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anyone ever had a spinal fusion
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anyone ever had a spinal fusion

Hi,new to this group and will be having a fusion done on feb 26 for L4-L5 . A little scared .just wondering if anyone has had it done through the bel
ly before.and how the recovery is and post op pain as well.I also suffer from fibro Wondering; f this may make recovery longer.
8 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
hello and welcome and just be a little patient with us. I think help will come so stay in contact. There is time to prepare and i will come up with something for you soon there mel.  Meanwhile read some of the breathing and focus stuff in earlier posts----many (i wish) are doing these techniques and the pain is on the run!  Right Group???   Omhome
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3112530_tn?1342559764
Welcome, and don't be fearful. There is a lot of information from people who have had procedures done but check the varies areas concerning fusions. I have had fusions done but I am not sure on what areas because it has been a long time. I believe my fusions were done on the L-5,S-1 area. The surgeries did help over time but it takes time to recover.
If you suffer from fibro, I am sure the nerves will not like this procedure but I guess you know your case history so put that all into account for your condition. I am not familiar with fibro so I can't offer any help in that area. Wish I could offer more info.
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1683709_tn?1370713201
Hi, my name is Sue and I have had a spinal fusion.
I have L4 L5 and S1 fused. I also had a rod and screws put in to stabilize my back.

I had bone chips harvested from my hip bone, and it was used to fuse the vertebrae together. I have an ex ray of my back in my profile that you can look at, if you like.

My surgery was done from the back, so I don't know what it's like to have the incision done from the abdomen?  What I can tell you is my surgery helped my legs from becoming paralyzed. And also helped with the excruciating pain I was in.  So the surgery was worth it to me.

Now for the honesty about recovery, that was the difficult part. But I did have around 100 staples closing the incision and also the hardware for my body to get use to! And I also had 3 little ones at the time, so it was hard for my children while I was out of commission. Lifting was very difficult and really not allowed while recovering. So you will need help, someone to do groceries and laundry for you.

I can give you more details later, or friend me, so I can give you more personal information about recovery. It takes a full year for the bones to fuse or knit together, so you have to be careful, and not do any running or falling.
You might be given a back brace/corset to wear while you are healing and may need to get one before your surgery.

About the 3rd day after my operation, the physio therapist came around with a walker and told me to get out of bed and practice walking. I definitely didn't want to get out of bed, but it is important to start moving around when you can. After a week I was walking gingerly with a cane, so that is when i was discharged from hospital.

They keep you pretty drugged up for the first few days, and I had a morphine pump to give myself a dose when the pain was bad. I had a bad reaction to one drug and couldn't sleep, it was making me have hallucinations, I don't think the Dr. believed me, so stick up for yourself if you have bad reactions to any of the drugs.

I also got myself a grabber stick, it has a handle and it helps you pick things up off the floor when you can't bend down. I would totally recommend that you get one of these, I still use my stick, so it is a good investment (and they are pretty inexpensive).

I wish you the best with your surgery, and I hope you can get some information from someone who's had the fusion done from your front. And I hope you get some relief for your symptoms.
And feel free to ask me any questions.
Take care, Sue
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you sue for the info..INFO 'm a nurse aide on apost op floor so I'M know all about. The nurseing staff not beliving pain of the patients..It's so sad..I'm also scared about that. As of today IF have been on loratab10 daily for pain and I'M don't think it will help me after surgery.doesn't help now.my body is use to them.don't want to tell dr this cause I'm afraid he will think IT am looking for stronger pain meds..they are funny now cause so many people abuse them. Thanks for the tip on the  grabber stick great idea!!!!!  Thanks for info very helpful:-)
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you everyone for info!!!
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1683709_tn?1370713201
Hi melmel03,
I'm glad the info was helpful for you.  I think you may have to tell your dr about the pain pills you take now. Because you will have to keep taking them while you are in recovery ( you don't want to go into withdrawal while you are recovering from this type of surgery) and you will definitely need something else for the surgical pain. After a a few weeks you should be ok with your usual dose, and hopefully you will find some pain relief from the surgery.  I would just hate for you to be under- medicated after surgery!

I had an obgyn surgery a few years ago, and I was taking morphine at the time. So the surgeon made sure the nurses were giving me my morphine as scheduled and upped the dose for the first few days.  
I'm sure with your back pain and fibro, the Dr. will be understanding of the situation, they won't want you to suffer needlessly.

Another thing, you will need help getting dressed for the first week, and maybe someone to help you change and clean the wound after showering.
And for bathing, it is too difficult to have a tub. A walk in shower with a hand held shower head, and a grab bar are very helpful. I remember that I had a hard time stepping into the tub to have a shower. But luckily we had a stand up shower in our lower bathroom, but that meant walking up and down some stairs and tired me out.

I hope you have someone to look after you. Once you are home you will pretty much be in bed for a few weeks. But you can probably get yourself to the kitchen and get food from the fridge. But you won't have the energy to be cooking or doing any housework, and it isn't good for your back. It will take you a while to do any bending. So get someone to do your laundry, you will definitely be wanting clean sheets and pyjamas, since you will be in bed for quite a while.

I also remember that it was uncomfortable sitting on the couch, or an type of chair I would sink into! I needed to sit in a very firm chair,  when I was up or watching tv with the family. They would all be lounging and I was only comfortable sitting, up straight, on a wooden chair.

Wow this is bringing back a lot of memories for me!
I wish you well, and I hope you get some pain relief :)
Sue
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3112530_tn?1342559764
I hope this information helps but I may have a negative to offer but don't let it scare you. I had a rod put in my back at the L-4 area of my back many years ago. This surgery helped but 5 years later, it starting impinging on a nerve and I had to have the rod removed. I developed car tissue in this area because of the surgeries done in this specialized area of my back. When the rod was removed, I did experience relief. My back is sensitive around this area and I cannot have any more work in that area. Physical therapy helps but I am limited in this area on what I can and cannot do. Don't let this scare you, this has been MY experience but I have a SEVERE case of DJD. The steroid injections and nerve blocks have helped me over the years and I am walking again after treatment to the piriformis muscle which has troubled me for years. The idea is to stay active as much as you can.
Find out what muscles will be affected and find a way to wake up those muscles with physical therapy. Keeping those muscles active will prevent surgery with hope and determination.
Watch the pain medications, they can slow you down. Remember, this has been my experience but I am walking again after many years of not being able to so there is an end result here and I am doing Pilates for the first time in years. Keeps up the determination and learn more about your condition so you can educate the medical doctors.
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1683709_tn?1370713201
Hi, I just came back from the hospital with my daughter.  She's had a severe stomach bug and has been throwing up for 4 days!  After 2 days with an iv, she is able to come home.

Anyway, while I was there I realized that your surgery is coming up, in 2 weeks time? I was wondering how you are feeling? Are you getting excited or nervous?  I hope you have a great surgeon, and you have all your help and support in place.  And when you are ready, send us a little note to let us know how you are doing.

Good luck melmel, I will be sending you my "good energy" on surgery day.
Take care, Sue

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