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Spinal Fusion Surgery Support

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68 year old male, L3-L4-L5 laminectomy + L4-L5 fusion, October 6, 2021, for spondylolisthesis. Eight month update. Back pain almost non-existent. Sciatica pain also gone. Activities: daily, one of: 40k bike ride, 2k swimming, gym (x-trainer, stationary bike, light weights). Back is fine after swimming. I am sore after biking, but OK the next day.

However, I am still very stiff. Biggest problem is very stiff right quadriceps, which causes problems if I walk for more than 1K. A very stiff quadriceps causes your walking gait to be awkward.

Went for 8 month follow-up with surgeon. I pointed out my stiffness problem. Surgeon claimed that this was not due to surgery "Only weakness is associated with nerve damage, not stiffness." However, I noted that the L4 nerve root controls the quadriceps, and that this problem appeared two months after surgery. The surgeon then mumbled something about "decompressed nerves being overexcited" and sent me on my way.

Went to sports medicine doctor. He suggested physio, massage. The physio suggested the usual stretching (which I was already doing for some months, having googled this). Massage not seem to do anything. I asked the physio and massage therapist how many fusion patients they had dealt with. Answer: none.

Went to physio recommended by the surgeon. She had lots of experience with fusion patients. However, she did not really know about how to deal with people who want to be active. She was perplexed by the stiff quadriceps, and speculated that it must have something to do with the surgery (no kidding).

So, ok, I am definitely better after the surgery. However, it is difficult to find anyone to help in terms of actually getting back to an active lifestyle. Everyone is very happy that (a) I can walk around and (b) I am not on pain meds.

So, it looks like we fusion patients are somewhat on our own in terms of figuring what works and what does not. I have received various contradictory messages about what activities are "safe" after a fusion, and what is to be avoided.

I would be interested in seeing what others have to say.



Hi everyone. I had anterior posterior spinal fusion at L4 L5 with a partial laminectomy 5 weeks ago and am new to the group. I have new sciatic pain since the surgery and pain on or near the fusion site on my back that some days seems to be improving, and some days not sure. I'm 53, and progress is slow.