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How long did you hurt after fusion?

I had a fusion on 3/1/19 at my L4-5 level.  I had two discectomys at that level in the year prior to the fusion.

I am still in so much pain! My surgeon has ordered a CT to see if I have a loose screw and then we'll be doing an MRI after if that is normal to see if a different level is causing this intense, constant pain.  I have been in PT since 4 weeks post-OP and have been trying to stay active since that is suppose to really help.  I have a torn ACL from my accident so the more I walk, the more that hurts. Ugh! I had an injection in my knee a few weeks ago that has helped.

For those that had a successful fusion, how long were you in pain after? I know each case is so different.  I am starting to get the impression that it is not normal to still be in this much pain.



  • PearTree

    I have had 2 lumbar fusions, L5 first and L3-L4 second, after the first I felt pretty good after 4 weeks, after the second it was 9 weeks before I really felt good, but I was not in any severe pain after about 2 weeks, so I think your surgeon is doing the right thing by checking and performing diagnostic testing.

    Keep us posted


  • PearTree,

    What kind of pain do you have - all in the back or elsewhere too?  I’m a neck patient, but developed severe facet syndrome with a failed artificial disc and had to revise to ACDF.  For me, the pain was intense for maybe 3 months post ACDF surgery... all this to say, if you had a lot of back pain and dysfunction pre surgery, I might be inclined to think it might just take time based on my experience.  

    But also think it’s great that your surgeon is all over it - there’s no reason to take chances when you can have the tests done.  As they say, “Trust but verify!”


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  • I will update, Chip.

    Kevin...I have pain in my back that is debilitating at times.  I also have nerve pain in both legs.  It was at first in just my right leg but is now also in my left leg.  

    I have also been numb on my right side from my lowest rib down to my hip since I woke up from surgery. It is the sensation like when your foot falls asleep.  When I press on it, it has the same feeling as when you step on your foot that is asleep.  I haven't been able to get any good answers from my team about this.

  • PearTree,

    I had an MIS TLIF L4-S1. I would say my pain peaked about a week after surgery and then gradually got better. New and different kinds of pains developed over time; some disappeared, some lessoned. I was mostly pain free 6-7 months after surgery and felt pretty great about 2 years out. I stayed in PT for about 8 months. I think that is one reason i continued to improve. I don't think I have every been truly pain free and struggle with different kinds of pain at times but nothing like before. Im not sure how to read your situation and agree some further testing is warranted. I will say I have a loose screw and a broken screw and do have some hardware pain which I get injections for every so often, but nothing like your situation. 

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