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L4-S1 Lumbar Fusion still hurt

From: khlp11 - on 10/03/2010 11:02pm

I have a question for those of you that may be in a similar situation as myself. I had back problems when I turned 16. After 8 years of pain and finally not being able to control my legs as I should I decided or I should say my body decided it was time to have the surgery. I had the l4-s1 fusion done and I felt better for about a year. Well I had that surgery when I was 24 and now I am 30 and I still hurt all of the time. My legs hurt and my lower back .I have even now noticed my mid back is starting to kill me. I have yet to hear of anyone telling me they are better off after they had 2 back surgeries. I have always herd the first one is usually ok but never get a second one. I don't even know if I need one but I can assure you the pain I am in 24/7 is not treating me very well. I guess to make a long question shorter do I get stronger medicine and more of them or do I try to get another surgery? I am taking norco now and have been for quite some time however, that is not taking care of the pain or hasn't been taking care of the pain for at least 4 months now. I feel like I am way to young to be taking medicine at all.

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on 10/04/2010 9:39am

I had L4, L5, S1 anterior fusion about 14 months ago. I am still in pain but at a managable level. I have very limited activities. I also had several areas of collateral damge from the surgery including; cowpers gland failure, ED, hypogonadism, and severe prostate spasms that would last an hour and leave me crying in a fetal position. If that wasn't enough I threw an embolism during the surgery and 2 additional DVT's which landed me in Intensive Care for almost a month. Once they started treating the Hypogonadism with Testim 1% gel and the ED with Cialis I was able to try sex. Then the next surprise, nothing came out during ejaculation. I was then diagnosed with retro-grade ejaculation disorder for life.
Enough about my little problems and more about what has helped. First and foremost the support and care of my wife and the help of an aggressive doctor who stood up to Worker's Comp. I now take Oxycontin 20mg. every 12 hours with 10/325 Oxycodone for break-through pain. I take Lexapro and Klonopin for emotional issues including mild depression. I have recently started Neurontin 300 mg., just went to 600 mg. and will go up to 900 mg. in one week. The burning down my leg is starting to fade and is pretty much gone from my right foot. the sharp pain in my lower back is happening less and less. I forgot to mention I also had a dual ligament rupture from my right hip to my groin. I still fall occasionally from sudden unexpected sharp pain from my back into my groin and down the right leg, 14 stairs last Friday! I am also on Coumadin for life to protect me from additional blood clots. I have refused to give up trying to get better. I requested "core muscle strength" physical therapy about 4 weeks ago and it was approved. I can already feel some strengthening and less pain. I put myself on a diet and over the last 4 months have dropped from 198 to 179.6 lbs. I believe that has helped relieve some pressure on my back as well as made me feel I still have some control over my body. I'm hoping the increse in Neurontin will eliminate the remaining pain and burning down my right leg, my diet, coupled with core muscle strengthening will allow me to be more active and continue to reduce back pain, maybe even allowing me to get off of Opiates which I hate. I have had several set backs including the fact that I have been unable to have sex with my wife for the last 6 weeks. But I believe I will overcome that too. The main thing is never give up trying to better your condition. I have spent 2 1/2 years in constant pain 24/7 but I believe I am getting better. Believe in yourself, the remarkable things your body and mind can do, accept the need for medication and work to eliminate it over time. Always keep it in perspective and be thankful you are not as bad off as many others are. It all starts with working to strengthen the muscles and tendons and ligaments that support your back. I know it isn't easy, in fact there are still days I want to give up but I am starting to see progress and that drives me forward. I wish you the best!

