L4-L5 Fusion

03mossy

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Joined
Feb 25, 2020
Messages
267
I am scheduled for a L4-L5 fusion on Wednesday. I didn’t want it to get to this point but we tried everything. Therapy, 5 injections over the past 2 months. I dealt with back issues 3 years ago but was able to get it under control with two injections and then therapy. I continued working out and doing all the exercises they taught me and lost 45 lbs. As much as I tried to prevent another disk slip it happens again the weekend before the 4th of July. Spent the next two months not even being able to stand strait and intense pain 24/7 in my back and down my right leg. So we are at the last resort and going through with the surgery.

Anyone that has gone through this have any advice? Want to get back to playing with my kids, sports and absolutely want to get back to backpack hunting! Being pretty much immobile for 3 months is sure motivating to have this recovery go well and do whatever I can to get my spine healthier.

Thanks
 

knale87

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 20, 2021
Messages
131
L4-S1 back in 2008. Coworker just had a fusion done about a year ago (forget at what level) but the surgery seems way less intrusive now. Listen to your doctors and don’t loose track of your end goal. Good luck with everything.
 
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03mossy

03mossy

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Joined
Feb 25, 2020
Messages
267
Thank you knale87.

This recovery is no joke. Finally started to feel like things are heading in the right direction a couple days ago. This instability is just a weird feeling.
 

mckbcat2000

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2021
Messages
38
How's the recovery coming along? I have a feeling one day I'll be under the knife for a fusion as well. Trying to fend it off best I can.
 

SDHNTR

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
4,145
I need a bi level S1 through L4 ALIF. Anterior approach through the gut. Got no disk material left between S1 and L5 and not much left between L 4 and 5. Constant ache and muscle spasms, sporadic sciatica and radiculopathy. Been putting it off for 4 years now hoping for better technology and perhaps a better alternative, but I’m nearing the end of my rope. I’m quite tired of being in pain. Getting there….

I wish you a speedy recovery and would love to hear your advice.
 

Bubblehide

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Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
3,326
I have stuff going on from L1 to S1 with L5-S1collaps, i.e., severe loss of disk height. After a few trips to my providers urgent care, I started stretching on a daily basis; it's managed to work reasonable well for me, so far (I am far from pain free). I am hoping to be able to put off treatment for some time to come, as I have been through enough in the past year (4 surgeries with one more coming up in December).

Wish you a speedy recovery!
 
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orhunter1

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2022
Messages
81
I have had L5-S1 bulge & sciatica for last 15+ years. I had managed it without medications just being active outdoors. Last couple of years I haven't been able to do any serious outdoor activities and my sciatica is back. Wish you the very best for your surgery and a speedy recovery.
 

orhunter1

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2022
Messages
81
I need a bi level S1 through L4 ALIF. Anterior approach through the gut. Got no disk material left between S1 and L5 and not much left between L 4 and 5. Constant ache and muscle spasms, sporadic sciatica and radiculopathy. Been putting it off for 4 years now hoping for better technology and perhaps a better alternative, but I’m nearing the end of my rope. I’m quite tired of being in pain. Getting there….

I wish you a speedy recovery and would love to hear your advice.
wow! how are you even managing this?
 

SDHNTR

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Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
4,145
wow! how are you even managing this?
Daily stretching and core strength exercises. Ibuprofen and muscle relaxers as needed. Cort injections when the radiculopathy flares up. And just a general tolerance for discomfort. I forgot what life is like pain free.
 
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03mossy

03mossy

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Feb 25, 2020
Messages
267
Similar to you guys I battled this for 3+ years. 3 years ago I had 2 injections and therapy and got in mostly under control. I was able to hunt, play sports and live an active life. Thought I was in the clear and continued to do my exercises and stretching. Until the weekend before the 4th of July I was doing a landscape project screeting sand on my knees, pulled a heavy load and bam that was it. Couldn’t stand up strait for the next 3 months with crazy stabbing pain when I would move wrong and burning throbbing pain down my right leg. Tried therapy and went through 5 more injections with absolutely no relief. Met with a couple different surgeons to hear different approaches. One wanted to go through the front and back… no thanks. The surgeon I ended up choosing did the surgery robotics assisted. He is confident he got it fixed.

