• rockabillychick rockabillychick
    September 11, 2008
    recovery from spinal fusion?
    rockabillychick rockabillychick
    September 11, 2008

    Hello everyone-

    I am looking for anyone who has had a spinal fusion.  I have getting ready to have one done on my lower lumbar due to degenerative disc disease that has greatly affected L4.  I also have major facet inflammation that is ruling out a disc replacement. I will be in surgery ASAP after having a discogram next week. 

    Can anyone tell me what recovery from a fusion is like? I have read many websites but it always feels like none of the information is from actual patients. Things that I am greatly concerned about-

    1. How long is the hospital stay after surgery?

    2. Could you walk up stairs after leaving the hospital?  I have a long staircase I will have to walk up to get into my home.

    3. Did you need a shower seat?

    4. Could you care for yourself immediately after returning from the hospital (shower, bath, make food, get water, get to the bathroom)?

    5. How intense was the pain?

    6. Were you able to handle it with the meds you were already taking before surgery?

    7.  Did they have to give you additional meds?

    I have been on pain meds for almost a year now, and raises in doses have been made as well.  I am afraid of how my pain will be handled after surgery adds more to it.

    Thank you!

     

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

  • Amy Tudor
    Health Guide
    July 18, 2014
    Amy Tudor
    Health Guide
    July 18, 2014

    Hi rockabillychick,
     
    I hope your surgery went well! It looks like you got some great advice from our community in answer to your various questions. You could do a wonderful service to our other community members if you came back and told us how the experience was for you, if you did end up having the surgery. What tips would you give someone else in this same boat?
     
    Here are some links on dealing with pain that might be helpful for you from our site.  Thank you for great, detailed question and I hope you're healed up and feeling well now!
     
    Cooking to Control Pain
    Simple Steps Toward Preventing Chronic Pain
    Non-Prescription Topical Pain Relievers



FROM OUR COMMUNITY

  • Blueyes409 September 12, 2008
    Blueyes409
    September 12, 2008

     

    Hi Rockabillychick..

     

    I am new here..just joined today..and came upon your question.  I have had 4 back surgeries in the L4-L5 region. I've had the fusion..when it failed I had rods/pins put in/my body couldn't tollerate the metal..so they were taken out.  Now I have what is said to be failed back syndrome.  I call it "chronic pain"!!  I have had the discogram..be prepared, it is NOT pleasant!  But I do know that if you are this far, you are no stranger to pain.  The nurse that held my hand assured me it would be over soon, and not to feel bad, they have grown men who cry thru this! (I don't mean to scare you really..I got thru it, so will you).

     

    I'll try to address your questions/concerns..(but please remember..this is only MY exp)

    Hospitol stay was about 3 days.  You know these days they don't like to keep you in very long, no matter how you feel!  I was released with a back brace (that was fitted to me prior to surgery..if you do get this..USE IT..it helps!).

     

    My pain was excruciating!  But then again..my surgeries were not successfull!  That doesn't mean yours will be!  I went in to all surgeries with faith and hope...regardless of the outcome.

     

    Stairs will be difficult..I left with a walker (and to this day still have the walker, use a cane regularly, and have a wheelchair for extended periods of outings)

     

    Care..My wonderful husband was there to care for me. For the first week or so, he helped with all my personal care.  Yes, I had a shower seat.

     

    Pain meds..My doctors perscribed a good dose right after surgery, to control my pain,  but like many doctors are afraid to subscribe pain meds, so was taken off and told to take OTC pain meds after a short period of time..too soon!

     

    Now..having said all that..not all surgeries are the same and yours may be 100% successfull!  Which I pray is it!  I wasn't so lucky.  Therefore now living 24/7 in chronic pain due to my back and other conditions.  Oh, and what they don't tell you until later..if you start to have pain above the surgery site..they told me it's because that area is componsating for what the surgery area can no longer do.  And since you have DDD as I do, it will gradually get worse..or at least that's what I'm told on a monthly basis!

     

    I will be praying for you during/after your surgery and will keep positive thoughts for you as well.  Stay strong and keep the faith.

    Love, Annie

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Hello everyone-

     

    I am looking for anyone who has had a spinal fusion.  I have getting ready to have one done on my lower lumbar due to degenerative disk disease that has greatly affected L4.  I also have major facet inflamation that is ruling out a disk replacement.

     

    I will be in surgery ASAP after having a discogram next week. 

     

    Can anyone tell me what recovery from a fusion is like.  I have read many websites but it always feels like none of the info is from actual patients.

     

    Things that I am greatly concerned about-

     

    1- How long is the hospital stay after surgery?

    2- Could you walk up stairs after leaving the hospital?  I have a long stair case I will have to walk up to get into my home.

