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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Well....first, welcome to the board, and, you are in the right place.

I am fused from L3-S1, after first being fused at L4-5 for spondylolisthesis . Mine was a posterior surgery, 2010.

First, what was the approach for your surgery? I’m not sure they can do this major a surgery “minimally invasively,” but how was yours done? Were you muscles cut?

It makes a difference in what I would say to you....IF you had an invasive surgery, I would tell you that you are early in the surgical process and it will take a good year until you begin to feel “normal.”

I’m not sure what you have been told by your surgeon (neuro or ortho spine??), but a 3-level surgery is major surgery and you will not be anywhere close to “back to normal” in three months...unless you are extremely lucky!

I cannot remember when I began PT but, in my case, my surgeon’s goal was that we do NOTHING that even slightly began to aggravate sciatic nerves....As a result I began and stopped PT 3 times and each time returned to plain old walking until I became a bit stronger.

It may be that you are doing too much too soon and pushing too much.

It is very common to have SIJ and what seems to be piriformis issues after lower lumbar fusion. Once movement is lost in those lowest segments, the SIJ become the first area that is capable of movement. It takes the brunt of movement and since it is not designed to move more than a small amount, it often develops pain or even instability as a result.

It is important to develop strong muscles in the buttocks...glutes, etc. Often the glutes just kind of stop working and we are trying to walk and do all those other functions with other, less appropriate, muscles.

The most important advice I can give you is to be patient and realize recovery takes a long be positive and keep looking for answers...and to really learn to listen to your body and avoid any activity that you sense may cause you pain!
Thank you for your reply. Yes, posterior approach and 10 inch incision.
I'm trying to not be discouraged. I had L4-5 fusion (2015) and left SI fusion in 2017, both due to a fall on the ice. After each of them, I felt stronger in 2-3 months -- this is much different. !

At the moment I'd be happy just to be able to walk. Using walker but concentrating on posture and alignment, trying cane some but not able to much yet. Deconditioning as I'm more sedentary, and now I'm adding supine abdominal work and some hip flexor stretch on bed.

I'm also trying to find ways to mildly stretch hamstrings, etc. where there is much tightness, but without engaging the painful lower back muscles. PT used the neurostimulator to resolve trigger points in mid and upper back, that helped A Lot.

With this latest problem, I'm back to taking a half of a percoset at night to sleep. I had been totally off it for a month. This is worst flare so far, upsetting.

Thanks for the perspective and positivity, it's very helpful!

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