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Lower Back Pain after spinal fusion (Page 1)

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I had a spinal fusion in January 2007. Since this procedure my back has been very tight and ocassionally there is nunbness in my upper legs. I am doing physio and follow an exercise program. Ther are days that I am ok with some minor irritation and other days the pain is more severe.

Will the pain ever go away?
Is there anything I can do to help?
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First Helper lyric1
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replied November 21st, 2007
Maybe I Can Help, I Understand Your Pain
Hi KJF,
I know how you feel. I have had 5 spinal surgeries, which has left me with tightness in my back surrounding the areas I had the surgery, which is both my lumbar and thoracic areas. I have a permanent plate in my back. I have also some over sensitization going down my left leg. I also had recently developed a pain radiating to my left side waist area, which the doctors think maybe caused by nerve damage. Anyway, I wanted to tell you that if it wasn't for acupuncture treatments, massage therapy, energy therapy and changing my food and supplement intake I would still be on narcotic painkillers. alternatives treatments have truly been a savior for me. I have been working very hard over the past year developing a blog, newsletter and my own Pain story to try to help others in pain and explain different types of alternative therapy. If you would like information about my blog and newsletter please le me know ok:)
Take care
Michele
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Users who thank micrel for this post: kem10963 

replied November 24th, 2007
Need Help For Pain After Fusions
Hi Micrel,

I have had a fusion and had to have it refused. While in the hospital, they gave me MRSA,in which i was cutopen twice to clean and scrape it out. I seemes to be healing for a couple years, but never pain free. In the last 18 months the pain has gotten worse. I am now in bed most of the time becasue the meds are not working well. They suspect the present pain is from scar tissue that has develped of the past few years. Can you be more specific on the methids you used to releive you pain? My e-mail is Horseman763@aol I was recently told I would never work again. But then, I have read about surgeries and other proceedures to cure pain from scar tissue. I have been very humbled over the last several years as I have had to coe to rely on others because of my condition and the fact that I was a construction supervisor and no one will hire me becasue on all the pain killers I am taking. But now, I can do very little and am essentially bed ridden.
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replied November 26th, 2007
Experienced User
Sometimes those symptoms are because of ilium upslip. Sometimes ilium upslip causes spinal problems too. I had numbnes in my upper legs and it was because of ilium upslip. It is very common disorder with many different symptoms (I had many other too). But so poorly known by medical doctors. There are many example patients from JF Kennedy (president) to Michael Johnson (fastest man).
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replied December 31st, 2007
Low Back Pain After Fusion- Left Side Pain
I had an L2-L3 spinal fusion on 10/15/07 through a lateral approach on my left side. All the post op pain is gone except for severe mucle pain that I am know having is isolated to that left side very near my incision. The pain gets very intense. My surgeon said that some people get severe pain from the lateral apporach for months that includes numbness a the nerves regenerate.

Also, at 11 weeks post op I am still taking percocet for pain. Is anyone else still taking pain meds this far out?

Memartin
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replied October 30th, 2012
Hi Memartin, I am nine weeks out of a T-9 to an L-3 (7 vertabrae) fusion. I am still on pain meds and expect to be for awhile. I just started having sharp, burning, crackling pain around the L-1 and it is sooo bad it stops me in my tracks and immediate tears. I am going to call the DR tomorrow.As far as the pain meds, My surgeon said be 4-5 months before I get off of them. Hope you feel better soon!!!
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replied January 2nd, 2008
Pain 4 7 Years
i had fusion of my l-4 l-5 in 2005 with cages a year later was still in alot of pain. they did not fuse together. went back to have plates put in my back. after a few months had a ct scane which they at had fused together. but i still had the pain 24-7.then my tail bone started to hurt GOD the pain was bad plus i still had pain in the same spot l-4 l-5. my doctor wanted to give a round air pillow said i may be setting around 2 much. well a year later ct scane mri showed nothing but then on 4-12-07 i had ct discography ready 4 this it was positive l-5 s-1 i'm glad i pushed my doc it wasn't all in my head but, what the doc. forgot 2 tell me was fusion the l-4 l-5 put all the presser on the s-1 lovly!!! on he wants 2 go in and just replace the l-5 s-1 disco if i could take it all back i would never done any just left my back alone. i would have been better off!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'm sure i would not to this day be a pill popper u no what i mean if u have back pain 24-7.
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replied January 2nd, 2008
Surgery is rarely succesful. The implants are the best surgical option. SOmetome the best surgery is no surgery
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replied January 3rd, 2008
Active User, very eHealthy
Hello Everyone,

I was saddened to read of all the post op pain many of you have had to endure. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Your posts have given me more determination to keep the knife, screws and rods away from me as long as I can.

