I might have to change my site name. The sciatica is nearly gone. The fusion seems to be healing up just fine. The back pain is mostly from walking around and it appears to me to be caused by using muscles that haven't been worked in a while and readjusting to the fused L4-L5 vertebrae. The full recovery time for something like this is around eight months, so I know I am not out of the woods yet, it is just nice to be able to look up and see I went more than four hours without taking a pain pill.
I see the surgeon on Monday and hopefully will be cleared for physical therapy and get back to work in a couple of weeks.
I am using an Intelect® IFC Portable Stimulator (Neuroelectrical Muscle Stimulator - NMS) to help rehab the muscles. They are designed for symptomatic relief and management of chronic pain and acute post-surgical or post-trauma pain. The one I have is really small - runs for about 20 minutes on a 9V battery with two sets of leads stuck to my lower back.
My physical therapist has one of these NMS machines, but it is huge and has to be wheeled in. It is so relaxing after a session to get zapped for a while with it. While there are places you can buy the smaller units online without a prescription - you are supposed to have one. Talk to your doctor or PT about getting one - they are around $150 and well worth it. Insurance may even cover part of it. I linked to the manufacturer and not an amazon link on this one because of that. This isn't something one gets on a whim, but if you have back pain and/or sciatica - it is a nice way to get some relief without pills. This has not been any sort of commercial - just letting you know this sort of thing exists.
I have found it helpful to do the stretching exercises my physical therapist recommends. Do some core strengthening exercises, such as the ones highlighted at The Mayo Clinic. By keeping your core strong, your back won't put itself in a position to cause that sciatica pain you are having.