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Upcoming lumbar fusion and problems with pain control

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
Hi all,

I am a newbie. This site has been an absolute Godsend to me, and has provided me with so much information.
I am having a lumbar spinal fusion of L5/S1 on November 4th. I have had two previous back surgeries (laminectomy and discectomy of same region). My surgeon feels that a fusion is needed to stabilize my spine. After both of my first two surgeries, I was back to work in two weeks(I have a sedentary job). Was wondering what to expect as far as recovery. My surgeon feels that I will be back to work in around 4 weeks, but I'm thinking based on the information I'm reading it may be more like 6-8. I realize that everyone is different and heals at different rates. I was healthy and active before this happened.
I have two daughters (6 and 8) and this has been really tough. I know it's not my fault, but I feel bad for my husband, as he's had to really do a lot more since I am unable. I am taking 2 Percocet 5/325mg every 4 to 6 hours. This controls my pain for about 2 hours if I lie on the couch, but not if I'm up and about. My doctor prescribed oxycodone 5mg yesterday, and I developed a migraine and nausea so I stopped taking it. Has anyone ever had this reaction? I am told to rest as much as possible, and I feel that I am but if I'm up for more than 10 to 15 minutes the severe sciatic leg pain starts. How am I supposed to rest more when I have two kids to take care of? My husband has a demanding job and he helps as much as he can.
I am so weary from this pain. I can't sleep more than 3 hours at a time. Is there any positions that help sciatica? Sorry this has gone on so long, but I appreciate any input from members. Lisa :)


  • Welcome to Spine-Health. A great place for info and support. I am scheduled for an ALIF for L4-S1 on Nov. 18th. I know exactly what you are going through. I'm 43 and have 2 daughters, just shy of 5 and 8 years old.

    The last few months have been tough and hubby has been doing a lot for me, thank Goodness.

    I know (as many do here) that the guilty feelings can get to us, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    I had a 2 level fusion, also lumbar, in 2003 and only had a 1 1/2 year old. I didn't have to worry about getting rides to preschool, karate, etc. So its a different situation this time.

    I am trying to get my house as ready as possible for for my restrictions with bending, etc. I don't get much sciatic pain so can't help you with that.

    Feel free to PM me anytime. Lisa
  • have you tried laying down on your back with a pillow under your knees to keep your legs bent? Another position to try if you are a side sleeper is placing a pillow between your knees with legs slightly bent. I hope you find some relief as I think that my pain gets worse when I lack sleep. Good luck with your surgery and keep us posted.
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  • Thanks so much for your reply. I am up (11:20 EST) waiting to take my pain meds so I can sleep for a few hours. My doctor described using a pillow and it really does help. Usually I have to lay on my side with the pillow between my knees, as laying on my back with the pillow causes more pain. I will try to keep my legs slightly bent.

    I'm not a good day sleeper, so I am very sleep deprived. You're are right, lack of sleep definitely increases pain!

    I'll keep posting. Thanks for your support, and hope you enjoy a good night's rest!
  • do your kids go to daycare? can you get extra help froma friend? Asking for help was the HARDEST thing for me as I am so independant. My mom came and helped with my younger kids while my husband took care of me during and after my fusion surgery. Do you have a recliner to help you sleep a bit better especially in the day as you mentioned you are not a day sleeper but this way you could catch some z/s here and there in the recliner. I am sorry for your pain, i hope that you find some relief very soon. Maybe your dr can give you something else in addition to the perocet instead of the oxycotin-demoral helped me pre-op.

    Good luck with your upcoming surgery.
    Keep us posted on your progress!
  • Hi Lisa,

    I had a laminectomy/decompression of L3-L5 and a fusion at L4-L5 on July 31. My doctor said I could go back to work when I felt like it, but I decided to take the entire 12 weeks. I was still having pain in my rightlower back and into to my right hip just a week ago. He gave me permission to take Aleve because it may be inflammation and it worked.(taking the NSAID may have compromised my fusion but I just couldn't take the pain.) Unfortunately, my neuropathy in my feet has come back and I'm guessing I'll be in pain management. I'm hoping maybe this pain will lessen as more healing takes place.

    Take care and stay in touch!


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