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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

I am waaaaaaay better off than before my fusions. I still have pain, but it's nothing like the pain I had before. This was definitely the right move for me!

Please keep in mind, Erin dear, that you're very early on in your recovery process. It will take several months before you start feeling like you again. Most of us have had an increase in pain at 3-6 weeks due to the numbing agents used during surgery wearing off. The hip pain where they take the graft from can be pretty painful, but don't despair. It will get better.

I couldn't straighten my legs from a sitting position after surgery. They were straight when I was standing, so I could walk okay, but when I was sitting, I could only raise my feet about 2 inches from the floor. In PT, that was something we worked on. I had a special exercise for that. My PTist said I might not ever get all of it back, but she figured I'd get 80%. At 1 1/2 years post op, that's about where I am. I actually feel like my legs are continuing to slowly improve. A large part of that is that I'm slowly getting a little bit of muscle back in my legs. I never had much leg muscle, but what I had pretty much wasted away during my long recovery. If you're athletic, I wouldn't expect that to happen to you. I had a lot of levels done, so my recovery was longer than most people.

As for not seeing many positive stories, you need to realize that those people who have had successful surgeries, about 97% of people who have been through it, aren't hanging around on message boards. They're back at work, going to the movies and parties, carting kids around, etc. They've gotten their lives back. A few of them might pop in here every now and then to encourage people like you, but for the most part, you aren't going to find them online.

Hang in there, Erin. It's a long, slow process. Take it a day at a time.

If you have other questions as you go through your recovery, please post. We'll do our best to help you.

I hope you start feeling a little better soon.

Take care,
I guess I'm a success story. I'm a little over a year post-op from PLIF at the L5-S1.

It's been a very long year but I think I've done very well. Oddly, I was up and walking 2-4 miles a day within days of being out of the hospital. I did that as much as possible until it got too hot to keep it up. I did well in PT but I've unfortunately slacked off of that and all the excersises (I know...everyone go get their wet noodles!).

Before surgery I had constant pain. No amount of sitting or laying down would alleviate the throbbing pain. The more active I was the worse it got and I eventually just stayed on pain meds. After surgery I got dependent on the pain meds. I was still in so much pain many months post-op that I was afraid to stop the meds. But I also suffer with fibromyalgia which is just horrible in the winter time so in addition to the back pain I had/have all over joint and muscle pain. I knew that the pain meds were making it worse so at the first of this year I started weaning. At that time I was on 90mg/day and now I take only 5mg in the morning. Reducing the meds definatley helped me recover because I knew my brain was so messed up on meds that my body didn't know what to feel anymore.

If I spend a lot of time on my feet my back will get VERY sore. But the thing that is different now is that I can rest and the pain subsides. Before surgery the pain just didn't stop. I'm grateful for just that one improvement. At least I know at the end of the day, I can lay down and alleviate the pain.

This will always be with me though. It's in my mind nearly all the time and I consider it before I do any kind of activity...big or small. It's just a part of my life as is the fibromyalgia and I have to learn to live with it. But I'm very thankful I've seen some improvements and hope that in the future I will continue to get stronger and more improved. I'd say I'm probably 50% improved, and while I wish is was more I'm at least satisfied for now with that much of an improvement.

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