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wigado1 01-08-2013 08:38 PM

L5/S1 Recovery
 
I had an ALIF done Dec 17th at L5/S1, just was wondering what some others were feeling at 3 weeks out. Is it ok to use a heating pad. I have been dealing with spine issues since 2010 when I was rear ended at a red light by a person that was not paying attention. She didnt even know that traffic was stopped. I also have had to have an ACDF that was done in Sept 2010.
C5 thru C7.

teteri66 01-08-2013 09:09 PM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
Welcome to the board. I'm so sorry you were the victim of an accident that has changed your life.

The speed of recovery varies a great deal in lumbar fusions. I think ALIFs can be more uncomfortable at the beginning.

I've had two fusions but they were both from the back. After the first one which was a one level PLIF at L4-L5, I was practically comatose for the first two weeks...and it took every ounce of energy I had to walk the length of the family room. The second fusion was a revision from L3 to S1. I was feeling good by the 4th day and was off all pain meds by the 10th day...but recovery was long and I took it very slowly because I didn't want to do anything that would aggravate the sciatic nerve.

The important thing is to follow your surgeon's instructions to a "T" and to learn to listen to your body. Do not be in a hurry and do not push yourself. Growing bone takes lots of energy so you need to rest, and it is very important to take frequent short walks. Walking helps to stretch out the spinal nerves. This helps to keep scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it forms and fills in, especially during the first 13 or so weeks post surgery. For this reason, many short walks are better than taking one or two longer walks per day.

Of course you want to avoid any activity that involves bending or twisting at the waist, pushing, pulling, reaching up overhead or to the side, and don't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Rest and walk. Rest and walk.

wigado1 01-09-2013 07:18 AM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
[QUOTE=teteri66;5114381]Welcome to the board. I'm so sorry you were the victim of an accident that has changed your life.

The speed of recovery varies a great deal in lumbar fusions. I think ALIFs can be more uncomfortable at the beginning.

I've had two fusions but they were both from the back. After the first one which was a one level PLIF at L4-L5, I was practically comatose for the first two weeks...and it took every ounce of energy I had to walk the length of the family room. The second fusion was a revision from L3 to S1. I was feeling good by the 4th day and was off all pain meds by the 10th day...but recovery was long and I took it very slowly because I didn't want to do anything that would aggravate the sciatic nerve.

The important thing is to follow your surgeon's instructions to a "T" and to learn to listen to your body. Do not be in a hurry and do not push yourself. Growing bone takes lots of energy so you need to rest, and it is very important to take frequent short walks. Walking helps to stretch out the spinal nerves. This helps to keep scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it forms and fills in, especially during the first 13 or so weeks post surgery. For this reason, many short walks are better than taking one or two longer walks per day.

Of course you want to avoid any activity that involves bending or twisting at the waist, pushing, pulling, reaching up overhead or to the side, and don't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Rest and walk. Rest and walk.[/QUOTE]

wigado1 01-09-2013 07:37 AM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
Thanks for responding, its nice to have someone who has gone through the procedures who knows what i am feeling.

Corryn78 01-14-2013 10:48 AM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
I had this exact procedure 2 years ago. Honestly at 3 weeks out I was still useless. I had to stay on a strict regimen of pain pills and muscle relaxers. I did not have leg pain prior to surgery, but for some reason my legs ached terribly for months after surgery. That is 99% gone now. My blood pressure was low at the hospital and continued to be low for quite a while, so exerting myself was difficult. This is not an easy surgery to recover from, so be patient and give yourself time :)

Also if you can do pool therapy, that was wonderful.

I stayed with my parents for 1.5 months, then went back to my own house. I took the full 12 weeks off of work, then went back part time for a couple of weeks to ease into a schedule.

I now have a thing white scar on my stomach and the area around my hip is still numb and tingly when touched, but otherwise doesn't bother me. The pain isn't totally gone, but I now have a quality of life that doesn't hold me back from doing things. Best of luck to you!

