6 weeks post op L4-S1 fusion with decompression-2nd week of PT

This is my first post here.  I'm 51 and had surgery on Jan 15. It was an extensive surgery, took 5 hours and I required a blood transfusion before I could go home. Was in the hospital for 4 days.  Posterior fusion L4-S1 with decompression for severe spondylolisthesis.  I started PT at 4 weeks post op due to pain and muscle spasms and weakness in my left leg.  So far after 2 weeks of therapy I already see improvement.  The key as I understand it now is strengthening my core and stretching out the muscles that were affected by the surgery. The therapist said I may have some inflammation at S2, the area below my fusion that is causing the main stinging type pain.  As I keep my core tight I do see that pain decreasing.   I'm hoping to return to work at 8 weeks post op.  My job is a sitting job, working at a computer.  Looking to share any experiences to those that have had a similar surgery.  I'm trying to look for pain medicine alternatives.  Has anyone had any luck with Curamin? I started this yesterday hoping for some pain relief.  Taking super digestive enzymes along with it since my gallbladder has been removed.  I'm taking Valium and Hydrocodone right now but trying to wean off of them.




  • Susie,
    Glad the PT has helped. I had that surgery done years ago with great results. It was a slow recovery process which took me 3 months before returning to a production type job position. I walked all the time once I got to feeling better to get me out of the house. I'm now 9 days post op from one level fusion and doing ok. That surgery you had doesn't compare to this upper level. I was in my mid 40's after that surgery and remember the recovery like it was yesterday. Lots of baby steps or take 2 backwards. Very rough 8 weeks for sure.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 4,299
    edited 07/23/2019 - 1:08 PM
    hello smithsm964! andwelcome!
    please click on link for helpful information!

    moderator, ~savage
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 4,299
    I wish you the very best in your recovery!
    Although I am unable to personally relate to your question, I wanted to mention a post on site called...Recovery the most important phase. It may be helpful to you.

    You can find that by using search on site, upper right on page.
    This search may also be helpful to you re any of your concerns.
    You may be led to current or older discussions, and or to the medical side of this site with article and videos.

    moderator, ~~savage
  • smithsm964ssmithsm964 Posts: 9
    edited 02/28/2016 - 7:16 AM
    @Savage- Thank you!   I will search for that post, and others that may help as I learn more about this site. So far it has provided me with so much helpful information.  I know that I greatly underestimated the recovery that I would need from having this surgery.  I have been keeping a detailed diary and can tell that each week is better and I know I just have to stay positive and focused on the long term result, knowing this will be a slow recovery.  

    @Kbragg- Thank you for your encouraging words!  Is does help so much to hear your story.  It sure has been a rough 6 weeks so far.  Like you said, lots of baby steps and a few backwards. 
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 809

    Hey Susie

    I've done your same surgery and it sounds like you are making pretty good progress all things considered. Six weeks is still the early stages especailly for a 2 level lower lumbar fusion.  The L5-S1 is the hardest and toughest level to fuse.  If your PT and/or doctor agrees... and you like it... try swimming.  I've found that it was great for rebuilding my back and core muscles and it didn't stress/hurt my bones/joints like other forms of PT.   I usually combine 30 minutes of daily swimming along with some walking.  Try and get off those pain meds if you can... they are like poison for your body.  I know it's not easy but your body will thank you once you do.  You have a good outlook... keep on truckin.

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  • @hvills- Thank you!  I go see my surgeon on Tuesday March 8 to see if I can return to limited work on March 14. I will ask him about other activities I can do.  Where I live we have limited inside swimming areas so that may have to wait until summer when our park pool opens.  So far PT is doing wonders.  I can do all the exercises and stretches they have given me so far.  I am very sore just from the muscles being worked.  I keep having this sharp stinging pain in my left thigh/hip area that the PT says is from the S2 inflammation.  I'm going to ask the Dr about that too.   My biggest fear is having a failed fusion.  
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