SI Joint Dysfunction

Patient Support For Recovery From Low Back Pain

What Can I Expect For Post-op Recovery From Sacroiliac Surgery?

I have noticed that a persons recovery time post-op from SI Surgery often depends on several contributing factors…

Factors you’ll need to consider into this equation such as:
-whether you will be undergoing SI Fixation (screw insertion) AND traditional SI Fusion?
-OR, are you most likely just having SI Fixation alone?
-OR, SI Bone’s i-fuse implants?
-do you have any commonly associated conditions such as Piriformis Syndrome or disc bulge(s) at L5,S1/L4,L5?
-if you have Piriformis Syndrome it is common to have it released surgically during your SI joint surgery, this adds to recovery time also.
-how severe and physically limiting is your SIJD currently?

As you already know, traditional open back SI Fusion is much more invasive compared to SI Bone’s i-fuse procedure OR SI Fixation; all of which Dr.Weiss performs. SI Fixation will have a quicker recovery turn-around. SI Fusion (always done in conjunction with Fixation) is effective and usually necessary only if the joints have too much arthritis and have sustained extensive wear and tear due to SIJD, thus not having enough bone integrity to Fixate alone…

There are many factors which can effect your recovery time, aside from the physical aspect emotional and mental stress is another! Even if this job-change is a positive change it will elevate your stress levels as your body works to adjust to the new requirements and routines. Not knowing all the complexities and details about you, I think based on the two extremes of patient recovery times: my recovery time was VERY long as I had many contributing factors VS others who’s post-op recoveries are not as long, I still come up with the same observation that I think that this would be far too early for you. Compare Amy Eicher’s (fixation) and Carol McCoy’s (fixation and one-side fusion as well as piri.muscle release)-both ladies are having typical recovery times which is VERY encouraging! The best position for you to be in post-op is lying down. The worst position for your body to be in post-operatively, is if you are sitting down for too long, stair climbing, too much walking and of course any bending, lifting or twisting.

Here’s a sample of a response I just wrote to a lady who asked my opinion about whether she could drive for 3hrs (each way way) to her sons graduation 4-6 weeks post-op. “So, it will be a MUST for you to travel with someone (anyone!), I would have this person drive while you lie down in the back of the vehicle(with pillows). Find out ahead of time if there is an entrance to the graduation with few stairs and seating close by, sit there. Call ahead and ask if this type of seating can be reserved for you as “handicapped” seating AND if they have a lot of stairs, call ahead to ask if there is elevators available. IF the ceremony is really long, consider returning to your vehicle to lay down as needed before and after your son is on stage. Lastly, consider staying overnight in a hotel so that you can restart your body to get through the 3hr drive back home the next day. Also, IF there will be a lot of walking, consider renting a wheelchair (or call ahead to inquire if they have any wheelchairs on hand at on location) and have someone push you around for the walking parts, if it is excessive.”

This gives you a brief glimpse into post-op life within the first weeks following SI Surgery.
Here was a response I gave to friend who is approx. 3mos post-SI Fixation:
QUESTION: “I know, I know I over did it – any advice on how to cool down the fare up in my walking and sitting muscles?  They are at a low burn. MEH
ice , rest , meds… anything else? or I take the pain med and be comfortable or do I skip it and be miserable. So I don’t do anything else….
I think I might just duct tape myself to the bed today.”
MY ANSWER: “BED REST, ice, anti-inflammatory meds and/or muscle relaxants! The only TRUE medicine is BED REST for today and a SLOW couple of days to follow….do NOT, NOT, NOT push through the pain! That is the very cycle you are diligently TRYING to stop…especially since when your body is overtaxed like that it will begin to COMPENSATE and cause flair-ups in the overdeveloped muscles once again. This is the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish with your PT therapy. Unfortunately, the main way to force the compensating, dominant muscles to take a step back an allow the others to participate in a healthy way is to go cold-turkey for a couple of days (forced bed-rest!)! The pattern of 1 step forward, 2 steps back is VERY accurate and necessary with this beast. But eventually you do end up on top…”
**All it takes is ONE false movement, one that you could easily make simply out of HABIT, in your workday that could truly compromise your healing (and your discs which are still on the line)! I can’t even count how many ways it was impossible for me to stop myself from these habitual and instinctive reactions post-operatively (maybe part of the reason it took me TWO YEARS to fully recover!). When my child was hurt, it was INSTINCT for me to reach out, bend down and comfort them; instinct to prevent a fall or injury instead of just watching it happen…by removing yourself from this temptation, you are safe-guarding your FUTURE.**
My 2 cents, which you can deff. take or leave :-) is that your body SHOULD NOT be put in this position physically by re-entering the job scene this quickly. It is not enough time for your body to un-learn all the dysfunctional over-compensating it’s been surviving by. Re-training your muscles to function in healthy ways required strict abstaining from most activities in the initial weeks and the first 3-6months following your surgery…if you want to truly and completely BEAT SIJD once and for all, that is!
This is one of my favorite quotes from a previous pastor of mine, “Present sacrifice for FUTURE rewards.”
You will see, there will come a time when your life WILL be restored to you and most likely in ways you may have never expected. But it comes at high cost of temporary sacrifices, even letting go of great opportunities. Just like a caterpillar which eventually emerges as a butterfly, your season of post-op recovery must involve surrounding yourself with a sort-of protective ‘coccoon’ around you. When the time is right, you will emerge and have the ability to fly. I am not meaning to sound airy-fairy or trite…I think my husband would laugh at for using the “cocoon” metaphor! But it is true and for me, this word-picture helps to understand the SEASONS my life has had to patiently work through. But I am not very good at this naturally and a goal driven person by nature so it was a messy affair, to say the least!
Just saying it like it is because I know you can handle it!
I know, as a mother, it is extremely hard not to place my kids well being before my own/ Knowing how passionate you are for your lie of work, it is tied to you in a similar way as a mother feels towards her own children! I have had to work wonders to do what it takes to be there for my kids when it was really important. I had to tell myself thousands of times that ultimately, the recovery from SIJD IS ultimately MEETING the NEEDS of my kids…and this was my ONE LAST chance to beat SIJD once and for all and I could not afford to allow my eagerness and passion for life RUIN this chance for a better FUTURE. Short term benefits are often hard to swap for future rewards, especially if it is a worthy cause :(.
But I am deff. not an expert on this , these are my observances and opinions from them!

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