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Post op-L4-L5 and L5-S1, 3 months

Started by Ginlyn on 11/26/2017 1:35am

Hi, Im new to this group. I had a double lumbar spinal fusion in August of this year. I am still in the brace, but Im back to work, full time, desk job. I went back to work almost 2 months after surgery. I was out of work, almost 4 months before surgery, as it was to painful to sit all day. I feel I went back to work, to early, but had no choice, as my short term disability of 6 months, had run out, and I didnt want to go into long term. I am still having issues, and am concerned, because I just am not noticing any improvement. Minor. If that. My calves and both feet and ankles are swollen on a daily basis, which Ive never had a problem with until after surgery. So swollen I cannot get shoes on. My regular Doc blames the surgery, my neurosurgeon blames "other medical issues" I wear compression stockings almost daily, which relieves some swelliing. I am now having problems with my right knee again, behind the knee, weakness, and now the sensation of burning in my right foot, by the ankle. I cannot go without the brace for more than 15 mins at a time. It feels like there is a giant pole in my back, like a large lump, I compare it to laying flat over a speed bump. My right upper thigh to my knee is numb and painful to the touch. I have difficulty sleeping on my right side, as that giant lump feeling in my lower back, is uncomfortable as hell. I can sleep on my left side, and on my back. I dont start physical therapy until after my 2nd post op visit next week. They cut me off narcotic pain meds after week 2, and was only able to take TYLENOL for pain. I am now taking Advil. I try and exercise, but am so limited to what I can do. Im frustrated. My job takes everything out of me, and just keeping up with life is exhausting. Im just frustrated. I dont know if Im falling behind on my recovery, or if this is normal? I have nothing to compare it to. I hate this huge brace, its cumbersome, but I cannot live without it, and am wondering if Ill ever be able to? Sitting to long at work, its very hard to stand up and walk. Painful and stiff! If I walk to much, shopping, etc, I immediately get horrible pain in my right leg, like burning hot rubber bands snapping at my skin, the entire length of my leg. Any input or feedback , I would gratefully appreciate! Thanks for reading.

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Hello, Ginlyn--thank you for your post and welcome to our Community! We hope this forum offers your reassurance and support. You definitely are not alone in what you're going through.

We'd like to share a resource with you to help you through your recovery--it's a blog written by a spine surgeon on our Editorial Board: ( Spine Surgery Advice ). We've picked a couple posts that we thought may be of interest to you in your recovery:
( Spine Surgery Recovery - The Benefits of Hydrotherapy )
( The Ins and Outs of Recovering from Back Surgery )

Recovering from spine surgery can be a very painful and frustrating experience. Spine surgery is a big deal--it's a major procedure that often comes with a long road to recovery. A multi-level fusion performed open (that is, not using minimally invasive techniques) may take upwards of a year to fully heal. That may sound discouraging, but if you follow your surgeon's recovery instructions, you can expect to be in significantly less pain once that recovery period has ended.

Every spine surgery recovery is different. Some people feel less pain and improved function in 3 months. Others may take a year to get there. With that said, our 2 best pieces of advice are this: 1) If you ever feel like things are just not going right in your recovery, call your surgeon. In most cases, there isn't a cause for concern and you can wait until your next postop visit to get things checked out, but it will help your peace of mind to call. 2) Follow your surgeon's recovery instructions exactly. Wear your brace as directed, engage in my physical activity as directed, work as directed, take your medication as directed. Following your postop orders exactly will protect your recovery better than anything else.

Recovery from spine surgery is just plain hard--and we are so sorry to read about the pain you've experienced. Know, though, that this pain should be short lived and may lead you to a life of less pain down the road. We hope this information helps, and we wish you a smoother road for the rest of your recovery.