I had a double TLIF Last week, stayed in the hospital one night then home. The back pain is manageable with meds but am having bad stomach pains.. Probably from the antibiotic and constipation. I have flexeril but haven't taken it. How can you tell if you are having a spasm or just the regular pain?
I'm supposed to walk twice a day for ten minutes- hard to make myself do that.. It's already in the 80's in Ga.
Sometimes the muscles will feel like they are in spasm (kind of feels like its vibrating or shaking), and sometimes it will just be a steady pain. The muscle relaxers are probably a good idea, since they have been in there annoying nerves, muscles, etc to do the surgery. With my various back problems, sometimes the muscle relaxers help more than the pain killers, and sometimes the other way around. The muscle relaxers can make you a bit sleepy too, so maybe take them an hour or so before or after a pain killer if you are taking both.
Might want to check and see if it is OK to take a probiotic supplement to help your system rebuild from the antibiotics. Pain killers can cause some of the same problems, so maybe a gentle stool softener too.
Welcome to the board. Where is your fusion -- I'm assuming L4-S1? Please describe the pain in your stomach. Is it more in the abdominal area or is it more in the groin?
Walking is the most important activity you can do after a fusion. It stretches out the spinal nerves and keeps scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it is forming. Some surgeons will give their patients specific directions to walk so much per day...which can be discouraging. I would encourage you to walk as often as you can, but it doesn't have to be far or long....initially plan your walks around your trips to the bathroom. And then take several more "laps" around the same floor of your house. You want to avoid stairs or walking on unlevel ground at this point. Then in the evening when it is cooler and maybe you have someone to go with you, take a little walk outside for maybe a block, if you can go that far comfortably. You can gradually build on this to where you are walking for a longer distance. But for now, and for the first 10 weeks or so, it is important to move those nerves many times each day.
You will actually feel better if you walk. it will help get things moving if you are constipated from all the pain medication, etc. Drink lots of water and other fluids; eat a high fiber diet and don't be afriad to use a stool softener and a product like metamucil. You do not want to have to strain after lumbar surgery.
Thanks for the welcome. The TLIF was L4,L5.
The instructions from my MD said the I should only need pain meds a few days affter the surgery and its been six days. I think I am not doing some things right, like sitting on the couch. It is so hard to sit down without bending. Still, the pain is manageable with two or three percocet a day, but the constipation is still not resolved. I am taking stool softener twice a day, Milk of Magnesia last night, drinking water, but nothing is happening. I guess I will resort to Miralax. I hate it because it goes immediately to diarrhea for me. I am walking ten minutes a couple of times, but can probably do more.
Any other suggestions?
Thanks a lot.
I personally think your doctor is being a bit chintzy with the pain meds. Most people don't usually have instant results from the surgery. Not even considering the actual surgical pain, most people have ongoing pain from a nerve being compressed, a nerve being moved during surgery, etc., a disc being removed, a bone being sawed, etc. Don't be discouraged if you are not meeting his expectations.
I've not had a minimally invasive procedure as my problems were not compatible with that approach. Hopefully someone who has had TLIF will respond and give you an idea of how long he/she was on pain medication. Perhaps after a week, you'll be able to get by with a non-opioid medication.
Did your surgeon instruct you to limit the amount of time spent sitting? Many patients are told to limit sitting to about 15-20 minutes at a time at the beginning. Sitting puts 30% more stress on the discs than either standing or lying down. Even once you are completely healed, it is a good idea to get up about every 45 minutes and change position -- walk around a little bit, do a few stretches, etc. This gives the discs a chance to unload and gives the muscles and soft tissue a break, too.
You would ultimately probably feel better if you avoided sitting on the couch for a few weeks. Over-stuffed furniture in general is not that great for the lumbar spine, and after surgery, it is even less desirable.
If you can get it down, eating prunes or blueberries, or drinking the juices of those fruits will help with constipation. And really push the water.
Please post with your questions. We sometimes forget what things are difficult at the beginning. Sounds like you are doing well. Keep walking, even laps around the main floor of your living quarters helps to stretch out the spinal nerves. Just take it one day at a time and stay positive. Recovery is often done in baby steps.
Thanks for the suggestions. I did call the office today to talk about my concerns and the nurse said the same thing...just because it's called minimally invasive surgery, it's not minimal pain. She said to take enough of the meds to control the pain and don't worry about trying to tough it out. Being a nurse myself, I should know that there are no brownie points for suffering, but it's different when it is oneself.I did take the Flexeril, but I cant tell what is helping what.
Does anybody use a brace of any kind? I feel that I need something to remind me not to bend when I sit down, and maybe a brace would prevent too much bending. I can't really figure out how to sit on a surface on which there are no arms. I can use the bathroom vanity when I sit on the toilet, thank goodness.
The biggest mistake today was sitting down and sewing at the machine for a couple of hours. I did get up and take breaks, but I know that was way too much.
Husband got me some Mag Citrate to try for a laxative and it was the worst sip of anything I have had in my recent memory. I will try to continue taking stool softener and Milk of Mag, but never Mag Citrateeverybody has limits and that is mine.
Thanks for all the support and suggestions. It's very frightening to think I have to go back to work in a little over two weeks!!
I took the Op-site bandage off today and the area certainly does look yellow and violet..it's like I hardly recognize my own rear end.
This feels a bit TMI, but it is important stuff to talk about so I'll post.
My ALIF was a Monday. They did give me stool softeners in the hospital but they didn't work. I went home on the Thursday and remember all too well spending a good half hour "trying". I gave in and took a full-on laxitive on the Friday and that finally got things going....not sure if it was related timing, but I finally had a bowel movement right after a very warm shower. For me, once I got the ball rolling, I got back to being pretty regular. My normal diet is high-fiber and I don't think the hospital food had helped.