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My friend had a spinal fusion (L4/L5) 4 months ago, along with a laminectomy. By the time she had the operation, she had been experiencing sciatica for four to six months due to either the herniation alone, or the narrowing in the spinal canal. At four months, her doctor says the fusion looks great, but she is still experiencing symptoms of sciatica (not as often as before, but it comes and goes in multiple areas), and some back pain. I know that it takes a very long time for the nerves to regrow (1mm/day), and that until the process is further along, she will continue to experience pain, but she is getting very frustrated and depressed about the fact that she can't actually see any progress. I am trying to keep her spirits up, but I am not the one living with it, and thought perhaps some of you who had gone through this and made it through could talk a little about your experiences? I am worried that she will quit the exercises and walking all together and don't want her to stop doing the things that she can do that will help her. When did the pain begin to lessen? What were the best things that you found helped you - both physically, and kept you upbeat mentally when the progress wasn't immediately apparant? And what were the triggers to stay away from with sciatic pain? Thanks a lot!

Jennifer

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Hi Jennifer,

I'm scheduled for a L4/L5 Spinal Fusion with Laminectomy on Friday 09/04/2010. My car was written off when a midi-bus tried to park in my boot at 80km/h and the only plus side to the accident is that I seem to be a textbook case for this surgery, according to the South African Spine Society:
I just got back into playing competitive League squash again after taking a 3 year break due to work, life and the birth of my daughter, so am very eager to make a speedy and full recovery.
I have been suffering through sever back, leg and what feels like kidney pain for the last 2months and look forward to some relief/improvement.
I will be more than willing to share my progress if it may help...

Sincerely,
Jean
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I was injured in november 2006.  I have had everything from a spinal cord stimulator implant (four years) many multiple procedures and live in the virtual "hell" of chronic pain.  My entire right hip, leg, knee and feel are numb, tingling, painful to the touch, etc.   I have had two surgeries and no luck.  It gets unbearable and so am I.  I am tired, physically from hauling the body around by my upper arms (which have developed muscularly so all isn't a loss, lol). I HATE THIS LIFE. I literally feel as though I am crippled from the waist down.  All because of a freak accident when teaching as a child ran into me full force on the right side.  My L4 L5 are bone on bone and don't get me started on the burning, tingling, nerve damage to right thigh.  I know this won't come back, been too long. It will be 6 years to the day that the accident happened and I have surgery Nov. 5th and am required to be in hospital three days. YIKES.  Any information about success, what to expect, length of surgery, supsequent do's and dont's is welcomed. My surgeon told me three months of recovery BEFORE any physical therapy.  Sadly, I am on of those pack and a half smokers who has quit since Oct. 1.  I use an electronic one with 0mg of nicotine and ocassionally change out when things are tough.  I use the 6mg cartrifdge.  If I obstain from the 6mg as well as the ocassional puff on the old one will that be harmful?  I have 24 more painful days ahead and know on top of the hell I already have, I have even more due to this darn habit.  PLEASE RESPOND PLEASE HELP PLEASE.  This is my last chance for a modicum of relief.  Thanks, Lisa

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I had L5 S1 lumbar fusion and laminectomy in April of 2012, to be honest its been six months for me and my recovery it feels like is taking forever. I m 28 years old and I thought my body would heal fast but apparently thats not what happened on my case. the xrays show everything normal but I don't feel normal! I completely understand your friend. I m still experiencing sciatica and pain every day. I live on tylenol every day because i refuse to take any perscription pain drugs. Physical therapy helped me when I went after the surgery but it would only be for couple hours at a time. I also gained some weight, which i m trying to lose... The most important after this surgery is support from the people that love you. there is so many days that I feel depressed.

most important your friend should avoid lifting any weights for a while(even grocery shopping is painfull for me). Frequent small walks helped me and also I ordered a tens unit at home which been very helpful when i m in pain. I get tired very easily after the surgery. When I asked the doctor why I m feeling this way he said to me that my body is consuming most of its energy to heal. and recover.Most of the doctors talk about a full year recovery! I hope your friend will start feeling better:)
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I had L4/L5 Fusion. The disc between my L4/L5 was totally gone. I have spacers in there place. 6 screws and 2 rods. I think I got the deluxe package. The screws in my spine look like ACE Hardware screws. LOL. One month after surgery, I was out of my hard brace wearing a soft brace. I started physical therphy using the industrial strength tens unit that I was maxing out at 500 volts. I took walks also to keep mobile. When ever I exerted myself to much, I would get a shooting pain from my left foot to my thigh. On those days, I'd put my soft brace back on and relax. I've been in the NAVY for 20 years and wanted to get back to normal. I had depression also because I couldn't put my own socks on and do some of the normal routine stuff around the house. My Dr. told me if I rushed myself shorter than a year to recover that I would have complications. He told me that at my 8 month window. I've slowed down alot. My Dr. told me that with the amount of hardware to help my back heel that it could take up to 18 months to fully gain full mobility. To fight the weight, I watch my calorie intake and drink coffee. Coffee is a natural dietric. There's no easy days. You have to be aware of your movements and think before you act. You will get stronger as long as you think smarter. I'm 40 now and I'm at my 11 month window. Taking it easy..

