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Old 09-14-2012, 09:57 PM   #1
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Can't sit or stand for long after DIAM fusion

Hello!! I am new to this forum and would like to ask some questions.

Other than my back problem which worsen this year, I am a healthy 58 yr old woman and just did a L5-S1 DIAM spinal fusion. Prior to fusion, I am unable to sit or stand for a long time. After the surgery, Dr asked me to wear a back brace. But I am unable still to sit and stand for more than 10 minutes at a time. More than 10 minutes, I will feel pain at my back. My surgery was approx 1 month ago. I am worried that the surgery was unsuccessful or the problem is actually not at the fusion area.
Is this normal? what should I expect? any experience, suggestions, opinions, advice would be much appreciated.
thx

 
Old 09-16-2012, 02:29 PM   #2
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Re: Can't sit or stand for long after DIAM fusion

Hi there - welcome! I am not familiar with this exact type of fusion. I had an anterior L4-L5 fusion, no brace. At one month post-op, I was most definitely still unable to sit or stand for very long. I was most diligently trying to walk 3 times per day, for at least 15 minutes. Otherwise, I was in bed, with my knees propped up on pillows. Eventually I got a tall foam wedge to put under my knees.

A good deal of my pain was coming from back spasms, and once I was able to get those under control, I was able to stand and walk a good deal more. I also started physical therapy about 3 weeks post-op, mostly because I wanted to do aquatherapy. Walking in a nice warm pool was most soothing, and I highly recommend aquatherapy, if it's available for you.

 
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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Re: Can't sit or stand for long after DIAM fusion

Thanks for your suggestion. Will definitely try the pillow under my knee. Did you get better now?
Do you mind to tell me how long it takes for yours to fuse?
thx

 
Old 09-16-2012, 05:36 PM   #4
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Re: Can't sit or stand for long after DIAM fusion

Thanks for your suggestion. Will definitely try the pillow under my knee. Did you get better now? can sit and walk for long and sorts.
Do you mind to tell me how long it takes for yours to fuse?
thx

 
Old 09-16-2012, 06:09 PM   #5
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Re: Can't sit or stand for long after DIAM fusion

I am much improved from my initial state post-op. My back still tries to lock up, but I have not significant (oh my gosh, I can't stand up) spasms since about three months post-op.

Other than the spasms, most of my pain was in my legs, even pre-op. The pain went away for about six weeks post-op, then came rushing back! The nerve pain is slightly improved since before surgery; nerves heal very very slowly.

I was pronounced fused at my last appointment, which was about seven months post-op. The only difference as far as being fused is that I can now take Advil and I can have another epidural, which I am considering. I fused earlier than most, due to fortune of being on the younger side and having good bone density (my doctor was originally going to perform an anterior and posterior fusion, but found that my bones were strong enough to warrant only anterior instrumentation).

I can't run or walk long distances, in part because of my hip and in part because of my back. I still log-roll in and out of bed. I still break up my groceries into multiple light bags. I am able to swim, though, and I am at the same distance I was running before my back surgery, but still no flipturns. I am also back at work full-time, since about 12 weeks post-op, and I am able to do most light chores around the house, with the exception of vacuuming and lawn-mowing.

 
Old 09-16-2012, 06:28 PM   #6
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Re: Can't sit or stand for long after DIAM fusion

Thanks for sharing your experience.
I was confused and feeling down because I was expecting to feel better after the op. At least, I can sit and stand for a bit longer. but its not happening and I am feeling the exact same pain at the exact place pre op and post op.
Hopefully there is a bit of a change in 2-4 weeks time.

 
Old 09-16-2012, 06:30 PM   #7
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Re: Can't sit or stand for long after DIAM fusion

Thanks for sharing your experience.
I was confused and feeling down because I was expecting to feel better after the op. At least, I can sit and stand for a bit longer. but its not happening and I am feeling the exact same pain at the exact place pre op and post op.
Hopefully there is a bit of a change in 2-4 weeks time.

 
Old 09-16-2012, 11:43 PM   #8
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Re: Can't sit or stand for long after DIAM fusion

Recovery is very, very slow. Try to keep track of anything new you can do from one week to the next. I found that independence in bathing made me feel like I was actually making progress. There was one week when my husband had to leave town, and my mom was staying with me. I left the bathroom door open in case I needed to yell for help, but I was able to take a shower unassisted. Amazing how we take these things for granted!

As long as you are making improvement, you are probably okay. If you aren't progressing at all or start to feel worse, be sure to give your doctor's office a call. I hope that your doctor's office educated you about walking; it's the most important thing you can do to help with your surgery. Try to walk as much as possible; it keeps your nerves from getting stuck in scar tissue and helps with constipation and healing in general. Walks don't need to be long or fast. (If this is any indication of comparative progress, I was using my walker outside the house until at least four weeks post-op.) Walk as often as you can, around your house/yard or bringing another person with you until you are comfortable walking alone.

 
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