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New pain 6 weeks post-op, pls hlp

Started by richard21040 on 03/09/2010 8:53am

Ok simple question maybe someone can help me out. 6 weeks post op from a l4-s1 ALIF
This morning I noticed a firmiliar but new pain. As I attempted to get up this morning, I felt a sharp pain in my incision. I havent had any issues with it at all since the hospital stay. Rubbed it trying to make it go away and it seemed to make it hurt worse. It is now sensative to touch and feels alot loke a hot butter knife sticking me in the gut.
Might I have slept wrong. Putting my brace on TIGHT seems to help...pressure seems to make it feel a little better. Defication hurt bad!!!
I have my 6 week followup in 2 days. Is this something that can wait? or should i see the ER dr this morning??
any input would be apreciated.

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After a fusion (i've heard and experienced) it takes a year to fully heal your body. A fusion is a big operation and it takes a lot longer than the doctors say for your body to fully heal/recover. It's to early to tell yet what's up. You need to give it some more (a lot more) time for healing. Tell your doctor whats going on. He'll do an xray probably. Hang in there, it's hard to give it time but healing is it's own process and cannot be hurried. Hope u feel better soon! Jaynie

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Hi Richard

I'll ditto Jaynie's response.

I had an ALIF nearly 5 months ago and I know what you mean about the incision pain. I wouldn't rub it any more, but would suggest gently applying Bio-oil to the scar a couple of times a day. This will soften the tissue, and you can barely see my scar now - it's so fine. Even now, my tummy is still a bit sore/tender where the organs were pushed out of the way. It takes a long time for the tissues to heal, as well as the spine.

After being pushed out of the way, the bowel and intestines would be pretty upset. For the constipation, you could get some prune juice or just eat at least 10 prunes after dinner each night. That helped me and I still do it. Milk of Magnesia is another suggestion or go to the drug store (we say chemist here in Australia) and ask for something gentle to help you go. Your pain meds are probably causing some of the constipation, but it's important that you take them when needed.

Move about as much as you can but be careful not to do too much - it's early days.

Trish

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I can tell you I have gone to hell and back with the constipation issue, before surgery it magnified by pain x 4. I had L-4/5 fused with instraments 5 weeks ago and I feel somuch better. After surgery I knew that with the straining involved I would never be able to heal and with my doctors advice I now take 4 ex strength ex-lax and 4 stool softners every day! I cannot tell you how much less pain and reliefe it is to have found something that works. Before surgery I even had to have impactions removed because nothing I did worked! I am talking taking and doing evrything even using the clean out stuff they use before some surgery did nothing. So far they say its because of the pain meds but we will see because I am already reducing those down. Good Luck and dont be afraid to take to much laxitives like I was. It is better than the pain it causes to strain and being backed up puts more pressure on your spine.
Good luck!
nomore pain

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Thanx for your input everyone. Learning the hard way what the pains are. They did (do) have a bit to do with constipation, but moreso the creation and destruction of scar tissue.
Doing a bit of research, scar tissue takes 4-8 weeks to form. As the scar tissue forms and I move, it is likely that the newly formed tissue is tearing and freeing itself up to allow my body movements.
I will continue to take stool softeners and use mild laxatives as needed.
I still have the pains, although not nearly as bad, however I must say that I am happy and hopeful that my surgery is a sucess.

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Hi Richard

That's good that you're not in as much pain as you were and hoping that the rest of your recovery goes well and that there will be pain free days ahead. That was interesting about the creation and destruction of scar tissue.

Trish

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HMMM-it was stated that scar tissue takes 4-8 weeks to form. I had L2-S1 spinal fusion with instrumentation the end of Sept. I was sciatic pain free-I had surgical pain,but by 7 weeks,I was able to reduce my pain meds from 10mg percs evry 4 hours to 5mg vicodin every 6-8 hours(sometimes able to go up to 10 hours between doses) The first of the year the sciatic pain started to return-it was gradual but I am now to the point of having left leg weakness,the beginning of foot drop,stabbing pains radiating from my left hip to my buttock,down my leg to my knee.

Could this be caused by scar tissue? It kinda makes sense as I had a period of time that I was Pain free. Any response to this would be greatly helpful as I am trying to figure out what to do next. My surgeon keeps saying 'your spine is fused-that would not be causing your pain'

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Hi Lisa

Sometimes the hardware can cause problems. I only had a one level fusion and find walking and gentle stretching are the best for me. Are you able to exercise in the pool? Perhaps walking on the hard ground is too much??

Have you had an MRI or CT scan done recently?

Trish

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Trish,
Yes I had CT scan that showed a bone spur at L5-S1 that is causing nerve root compression-BUT my surgeon claims that the nerve root is clear. As for the entire CT report goes-the only thing my surgeon agrees with is that I DO have a bone spur. This makes little sense as a EMG shows nerve damage at L5-S1...that is "old"-meaning the damage was done BEFORE I had my surgery. I go back to my surgeon on the 9th...I am going to have to make it clear how much my condition have deteriorated- 2X the past couple of days my left leg has gone out on me to the point that I have fallen.
So NOW what I am I gonna do?!?

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Hi Lisa

When you go back to the surgeon on the 9th, you'll have to really lay it on the line as to how much pain you're in and that your leg has given way and you have fallen a couple of times. You had a 4 level fusion??

If you don't get any joy from your surgeon, then I'd suggest seeing a neurosurgeon. I'm trying to remember your other post, and I think your current surgeon is orthopedic?? As you still have nerve pain in the leg, then there must be nerve root compression. I can understand that there would be nerve damage from the way you've described what's happening. Can't understand why your surgeon can't do anything about the bone spur.

I wouldn't hesitate to get another opinion or even two. You are the one living with pain all the time and you need more help to manage it. I'd suggest getting an MRI done because it shows more than a CT scan. Don't give up.

Trish

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Tell your doctor whats going on. He'll do an X-ray probably. Hang in there, it's hard to give it time but healing is it's own process and cannot be hurried.

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