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Back Surgery recovery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
If you have had back surgery How was your recovery?Walking,sitting,standing,bathing,dressing, so on?I just want to know what to expect.Surgery date 1-20-09


  • My recovery has been off and on.

    My pain was very controlled due to the fentanyl patch etc..I had my mom here to help me in the beginning with bathing etc and I am pretty well self sufficient now. I use my grabber and I keep reminding myself not to twist lift or bend.

    The hard part for me has been the vomiting, I have not been able to keep anything down in over a week. I am extremely dehydrated and the doc will not acknowledge that I am getting very sick due to the lack of fluids. My home mealth nurse came today and wanted me to go to the ER to have fluids replaced because I am so dehydrated that I am barely peeing.

    I have lost 14 pounds in two weeks and can not keep down even a swallow of water.

    I finally took of scopolamine patch and fentanyl patch today because I am sure that is causing the nausea.

    Physically, the surgery site is the least of my

    Hope you do better than me :)

    good luck!!
  • Dina, how long ago did you take off the Fentanyl? It will throw you into withdrawal, especially at that dose. It made me sick at first, but when I put it on the belly, all the sickness went away. If you have it on your chest, that may be what's going on, it's the worst place to have it.

    Sorry Lisa, I didn't mean to highjack your post, but I'll tell you about my recovery. :) What kind of surgery are you having? Recovery differs according to the type of back surgery. I had a 2 level fusion on L4-S1 and it was very intense. I spent 5 days in the hospital, 3 were in ICU. The stay was a blur because I was on a PCA machine and slept a lot. I think I had IV Morphine from the machine and I had on my pain patch. Even so the pain was unbelievable; more than labor. At home I had my mom and relatives help out. You need someone home for at least 2 weeks. You can't shower for the first few days. After that, a good shower seat comes in handy. I had my walker and raised toilet seat from my first back surgery. A grabber is a must. I was allowed to drive 4 months later, only short distances no more than 30 minute driving. At 3 months I finally went to PT; I was let go because of no improvement. Long story short, I'm going on 8 months post op and the surgery didn't work out for me. I have chronic back pain and nerve damage in one leg, and currently I'm seeing a pain specialist.
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  • I am 7 weeks out of a 360 fusion with ADR at L4/L5. I went home the next day without any problems. I showered the next day, standing up, with my hubby there to help wash my back. What a guy! He stayed home from work for a week to help out and that was great because I didn't have to get up and get anything.
    I walked up and down my long driveway and sat in my recliner(with extra pillows) but the best was a kitchen chair because it is easier to get up from especially if it has arms. Get a grabber, 10 bucks or so at the store or order online. Also, sorry to be graphic but a toilet tongs, yes, since you cannot bend it is necessary. You can get a special one that is bent at the end or just get a regular cooking type at your local discount store. Wrap the paper and have at it, practice before surgery. Shave your legs the night before and clip the toe nails, it will be a while before you do that again.

    Oh, have someone stay with you the entire time at the hospital if possible. This way if you have any issues they can make sure you are taken care of.
    Best Wishes
  • I have only been on Fentanyl for 2 1/2 weeks. I took it off about 2 or 3 hours ago, I asked the nurse at MD office she said I should be fine, Do you think it will throw me into withdrawal?

    I had it on my shoulder. I actually just ate a sandwich. That is the fist solid food I have eaten in 2 weeks.

  • It all depends on the surgery you are having...

    I had a 360 fusion with instrumentation at L4/L5 and then 6 months later a fusion from L1 to L5 with a bone graft from my hip. Both surgeries were 5 days in the hospital. I could barely sit up the day after but was able to walk with a walker the next day. I am an athlete so was in very good shape before the surgery. It definitely humbles you. Walking is more like a shuffle at first. A long handled shoe horn is very nice to have, the kind with the spring on the end works best I think. Pants with elastic waist bands are easiest to get on. I didn't even bother with socks unless someone put them on for me. I was able to get back in the water to swim in 3 weeks. Being weightless is wonderful. And yes shave your legs and clip your toenails the night before. And get a reacher. I had a safety bar put on my tub as it is a jacuzzi tub so is higher than a normal tub and I am quite short. Walking really helped. I had to kneel to eat as I could not sit in a rigid chair for several weeks. The recliner I could sit in. Everyone is different but expect a long recovery. The bone graft from my hip took the longest to recover from. Good luck.


    14 surgeries including L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation; L1-L5 fusion with bone graft from hip; L4/L5 laminectomy; accupuncture, prolotherapy, PT, numerous cortisone injections and rhizotomies
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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  • wow 14 lbs I wish that happens to me Just kidding.I do hope I loose weight but not like that. I have gained 40 lbs since I hurt my back 6 yrs ago.scopolamine patch and fentanyl patch are two things I have never heard of.Did they give them after or before surgery?So your surgery and mine will be 1 month apart.I sure hope things look up for you.,lisa
  • well I figured this might be a isssue. So pain you explain what to do?LOl. Sorry I am not sure what you mean ... use the tong to wipe? thanks,lisa
  • i will not be having a graph thank god but they will be going through my stomach to place a artificial disk L-4-5. I need to get some big loose pull on pants. I am not in good shape at all considering I have been in such cronic pain for 6 years I slwely but surely gained over 40 lbs. I hope to get it together after surgery.
  • On December 4 I had a PLIF procedure for (L5-S1). I am almost 5 weeks post op and starting to really notice a difference. The hip pain on the right side has completely disappeared and, the post op nerve pain on the left side has not been noticed the past three days. I am really encouraged with the outcome, but was initially discouraged about the recovery time.

    Fortunately, the time has really passed by quickly. The doctor does not want me to have PT right now and has only approved walking for exercise. Like you, I've put on a few pounds this past year (20 lbs.) due to my lack of exercising, so I was disappointed that I couldn't do more sooner.

    I know it's been mentioned in an earlier post, but we cannot stress enough the value you will find in owning a "grabber" or two. If I could only figure out how shave my legs and clip my toe nails with it, then I would be set :)

    Sitting was harder for me than walking and rolling over in bed gets easier over time. You will need to remember to get in and out of bed properly (they will show you in the hospital) and stick to it religously.

    Sorry to have such a long post, but I tried to answer all the questions in your post. Take care and check back often. The folks on this forum helped me more than the doctors and nurses ever thought to. Good luck!!
  • I have a grabber.I got one for christmas. Did you use a toilet lift of shower seat? I was told I need those things. Also how big was your incision?I just want to know what to expect when I wake up.oh ya did your Doc order you a hospital bed? I was told by mine I need to lay at 45 degree angle for the first 4 weeks? what did you do most the day ? where you up walking or in bed? I am not allowed to lift ofver 2 lbs or sit longer then 5 minuted in a 2 hr periods for the 1st 4 weeks..That seems like a long time to do those things.Thanks for all your help.I hope things continue to improve for you.,lisa
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