View Full Version : Did your recovery have some plateaus in it? I've hit a wall at 4 1/2 monhts.

02-21-2013, 05:17 PM
I was doing well at the end of 3 months but now at 4 1/2 months, it seems like anything I do just ends with a lot of pain. I felt better a month ago. Am I over doing it or is this normal? I still don't leave the house much because riding in our van is like sitting on a jack-hammer. I've gone out shopping for very short trips a couple times and it takes a couple days to get over the pelvic pain from that.

Should I consider this normal pain and just power through it? Or should I still be careful? I don't do any bending or twisting. I did lift some heavy stuff a couple times not realizing it was over my limit. Oops.

[Just noticed I misspelled "monhts". Sorry about that.]

02-21-2013, 07:01 PM

Pain can be a signal that your overdoing things....Recovery includes a balance of movement while judging how far we can go without pushing these limits of pain. We all test our limits, and end up back in bed again. (smiley face) I guess you should smile if you can get 4-5 hours per sleep session. I know I slept like a cat for a long long time. It took around 2 years before I could sleep 8 hours straight through.

Soft tissues and nerves take a long time to heal after scoliosis surgery at our age.

Try to lay low, I know its slow but patience is needed. I didn’t lift more than a dinner plate for 6 months. Then stepped it up to 10# until 9 months....

The cars trips for me were minimal....1 mile down to go food shopping was about it for quite some time. I do remember removing the pillow from the car at 1 year, so I guess things were getting better “car wise” at that point.

Recovery is also like a see-saw, up and down, hopefully with more good days than bad.

Hang in there, things will get better.


02-21-2013, 07:43 PM

It's really normal to have plateaus in one's recovery. If you feel like your activity level isn't more now than a month ago, then the fact that you feel worse would be a little bit of a concern. If your level of activity has increased, then I wouldn't worry.

The car thing is bad. You might want to consider trying to find a memory foam or gel wedge that you can put on the seat. What can make car rides uncomfortable seems to be that your butt is lower than your knees. While I really had no back pain by 6 months postop, car rides were uncomfortable for me for at least a year.

Hope you see some improvement soon.


02-22-2013, 12:07 PM
Every day is different. It takes a real long time. For me it was around 18mo that I felt better. I had to have a second surgery that will be 2 yrs tomorrow. I still can not sleep well--I just went through a period of One part of my ribs and back just hurt. The last couple of days it was better, except for sleeping. I do have a teprupeadic bed--and that does help.
We are all just struggling with different things---but we each get better at dealing with it.

02-22-2013, 05:46 PM
Thank you for the responses. This is helpful. I have probably been just pushing myself too much, not realizing I was going over the limit. I offered to babysit my two little grandchildren (4 and 2years old) tomorrow but just cancelled that. I don't lift my grandchildren or even bend over to hug them but after they leave it takes me at least five days to recover.

I've been moving over my comfort limit consistently and that must be keeping me from healing effectively. So I am now going to perform just UNder my limit, which should afford better healing. My teen sons work out and I know that a small strain is effective for building muscle. "No pain, no gain." But that is NOT effective for healing bones. So I've got to pull back and do less. I've got a bazillion interests and love to be constantly busy. I told my husband that doing nothing is going to kill me. @_@ I do enjoy writing though and put aside a screen play I was writing. Perhaps this is the time to write.

Ed, I really appreciate your comment about the dinner plate. Oh deary me, I've lifted way too much over the past month! I have declared the next month to be Dinner Plate Only as far as lifting goes and my kids are fully supporting me. Hopefully this will get me past the current plateau.

On a good note, I slept better last night than I have slept in over a year. I actually slept for four whole hours before waking and needing to change positions. And this was just with two Tylenol before bed. Very encouraging!

Linda, I will send my husband for a foam cushion this weekend. That should help so much.

02-23-2013, 12:23 AM
I remember it taking me days to recover after certain events.....Sleeping like we do in our recoveries is so taxing since we cant get the needed 8 or 9 hours that we need and resulting fatigue is such a battle. I would wake up at 6AM and have to go back to bed exhausted at 11AM. I couldn’t even make it to lunch time, and that was after doing a few posts here that was wiping me out! (smiley face) I would sleep around 3-4 hours, 3-4 times per day depending on the body. I could be up at any time during the night.

Things do get better, but don’t stop your walking and moving because your afraid of pushing the limits....its pushing the limits “too hard” that’s tough....know where your limits are.

When I would go food shopping, I would have the bag girls load my car for me. After I was home, I would carry one item in each hand and do 30 trips to unload the car....I would also avoid buying heavy items at the store.....

Lifting things and bending transfer incredible forces into the back. Walking does this on more of a graduated level, its not a lifting force (X 20) transferred to your spinal soft tissues, its much more forgiving. Many surgeons do not want their patients in a physical therapy program and I can understand why they do this. Simply walking and movement is a great way to recover on a slow and steady course without triggering any major pain events.

You should be working on your squats.....and getting better at this. This starts with unloading the dishwasher, one plate at a time. You want to get better at this by the time you want to start reaching for your feet in a few months after Dr Hey gives permission. I would use a small stool for this.

I started the stool bends around 7-8 months, working slowly at reaching the feet. This has to be an extremely slow process. I would do 3 mild stretches twice a day, hanging the arms down around my ankles. No pulling down!!!! just hang and dwell, your weight will do your stretch. After my shoulder was repaired, therapy was done without any weights for the 1st month, then started with 1#. You can use a can of soup for this, the rotational arm movements. After 6 months of arm therapy, I was doing 20 pull-ups. This was at 14 months, and then went skiing for the first time. I was 90% recovered at that time. It took 1 more year to get over the fatigue and get 8 hours of sleep even though the body was feeling good.

Your almost 5 months....past the hardest part for sure, but as future pains come, accept, sleep off, and keep going.,,,keep walking and certainly no lifting any grand kids. I could lift kids now, but am very cautious if I decide to do this since lifting kids is not an easy thing to do.


02-23-2013, 12:24 AM
4.5 months was about the time I started to get really frustrated. I felt like I should be "all better" by that time, especially when I read posts about other people being off pain meds in a few weeks. However, after slugging it out now for 11 months, I realize it is just a very slow process. Each month gets a little better, but you don't realize it until you look back and see how far you've come. Take it easy on yourself, and you will start to feel better soon.


02-23-2013, 08:44 AM
I think you are wise to scale back on some of your activities. I was feeling pretty well and pushed myself to walk up and down steep hills at around 6 months thinking that I needed to kick it up a notch or two in order to speed up my recovery. Well, it just doesn't work that way. I had pain from it for over a week and finally called Dr. Lenke's office and was told that I had most likely inflamed some muscles. Fortunately, I was allowed to take Aleve since I was six months post op and that gave me relief. It's simply isn't worth it to do anything too soon. I wasn't even allowed to go to physical therapy until I was a year post-op, but was given exercises to do at home during the first year. The best thing I did was to buy a pedometer and made sure that I walked over 10,000 steps a day.