    3- Did you need a shower seat?

    4-Could you care for yourself immediatly after returning from the hospital?

    shower, bath, make food, get water, get to the bathroom

    5- How intense was the pain?

    were you able to handle it with the meds you were already taking before surgery?

    did they have to give you additional meds?

    I have been on pain meds for almost a year now- raises in doses have been made as well.  I am afraid of how my pain will be handled after surgery adds more to it.

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  • Laurie August 06, 2009
    Laurie
    August 06, 2009

    Hi I just had a spinal fusion 3weeks ago. I stayed in the hospital a day and a half . I was able to do stairs when I got home slowly but I did it. I was able to take a shower 5 days after no baths, pools, or hottub (soaking) for about a month. I was in slight pain took pain meds as prescribed and it was under controll, just felt like I had been  to the gym for the first time in years , my muscles sore and very weak. I would do it all over again it took the pain that i originally had away. I'm feeling pretty good now still slow but I'm doing light house work dishes, laundry, just so I don't go stir crazy hang in there it willall be good.  Good luck to you.

                                                       Laurie 

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    • Linda Kranz
      July 14, 2010
      Linda Kranz
      July 14, 2010

      Laurie, what level was your fusion at? I am so envious about your easy time but very happy for you. I had a lamenectomy in 99' with the same results as you, no pain at all. Which I found out is uncommon as well. My surgeon told me the fusion would be about the same but it wasnt. After surgery, I was hooked up to all kinds of things coming out of my spine such as a pain ball, drainage tubes ect for 2-3 days after surgery. Didnt get out of bed for 2 days. Cant even imagine going home in a day and a half with all that. I was in the hospital for 6 days. Well, good luck and hope for continued recovery for you.

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    • tee
      tee
      July 14, 2011
      tee
      tee
      July 14, 2011

      hi laurie, Im glad your surgery went well! i wish mine did, what was your dr name lol.

      i hope everything continues to go well for you! good luck and god bless!Smileget well soon

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  • cindi May 17, 2009
    cindi
    May 17, 2009

    hi ya rockabillychick!!..boy you have a journey and many well thought ? ahead of you, the one thing is that caught my eye,, i am scheduled for a discogram and am anxious as heck, have you had it done yet? could you tel me abot it, the dr. said it is vry painful and also WHY are you having it done? is it because of the tears you might have or leaking??? i so would be very appreciative, if you could back with me and let me know how you are doing and about the disgogram..oh! it seems like everytime a person has a disco gram, surgery is to follow, am i correct, i feeel like i am having a panic attack right here and now, asking yo all these ?Embarassed..the best of luck to you, rockabilly :) and if you do get a chance could you write about the discogram...have to get a xanax now.......Laughing...cindi

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  • Ria
    Ria
    September 29, 2009
    Ria
    Ria
    September 29, 2009

    Hi!  I'm brand new to this site, but I wanted to let you know that not all back surgeries end up as horror stories.  I had spondylolisthesis for 30 years...intermittent leg pain that would respond to exercise, chiropractic treatment.  Then about 3 months ago, I started having more severe leg pain in my right leg only.  This time it did not respond to exercise or chiropractic care.  MRI showed a herniated disc below the affected vertebrae.  Underwent a spinal fusion (L5/S1) on Sept. 4.  Turns out I had a completely broken vertebrae and part of the bone was sitting on top of the nerve!  After surgery, I continued to have some right leg pain, but it was much less.  Over the past month, the pain has slowly decreased - I would say I have about a 90% reduction in pain at this point.  I had a shower seat that I used for the first week and a half.  I walked with a cane for about the same amount of time.  Came off pain meds within 2 weeks.  I walk everyday and have minimal to no pain when walking.  I am overall feeling soooo much better and would do this all over again if needed.  I know some people have tons of trouble, but there are some success stories out there!  I hope this helps...

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    • Sharon Scully
      January 03, 2010
      Sharon Scully
      January 03, 2010

      Hi,  I had a fusion for scoliosis from S1to T10  It's been 8 weeks and I am getting ready to drive and go back to work.  I suffer some pain late in the day and it is harder to lie down than to sit up and/or walk.. I should add that I had a lumbar curve of about 70 degrees before surgery, had idiopathic scoliosis with very little pain since I was an adolescent and it was untreated, had a complete foot reconstruction two years ago (whole foot was moved over after my arch fell-successful operation), have to have my left knee replaced in about 6 months (gets in the way of walking -- pretty painful) and have lots of osteoarthritis.  I had no pain in my joints until 2 years ago when the arthritis really took off.  I am not overweight, and can say I am mostly pleased with the operations I've had so far.  Mostly annoyed that I can't work as much as I'd like as I have two teen-aged daughters who have to get through college and a 65 year old husband who has had both hips replaced and walks with a cane - we are quite the pair.  And,we both used to be pretty good athletes!!

