I am 7 weeks out from surgery. L5-S1 fusion, herniated disc, scoliosis, rods, screws, spacer, bone graft, the whole nine yards. My question: is it normal to still need to lay down often during the day? I just feel so tired, even though I walk. And it's still uncomfortable to sit. I have pain in my hips and down the back of my legs. I was told it could take up to 6 mos. for all the pain to go away.
Welcome to the board. You are still very early in recovery. This surgery takes a lot out of you and it takes many months for energy levels to return to normal.
Almost everyone that posts on the board has been surprised at the general lack of energy they felt for quite some time. Usually twelve weeks or around then there is some progress. But for many people it takes a year to begin to forget you had surgery.
If you are having nerve pain, it can take longer than six months for the pain to resolve...and of course, depending on how long the nerve was compressed, it may never completely resolve. Doctors will say that after one year, if the pain is still there, it is likely to be permanent...but I have found that I am still seeing changes and my 3 level fusion was in June of 2010.
Sometimes people don't realize that it takes a lot of energy to grow new bone cells. It is very important to rest. That and taking many short walks are your most important activities, especially during the first three months.
I quickly learned, once I was allowed to drive, that I no longer could do a string of errands, shopping, etc. in one trip. By the time I showered, dressed, etc. I was almost ready for a nap. By the time I did one errand, I was ready to rest. So I learned to make just one appointment per day...like if I had PT, I didn't try to do much else that day.
Don't be discouraged. This is all very normal. You will find that a great deal of patience is required to get through recovery successfully!
Good luck Cthom2. The surgery went fine. I never had any pain at the surgery site. Changing the dressing everyday was a real pain in the @**, though, ha. They will fit you for a brace and give you a grabber to pick up things. They also gave me a little gizmo to help put on my socks. I used a potty chair for about the first 2 or 3 weeks. I am 62 and I did so well that I dismissed PT before their time was up. Just be sure and ask lots of questions cause they forget to tell you everything, I'm sure.
I'm coming up to 3 months post up of L5-S1 fusion w/hardware and spacer as well. I still need to lay down throughout the day frequently, especially after going for a long walk or anything strenuous. I've done a lot of reading about it since I wasn't prepared for it prior to the surgery (went in for a micro revision, came out a fusion). This seems to be common, but everyone heals differently, some quickly, some slowly... I still have sciatic nerve pain, but have seen dramatic improvements, having the pain go from in my calf recede up to my hip, but I do get dull aches that radiate down to my heel when I lay down if I've pushed myself that day. I haven't started PT yet, hopeing to get cleared at the 3 month check up I can so that I can return to work in a few weeks which is physically demanding and rough on the back so that will make it interesting! Just keep a positive attitude, it definately can put a funk in your routine!
The following user gives a hug of support to StockliRacer: gmak (02-07-2013)
They have not mentioned future PT. Guess I'll find out more
at my 3 mos check up. I started taking Neurontin last week
for the nerve pain. Don't think it does much and it bothers
my stomach so I think i'll give it up.
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.
L5/S1 herniated disc and collapsed on the left side. Pinching nerves. They did a fusion, took out facet joint, bone graft, shaved off the herniation. Have rods, one is longer I think he said to help correct scoliosis. He had told me he would go in from the side. I have one long scar in the middle and two little ones on both sides. The nerve pain is basically gone in the left leg except when I sneeze. Overall I'm better than before surgery but not where I want to be.
I had L-4 L-5 fusion in May. I still have a lot of pain and most of it is in my hips. I pray that a couple of more months will help things to get better. I have a really bad back and I abused it on the job for many years so hopefully time will help.
Definitely don't rush yourself your body needs time to heal. Healing takes a lot of energy so you are going to be tired. I had my fusion back in '97 then a revisions w/hardware in '98. Just don't rush things, especially getting back to a physically demanding job....that could cause more harm. I too developed hip pain, both hips. It started about 2-3 months after. There may be some inflammation causing the leg pain , give it time and rest.
The Following User Says Thank You to KG5634 For This Useful Post: Patsy2 (02-08-2013)
I am almost 4weeks out from my anterior fusion on l5/s1 and the only real thing that has surprised me is the nerve endings on the outside of my thighs being so sensitive and the fire like feelings I get when I lay down. No one really talked about that and I have read tons of blogs and not really anyone talked about it. That has totally been my worst part of this surgery is the leg pain - yes my incision site still hurts but I knew that was going to be part of the process.....
I was off pain meds the next week and was cleared to drive after week three. Now I have only actually driven once but nice to know I have options!
I have another follow up in three weeks and I feel I am doing pretty well. Love that I don't have pain in my back anymore!
Cinchgirl, Wow it sounds like you were healing very quickly! You are very lucky to have had everything go so smoothly and to actually be pain free right now in your back! VERY LUCKY! When you say you have outer thigh pain...is it starting in your hip and then going down? If so how far down your leg to pain go? Or perhaps you don't even have that anymore? Also just remember even though you're feeling better doesn't mean you should get back to normal activity yet. You might feel great and just out of habit do more than you actually should.