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TLIF L5/S1

From: dollypie - on 08/02/2011 3:34pm

Hi all im new here but have been reading everyones stories on spinal fusion so i thought id share my story. Im 14wk post op from TLIF L5/S1 i also had miccrodiscectomy april 2010 due to herniated disc but unfortunately this disc bulged again and facet joints went aswell which resulted in the fusion. At the moment im still taking painkillers although ive recently changed them and lowered the dose because my bowel has remained very lazy since the op and wont work without help ie laxatives movicol and fibregel which has made my tummy very swollen and tender and im flitting between constipation and diaahrea(sorry cant spell it). Im noticing new changes now like no left leg pain,pins and needles or tingleing which is great but the foot pain is coming and going again which is a good sign. I can walk alittle faster and longer now but find after four hours of been up and doing things im exausted and need to lay down and take the pressure of my back,ive been told this is normal.My worry is i havent had any pt and didnt get any after discectomy and now my muscles in my legs feel like they are seazing up and although i can get out of bed now with no pain in my hips, my heels hurt!! i dont know if this is normal after a fusion. Im hoping that im going to be able to get my life back soon ie driving,running etc all the things i used to do pre ops but i would be greatful of any feed back or if anyone has had the same op, i had cage and rods and screws and facet joints removed
Thank You
Dollypie

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on 08/06/2011 11:26pm

HI I have a spinal fusion at l5-s1 march 2011. Two screws, cage, 1 rod. I'm doing ok. I'm getting off the narcotics. I've been on Norco but they want me off it since I'm having a FCE in August. Its a fuctional capacity test for my work. I'm a workcomp case. Well anyways, I'm currently weaning off the Norco, and started taking ultram. It seems to be working. I also take Lyrica, but think I may not need it anymore and I also take muscle relaxors. My biggest problem is my legs are sooooo TIGHT. I have been in PT since I was 5wks post op. I can only handle 5-6lbs and I know what you mean about getting exhausted. For me it feels like my back just wants to collapse when it gets tired. Its a long recovery, much harder than I ever anticipated. I have moodness and some blues, but I'm not taking any antidepressants. I have been taking way too many drugs prior to surgery as well and hate it. They make you a different person. I definetely do not feel like myself and it really sucks! I am like you and want my life back. How much longer? I know no one can tell us. Good luck to you. I'm here if you would like to talk. It helps me to hear from others on how they are doing and coping with all of this!

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on 08/09/2011 2:47am

I too had a fusion in april 2011. I had a fusion and decompression on l4 to s1. I had rods 6 screws and aa cage too. After the surgery and the initial healing of ligaments and muscle i thought i'd improve and even talked about reducing my lyrica/tramadol/paracetemol/diclofenac. But the pain upped again and im still stuck addicted to these...
Im really glad you said about the exaustion as ive been really beating myselfup about being unable to do everyday things! so thanks for that. I feel stuck in a time warp and wish someone would tell me when its going to end...I have xrays again tomorrow to see if the bone is starting to fuse.
Im starting to doubt if i'll ever get out of this pain...
Have you thought about driving an automatic? My bad leg is the left one so an auto is greta for me...without my car i'd be lost....
So lovely to chat to people who know...
How are you coping day to day?

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on 08/09/2011 11:23am

clarriss,
don't feel bad about being exhausted. We have all had major surgery and it takes time to come back. I've read one year to eighteen months for back surgery. I think some of your exhaustion could be your drugs as well. One of the reasons I don't want to be on them. They suck the life out of you. I only have 2 screw, 1 rod and a cage. I only fused l5-s1. L4-l5 is torn as well but ran a discogram and the pain was only coming from l5-s1 it was determined. Pt helps termendiously, but wanting to try aquatheapy. Have heard great things about it. Keep trying don't give up, its hard, very hard actually. Somedays I think I've gotten over the hump and then I have a set back. It can play real mind games with you. Try and stay positive! Good luck

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on 08/12/2011 11:07am

Thanks you so much for your kind words.I have found out why the set back has happened. My surgeon sent me for an mri andhas seen where the slipped verterbrae had been pulled back the disc is now hitting the nerve on one side and a bone spur is hitting it the other. We are now hoping once the swelling goes down that it will give it more room...if not it'll be another op!.
So taking things slow and hoping that the swelling will go down...
will keep you updated . thanks again. x

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on 08/16/2011 1:50pm

Hi Clarris and Breadgirl thank you for your replies sorry i havent posted before now, im totally with you both on the pain killers im still trying to come off the ive just reduced the dose again im just taking 15ml codine and paracetamol four times a day now and although it doesnt touch the pain, i feel ive been on them forever. I would really like my bowel to go back to normal working order(pre op) without having to take stuff to make me go. I had abit of a set back at the weekend i sat down on a regular height chair but when i came to get up my hips didnt want to know and neither did my legs i couldnt walk properly and was bent forward trying to walk but after laying down i was ok but had cramps in both legs all the next day. Has this happened to either of you? Im glad i had the fusion and im sure in time i will feel like my old self and having people like yourselves that have been throgh the same as me helps me alot. Many thanks to you both for replying and i do hope you both feel better soon

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on 08/16/2011 2:53pm

Fiona,
I had horrible leg cramps and shooting nerve pain down my left side prior to surgery but after surgery it was all gone until I started being more active and then the leg cramps came back. I started taking Lyrica and it helps and I only take it prior to bed now. I agree about getting back to myself. I'm pretty impatient for that to happen and I am thinking that I may always have limitations. Hopefully we all can return to some sort of normal life and feel good and productive. Good luck to ya and keep in touch!