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I had a L5 laminectomy with fusion on November 8th 2012.  I had pain for almost a year before surgery.  I ended with two rods and four screws and I feel great! No more pain running down my leg to my toes.  I went back to work at Ford on the assembly line December 18th. 

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Could you please tell me who did your surgery? There are so many negative posts and I am looking at L4-L5 fusion, and I am so perplexed about who and where to have the surgery. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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I had laminectomy and fusion L4-L5 two months ago at Cleveland Clinic in Broward County, Florida by Dr. Mouw.  I have not had any pain or difficulty walking.  I walk at least two miles every day.  I still wear a back brace  until the calcium deposits form.  Before the surgery I had severe pain and difficulty walking.  The best decision I have ever made is to go to Dr. Mouw.

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My L4/L5 have gone and the Surgeon put a stabiliser in - it has not really worked and we are now talking Fusion - whats it really like, i still have the sciatica and back feels out of kilter with numbness, but i wonder when i should take the plunge? :-(

 

 

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i just had my 3 month check up after L4-5 fusion 4 / 02/2013 and i am great--the recovery was not difficult- my surgery was on a tues-i came home from hospital the following sat. and was walking 2 miles by the end of the next week. Find a great dr. - get the surgery done and get back into your life! i had mine done in houston @ texas orth/ fondren ortho/ david wimberley. Good Luck!
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Wow―Good for you! It’s always wonderful to read when someone has had success! I developed the debilitating neurogenic claudication (NC) just before surgery, probably because I waited too long, thinking it would heal itself. Big mistake! I was in the hospital for nine days after surgery due to the NC. But when it in finally went away, everything has been fine. It’s been thirteen months to the day since I had a lower laminectomy, surgery—L3,4,5, and I am still doing great. The surgery was the best thing I did. I too found a wonderful and compassionate doctor here in Long Beach, CA―Dr Kasra Rowshan. He is young, but had the best bedside manner to make me feel safe and comfortable. He has awards in his office for being a compassionate doctor. I would definitely go back to him again. In the beginning when I was allowed three months after surgery, I walked everyday with a neighbor, and eventually worked up to walking three miles a day. I hope you continue to have a good recovery. There will be days when you have a bad day, but it does go away. Just know your limitations. I’m back at Yoga, but only do what my back permits. I wish you continued success in healing. Take care. ~GloryB
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Going thru the same thing! had l 4 l5 laminectomy back in May. baby work it ! Exercise ! we talking water aerobics! We are doing 3+ times a week . Keep your weight down !! It gets better everyday even though it is incrementally hang in there. I was a full QUAD and am walking in the house UNASSISTED walking and I also broke my neck in a cycling accident and couldn't even type on the computer back in 2012 or write my name . I have had to re learn everything. WE are not giving up! with Gods help we will be walking to the store soon..Its like playing any game if u give up you lose remember no losers here!!!
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I had a spinal fusion Sept. 28th. (L4/L5 with hardware). I am just now able to really walk my doctor suggested 20 min. a day. I have been released from the doctor with a good report that everything is healing nicely. I try to stay away from anti inflamitory because I under stand it hinders the healing process, although there are times I really need one (if out all day walking and such). I still experience pain first thing in the morning and then again in late afternoon. Ice really-really does work. I too am concerned that I won't be able to return to normal and that the process is not moving along like I thought it should. My doct said it could take a year. I too am very discouraged at times. I can't lift anything in front of me, it's hard to bend down and pick up anything I've dropped and my energy is still way down. I had a really horribly pinched nerve in my left leg that put my pain level at 8+ and had to have a nerve block. Meds just about did me in and I took myself off of everything cold-turkey. If I hadn't of had my church praying for me I think I would have lost it. Now I know a little bit about what drug withdrawals feel like. I now have nerve apathy in my feet and nerve damage in my left leg and foot. I am hoping that I will be able to do some of what I use to do, but it's really scary cause I'm concerned about the fusion. I certainly don't want to ever do this again. This is my 3rd. back surgery since about 1998...each time more sever. My back was actually curving to the left due to degenerative disc so it was a "have to". I hope your friend recovers nicely. I don't know what i would have done without my husband through all of this. It's really hard not to be able to do anything. I'm hoping for better days ahead.
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I had a L5-S1 ruputered disk. I ended up having to have a fusion cage put in and on top of that a laminectomy. My surgery was March 13,2014. I am in the early stages of recovery. My first few weeks was completely unbearable in pain, depression. All i could do was lay down and rest. And that got old very quick. But im now a little over a month since surgery. I still have to take it extremely easy. I did have horrible excruiating pain in both of my lower legs into my feet. My dr put me on Lyrica twice a day. Pain seemed to subside after a few days. But im on it for who knows how long. But at times the pain comes back just not as bad. But i do have severe muscle spasms in my back aound the area of my incision sight. But i now have a fusion cage between my L5 and S1 plus 2 rods and 4 screws. And i dont sleep at all. And the meds keep me so nausous. Dont know whats causing that though. But the dr that did my surgery in Dr. Cordover at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. Birmingham, Alabama.
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I had the same surgery in 2011. The best thing I did was to start pilates a year and a half ago. I only go once a week now but it has done wonders for me. Initially I went twice a week when I first started but I can only make Sat class now. No more pain after a few weeks of pilates. It should be the gold standard for back physical therapy.
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