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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

>The thing bothering me most is I cant sit for more than a couple hours... It does not seem to be the muscle, but pain right in the middle, along the spine. It seems like the pain is higher than it was before the surgery. Could it be the upper levels resting on the instrumentation instead of the lamina that used to be there? Or is it just resting on nothing? Can anyone give me hope that it will get better? Or is something wrong?

Hi Roro,
I wanted to respond to your OP and subsequent post. I don't think your sitting problem is due to your hardware (at least not solely); I didn't have a fusion and have no hardware, just had a laminectomy (9 weeks ago) and sitting is still my main problem -that and doing things that normally require bending (yet not bending and still doing them somehow). I feel the pain higher than I did prior to my surgery, too (mine was in my buttocks and down both legs prior to surgery, kept me from walking and standing and is now from my tailbone up to above the top of my incision), and I also feel it (now in recovery) in my spine rather than muscle. I was told that it hurts b/c the nerves that were newly 'freed' w/ the surgery have all the pressure put on them again when I sit --and also simply b/c such a large muscle group was cut open/into and the spine worked on. That's apparently enough, let alone having instrumentation as you do. I (also like you) cannot sit in a straight chair more than 2 hours. My legs go numb before even 1 hour, actually, and the one time I sat for 2 hours (straight chair) I went completely numb from the waist down and wasn't able to walk when I stood up (and was in God-awful pain). I tend to sit slightly reclined with my legs up/supported and then I can sit for looong periods if I want to. I have adjusted and do some things standing now, even work on the computer. I propped my keyboard and mouse up on boxes when I was newly home from the hospital, so I could log on and check emails and such. I can sit now to go online, but also stand at the computer still, too (so I can be at it longer than if I only sat down). I just take the keyboard and mouse down from the boxes when I sit and put them back up when I stand (and tilt my monitor up when I'm standing). For me, breaking up sit time with standing time makes all the difference and I can then do more --and for longer periods of time. I ate meals standing up all the time when I was first home from the hospital (for several weeks), but now sit for most (but not all) meals. And, if I have to use a straight chair, I 'comfy it up' with pillows and wedgies and such (even out in public --I don't care how it looks as long as I can do it w/ less pain or for longer). I don't think I'm going to be like this forever, but I do think I'm going to always have more challenge with sitting than I did before. From the information I've gathered before and since my own surgery, I think it's going to take me several months rather than several weeks to really heal up. I know I feel TONS better today at 2 months than I did at 3 weeks, where you're at now. I suspect you'll surpass where I am now when you get to even 2 months, let alone further out than that --b/c at 3 weeks post-op from my back surgery, I was only managing to walk up to 6 [U]houses[/U] from my front door and that took me 20-30 minutes to do so.. with someone holding my arm to steady me when it got too hard for me (usu about 1/2 to 3/4 of the walk) --and I had to walk up my driveway or any slight incline (or down declines) sideways holding onto someone's arm b/c I couldn't do it facing forward or on my own. Those walks drained me, but I tried to take 3 or 4 a day. I walked like a slow-motion Frankenstein, but I walked without my sciatica pain and that's all that mattered to me then. I had back pain, but not sciatica. As for sitting, I couldn't even sit 15 minutes without one of my legs going fully numb at that point, too. I had to be steeply reclined when resting/sitting with my legs up then and had to ride (passenger, of course) in the car fully reclined/horizontal. I didn't have the level of surgery you had nor the length of hospital stay (and I had no surgical complications), but at 3 weeks I was not quite where you seem to be at now --so I hope that gives you some hope. I couldn't sit 15 minutes at 3 weeks and can manage 3 times that now before I start having trouble. I don't think that means you'll be managing 6 hours at 2 months, but I do think you'll definitely be going longer than 2. As for being pressured by your Dr to return to work.., I'm really sorry that you're receiving such pressure. Before surgery, I was told I'd be able to resume my 'duties' at 4 weeks. That is not how things worked out. I only resumed driving 2 weeks ago (just within 5 minutes of home for the first week+) and I still can't even release the emergency brake myself (it's on the floorboard -my son trips it for me). When I drove my son to his Orthodontist last week, I had to drive 10 minutes, then stop and rest 10 minuets (fully reclined --w/ ice that I'd brought), then drive another 10 minutes and rest again before continuing the last 7 minutes. I left an hour early to make sure we had enough time. We got there a little early, so we walked to relieve the 'sit pressure' rather than have me recline again. Today when I drove us both the 22 minutes to physical therapy, I drove straight there, no rest stops needed. Everything improves daily, it seems, and then it really begins to add up as a week, then another passes (although, setbacks occur, too, but then they move forward again).
I'm no expert to offer advice, but I think you should take the time you need to recover well before returning to work and then, maybe just return p/t at first. Also, if you can make some 'standing adjustments' to your job, try that out, too, when you do go back to work. My opinion is that, if you can, you shouldn't return to work before 2 months at the earliest (w/o sitting for 8 hrs... somehow). Oh, and the meds pressure from your doc --grrrrr to that pressure he's putting on you, too. I went off all meds at 3 & 1/2 weeks, then went back on Rx meds just one day before switching to OTC meds f/t from then on (week 5 and since, I think). Now, I'm back to taking some Rx meds again when I need them, am taking something, OTC or RX daily. I'm doing more now and in PT for recovery now, too, and it makes things hurt more. A little pain, I think, is good b/c it tells you that you're doing something wrong (or doing too much), but who needs more than a little to get and listen to that message? Ugh! If you need the pain medication, Rx or OTC, I personally think you should take it, regardless of your doc. And, I think the same as you do about going off the pain meds AND returning to work --both at once does not make sense. However, I would worry about you taking pain meds and returning to work f/t --not feeling the pain that the lengthy sitting is causing you. I really think that waiting to return to work f/t is best --although, again, it's just my opinion and I'm no expert. I hope your doctor's partner is more sensitive to your road to recovery -and wish you luck with the change in care provider while your doc is gone.
--Meghan (who is excessively chatty today --hope that was okay with you... you're post struck a chord in me)

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