THANKS!!!!!

RichT
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replied February 1st, 2009
spinal fusion hell
I had a spinal fusion Aug 2007 which has healed well according to xrays.
I went thru public health system and received little follow up- did 2 pain clinics- 1 pre and 1 post surgery.
it was for chronic pain, and not individual.
i had seen a physio and only shown a couple of exercises which didnt help.
i now see a private physio for strengthening, have constant pain in both legs and feet and take timje release pain medication.Med enables me to havesome quality of life, and exercise-trying to lose weight (put on a lot following pain clinic program)
Apparently should have had this physio well before now.
any advice?
Donna
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User Profile
replied February 1st, 2009
Experienced User
swimming
swimming is a good way to bring you back to normal
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replied February 2nd, 2009
i had a spinal fusion in 2004 and then had the hardware removed in 07 but i still have extreme pain, im worse now than before the surgery
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replied June 9th, 2012
HELLO I WANTED TO WHAT HAPPENED TO U I M ALSO LOOKING FOR THE FUSION L4L5 SO WILL U TELL ME WHAT TO DO
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replied February 5th, 2009
18 years post op
I had spinal fusion back when I was just 11 years old. I had the surgery at Boston Children's hospital with a surgeon named Dr. Frank Rand. I have a Harrington rod which spans & fuses 13 vertebrae. After the surgery, I noticed many spots where I lost sensitivity, around the scars (back and hip), right outer thigh, and the entire lower half of my right breast. Parts of my right outer thigh has hypersensitivity too.

Throughout the years, I have had recurring lower back pain. I've had to be hospitalized and it isn't fun. I was told when I was just 23 years old that I had Degenerative Disc Disease. I am now 29 and in the past 5 months, I've had several occasions where my back has been in immense pain.

I am terrified to go through yet another surgery, and will avoid it at all cost. I am a little overweight (far from obese) but I have extremely large breasts which causes a lot of the pain. Admittedly, I don't work out as much as I should, one reason is because I have so much pain, and another reason is that my schedule is extremely busy.. I run two businesses out of my home with my boyfriend and I go to school full time. This leaves me little time to have even a day off, much less find time for exercise. My sleep is also compromised, and orders come in constantly and we must work very hard to make the products and ship them out.

I was wondering what some non-invasive remedies can be. I don't typically like to take medication, but I will if I absolutely need to. If anyone knows any ways that I can exercise that won't require me to take more than 5 minutes away from my work, this would be ideal.

Also, how can I stop this pain, besides medicating it? How can I not make it hurt at all? I don't want to subside the symptoms, I want to stop it altogether. I have very limited movement in my back and I hope to find a way to reverse this condition. I would hate to suffer back pain like this, especially once I want to start raising a family.

thank you very much.

-Alison
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replied March 27th, 2009
My husband was reading an article about post-op back pain. The man in the article had pain after a spinal fusion. His doctor said that his nerves were misfiring. He prescribed a drug for epilepsy (I'll have to look it up to see which drug it is.) He took it and the pain was completely gone.

I had spinal fusion 8 weeks ago. For the most part I am doing better than before. (I had degenerated discs and arthritis before I was 30. I am now about to turn 40 this year, and my L5-S1 discs collapsed.) I am having more good days than bad, but when the bad days come, they are really bad!! Since surgery, it seems the pain has switched from my right side to my left. My doctor says it could take up to a year to be completely healed from surgery. If the pain persists, I think it's worth a try to take the epilepsy med. (Although I do try to avoid taking any meds at all!)

Hope this helps. If I can find the article again I will post the name of the drug.

~Erin
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replied March 29th, 2009
failed back surgery
I have never posted here beofre. I am 33 years old and I am afraid I am suffering from failed back surgery syndrome. About 4 months ago, I had a procedure called a hybrid construct, which is a combination of a lumbar fusion at L4-L5 and an artificial disc at L3-L4. I am in constant pain 24/7. The pain I have ranges from a deep dull aching pain to a stabbing burning pain in the back and the burning pain goes into the back of my legs sometimes. The only way I can make it thru the day is by taking my pain medicine. I am taking oxycontin 40mg 2x daily and percocet 10mg prn. I feel the oxycontin works well but not long enough. I think I need to get an extra pill of the oxycontin in the afternoon. The two just doesn't cut it. I have been in this pain for about 10 months and feel like I am running out of answers. I am wondering if I will ever be pain free. I feel like this is a nightmare and I am just hoping to wake up from it one day. I went from being somebody that wakes up and goes to work everyday and being able to do everything I want such as play golf, work out, and play with my kids to being on long-term disability and wondering if I will every feel "normal" again. Is there any hope out there for chronic pain for failed back surgery or is this something that I am going to have to put up with for the rest of my life.
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replied March 29th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
4 months is quite early to start thinking about failed back surgery syndrome.

