but I don't have nearly as much pain when resting (unless I have to roll over). Anyway, I thought I'd fill you in on how things are going.

Becky

 
Old 07-10-2009, 07:35 AM   #9
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Re: 2.5 weeks after ALIF. Back pain horrible. Help!

Ahhhh! You tried to go back to work? Take it easy, girl! You need to rest and walk, rest and walk, rest and walk!

It's great that you're doing so well, but don't push yourself. You had major, major surgery. Recovery is comparable to open heart surgery. Your job for now is to work at recovering and doing everything you can to ensure a good solid fusion.

Now you go find a movie to watch!!!

Love ya,
Emily

 
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