How do you define a “successful” spinal fusion? Success after surgery doesn’t have to mean running marathons or climbing mountains. I think recovering from a spinal fusion (or any major surgery) is made up of lots of little triumphs.
These 3 women are on their way to recovery. Reach how each defines her own success so far.
One Month Post L4-S1 Fusion
I’m 50 years old, and I had mild scoliosis, stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. My post surgery pain was awful, but my leg pain was gone immediately. Getting out of bed for my first walk was excruciating, but as soon as I took my first couple of steps the relief was a-a-amazing! I’m still super stiff getting of bed in the morning, but after Percocet and coffee I can start moving, and the more I move the better I feel! I’m covering about 3.5 miles daily (slowly and spread out through several walks per day). I’m feeling better every day.
Five Weeks Post L5-S1 Fusion
I am currently 5 weeks post op from L5-S1 fusion with rods, screws, and cage. I have had no pain or needed any meds since one week out. I have been back to work since my post-op follow up during week two. I am walking 1.5 miles a day and feel better every day.
I think that listening to the doctor and your body will make the process a lot better. No, it is not a fun journey because it is very limiting, but the fact that I am pain-free is amazing and completely worth it! I thank God every day that I am not one of those people with horror stories about surgery and pain. I am so thankful for the prayers, meals, hugs, and people that make it easier to get better. My advice is to make sure you rest and do what the doctor says because it makes a difference in recovery. I look forward to sharing more at month 6, hopefully from some adventure or fitness experience I get to do pain-free! Be blessed!
Five Months Post L4-L5 Fusion
My surgery was a success, but success is different for each person and depends on the individual’s expectations of fusion surgery and end-results. Being able to walk again without pain may be one person’s success, while another person may want to run a marathon! Also, back fusion surgery is a MAJOR big time procedure, and a 100% new body is unrealistic. Unfortunately aches and pains are part of the gig. Recovery is a long process, with good and bad days. Issues like rashes, body itches, feet swelling, leg spasms, and nerve pain in the legs (just to list a few) seem to be the norm in this recovery process. It takes time and a realistic viewpoint.
How Do You Define Your Own Success Story?
I would love to hear about your success story, whether it’s running a 5K or walking to the bathroom. I receive messages every week from people who are scared about their surgery and looking for advice/support. Luckily they managed to land here instead of reading yet another horror story. And trust me, they aren’t just here for my story – they want to hear yours too.
If you’re interested in sharing your story here, please shoot me an email at mommyrunsit (at) gmail (dot) com, or fill out this form:
And if you want to learn more about the women featured in this post or to connect with them, leave a comment on this post. Thank you so much, for sharing your story with us, Lisa, Diane, and Carol!