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Old 08-08-2011, 04:58 AM   #1
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Unhappy 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

I am at 4 weeks post-op from spinal fusion L-4, L-5 and S-1. The past two mornings I have woke up sore and stiff from my hips down. The original pain that I was having prior to surgery is gone and I had been feeling much better until this started. Does anyone have any suggestions?

 
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:54 AM   #2
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

Hello CH0212....I myself have had a spinal fusion of the L4-5 amd the S1 region...my surgery was in early April 2010...my suggestion to you is if you still have any pain meds take them and walk as much as possible or what you are comfortable with....just remember no BLT (Bending Lifting Twisting). When you go to bed what position do you sleep in....I always slept on my side, knees slightly bent and a pillow between the knees. If you have anymore questions feel free in asking

 
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:20 AM   #3
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

[QUOTE=fate1966;4818342]Hello CH0212....I myself have had a spinal fusion of the L4-5 amd the S1 region...my surgery was in early April 2010...my suggestion to you is if you still have any pain meds take them and walk as much as possible or what you are comfortable with....just remember no BLT (Bending Lifting Twisting). When you go to bed what position do you sleep in....I always slept on my side, knees slightly bent and a pillow between the knees. If you have anymore questions feel free in asking [/QUOTE]

I do still have pain meds and I am taking them. I went back to taking them 3 times a day. Was trying to cut out the afternoon dose as I do not want to become dependant upon them. As for sleeping, I have been sleeping on my side with my knees bent and with a pillow between my knees. The walking is what I guess I need to do more of. I have been walking to and from my mailbox everyday which is about a block. Its hard to do alot of walking outside due to the heat and the SW Georgia gnats. Did you go to Physical therapy? I start PT tomorrow.

Thank you for the information
Cindy

 
Old 08-08-2011, 09:12 AM   #4
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

You should be taking a number of walks every day as it is the most effective way to keep the spinal nerves stretched out. Early in recovery while the body is forming scar tissue, it is important that it not be allowed to become attached to the spinal nerves near the surgical site.

Also, as your body gets over the healing from surgery itself, you are probably getting a bit more active, which will initially result in a lot more pain, stiffness, etc. And just a general FYI: you will find that your healing path will not always be in a straight-forward trajectory...there will be bumps in the road and sometimes it will seem like you are taking one step forward and two back...this is ALL normal...so don't let it throw you when you have a new ache or pain. This is all part of the normal healing process.

 
Old 08-08-2011, 09:50 AM   #5
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

Hello Cindy, As tetonteri66 has mentioned you should take a number of walks daily, no I did not go to therapy, I [U]Do Not[/U] want to alarm you, all people heal differently, my surgery was in April 2010 and come mid Aug 2010 I was hit with scar tissue pain, so I was sent to Pain Management, in the end, I just this past early May had a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant done. Please remember everyone's bodies heal differently...you mentioned you are going to therapy...that is more then likely a good thing and keep with walks throughout the day...dont over do it and remember No BLT (bending Lifting Twisting)

 
Old 08-08-2011, 09:55 AM   #6
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

[QUOTE=tetonteri66;4818434]You should be taking a number of walks every day as it is the most effective way to keep the spinal nerves stretched out. Early in recovery while the body is forming scar tissue, it is important that it not be allowed to become attached to the spinal nerves near the surgical site.

Also, as your body gets over the healing from surgery itself, you are probably getting a bit more active, which will initially result in a lot more pain, stiffness, etc. And just a general FYI: you will find that your healing path will not always be in a straight-forward trajectory...there will be bumps in the road and sometimes it will seem like you are taking one step forward and two back...this is ALL normal...so don't let it throw you when you have a new ache or pain. This is all part of the normal healing process.[/QUOTE]

Thank You

 
Old 08-09-2011, 06:15 AM   #7
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Smile Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

[QUOTE=fate1966;4818478]Hello Cindy, As tetonteri66 has mentioned you should take a number of walks daily, no I did not go to therapy, I [U]Do Not[/U] want to alarm you, all people heal differently, my surgery was in April 2010 and come mid Aug 2010 I was hit with scar tissue pain, so I was sent to Pain Management, in the end, I just this past early May had a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant done. Please remember everyone's bodies heal differently...you mentioned you are going to therapy...that is more then likely a good thing and keep with walks throughout the day...dont over do it and remember No BLT (bending Lifting Twisting)[/QUOTE]

After reading yours and tetonteri66 replies. I decided that I would do 10 minutes of walking around my house about every two hours. I live in South Georgia and itís just too hot and muggy plus the gnats drive me insane to go walking outside. This morning when I woke up, I wasnít as stiff and sore as I had been.

When you had your surgery, did you get the Bone Growth Stimulator? My surgeon believes that it really makes a big difference in the success of the fusion.

Thank you

 
Old 08-20-2011, 08:03 AM   #8
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

I have had 4 pt visits now and the one this past Thursday is still kicking my butt. How do I know if my PT is too much too soon? Yesterday and today so far, I hurt from my hips down to my knees again. Last night the pain was so bad that I went back to taking the percocet instead of the lortab.

 
Old 08-20-2011, 09:14 AM   #9
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

Did your surgeon send you to a particular PT or did you find someone on your own? Sometimes the PT and the surgeon are not really in sync when it comes to how much you should be doing.

