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Recovering from L4-S1 PLIF fusion surgery



  • I can't believe it's been already 16 weeks since my surgery!
    I'm back to full time working since week 11, often longer hours.
    I'm able to increase activity levels, still applying the no BTL rules - I utilize my hips to lean forward.
    There are days when I feel back myself, pre back issues, which encourages and motivates me to continue with recovery and exercises.
    I still experience couple of setbacks a week, usually when I overdo it.
    I reached a limit of my annual allowance for PT, working on extending it, since it helps me so much. I've been in PT for 11 weeks and lots of progress was made.
    For my exercises, I'm allowed to do elliptical, recumbent bike and some light swimming!!! My PT also works with me to strengthen my core by using simple cable machines, which has made a huge impact on my mentality. I used to exercise a lot and I was in pretty good shape when my injury happened. It feels like slowly returning back to my environment.
    I don't lift weights, rather focus on movement and stretching to build up my core.
    In 2 weeks I have my CT scan, then following week a visit to my surgeon to see if my fusion is taking place.
    I continue to struggle with hip flexor on left side, but it's slowly getting better. Putting socks on is pretty much the same - challenging, but I'm capable of doing it.
    I'm still very careful with everything I do, slowly adjusting to my new life and "new" back.
    From today's perspective, I'm happy with the outcome of the surgery. Quality of my life improved much, I'm active, can do more and I don't have to take pain killers!
    I'll continue to post updates on my recovery and I hope everything will continue to move in the right direction.
  • LeeLeeMccDeeLLeeLeeMccDee Boston MAPosts: 154
    Great news on your recovery. Seems like you practice mindfulness on your day to day practices Not always easy to do but so very important to live in "the now". Your progress is inspiring!
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  • victorrvvictorr Tampa bay,FloridaPosts: 18
    Hi everyone,I've been waiting a while to post,it's now 16 weeks since my surgery,and feeling good,I've had a couple of setbacks by overdoing chores around the house,vacuuming,mopping floors,the wife slipped and broke her shoulder and our dog had meniscus surgery on her right knee,all just before Thanksgiving,so unfortunately for me I've had alot of added unwanted stuff to do at home,but things are getting better,sometimes stuff happens and you have to do what you have to do,one day at a time!!!
  • Hello All,

    It's glad to hear all of your experiences here, I'm 4 months completed since my L5-S1 fusion surgery, still not going outside due to pains in my lower back and right leg(sciatica). As I was affected with infection(fluid collection around pedicle screws) my Surgeon told me the recovery is going like a 20kmph instead of 90kmph. 

    If I walk for 10 mins then my back will become very sore and right leg pain will be more. When I sit on the chair my buttock bones will pain like as if some had hit with hammer :(

    When i explained my current situation to my surgeon, he wanted to explore the site to see if there is any problem though my MRI and CT reports are fine.

    Can anyone please suggest me here, I really don't want to go for exploration again.

    Thanks in advance!!!
  • It's been a while since I visited the site. I just had my 1 year anniversary since the surgery - July 2016.

    I noticed quite a lot of improvements over the past 6 months. 

    A few setbacks, around February, March and last one in April. When I say setbacks, It's mostly discomfort or light pain, something that I can control with ice. 

    In February I did take couple of pain killers, Vicodin, to help relax and reduce the anxiety. I don't tolerate well heavier pain killers, so I don't have to worry about potential addictions - side effects are too severe for me to outweigh the benefits.

    I've made peace with some of the symptoms - left leg slight pain and discomfort and hip tightness after being active - I hope with time these will slowly diminish or I'll probably get used to it, so I won't notice it.

    I had my MRI done in November, some bone growth, it will take time.

    I'm very strict when it comes to my body posture - no bending at spine, extremely minimal twisting and lifting with my legs. It's something that I'll continue, maybe start some light twisting in another 6 months.

    When it comes to having active life, I'm pretty much back to doing most of my daily routines.

    I work in retail, fast paced job, often with 10-12 hrs long days and I've been able to do it since November last year.

    I can bike for about 1 hr, before I can start developing discomfort in my leg/hip. I can go to gym, use elliptical and some of the machines for weight lifting - very light lifting, mostly utilizing cable machines.

    I tried to jog, but it makes me feel very uncomfortable, I develop pain in my back with several steps taken - but I'm fine with compromising this part of my life.

    Overall, it's a huge improvement. Before surgery, I struggle with being on my feet for more than 2 hrs, sitting for more than 1 hr and I could forget about trying to pick something up off the floor.

    I was taking pain killers, which made me feel much worse - pretty much I had to give up all my daily activities. Going to the movies was never exciting.

    I know I'm still recovering, but slowly, one step at a time, I can get there. It looks like the surgery was a good option for me as of today. I'm trying to be careful not to compromise my upper spine, due to the added stress from the fusion.

    I'll keep you all posted as the time goes on. 

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