       

      I had a good surgeon for this operation, but the recovery is very long.  Hang in there, there is pain, but it lessens as time passes.  And, I guess I'm lucky the rods and pins in my spine are adhering the way they are supposed to.  (I did not have a PCA post-operatively  because the morphine made me too "nutsy" and I did have tremendous pain for the first 3 weeks, which I learned is unusual.)  I'm now on percocet and oxycodone and the dosage is a way down from what it was a few weeks ago.

       

      I think I made the right decision for myself.  I wish you well.

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  • d . Evans November 10, 2010
    d . Evans
    November 10, 2010

    Hi I am 36 years old and had l5/S1 spinal fusion and decompression surgery. This was for degenerative disc disease and unstable L5. I had my surgery on 27th October 2010 was on a PCA for pain after surgery and was dishcharged home the following day after previously being told i will need to be in hospital for 5 days after surgery. Physio saw me I was up the day after my operation, walking, able to do stairs. Feeling great. My L5 nerve sciatica was completely compressed and i was told by my consultant that i had no disc at all. Apart from having to lay on my back as lower back swollen

     

    Best operation ever it has been two weeks today on no pain killers  pain free a little tip buy a litter picker as you are unable to bend after to help with the healing process of the fusion

     

    I hope this helps

     

     

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    • Scott
      January 01, 2011
      Scott
      January 01, 2011

      I am a 32 year old male and have the exact same condition that you have. I have heard so many mixed accounts of procedures and wanted to ask you (Hopefully you still visit the site) a few questions:

       

      1.  At what point did you decide that you needed to have the surgery? I am in a good deal of pain but can still pick up my son and function around the house and work.

       

      2.  What is you present pain level?

       

      3.  What is you opinion on long term recovery? I love to go running and exercise. When do you envision you will be able to do that?

       

      Thanks a bunch!

       

      3. 

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    • rexcine taylor
      January 05, 2012
      rexcine taylor
      January 05, 2012

      DO NOT HAVE SURGERY I AM A NURSE HAD A FUSION NEVER WORKED AGAIN HURT ALL THE TIME MY LIFE HAS CHANGED COMPLETLY

       

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  • Linda Kranz July 14, 2010
    Linda Kranz
    July 14, 2010

    I had a spinal fusion at L4-L5 on Oct 7. My case was extreme. I didnt have too much pain prior to surgery but was on pain meds which kept it unmder control. But surgeon recommended surgery. Afterwards I thought i was in hell and did not want to live. I couldnt reach in front of me at all or take care of myself at all. I had to have someoen stay with me for the first 2 weeks or I wouldve had to go into a rehab home. I could go to the bathroom but had to use a walker. I had to have someone help me up and fix my meals. You are not supposed to bend or twist for a long time and must wear a back brace for 3 months. I washed at the sink but couldnt bend well enough to clean the private areas so I got a shower chair and that helped. I couldnt get in and out of bed without excusiating pain. I never knew what a true 10 pain level felt like.

    It has been 9 months and I am still in chronic pain. It is the worst getting out of bed. But after i am up and take a percocet , nuerontin, baclofen and sit for awhile it gets bearable. I cannot stand for more than 5 min. but also couldnt before surgery either. I have a thorasic problem too. One thing I am grateful for is that sitting releives my pain totally. And I dont hurt while sleeping either. I just finished up injections to see if they help. So far they havent. They shouldve been tried before surgery not afterwards lol. I wish to God thgat I never had this done.....

    I dont mean to scare you as if it is needed you must do it but be prepared for the worse and you may be better after. Like I said my case is extreme. Most people are better afterwards but recovery is a long process. I still have hope and so does my surgeon that I will improve over time. Pain management also said the injections may still kick in too.

    If you want you can email me at Lindykranz@aol.com

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    • Linda Kranz
      July 14, 2010
      Linda Kranz
      July 14, 2010

      my previous message was for rockabillychick. This is my first time on here and I didnt realize I shouldnt give full name or email address. But anyone needing a friend to go through this with, feel free to email me. But please respect it.

       

      Also to roocabillychick, I had extreme anxiety after surgery as all those nerve endings were flared up. I cried easily, was irritable and depressed. But after a couple of months it passed. I wish you the best. Please let me know when you have your surgery. It might be jsut fine for you. I was in the hospital for 6 days due to my extreme pain. I couldnt get into the vehicle to come home and NEVER couldve climbed stairs. My surgery is complicated with severe nueropathy in my feet. Be prepared to have some help getting into your home. I wish you all the best and my prayers will be with you.

