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  • 5 days post anterior/posterior lumbar spinal fusion surgery

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    Old 11-27-2011, 02:29 AM   #1
    rcwillia
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    Question 5 days post anterior/posterior lumbar spinal fusion surgery

    Hi! I am so glad to find this supportive place. Everywhere I look online I read horror stories about back surgies and this place doesn't seem to have as many of those. I need support not horror stories right now.

    I had anterior/posterior l5-s1 spinal fusion surgery done on Tuesday, November 22nd. It is currently the morning of Sunday, November 27th. I think I am healing okay but I have a question.

    I was discharged from SICU on Thursday, November 24th (thanksgiving) home. I have become pretty efficient at the log roll. I can get up and down from different sized hard chairs with little problem on my own. I had my first bowel movement yesterday but I am still a little clueless about how to wipe myself after that without bending or twisting. I've been walking at the mall and walking at walmart. I don't have a lot of pain and I'm doing pretty good. I sure hope it stays this way.

    Here's my question. When I lay on my back to sleep I have my legs propped up on two pillows under my knees... Well... Apparently my knees automatically shift outward when laying on my back so that it puts strain on my hips... Like i've been riding a horse all night. Did this happen to anybody else? The pain is located on the outside of my hips and hurts way worse than any pains from surgery currently. Any ideas how to fix this issue? I currently have my belly band binding my thighs together but they are still shifting outward some. I'm just so glad I figured out what was causing it... Now if I can figure out how to fix it.

    And I tried lying on my side... I can only lay on the right side (which is amazing because that was the side that was in pain before surgery). My left side hurts to lay on because of the incision and bone graft sight therefore my right side goes numb after sleeping on it all night.

    Any help, insight, or encouragement would be appreciated. I just turned 29 years old so I'm hoping I made the best choice for my future.

    Rachelle

     
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    Old 11-27-2011, 09:10 AM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: 5 days post anterior/posterior lumbar spinal fusion surgery

    Welcome to the board. I think it sounds like you are doing quite well for being so early in recovery. The first ten days are usually the most difficult.

    I'm wondering if you have too much height under your knees. It sounds like that may be the case. I would suggest you try varying your pillows to see if that helps. I've had two fusions with another smaller surgery in between and all three times I adopted a 24-hour clock. I adopted the schedule of a baby, basically sleeping about 4 hours at a time, then getting up, walking around the house, maybe watching a bit of TV, etc. I would not have been comfortable in any position for a full night's sleep. This was not a rigid schedule. I imagine I was up for longer time periods during the daytime, but my point is that I didn't try to sleep for seven or eight hours at a time.

    So many people complain about insomnia or sleep problems. I found this to be the best way around a whole host of issues. I just listened to my body, slept when I was tired, ate when hungry, and took short walks as often as possible.

    I would suggest you sleep for a couple hours on your back, then switch to your side, with a pillow between your knees, then get up and walk around your house, and then repeat the sequence. The key to remaining somewhat comfortable is to keep changing positions, so no one body part takes the brunt of the position.

    I hope you were told to limit the amount of time spent sitting to no more than 15-20 minutes at a time. And I hope walking was really emphasized. Many doctors don't bother explaining why this is important. Scar tissue will begin to form after surgery, mainly from about the 3rd week to the 12th week. It is very important to walk as it is the best way to keep the spinal nerves stretched out and to keep scar tissue from becoming attached to a nerve.

    It is more important to take many short walks during the course of the day than to take one long walk. At this point, walking is not done for "exercise" but to ensure fresh blood supply to the surgical area and to stretch out the nerves to keep scar tissue from attaching to the nerves. I cannot tell you how many surgeries are ruined from "scar tissue." So, whether you feel like it or not, plan your day to include walks, even if it is only around your house.

    Are you wearing a brace? Remember to eat lots of high fiber foods, drink lots of fluids, including water, etc. as you don't want to become constipated. Many people use stool softeners for several weeks after surgery in addition to a good high fiber diet...as pain medications can really upset the digestive system.

    Please feel free to post with any and all concerns. Many of us have had fusions and are more than happy to share our experiences and opinions!!

    Sounds like you are doing great. Just take it day by day...keep a positive attitude and learn to be patient. Recovery is a long, slow process...but just remember that it is really important to do it right the first time! You don't want to have to repeat this surgery.

     
    Old 11-28-2011, 08:55 AM   #3
    rcwillia
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    Re: 5 days post anterior/posterior lumbar spinal fusion surgery

    Thanks so much for replying to both of my posts. It feels good having someone out there to guide me through this as I gave silly questions.

     
    Old 11-28-2011, 09:16 AM   #4
    teteri66
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    Re: 5 days post anterior/posterior lumbar spinal fusion surgery

    No questions are silly. That's how you learn as doctors just do not have time these days to answer all our questions, even if we remembered to ask them at the appointment rather than on the way home!

    I didn't know anything about the spine, let alone the ins and outs of procedures and surgeries before my first sciatic pain....we're all in the same boat at the beginning!

     
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