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When after surgery do you feel as "good as new"

Natelle2NNatelle2 Posts: 38
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I don't know the answer to this. Does anyone ever feel as "good as new" after a lumbar surgery with hardware?

With cervical fusion, I say yes. I have been there, done that. I hope that some of you have reached that point in recovery and will share exciting news for us here!!!

If not, how close can we get and how long does it take to get there. What helped you the most to accomplish this?

I am told yes and so many say no.

Since I am here and we are experienced, what is the poll?

Thank you :)


  • Good question! I am looking forward to seeing the answers to this one. My hunch is that I will always "be aware" of my back, but maybe if I had always been aware (and as careful as I am now) I wouldn't be in this situation now;)

    I did think I was getting there at 6 months but went downhill then so I am still waiting at 11 months post op.
  • I'm still waiting to "feel as good as new" and its been almost 3 and a half years. Now if your question was "when do you start feeling better then before you had surgery", you might get some positive answers. For me, that would be 13 months.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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  • My first week I felt better than before surgery. For me, I do feel great, only a little pull at the hardware site when I lean.

    Other than that, I have terrible muscle pain in the Thoracic area, I will attribute to the brace being wore 24-7 = mistake.

    I think the lasting pain for me, I hope is the pulled knee, twisted neck, which of course has irritated the herniated disc, the hurt ankle and a knot in my throat.....they treated me like a ragdoll apparently in the surgery room. My back is fixed and the rest of me feel like I went through the mill.

  • The third week. I started to do more :) I was very anxious and nervous about everything. Driving in a car was a nightmare.

    I started to get lots of energy. Then that went away. I went back down hill. Then I started up again and stayed ok.

    I have been ok until I took the belt off at 3 months. It is 3 months and one week.
    I have done the exercise a few times.

    I feel positive, no regrets, I am just really afraid that it might not stay this way. I don't know if that worry is unfounded or just because there are so many people that do so much too soon. Perhaps people are doing things they shoud never do and need surgery again.

    I never want to do anything that will require more surgery. I have no desire to do more than I should. Nothing is worth that. I know you all know what I mean :)
  • Nel,

    Did you do all the P.T. and follow rules to the "t"?

    What your biggest complaint? Do you think the surgery was successful?

    After my neck surgery and I can say that was the best thing I ever did. I was aware, for safty reasons I had to be. Until everything was completely fused, yeah that is normal. Overall, I thought I was terrific!!!

    That is all I want.

    My Mother has surgery in 1963 and she was perfect....Until at 76, she and I were helping my father and she broke the fusion. Everything for her was a piece of cake. I hope you feel that way soon!!!

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  • Granted, I know that I have only had the decompression and fusion at L4-5. I know my back is simple as opposed to so many of you all that have been severely hurt and need more than one level fused etc.

    Why did the two sugeries fail?

    Only a "small amount get back to normal" what do they do that we need to do. Is it the doctor, the precedure? What is the element that determines the best outcome, the element that we can control?

    I just want to feel as good as I did after my neck fusion.

    Perhaps that is not possible, I have always said, I don't sit on my head and the back is very different.
  • So if I understand the 3 years.

    My guess would be that people, like me, might feel better at first because the terrible pain is gone. Then, just as I did, go back down hill again. Even out for a bit........all in all we must wait one year for the fusion to heal.

    Then in the next two, why aren't most people feeling better??? Are they doing too much??? Not enough............what is that piece of info that I am looking for?

    Now, personally, I had trouble believing I needed the hardware. That is what I never saw my Mother have and that is who I am looking at.

    My neighbor, he had surgery two years ago and now last week. He always did too much. The thing is though, he felt well enough to do it.

    I did not think you were delivering bad news. We all know what we know :)

    Trying to learn more, heal faster, better, smarter...stay well longer :)
  • Hey guys, after the initial 12 week healing- each month after my PLIF I felt better/stronger. I think the high point was about 14-16 months out. My Lumbar spine still feels 100% better than it did prior to surgery. I am pretty active. I hike a little, and keep my self busy.

    I can say that fusion was the right choice for me. I was not an ADR candidate since I had instabity. As for healing, like I said each month I gained strenght with time on my feet. I had exhausted my PT pretty much before the surgery so I only recieved 3-4 weeks of it. I used it to gain enough strenght to put on my shoes & socks.

    While it is true that my neck degenerated/ or re-injured badly enough less than a year after my PLIF that I needed neck fusion- I don't blame my low back fusion for it. It was already injured several times over the last 15 years.

    I do think that the 2 fusions contributed to the MVA that has injured my T-spine. I am in pain in my upper back/arms/ribs and at time my feet I am certain it is from my t-spine compression.

    It gets better, try to stay positive keep busy- keep taking your meds.

    Walk and walk some more. There were days when the pain was so bad, keep in mind during the fusing process that your body goes through major adjustments.


  • Everybody is going to have a differnet answer. Those that do not do better have reasons.

    Bad surgeon
    Some other complications
    Did not follow Doctors orders
    Still other issues not found prior to surgery
    Wrong surgery

    My first three months were bad, then it all got better quickly. Off meds,, do pretty much what I did before surgery. So, at five months I would say I am 99% there. Did not stay with PT, to difficult at that time. They want to push you. I just did whatever I could on a day by day basis.

    I am in sales and have talked to many people about my surgery and amazed how many have had similar surgery or have a relative that has. Almost all if not all have had great success. Some still have minor intermittent pain, but are happy they did it.

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