Pain Concern
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Fusion L5-S1

I will be having this surgery in June and i"m interviewing surgeons in the NY/NJ area. Has anyone on here had a SUCCESSFUL fusion and back to work in 2 months? (Im' a teacher and need to go back!) Also, any recommendations? Lastly, I've been given advice by 2 to go through the front and screws in the back (less evasive apparently) and 2 have said open back. Thoughts? THANK YOU!

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I had an L5/S1 about 35 years ago, they took bone from my hip for the procedure, so all cuts were anterior (from the front). I dont know what work you do, but if you exercise post procedure and pace yourself there should be no reason why you can't be back at work fairly soon.

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Hi MathMom!

Just FYI, this is mostly a U.K. site. I'm in Canada & realized after I joined too, lol!

I just had a decompression, fusion L5-S1 with disc replacement & cage on Jan 30 - 4 weeks ago tomorrow. (So screws/rods/artificial disc all surrounded by a cage for support)

I'm doing well, much better than prior to surgery. Still hurts to sit/stand/walk prolonged periods, however, I can do it.

What do you teach? I too am a teacher, by trade. Currently working out of my field of expertise, though.

As my surgeon put it, I can likely return to sedentary work at 3 months & others at 6. That being said, each person heals differently.

My surgery was through my back - my incision is approximately 6" in length. The worst pain was week one. Or days 1-4 really. As on day 5, I stopped using the walker completely & walked on my own - faster than pre-surgery already! Once my staples came out, it was amazing! I'm itching to do more, every day. If your surgeon approves, I could see returning to teaching after 2 months. As long as you are not the physical education teacher, nor in Kindergarten or really early elementary where you may need to lift/bend/twist more than other grades.

Feel free to private message me or ask here if you have any questions :)

Best wishes!!!


good luck with the surgery I have problems with my L5 and S1 so I can sympathize with you

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I also have problems with L5 S1 but thankfully not as bad as you yet. I really feel for you having to go through that amount of pain for so long and wish you all the best after surgery. Let us know how it goes as people tend to only tell us when it doesn't work rather than when it does. X


I have had two fusions one l5-s1 thirty years ago and l4-l5 four years ago. Back to work after 3 months the first time and 4 to 5 months the second. Both were from the back. From my knowledge it is better from the front and/or front and side. From the back I believe there is more chance of damaging the nerve roots (this happened on my first fusion and I can no longer use my gastrocs as they are denervated). There's quite a lot of info out there and surgery has advanced a lot such as nerve root monitoring during the surgery to avoid the sort of issues I had. I have to say both fusions worked well for me in terms of back pain. Make sure you start and keep up with Pilates and core strength exercises when you feel able. And when you get back to work try to avoid twisting or sitting for more than 30mins. After 6 months or so I found myself being able to do most things including golf and free weights. I do however, still get the odd twinge when twisting but it soon goes after some stretching. Good luck with your operation and keep well



Thank you! So far one surgeon suggested front and three back. Seeing another one Friday... hoping he says front


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