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Ryan8680 04-09-2012 08:14 PM

L4 l5 Fusion 7 weeks P/O and depressed
Well, I don't even know what to think anymore. Some days I feel like I'm doing great and others are horrible. I had a micro discectomy 9/2010 and it only lasted a few months before the disc collapsed. My pain was always on my right side and now I'm experiencing numbness in my left foot with occasional pain in my left leg. I try to walk everyday and I do walk in a pool twice a week. My mornings are great and its all downhill from there. By 6 to 7 every night I'm laying in bed on ice. My legs are jello and sore and so is my lower back. Is this normal @ 7 weeks?

Any feedback is appreciated.


SweetPeainSF 04-10-2012 12:06 AM

Re: L4 l5 Fusion 7 weeks P/O and depressed
Hi -- from my experience, your energy levels and continuing back pain are as expected. Try not to overdo your walking at any one point (short and frequent are best), but lying down to rest and ice is totally normal. Remember that seven weeks is still early in the recovery process, as a fusion recovery is expected to be six-twelve months, with continuing improvement for two years or more.

I would definitely ask your doctor about the new left leg numbness and pain, though.

babsohio 04-10-2012 06:47 AM

Re: L4 l5 Fusion 7 weeks P/O and depressed
Hi there! I had PLIF at L5/S1 a little over a year ago. I did my homework and read a ton of stuff before my surgery. I kept reading people say it took them 8 months to a year before they really felt back to normal. I laughed and thought that seemed pretty excessive.

Well, since having my surgery, I have to agree with them. Here is how my recovery went. I went into surgery straight from PT so I was in pretty good shape before surgery and it still took time to recover.

Here is my comparrison between back surgery and a regular surgery. For me, a week of back surgery is like a day of regular surgery. A month of back surgery recovery is like a week of regular surgery. So a back surgery recovery of 6 to 8 months compares to 6 to 8 weeks of regular surgery recovery.

So for me, I had a c-section and by 6 to 8 weeks I was feeling pretty good and almost all the muscle pain and surgery pain was gone. Well, back surgery was different. The surgery pain on the bones lasted about 3 months which is pretty normal. My muscle pains and issues didn't resolve until 8 months. It was funny, I woke up one day and my back muscles felt good.

I know it is hard but you need to be patient. One day I would feel great and then the next two I would feel awful. Then, again, I would feel good and the next day feel yucky. It does get better.

Best of luck and good luck with your recovery.

Ryan8680 04-10-2012 07:11 AM

Re: L4 l5 Fusion 7 weeks P/O and depressed
Thanks for the encouraging words Sweetpea and Babsohio. I have been trying to be as upbeat as possible, but its really started to wear on me. Sometimes it just feels like there is no end in sight.
I have been fighting these issues for many years, but was forced from my work in 12/2009. I have been a stay at home dad since. Its been more like a lay on the couch make sure he doesn't hurt himself dad.
I will try to stay positive......can't get any worse right?

Thanks again!

onyxgates 04-12-2012 07:54 PM

Re: L4 l5 Fusion 7 weeks P/O and depressed
I had an L4/L5 fusion done in February 2009. PLIF with BMT. Walking is so important...I can't stress that enough...I walked every single day whether just around the block or a mile. I started walking litteraly two hours after my surgery (trust me not my idea but forced on me by my surgeon). Now on to your week 7 I was still on pain killers but my pain was signigicantly lower. I was completely off of all pain killers by June so that was 16 weeks post surgery. Between week 1 and week 16...there were good days and bad days. BTW I do still get aches and pains but nothing a little heating pad can't take away. I am also very active and while I will get tired by the end of the day, I am 100% recovered by the next day. I wish you the best and pray that you get the results that you want.

Good luck and feel free to ask me any questions. Also if you look up my name I kept a diary so that people could see a positive outcome.

teteri66 04-13-2012 12:04 PM

Re: L4 l5 Fusion 7 weeks P/O and depressed
Have you called your surgeon's office or seen him/her since your first check-up? Have they done an X-ray to see if your hardware is in place?

Did you have nerve pain in that same leg prior to surgery or is this a new symptom? If new, did it begin right after surgery or did it come on gradually a couple weeks later?

Sometimes pain can switch sides post surgery due to the fact that the surgeon had to tug on the nerve to free it up, due to tissue inflammation (which can still be a problem at 7 weeks), and/or lots of other reasons.

Seven weeks is too early to be more than slightly concerned. Continue following your surgeon's instructions. Talk small, frequent walks to keep the spinal nerves stretched out and to keep the scar tissue from attaching to the nerve as it fills in...this is the main reason for walking often, even if it is just a stroll around your home several times. Do not sit for more than 20 minutes at one time without getting up, walking, stretching, etc. When you are not walking or standing, you are much better off reclining in a way where the spine is adequately supported.

These first three months are the most important part of your recovery, so even though you may be tempted to push yourself, resist the temptation.

I'm almost two years out from a 3 level lumbar fusion and I am still experiencing some nerve it can be a long road. I'm convinced the spinal fusion exists to teach people patience.

Good luck to you.

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