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on 08/19/2011 8:17am

Hi Breadgirl ive tried lyrica and it didnt agree with me it put me in bed i was slurring my words and couldnt stand up lol. Ive noticed that the more im doing now round the house and work wise the pain in my lower back and left leg is back and by the evening im in agony,but i work for myself and my husband was made redundant awhile ago although now has temporary employment i need to be back at work.I have cut my tablets down to hopefully help my bowel get back to normal si i understand im going to have some pain,but i have some days without pins n needles so maybe things are settleing down. I hope you are feeling ok and noticing good changes too. Take care and keep in touch.

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on 08/19/2011 8:18am

Hi Breadgirl ive tried lyrica and it didnt agree with me it put me in bed i was slurring my words and couldnt stand up lol. Ive noticed that the more im doing now round the house and work wise the pain in my lower back and left leg is back and by the evening im in agony,but i work for myself and my husband was made redundant awhile ago although now has temporary employment i need to be back at work.I have cut my tablets down to hopefully help my bowel get back to normal si i understand im going to have some pain,but i have some days without pins n needles so maybe things are settleing down. I hope you are feeling ok and noticing good changes too. Take care and keep in touch.

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on 08/23/2011 9:51am

Fiona,
Yes the Lyrica can be strong. I was on 150mg alone with a host of many other drugs after surgery and yes I was slurring my words as well. Heres a funny one, I was talking to my son sitting on the couch the day after surgery and just fell asleep mid sentence! Believe me no one lets me forget that. I was so drugged up I don't remember the first few weeks after surgery, probably a good thing. I slept the first 2-3 months away before I could tolerate much. I still come home after PT and take a nap some days, still get exhausted easily too. I try to take breaks and do little bit at a time. Don't over due it, you will regret it. I've done it so many times. You really should be in PT if your surgery was 3 months ago. My surgeon started me 5 wks after surgery. It helps so much. Currently I'm off the narcotics,YEAH, but having some withdrawls. My pain mgt dr said it should calm down in few wks, taking something to help. Currently on ultram, celebrex, and lyrica. I take muscle relaxors, but honestly I don't think they do a darn thing. I think I'm gonna stop them and see if I even notice it. Some of the leg issues you are having sound similar to what I had and still do once in a while. My PT says my nerves are probably very tight after surgery so we do lots of exercises to try and relieve some of the tightness. I do exercises at home and try and walk everyday for 20-25 mins. Not sure how far I got but my back knows when 20 mins is up. It gets very tired and it feels like its caving in but I know its not. My PT says its loading up and just getting tired. You really need to get to PT, it will help your recovery and probably eliminate some of the issues you are having. Keep in touch and don't stop fighting its a long road but were all here for you.

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on 08/23/2011 5:37pm

Hi folks
I had a fusion at L5/s1 back in 1994. Mine involved anterior and posterior with rods and screws. I was originally told that I would be off work for 5 months, but i had to return after only one month, when you're self employed there isn't any sick days. Anyway, I am still here. As with any surgery the body needs time to get over the anesthetic and the trauma it has suffered. They say it takes 2 years for a woman to get over having a child, well I think 6 months is a good time line after back surgery (I've had 4), and yes medications do make you feel tired. To everyone I say be patient, the day will come when you feel like your old self, the pain and stiffness will get less and less until you find one day it's not there. For the fatigue try looking to a health store for some help, there are lots of products out there to help build your stamina back up.

Good luck to you all, and be patient, things will get better.

Good luck to you all, things will get better.

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on 08/23/2011 6:36pm

Pollywolly,
I have a few questions if you don't mind answering. I had a fusion l5-s1 march of 2011. I'm doing ok, still have some pain, discomfort and stiffness. I am seeing a PT since 5wks after surgery and she has helped me so much. I am just wondering how much your able to lift? Will I ever be my old self ever? I was digasnosed May of 2010 and it took until March 2011 to get surgery due to I was a workcomp case. Things are totally different now they are taking good care of me so anyhow I know I'm babbling I just want to know when things will change. I've heard it takes 12-18 months to be healed. I've been told my fusion looks great. Its great to hear from someone who has had surgery many yrs ago. I guess I just want to know my future will be good. Thanks for posting really appreciate it!