The recovery has been rough. It’s been a roller coaster. Seems like 2 bad days and then a good day. The past 3-4 days have been pretty good so I think I have turned a corner. Leg pain is completely gone! All the sharp stabbing pains are gone. Now the only pains can best be described as pulling pains on the lower left of the fusion. Hopefully that goes away soon. I still am not back to work and can only drive short trips into town (10 miles). By the end of those drives I’m hurting pretty bad. I have my 6 week post op on the 14th where they will take x-rays to see how the fusion is doing. Then at that point hopefully they will lift some restrictions and I can start therapy and regaining strength. Right now all I am allowed to do is walk. Walking feels pretty good now. Been off the walker for a couple weeks and use my hiking sticks outside. I underestimated the amount of pain and just how weak I was going to be. Still have a ways to go but I’ll get there.
 
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03mossy

03mossy

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Feb 25, 2020
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267
SDHNTR- your situation sounds a lot like mine was! I also can’t remember what it’s like to be pain free but man I am looking forward to that day! Once I get the all clear and all restrictions off I am on a mission to get in the best shape possible and strengthen the shit out of my core and back to prevent this from ever happening again.
 

Bubblehide

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Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
3,326
Daily stretching and core strength exercises. Ibuprofen and muscle relaxers as needed. Cort injections when the radiculopathy flares up. And just a general tolerance for discomfort. I forgot what life is like pain free.
Sounds simular to my routine except I also get toradol (ketorolac) injections with flare-ups; it's a very strong, but short term anti-inflammatory (might last 3 days max). It's funny to see my providers urgent care doctors faces when I refuse narcotics (the look of baffled disbelief, as they don't know me) and ask for steroid and toradol injections.
 

SDHNTR

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Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
4,145
SDHNTR- your situation sounds a lot like mine was! I also can’t remember what it’s like to be pain free but man I am looking forward to that day! Once I get the all clear and all restrictions off I am on a mission to get in the best shape possible and strengthen the shit out of my core and back to prevent this from ever happening again.
That’s the only thing keeping me going. My docs are all shocked I get along as well as I do. I know that without such commitment I would have been forced under the knife long ago.
 

Lamont22

Junior Member
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
31
Similar to you guys I battled this for 3+ years. 3 years ago I had 2 injections and therapy and got in mostly under control. I was able to hunt, play sports and live an active life. Thought I was in the clear and continued to do my exercises and stretching. Until the weekend before the 4th of July I was doing a landscape project screeting sand on my knees, pulled a heavy load and bam that was it. Couldn’t stand up strait for the next 3 months with crazy stabbing pain when I would move wrong and burning throbbing pain down my right leg. Tried therapy and went through 5 more injections with absolutely no relief. Met with a couple different surgeons to hear different approaches. One wanted to go through the front and back… no thanks. The surgeon I ended up choosing did the surgery robotics assisted. He is confident he got it fixed.

The recovery has been rough. It’s been a roller coaster. Seems like 2 bad days and then a good day. The past 3-4 days have been pretty good so I think I have turned a corner. Leg pain is completely gone! All the sharp stabbing pains are gone. Now the only pains can best be described as pulling pains on the lower left of the fusion. Hopefully that goes away soon. I still am not back to work and can only drive short trips into town (10 miles). By the end of those drives I’m hurting pretty bad. I have my 6 week post op on the 14th where they will take x-rays to see how the fusion is doing. Then at that point hopefully they will lift some restrictions and I can start therapy and regaining strength. Right now all I am allowed to do is walk. Walking feels pretty good now. Been off the walker for a couple weeks and use my hiking sticks outside. I underestimated the amount of pain and just how weak I was going to be. Still have a ways to go but I’ll get there.
Hi there, how is your recovery going?
 
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03mossy

03mossy

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Feb 25, 2020
Messages
267
SLOW!!! Still have lifting restrictions at 20lbs. Still can’t sit for more than 15-20 mins. But when I am up and moving it’s going better. I can walk as long as I want to with no pain which is awesome! They gave me the go ahead to start physical therapy about 3 weeks ago. I get tired real quick but I can feel I am getting stronger. Just really sore the day after which is to be expected. I have my 12 week X-rays on the 6th and I am really praying they give me the go ahead to start stretching. I have lost so much flexibility. Still can’t put on my left sock with out the sock assistant thing. Can’t even come close to being able to tie my left shoe either. Any car ride over a half hour leaves me in a lot of pain also. They say that full recovery is 6 months but what they failed to mention is the amount of pain for that 6 months. I know I am getting better but it’s frustrating at times how long it’s taking.
 
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