Just a couple random thoughts -- first of all, in a way it is a good thing that you aren't able to sit for long periods of time. Sitting is one of the worst things you with lower lumbar fusions should be doing -- sitting puts 30+% more stress on the discs than standing/walking or lying down. At around six months, if you are sitting one hour, you need to get up and move around a bit...nothing strenuous, just enough to let the discs breathe a bit, etc. If you go to a movie, sit near the back so you can stand up for a little break.
Second, I find myself writing quite often that the issues with SI joints, piriformis and what feels like "hip" pain are much more common post lower lumbar fusion than the medical community lets on. In fact, just based on experiences from this board, I would venture to say that practically everyone who has had a fusion that includes L5-S1 had problems to some extent. I know in my case it took a good year to get this sorted out (and that was with treatments once per week that included acupuncture.)
Part of the reason for this is that the soft tissue and fascia have to learn new positioning after the spine is altered by being fused together. Movement in general is affected. Many people who are in need of a fusion have been compensating for pain -- this affects the way they move, their gait, their posture and structural alignment. Muscles often become unbalanced from this compensation -- so after fusion, where vertebrae may have been slightly pulled back into place, where alignment can be slightly affected just by the way you are placed on the table, etc. there is a period of adjustment post surgery!
Remember that it takes a good year for most people to feel something approaching "back to normal." (to the point that you might actually have a day go past where you aren't thinking about your back and your surgery....) It takes a year for the new bone to set up and become hard and strong, even though technically the cells may have formed and knitted together much earlier.
The Following User Says Thank You to teteri66 For This Useful Post:
Hi all, I am 16 months post op from L3 through S1 360 degree fusion and still remain hopeful for continued improvement. My surgeon said he has seen late improvements, although its rare to see significant nerve pain improvement after the year mark. I am grateful for small improvements. Immediately after surgery pain meds included tramadol, oxycodone and neurontin. I have been able to stop the tramadol and have begun to reduce the oxycodone (just don't like the side effects anymore). Granted, it is a slow process of reducing them, 5mg a day reduction once a month to avoid withdrawl symptoms. I have been on them over two years and really want to see what my pain threshold is without (if I can get there). When I do reduce it takes a few weeks for my body to settle down from body aches, sweating, and increased nerve pain. I am now at half the dose from post surgery and the nerve pain just doesn't go away at all, day or night. Still have problems getting more than 1 1/2 to 2 hours of semi sleep at a time. But, I am determined to get off the oxycodone!
I have tried physical therapy, Accupuncture, massage therapy, and acupressure therapies with some benefits. My acupuncturist stopped my therapy until all the structural issues with my spine are taken care of. My surgeon informed me that I will need another fusion, this time cervical (C3 through C6), which will reduce my next range of motion by at least 50%. Also having issues in the mid back area (buldging discs with some nerve pains). At this point I am reluctant (to say the least) of any more fusions. Have recently started an arthritis water exercise program at our neighborhood community center and amazingly getting in the therapeutic temperature of the water relieves most of my back and nerve pain! Just wish it would last but as soon as exiting the water, the pains return full force. Oh well, at least some relief , I'll take what I can get!
One of the hardest things for me has been to accept that I will most likely never be the same energetic little fireball I once was, doing everything myself, keeping busy all day and into the night. Now I have to ask for help with things and that was hard to do for me. I have to take many breaks during the day, lay down and take naps, otherwise, the nerve pain increases significantly. I had to go out on disability from my job of 33 years and I hate that my teenage daughter has had to witness all of this and has had to become my driver and assistant while shopping (not supposed to drive or lift and carry more than 5 lbs, which is hard to limit yourself to). This is what motivates me to continue in seeking remedies to try and help my body recover and heal itself. We invested in a quality juicer to help my body obtain nutrients to help repair and rebuild.
Looking back to when I came home from the hospital and comparing to now, I am better, but still such a long way from what I was and what I want to be. Maybe I will spend the rest of my life trying to improve, but it gives me something to focus on and I don't feel powerless.
Sorry for the long post and hopefully I haven't rambled too much, but only others who have experienced fusions understands, and I try not to complain too much around my family, although sometimes I still cry out in my sleep or when trying to get up after sitting or lying down. My thoughts and prayers for all of you either recovering or soon to be recovering from fusion surgery. Keep moving and don't give up, it will get better, maybe different, but better !
OMG... Here I am 6 months into recovery and still cannot sit longer than 20 to 30 minutes without pain. It is very difficult since my job requires me to sit and work at a computer all day. I have tried all kinds of chairs for pressure, currently using a knell down kind but nothing is helping. Acupuncture seemed to help a bit but they tell me there still must be something structurally wrong for me to have this much pain. I don't have nerve issues but my pain seems to be worse than before the fusion.... Very frustrating and depressed.
The following user gives a hug of support to Cthom2:
Beedy Bo (09-22-2013)
Hang in there Cthom,
I feel your pain. Work from home too..on computer. 9 weeks post op. can't sit more than 30 min.paraspinal muscle are stretched so tight, and the fusion area still hurts.
BUT.. I know it will get better. I won't overdo it. I won't let it get me down.
We are here for each other.
Hang in there too Patsy.
[QUOTE=Cthom2;5221503]OMG... Here I am 6 months into recovery and still cannot sit longer than 20 to 30 minutes without pain. It is very difficult since my job requires me to sit and work at a computer all day. I have tried all kinds of chairs for pressure, currently using a knell down kind but nothing is helping. Acupuncture seemed to help a bit but they tell me there still must be something structurally wrong for me to have this much pain. I don't have nerve issues but my pain seems to be worse than before the fusion.... Very frustrating and depressed.[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE="teteri66;5221618"]Cthom2 ~ Who is it that tells you there must be something wrong since you are in so much pain? Is all your pain in your back?[/QUOTE]
The acupuncturist, yes all my pain is in my back, no hip or leg pain. I go for MRIs and X-rays next week then finally get to see my surgeon on the30th. Hopefully this will give me some answers, till then I'll continue with my strengthening exercises and try to keep positive
The following user gives a hug of support to Cthom2:
[QUOTE=Patsy2;5129116]I am now 10 weeks out and not much better. My lower back, especially in hips and around tailbone, hurts to sit. I am still having nerve pain in my right hip and down the leg. My initial problem was with the left side. When I sneeze the pain is awful. Will see doc in 2 weeks. Hope I can get some answers out of him.[/QUOTE]
I know your post is a little older, but I am having the same issue. I went in for right Side fusion and came out with horrible left side nerve pain. My surgery was July 18th.
The following user gives a hug of support to Luvpnk:
Beedy Bo (09-22-2013)
[QUOTE=Luvpnk;5225368]I know your post is a little older, but I am having the same issue. I went in for right Side fusion and came out with horrible left side nerve pain. My surgery was July 18th.[/QUOTE]
I am scheduled to have the screws removed next week. Will let you know how it turns out.
The following user gives a hug of support to Patsy2:
Beedy Bo (11-04-2013)
I had the surgery Tues. of last week. The surgery went well, hurt more than first one. I was free of leg pain all week. I started walking again on Fri and Sat. Sunday the nerve pain was back in my leg. I wonder if there is a connection. Took a road trip Monday and had a rough time. The pain is no better. I don't see my doc till 12/27