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on 08/24/2011 1:47pm

Hi Breadgirl
Good to hear you are healing well. I didn't go through any pt the surgeon told me just to walk. It's hard to remember exactly when things changed but after 1 month I was back on the ice teaching skating. I know it was way too soon and it was silly thing to do but it was my income and being single I felt I had little choice. My leg pain was gone pretty much right away, and I think by 6 months most of the post op stuff had eased off. I had to have further surgery 2 years later to remove the hardware as it was causing problems, following that I was much better, and for 15 years I was doing fine, yes there would be the odd time when I over did things like gardening but all in all I was better off than before the surgery. I now have issues with other parts of the spine which is inoperable. I could lift and sit etc. As well as before all my back problems started probably within 9 months of the surgery.

Please feel free to ask whatever you need, that's what we are here for to help each other.
Polly

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on 08/28/2011 7:35pm

Polly,
I'm almost 6months out and still have issues. I do walk but only about 20-25mins a day. Off all the narcotics and honestly not realy happy about that. I feel so much uncomfortableness. I can sit but must change positions often and am not able to stand for long periods of time without changing positions and just wanting to sit down. I thought I would be doing so much better by now but I think that I have other problems in my back is hindering my recovery. I have a bulging disc in c5-c6 and my disc which is above the disc which was fixed is torn as well but when they ran a discogram the pain was only coming from one disc so they only fixed the painful one. My PT feels my middle back is taking on alot with my neck and the other disc which is damaged. I do ok for a few weeks then I have a set back and the PT has to put "humpty dumpty" back together. It can get very fustrating and sort of depressing. I really don't think I will be back to my old self ever. Did you ever feel any of this? Its so much harder than I ever thought it would be. Any help would be great, and THANKS!

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on 09/13/2011 4:39pm

Hi breadgirl how are you doing? i hope your feeling better sorry its been awhile but ive just got back from florida. Im still in alot of back and leg pain like you n ive cut my painkillers right down because of the bowel problem but the codine doesnt touch the pain anyway. While on holiday i didnt go on any rollercoasters or big bumpy rides has im so determined not to cause anything to jeprodise the fusion, so im totally stressed out after going to see shrek 4d n been shook about in a moving seat to be in so much more pain mainly in my left leg. The pain makes me hobble and its started off siatic throbbing in my butt cheek n cramp like pain in my hamstring muscle n calf which has made my foot pain worse. I thought id proberbly just pulled a muscle but ive had it over two weeks now in pins n needles have started in my lower back n right leg so im totally fed up. Im seeing my consultant tomorrow so will have to see what he says,i feel like you that im never going to get my old life back. Ive had no pt so have been doing some stretches but cant get much below my knees now n if i sit on floor n stretch my legs out i wobble over i cant sit straight up lol. Anyway sorry for my moaning breadgirl i do hope your ok and improving keep in touch n let me know how your getting on xx

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on 02/12/2012 12:39pm

Hi, I know it's a while since I been on but I was wondering how you are recovering? X

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on 02/13/2012 2:43pm

L5-S1 fusion is the most succesful back fusion done as it' the last in the 13 disc. I had one done '09 as mine was worn in 3 pieces fvrom bad genes and hard work. Not gonna touch the rest of your prognosis as I ain't a Doc but I have almost zero problems/pain/disc loss above or any complication from my L5-S1 fusion, I'll never regret it as mine was worn into 3 small pieces at 45 yrs old = no choice.

Good luck and God Blesss your struggles/pain

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on 03/07/2012 4:15pm

I am scheduled for a L5-S1 fusion on April 24th, after fighting work comp for over 2 years for it. My injury is 8 years old and have a failed surgery from 7 1/2 years ago. Basically having issues for 8 years now.....I want my life back, but sadly have forgotten what it really was. I know once I start feeling ANY relief I am going to push myself and need to remind myself to take it slow. I have heard some people taking calcium with Magnesium and Vit D to help the bones fuse, anyone else doing this? I do have a medical background and this would make sense to take, I am also curious if it would be good to start now. I am 42 and want this surgery to work!! Any and all advice is welcome!!! I know drs cant give you definites because everyone is different, but I would like ideas. How long before PT? Driving? Being off these damn pain pills? Feeling human again??

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on 03/22/2012 5:54pm

hi fiona I had surgery nov 28 2011 they fixed a broken back and also did a tlif from L1 thru L5 8 screws and 2 rods all stainless. Im on aspirin and may take one a week. what I have found is walking helps me from iration. I really dont have pain but muscles get tight, this month they took my brace and walker away. and told me to exercise so thats what I have been doing , I notice i feel lots better. maybe pain dont bother me as much. my back was broken for 40 years. I still take treatments on my bone simulator helps fuse bones. it beenn about 4months since operated on. I wish everyone that has had any type surgery to get well. dont give up hope

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