What is your PT doing with you? Do you receive treatments aside from exercises and stretches? (ultra-sound, for example)

It is really important to have a PT who is very knowledgeable with orthopedic cases -- or, specifically spine surgery cases. I spent most of the spring with an elderly aunt who had a stroke. I went with her to out-patient PT twice per week, and was quite appalled at what I observed going on with the spine patients. Generally speaking, the PTs had their patients doing too much too soon...at least from what I have experienced through 3 surgeries and many, many courses of PT.

As long as you are taking short walks frequently, you can afford to wait on PT. Some spine surgeons don't even recommend it until the patient shows good signs of bone growth and fusion. But you must walk often to keep those spinal nerves stretched out and to keep scar tissue from attaching to the nerves -- very important!!!!

If I were you, I would go to your next appointment and talk to the PT before you begin any treatments. Explain your concerns and give specifics of where you hurt, how long it is lasting, etc. Be detailed so the PT understands your particular situation. If you find something is causing more pain, stop and don't repeat it.

If you think it is all too much, call your surgeon's office and discuss it with them. My surgeon has always pretty much left it up to me. I had a 3 level fusion last June (2010). I started PT in the fall, but I wasn't really able to accomplish much. The easiest exercise would start a flare in the sciatic nerve. So I stopped and just kept walking. I also went to a pool periodically and did some of the easy exercises in the water.

Here it is over a year later, and I am just going back to PT. My fusion is now established and is strong, and the PT feels he can now treat me a bit more aggressively.

Learn to listen to your body. It is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to rehab PT...as long as you are walking several times each day...and doing those really gentle stretches you probably were taught while in hospital.

 
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:06 AM   #10
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

[QUOTE=tetonteri66;4818434]You should be taking a number of walks every day as it is the most effective way to keep the spinal nerves stretched out. Early in recovery while the body is forming scar tissue, it is important that it not be allowed to become attached to the spinal nerves near the surgical site.

Also, as your body gets over the healing from surgery itself, you are probably getting a bit more active, which will initially result in a lot more pain, stiffness, etc. And just a general FYI: you will find that your healing path will not always be in a straight-forward trajectory...there will be bumps in the road and sometimes it will seem like you are taking one step forward and two back...this is ALL normal...so don't let it throw you when you have a new ache or pain. This is all part of the normal healing process.[/QUOTE]

 
Old 08-21-2011, 07:16 AM   #11
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

HI all.

This is my first post, so I thank you for advance for sharing your experience:

I am 46 and had a L5-S1 ant. fusion with post. pedicles 1 moth ago. The surgeon at the time also decompress the L5 nerve root in the left leg. I am 1 month out, my back feels solid but my concerns are following and i am curious if others have experenced it:

1) I still get some burnng down my leg- its not like radition, but it can be bad enough for me to take my pain medication

2) Sometimes at the end of walking (especially outside on asphalt) for as little as 0 minutes, 4-5 hours later I feel more of the leg pain coning on and pay for it

3) I am tring to cut out the pian meds, but I am down to three pills a day (mostly for the leg discomfort) but can not cut it out and tylenol does not work and advil is been ruled out by my surgeron for the first 3 months of fusion. Did you guys needed prescription pain medication throughout the first 3 months post surgery?

Thank you again

Matin

 
Old 08-21-2011, 08:20 AM   #12
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

[COLOR="Magenta"]When my surgeon said it was time to start PT, we went with the one that I had seen before my surgery. The first three visits were not too bad at all, the last one we worked the leg & back muscles. The first thing we do is the side stepping then marching and a bouncing walk type stretch. I seem to have some balance issues when walking heel to toe and even less balance when I have to close my eyes. I am also doing some stretching exercises lying on my back, side and stomach. The exercises that we started last was squatting down just slightly, as if you were going to sit down but donít.

I have not had any ultrasounds or pool therapy.

Thank you so much for your advice.[/COLOR]

 
Old 08-21-2011, 11:29 AM   #13
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Re: 4 Weeks Post-Op Spinal Fusion

No advice on the pain but echoing the import of the right PT. Pre-fusion (too early for PT yet after), I had a round in Boston and a round in the Philly burbs. You spend so much time with these folks! You need them to be knowledgeable but I also think you REALLY need to get the right personality match. Boston PT was energetic and an athletic-type (and the owner of the multi-site practice so an expert). He "got" me...a 33yo gym-rat with different needs (mentally and physically) than a lot of WC-type patients or seniors. My Pennsylvania lady was nice enough but just didn't "click" the same way...which was def harder since I'd had such a great fit before.

I've been a patient for eons (endometriosis, migraines, sucky immune system) and had WONDERFUL docs and AWFUL ones (ummm...a gyn who responded to the low libido by saying "Wow, and your husband still married you"....okay, now we're divorced and part WAS illness-related but STILL wrong!). But, I think sill beats bedside manner for most docs (except maybe GYNs given the nature of the convos)....I don't need my surgeon to be someone I "like" as a person b/c we just aren't together all that much. He needs skill, not personality. PTs, on the other hand, are much more personal given the time involved...and liking them also helps with the "work".

 
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