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Post Op. spinal fusion pain

From: nick6979 - on 04/05/2010 4:22pm

I have DDD and had a lumbar fusion on L5 and S1 with instrumitation back in sept 09. Few months later I'm off pain meds doing great. In Feb. my back popped didn't hurt at the time now I'm having constant pain all day and back on pain medicine. Doctor took mri, xrays and catscan. He said my bone graft has not healed completly and may be causing my vertebra to move around. Had surgery set to go back in but the doctor is having second thoughts, meanwhile I'm in quite a bit of pain. I'm on loratab 10mg but that is starting not to help anymore. Are there any options I dont know what to do

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5 Responses

on 04/11/2010 9:34pm

Usually with a fusion with instrumentation the hardware acts as an internal brace. With rods, and screws in place, it should hold ur vertabrae together regardless of if the fusion is complete or not. I'm not sure what's causing ur pain, just get second opinions and keep me posted. I wish u a quick recovery,b take care!!!

on 04/12/2010 6:55pm

I had the same surgery done in November 09 so only a few months after you. I was also doing great, and everything seemed to be going really smooth. However, the pain started creeping back up on me after I returned to work. I was again on pain medicine, and had to use my TENS unit to get through a day of work (I am a server, and on my feet the entire day). I was told I needed surgery again because the screws were not strong enough to support my spine because of the work I do. I was also told that I "overfused" and had too much bone growth when my spine fused together. I had a 2nd surgery, and wished my doctor had second thoughts or I got a 2nd opinion. I am in even more pain now then I have ever been.

I know fusions can take 6 months to heal completely, which you have passed that timeframe. I know its not much of a suggestion, but I would recommend another opinion. I would also recommend a TENS unit. At first I didn't think it would help that much, but it does. It takes the edge off the pain, and allows me sometimes the ability to walk when I don't think I can.

on 04/13/2010 10:15am

First, If you are seeing a neurosurgeon, great..If not, go to one instead of any type of Orthopedic. I did the same thing, in a way by going back to work(construction) too early I think and didn't allow the fusion to fully work. Now I am paying the price and having to undergo another surgery soon for the disc above the fusion. If you smoke, QUIT..I didn't and never realized how much that hurts the fusion process. Get a second opinion as well. IF you surgeon is having second thoughts then that would make me worried that they are not confident and I want the most skilled available surgeon screwing around my spinal cord. Best of luck and hang in there. For pain, the fentanyl patch spell check that, work very well. You wear it for 3 days, you don't get that "stoned" feeling and as long as you are not a big sweater, they stick pretty good.

on 04/13/2010 10:33pm

I also have 2 level spine fusion in june 09, T12 to L2. I didn't have pain for about 8 months, and I started to have irritating and burning pain in January, and it is around my left lower abdomen area. I mean the skin level, especially if I sit or drive with certain posture. X ray shows that I have 2 screws loosen, and the doctor said he won't know what exactly cause the screw to loosen, but one possible is the fusion failure due to lack of bone growth to support the fracture. He said after all the hardwares are removed, then CatScan can be taken to see in detail.

on 04/16/2010 4:12pm

Thanks hal, scott, vincent and squirtatious for the advice. I did get a second opinion and the doc said he wanted to wait a couple of months to compare images, so im going to pain doc for now. they are both neurosurgeons. Scott I also work in construction doesnt make it any easier I feel your pain. Hal I have a tens unit too Ill give that a try. Squirtatious the doc also said i have a ring around 1 of the four screws, may be moving, MAYBE THAT COULD BE THE CULPRIT. I think vincent's problem sounds pretty close to what I have Ill know in a couple of months. Scott I also have some of those pain sticky patches, Ill try those as well. Its obvious this has been going on for a while. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE INFO ILL TRY TO PUT IT TO GOOD USE AND KEEP YOU GUYS UPDATED