It can take as long as 1-2 years to fully heal from just a spinal fusion alone. With an ADR added to the picture, may or may not be longer.

I'm not familiar with a lot of the ADR length of time recovery time, but the partial fusion alone is not just 4 months.

Many times, post op from any kind of spinal surgery, one can and does develop new symptoms including the burning pain of nerves.

Many times that is nothing more than the nerves waking up and beginning their slow process of healing.

Those nerves have been severely aggrivated from surgery and the condition they where in prior to surgery as well.
It takes a long time for them to calm down and heal. In the process they start to act up and cause more and more burning pain in various locations.

You might want to discuss with your spine surgeon, the possibility of a nerve medication to help relieve some of the nerve pain.

Good luck

Fran
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replied March 30th, 2009
recovery
thanks so much for your reply. i guess i am just getting inpatient waiting to get better. i definitely am experiencing new pains and when you research all of these different articles on failed back syndrome, you start thinking that may be you. i really appreciate all of your great information. the surgeon did mention that it could fully take a year or 2 but said i should start feeling better around month 3. he said before the surgery that i should be back at work after around 3 months. there is no way i can go to work now because as i said earlier, i have this "bad" burning pain all the time in my back and in the back of my legs. i thought the surgeon was just covering his you know what when he said it could take a year or two when i told him that i am worse now than when i went in for the surgery.

the pain management doctor wanted to do a spinal cord stimulator but i am not going to let him touch me yet.

i think all of these docs just want to find a way to get more and more money out of ya.

thanks so much again for your great info and giving me hope not to think that this surgery failed.

jason
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replied March 30th, 2009
chronic pain after spinal surgery
I am currently taking oxycontin 40mg 2x daily and oxycodone as a rescue medicine for pain after a spinal fusion. I don't feel that the oxycontin lasts long enough throughout the day. I am getting ready to go see my PM doc and I am thinking about asking him to increase my oxycontin to 3x a day. Does anyone have an opinion on what works better, either oxycontin 3x/day or the fentanyl patch?
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replied March 30th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
It's very hard for anyone to advise you on what works better than other pain meds, as first we are not doctors and second, what does work for one person may or may not work for another.

Your best source for info on pain meds is your doctor.

It may be, though, that adding a nerve pain med such as neurontin or lyrica might work better than switching to stronger narcotic pain med.

Good luck and ask your questions to your doctor.

Fran
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replied March 30th, 2009
thanks for the info. i am already taking that drug lyrica. i wasn't sure exactly what i was taking that for but it sounds like the drug you might be talking about for nerve pain. maybe i will see if they can increase the dose of that. i am nervous about taking these narcotics. you hear all of these horror stories about them. i am however grateful for oxycontin or else i would definitely not be able to function whatsoever. it's a shame that these medicines get a bad rap because there is no way i would be able to function without it. i will see about increasing the dose of the drug lyrica i am taking. thanks again for your great info. you seem to know a great deal about spine surgery and recovery, if you don't mind me asking, have u been thru some sort of spine surgery yourself and if so, how's your recovery going? thanks
jason
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replied June 16th, 2010
Severe pain after spinal surgery
I dont really, have a response per say, but more a venting comment. My husband is 24 years old, he has been through two spinal surgeries in the past two years. First he had a fusion done and harware placed, but then his second was to take the hardware out...he has been in severe pain(worse then before the first surgery). Here I'd like to mention that he was not placed on any pain medicines....So we went back to the surgeon because of the pain and he says "Oh well your lower fusion never healed(which they had also found that it had never healed after the first surgery when they went in for the hardware removal)So lets do a third surgery and put the titanium back in." My husband has been through enough, and he is constantly in so much pain that he cant even function most of the time. No Dr.'s want to put him on meds bc of his age but no other dr wants to see him about possible alternatives because he is a medicaid patient.....Any ideas" Suggestions? Help? Im so lost! We have a two year old and a seventh month old and I feel that both my husband and the children are missing out on so much!
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