It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Back Problems Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 04-17-2012, 08:53 PM   #1
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 8
spinaloz HB User
Question L5/S1 ALIF procedure. What to expect post-op?

Dear All,
thanks for reading and participating in this forum. It's been a great help so far in coming to terms with the procedure I will be having in June.

I'm based in Australia. I'm 53. Have had sciatic problems since my 2nd pregnancy 26 years ago now. So that's half my adult life with some sort of back pain, leg numbness and now sciatic pains in both feet. My L5/S1 joint shows no disc height and degenerative changes.

I'd just like to hear from people who have had a recent ALIF and how they coped post-op. How long were you off work? Did you need help at home? and for how long? What kind of rehab did you do and what worked best for you?

And then there's that period being in hospital that I have managed to forget so far! I had 2 c-sections so i know what to expect pain wise and have a coping plan in mind -> I'm visualizing a very positive approach to it all and visualizing walking my way into old age without foot pain and without back aches.

So I'm hoping to hear positive things! But it's also good to know the challenges I will face.

All the best, Mary

 
Old 04-17-2012, 11:44 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Posts: 737
SweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB User
Re: L5/S1 ALIF procedure. What to expect post-op?

Hi Mary -- I had a one-level ALIF in December 2011, but it was L4-L5. I expect that the recovery process is fairly similar.

The first day in the hospital, they will teach you to log roll. If you have good upper body strength, log rolling will be much easier, because you want to keep your shoulders and hip in a straight line, using your arms to push your shoulders up. My first night, I had a sore throat and my low sodium vegetable broth seemed like the best thing I ever tasted. You will probably be in the hospital for at least three days. I wish I had taken ear plugs and a sleep mask because there was a lot of noise and commotion.

Physical therapy in the hospital made sure I could walk up and down a few stairs, as I have two steps in my house. They also gave me a walker and a toiler riser, because I did not feel comfortable sitting all the way down to a regular toilet seat. When I got home, I used the walker for about three weeks. It reminded me not to twist around and kept people in stores from getting too close. You will want either a recliner or a tall chair with good lumbar support. I sat on a dining room chair with a pillow for about a month when I wasn't in bed or walking. (Walking frequently is very important.)

I made the mistake of not taking laxatives before I was keeping down food. I had a tough time with getting BMs going again. I also had a lot of nausea and threw up a few times. (I have mild IBS, and I don't think my intestines enjoyed being moved around.) Sneezing and coughing were both extremely painful, but holding a pillow over my stomach helped.

I had about three months of physical therapy twice a week before I hit a plateau. I really liked the water therapy. The exercises after surgery are significantly modified from before surgery, so don't try to do pre-op exercises! I also did a lot a calf stretches even while lying in bed. My mid and upper back got stiff from the change in posture, so I used a couple of tennis balls up against the wall to massage between the shoulder blades and also the buttock area. (No direct massage on the spine and not on the operated area.)

Husband took care of me for about a month, but I was mostly self-sufficient after a week at home. I could not empty the dishwasher or do any lifting for about three months, but I could heat up simple dishes and bathe myself. I am still not using the vacuum, and I bought a robotic vacuum about a year ago.

Finally, I took a month off work, then started working about 15 hours a week, progressing to about 36 hours per week over the next two months. I have the ability to work at home some days, so this helped me to start working quickly. I also have to use my own leave (sick and vacation), so I pushed to get back to work. With all my dr's appointments, I am currently working just under 40 hours per week.

 
The Following User Says Thank You to SweetPeainSF For This Useful Post:
spinaloz (04-18-2012)
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 04-18-2012, 12:05 AM   #3
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 8
spinaloz HB User
Re: L5/S1 ALIF procedure. What to expect post-op?

Thanks SO much - this is exactly the kind of things I was hoping to hear. Re: exercise - thanks for the tips on log roll etc. My PT will not be happy to hear about the exercises before Op! but i have some weight to lose so must keep cycling and swimming while i can. and it takes my mind off the date. interesting to hear about work too - I'm in the same situation but have about 6 weeks of sick leave saved up. Not sure how i'll cope with sitting down for a whole day so may have to be inventive there too. Many thanks again.

 
Old 04-18-2012, 01:09 AM   #4
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Posts: 737
SweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB UserSweetPeainSF HB User
Re: L5/S1 ALIF procedure. What to expect post-op?

Sorry -- I think I wasn't clear. It's okay to do pre-op physical therapy, and in my opinion, the more the better. But, after the surgery, you need to be re-evaluated. The post-op exercises will be very different.

I was able to sit on my stationary bicycle and pedal (not vigorously) for ten minutes about six weeks post-op. Swimming was forbidden until about five months. I had another procedure, so I need to wait another week before I can swim, but I am itching to get back out there! I gained about ten pounds post-op, so good to be at your ideal weight beforehand. I'm also a vegetarian, so I stocked up on lots of Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and tofu products, because it's important to keep your protein intake high.

At work, I have a desk that goes up and down, so I am able to sit/sit in a saddle chair/stand throughout the day. Very helpful! I also bought a $20-ish lumbar support pillow which is helpful for longer car rides, but would also make an office chair more comfortable. Your surgeon probably will want you to stand and move around every 20-30 minutes once you go back to work.

 
The Following User Says Thank You to SweetPeainSF For This Useful Post:
spinaloz (04-19-2012)
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
Post fusion ALIF L5_S1 dankduke Back Problems 5 10-05-2011 09:10 AM
Fellow ALIF patients, can you help me? Pandorasback Back Problems 36 09-22-2011 06:18 AM
7months post ALIF sudden new sciatic symptoms Bgranda Back Problems 2 09-16-2011 07:27 PM
3 weeks post ALIF pain(discomfort)question?? fedupfor Back Problems 12 08-30-2010 07:36 PM
Going for ALIF procudure! Want Positive Feedback!!! fedupfor Back Problems 18 03-28-2010 05:58 AM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is Off
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Join Our Newsletter

Stay healthy through tips curated by our health experts.

Whoops,

There was a problem adding your email Try again

Thank You

Your email has been added




Top 10 Drugs Discussed on this Board.
(Go to DrugTalk.com for complete list)
Ibuprofen
Lyrica
Morphine
Neurontin
Oxycontin
  Percocet
Soma Tylenol
Valium
Vicodin




TOP THANKED CONTRIBUTORS



teteri66 (1120), gmak (131), SweetPeainSF (78), maltluver (71), twohands (64), pebblebeach3 (63), cheryl1213 (51), Moldova (46), ibake&pray (41), workinmom572 (40)

Site Wide Totals

teteri66 (1180), MSJayhawk (1004), Apollo123 (904), Titchou (847), janewhite1 (823), Gabriel (759), ladybud (754), sammy64 (668), midwest1 (668), BlueSkies14 (610)



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:00 AM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!