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4 weeks post L5S1 PLIF - anything we are missing?

Hello all,

Dad recently underwent a PLIF L5/S1 for a bulging/degenerated disc on that level. He is recovering well is now 4 weeks post op. Our post op xray/appointment is scheduled for the 6th week.

Currently, we are following the program set by our Dr including walking as much as possible per day. We are starting to wean/taper off pain medications. So far, we have reduced Lyrica to one dose of 75mg and getting towards 10 mg of Oxycontin twice per day. There were some withdrawal symptoms but nothing severe. Pain is pretty much not present.

Hopefully, after the post op appointment we will be told to do hydrotherapy and/or physio.

My question is this - is there anything you think we might be missing that we could do now or plan for later that might help his recovery and ultimately his rehab?

Things I had in mind are - exercises we can do now to regain some muscles safely, some psychological help, activities he can do at home etc to make him feel more helpful (rather than helpless), and any other tips that you feel might help.

Thanks all for the continued support. We are hoping things turn out well. The real test will come when we are able to see what type of pain is experienced when all pain meds are removed.


  • I could not agree more with what you said. Even though I am still a bit new here, I have seen too many people trying to rush the recovery process. Whether it be the patient themselves, their spouses/partners or friends/family, it is ultimately all up to the surgeon/doctor. I have an upcoming 360 fusion surgery July 1st and everyone in my support system is well aware that this is a long long journey and simply not one to be rushed, whatsoever.

    Sydney, please please heed Sandi's advice. After reading ALOT of her posts/responses, she clearly knows what she's talking about.
    Grade 1 Anterolisthesis/Spondy L5/S1 with Modic changes and mild disc protrusion, DDD, Osteoarthritis L2/L3, Stenosis, Sciatica, Herniation L4/L5. Scheduled for 360 spinal fusion/decompression July 1, 2014.
  • Sydney siderSSydney sider Posts: 22
    edited 06/23/2014 - 2:22 PM
    sandi said:
    As I have said before, do not have your father doing any rehab excercises until he sees the surgeon for his first follow up appointment. I know that you are trying to help your dad, but his recovery from the surgery is a process. Has he decided that he doesn't need to take as much medication or is that something that you decided that it was time for him to taper off it? Did his surgeon/doctor approve the reduction in his dosages?
    Sandi, thanks for your response as always. Sorry if I came across as trying to be too forward with Dad's recovery etc. He is taking it easy, rest assured. We haven't done anything unless being confirmed by our doctor, don't worry :-) Tapering is under instruction too.

    I think this was a reminder not to get too far ahead of oneself. He is just so much better comapred to pre op that it makes it feel like a miracle. However, as you said, the body has gone through a lot and it's sadly easy to forget that at times. I just want to see Dad back and confident and not feel like a burden as soon as possible. However, I understand that in reality it will take a year upwards to see that change. It's just that I read a few post surgery blogs and such and it seems they are doing so much to get ahead but everyone is different I suppose.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice. I am planning to start playing some card games with dad (for 15-20 mins of course) while he sits to get his mind working as well.
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