Hey, I am ina similar spot, had a fusion in 2009 and bottom part didn't take quite right, screws broke due to a deformity I was born with and pressure exerted on screws too much. I could have fused around the screws but I didn't and that was probably due to the fact that I returned to work and was under insane stress. So, I never healed all the way and 1.5 yrs later the pain was horrible and I was also limping, could barely walk etc.
Just had the L5-S1 redone. He removed bad stuff and found part of my sacrum broken off and sitting on S1 nerve root, so your S1 nerve root was probably compressed by your bone narrowing nerve root canal somehow. My bones were actually moving prior to both surgeries and so the hardware was redone this time and inserted into my hip bones. I had pain in the hospital which I knew was the nerves that were compressed for this whole time being really mad. I needed a walker to walk for hospital time and 3 days at home.
Finally, I started moving again slowly.
Pain went away quickly and was off meds quickly, I am also walking a lot daily and now basically have tingly left foot / toes sometimes.
It is b/c the area gets inflamed and if you have had a fusion, you can't take anti-inflammtories so use an icepack, you can buy one to strap on which is awesome.
I use this after every walk for about 15-30 minutes time. I am still in a brace which I hate. this Friday is 6 weeks post op for me. I am guessing I will have to wait till 12 also to be able to drive and do PT. I start work PT in 2 weeks. I still tire easily. Have lost a lot of strength in general. It is a mix of not over doing or under doing. I find walking about 3 miles a day up to 5 has been okay but more or walking too fast or hard can be bad. I sometimes break it up to get the mileage, icing in between etc.
I also got a GREAT new firm mattress which makes a big difference. I can't put my walking shoes on really well but I have a technique that kinda works and I can use my toes pretty well to pick things up. i also have a grabber.
One more thing-
For nerves, you can buy Lecithin granules, look for brand by NOW. You sprinkle them on cereal, yogurt etc. Basically, they are the stuff our nerves are coated with so they are giving your body what it needs. ALso make sure you take your Vitamin D, I would suggest 5000, you can get that at GNC. Make sure your protein intake is good too, more protein than carbs or fats now as you need to grow bone. I am continuing to assume you had a fusion.
I have a friend who had a decompression sugery done for same area, no fusion and had a small brace for 10 days and could drive quickly and she even has some nerve foot numbness. I take that as an indicator to slow down or go home and rest.
I also get tired of people telling me what to do and having to ask for help. over it all!!!! keep me posted on your nerve recovery, always like to compare notes! L
Originally Posted by photobike1964
Thanks for the advice and you are quite right. I'm only 46 and this is my first (and hopefully last) back surgery. I absolutely want to heal well and completely and I am definitely following the direction of the doctor. I have a followup (6 weeks) appointment on Wed 5/4 and will post my status.
I am pain free at the moment and the only lingering issue at the moment is just sensory stuff in my toes and top of my foot. Mind you it isn't pain, and I can walk just fine (in fact it is relieved by walking), it's just a feeling of slight numbness and a stinging every now and then. But it is never constant, just comes and goes. I'm chalking it up to the healing, inflammation, muscle tightness, etc. All things that will subside over time and when I am able to start PT.