If you have other questions, I'm happy to help.

ag993 01-15-2013 07:38 AM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
[QUOTE=wigado1;5114370]I had an ALIF done Dec 17th at L5/S1, just was wondering what some others were feeling at 3 weeks out. Is it ok to use a heating pad. I have been dealing with spine issues since 2010 when I was rear ended at a red light by a person that was not paying attention. She didnt even know that traffic was stopped. I also have had to have an ACDF that was done in Sept 2010.
C5 thru C7.[/QUOTE]


Hello Wigado,
At three weeks I was a mess! Watching the clock for meds walking and trying to find a comfortable way to sleep. Had to have raised toilet seat. Grabber stick to pick up items and my child stay with me to assist, she stayed a month.
I had the similar procedure TLIF Nov 6, 2012. I am just now beginning to feel myself, still have muscle tightness in upper and mid back. But hurray I recently quit the narcotics and that helped a lot. It took three tries before my pain level allowed me to stop completly. Thank s to the board here with info on withdrawals issues! 7 months on is no easy stop. But not taking pain meds when you need them is not an option for me. When Mom hurts everyone hurts! Haha.
I also had ACDF August 4, 2012 so two surgeries close together was a lot.
Walk walk walk. That is all that helped me the most and do not be afraid to tell PT when it begins, if it begins to set you back too far. Everyone heals differently and this needs to be taken into consideration. It's taken a lot to help me realize it's a long haul to heal and you have to not try to do what your used to do. Get help when you can and don't sweat the small stuff.
Wishing you well, rest and eat healthy!
AGW.

wigado1 01-16-2013 09:03 PM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
Thanks for your response. Having both surgeries done so close I just couldn't imagine. I had so many problems after my ACDF. That's why it took so long to get to my low back. In the end they had to burn the nerves in my neck for me to get relief. My biggest problem I have now with the lumbar fusion is getting comfortable to sleep. I'm doing ok on the walking. I just got delivered a bone growth stimulator I have to wear 2 hrs a day. I so want to take a bath.

wigado1 01-16-2013 09:08 PM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
Thanks for the info. It is good to talk to people that know what u r going through. I am not a very patient person. So it's hard for me to be slow. It drives me crazy when I see the things I know I can't do. My kids say I'm OCD lol.

teteri66 01-17-2013 06:07 AM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
This will be your opportunity to learn the skill of being patient. I think the best thing I put into practice is to take things one day at a time. Don't bother "taking inventory" every day trying to figure out if you've made any progress from the preceeding days. Just learn to roll with the punches and accept that there will be ups and downs...steps forward and some backward...and, this all will take place according to your body's pace. There is little you can do to speed up the process. People who try usually end up regretting it.

wigado1 01-17-2013 08:53 AM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
Have no doubt that I will have to learn some patience, its just so hard for me.
;). I have done everything myself. I raised my oldest 2 boys since they were preteens and youngest since he was a baby by myself. I went back to school for medical training in my late 40's so it is a big change for me. I have been told by my neuro surgeon that I will not be able to do what I worked so hard to go to school for when the time comes for me to go back to work, so there is alot of adjusting that I need to do.

teteri66 01-17-2013 10:32 AM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
Does your work involving lifting patients or something else?

wigado1 01-17-2013 01:44 PM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
I went to school to become a Medical Assistant, that line of work you can have to lift and assist patients. The job I was at I got let go from. I was actually on my way from one clinic to our satellite clinic when the car accident happened so it ended up being work comp. After I had the 3 level ACDF in 2010 I went back to work after 8 weeks. They gave me a hard time every day. It was awful. I didnt quit so in the end I was told I was not doing my job correctly and let go. I have not worked since 8-24-11. So when I go back there is no light duty. I will need to be at my best and find another job so he thinks it should be something other than medical assistant. they will have to pay to retrain me, I dont want to leave the medical field so I am going to go for my Phlebotomy. This whole thing has been a nightmare.

wigado1 01-31-2013 08:44 PM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
I have been having a lot of pain and pulling under my left butt cheek since I had my surgery. I do the walking but it doesn't seem to be helping. Has anyone else had this after L5S1 fusion.

ag993 01-31-2013 09:07 PM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
Are you taking muscle relaxers? Muscle pain was my biggest issue aside from sciatic pain. Charlie horses in my calves was an every day occurrence.
No I did not have pain in my buttocks after surgery, that was where I had it before the fusion.
Have you spoken to the nurses at your Dr office?

gmak 01-31-2013 09:16 PM

Re: L5/S1 Recovery
 
[QUOTE=wigado1;5126261]I have been having a lot of pain and pulling under my left butt cheek since I had my surgery. I do the walking but it doesn't seem to be helping. Has anyone else had this after L5S1 fusion.[/QUOTE]

Hi wigado, Do you think it is muscular like spasms or do you think it feels like a nerve pain like sciatic nerve? Does it feel like nerve compression symptoms like before the surgery? I had lumbar laminectomies & i had radiating pain down my leg before surgery but still had some postop but intermittent associated with numbness & electric like shocks, pins & needles. It took 6 months before this nerve pain stopped happening,my neurosurgeon told me that the nerves took time to heal & come back to life after being compressed.


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