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    • tee
      tee
      July 14, 2011
      tee
      tee
      July 14, 2011

      i agree linda my pain has only gotten worse i pray every day for a miracle! i wish i would wake up and feel good that would be great! but i still have hope good luck all!Laughing

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    • painful anne
      July 27, 2011
      painful anne
      July 27, 2011

      I cry everyday and some times almost all day. I feel bad for my family and friend. You have to talk to someone. But it does have to be some one who has had the surgery. I have had 2 fusions yes I was dumb 2 times. its been 6 years and just getting worse. I wish I could help in some way. But I don't know what i am going to do. God bless u I hope things work out for you. let me know if it has, maybe I could get help. 

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    • Linda Kranz
      July 28, 2011
      Linda Kranz
      July 28, 2011

      Dear painful Anne... My pain has gotten better over time... It has been almost 2 yrs since surgery. I am still in more pain than I was before the surgery but it is better than it was afterwards now... I dont really cry over it anymore. I have gotten used to it. When I wake up in the morning i can barely move... What I do cry about is my future and am I going to get worse as I get older and will the meds quit working in time and then what? ... and I wish I had never had the surgery. I go to pain management and get steriod injections and raidofrequency which burns the nerves. At first it helped alot but now I think I am just stuck with the pain I have... I am still on pain meds and now have gotten put on lyrica and cymbalta as well as the the neurontin I had been taking for yrs. I am still on Lorcet and muscle relaxers and I guess this is my life now.. But it HAS gotten better over time. Sometimes i do things that agravate it and then I hurt worse for awhile but i dont let it stop me from doing what I want to do.. I also have MS which doesnt help at all... I wish you the best... Has it been  6 yrs since your last surgery or the first one? Why did you need it again? I am not sure that I would go through it again... too painful...

       

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    • Linda Kranz
      July 28, 2011
      Linda Kranz
      July 28, 2011

      @Tee.. I dont know how long it has been for you but you sound like i did at first. I really am better... It takes time.. I still am in pain but not as bad and i have learned to deal with it.. My pain meds make it bareable and i can sometimes even forget about it, so be patient.. It will get better and not always be this bad. I think it took about about 1 1/2 yrs to start feeling normal again....  Good luck!

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    • painful anne
      August 02, 2011
      painful anne
      August 02, 2011

      Thank you Linda, its been 6 years from my last surgery, pain only gets worse. I don't let it stop me for doing anything either. But I  do suffer later. Oh well. Glad you answer my question. Really didn't think any one was still on the site. Have a good nite.

       

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    • painful anne
      August 15, 2011
      painful anne
      August 15, 2011

      I hope you didn't get a message just now I hit a wrong key. Sorry. My last surgery was in 2008 I got knoked off a 5 foot ladder at work by a customer, who never helped me get up. No one did not even the workers there.  I dont know why people are like that. I would help anyone If I was there. any ways I am thinking of having all the hard ware taken out with all scar tissue.  I have a hard time with the paincenter I go to they just want me to have the inplant done. I'm not ready for the last resort yet. But getting there. I have more pain after each surgery worse than before any surgery.  I would never never say to anyone to have any back surgery.  Once its been open thats all it takes. there r more people who r in worse pain than before, it seems.  Has anyone had the hardwere taken out? I really don't know what to do anymore. I thank you Linda and anyone else who has emailed me. It makes u feel good in a real weird way knowing that your not the only one out there. I don't wish bad to anyone but like I said in a weird way. Thank you all.

       

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  • rexcine taylor January 05, 2012
    rexcine taylor
    January 05, 2012

    i had a fusion 2 years ago not good get 2nd md to look at your history do not get surgery

     

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  • Linda Kranz July 28, 2011
    Linda Kranz
    July 28, 2011

    Hi.. everybodys recovery is different. Somepeople do just fine afterwards and have a short stay in the hospital and come home and care for themselves just fine... I didnt do to complications from arthritis... I ahd so much pain ... I was int he hosp for 6 days and when I cmae home i needed care around the clock or I wouldve had to go to rehab... It was awful for a couple months but then started to get a little better but it was about 1/2 yrs before I could say I feel better. I go to pain management now and they help some... scroll down and read my old and new posts... I wish you the best of luck and I am sure yuou will do just fine... please pos after your surgery... Linda

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  • tee
    tee
    July 14, 2011
    tee
    tee
    July 14, 2011

    sorry to hear about your pain i ve gone through pain since i was hurt @ work in 2004. i had 2 surgeries on the same disc and the second was a spinal fusion. i wish i had good news but my pain is worse than ever. i was in the hospital for 5 days with a drain in my back & i could barely move it was so painful, i wish someone would have told me atleast i would have expected it. u wont be allowed to shower for awhile because u cant get your back wet and you will need alot of help . good luck & god bless. T

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