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on 10/04/2010 1:26pm

khip...
it is a shame you have been dealt these cards.
what we dont know is the current situation with the fusion. the pain is telling us there is a problem. i would see your surgeon again for another analysis. it could be a problem with the hardware. easy tests can be run to determine if the hardware is causing the pain. or it could be scar tissue caused by the surgery. as for drugs if you need them to function then i guess you will need to take them. the question is how much can you take without it affecting your daily life. for the pain i would see a pain management specialist. he may want to have you try another drug. you may have become less receptive to the pain killing power of the drug you are on. in short you will need to get more info from docs on the exact cause of pain.....pete

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on 10/04/2010 5:25pm

Hi khip11
Have you found any natural thing that gives relief? If you lay down on your back on the floor with your legs up and bent and resting on a chair or sofa does that give relief? If it does, then I would strongly suggest you do a search on "ambulatory spinal unloading" as it is a brand new modality of treatment ailable that allows you to remain mobile and active while being treated. Hope this helps.

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on 10/04/2010 10:33pm

Hey you guys first off I would like to thank you for taking the time to reply to my questions. I have already spent $320,000 for the surgery all together and I don't have insurance so seeing my surgeon is out of the question at this point. I hate the medicine and really have a hard time taking it. I feel like I am getting more and more depressed as this curse seems to take over more and more of my life any other ideas i am very open to thanks p.s. I have herd both ways on getting the hardware taken out is that a good idea ? o and as far as the putting my legs over my stomach and laying flat that doesn't seem to help much for me. I am seeing my pain doc in the mourning wish me luck I just can't take the pain anymore and I am at the point were I feel like giving up. I got the surgery because I was under the impression I would not have to be in pain 24/7 sorry guys just me going off a bit later:)

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on 10/04/2010 10:47pm

wow $320,000. sounds rediculous. i had 3 level neck fusion which took 11 hours by fantastic surgeon and it cost 40,000. how the heck they get that high?
the test for the hardware will just be injections so that might be worth a try.

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on 10/04/2010 11:01pm

The hospital alone was over $180,000 the hardware was $15,000 a piece for the rods $10,000 a piece for screws or something like that. I am not happy with the surgeon that did it because obviously it didn't fix me. When I went back to him because it was still hurting he told me unless I want another surgery I would need to talk to someone else about it. Almost in those words. He sure was plenty nice before the surgery. I might try the injection thing if it's not too much.

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on 10/12/2010 4:35pm

I have had two surgeries one about 10 years ago which was an endoscopic disectomy at the L5-S1 level. I had severe sciatica and back pain. I had minor relief for awhile but could not sleep after that surgery due to being uncomfortable. The disc up until last year was still bulging. I started having problems where i would be walking and my legs would go out from under me without notice! I went and saw a ortho surgeon again and found out i had spondololesthesis-the vertebre would shift foward and would crush both the nerves at that level. I was the same as you, my body would not function and I was in severe pain. I had fusion last oct and right after surgery the pain excrutiating. my sister thought they did something wrong. They could not control my pain so they knocked me out. I would not walk, eat, or anything. The Dr told my family he never had a patient where he could not control their pain. He said it was from years of Drs prescribing pain meds on and off.
They were going to send me to a nursing home but my family pushed me to get up and walk. I was really angry with my dr for allowing me to hurt like that. After recovery from surgery I felt so good for about three months. I thought I was better. Now I did over do it at times which may have lead to my down fall.. when they say no house work no bending ,no stooping they mean it.. At that time I had a one year old and they dont understand no i cant pick you up....I am in pain everyday, some days are better than others. I am back in pain management doing injections and next i am going to try a nerve burning proceedure-however this is only temporary. The nerves grow back... I will not have another back surgery..several months ago i also starting having pain in every part of my body. I thought it was because i was not as active. I was hurting so bad i couldnt do much and then went back on the road of depression...I was tired of hurting, tired of not being able to have the energy to be with my children...I saw my psychiatrist and she put me on cymbalta which is for depression and fibomyalgia pain. the first few days on it i felt like i had the flu,but im glad i stuck with it because i felt better, not as stiff, not as sore,more energy to do things. they contribute fibro pain with the nerves and the only thing i can think of is that it had to do something with my back and that started the fibro pain...talk to your Dr and keep talking to people..I used to work for a chiropractor and i learned so much about the spine and joints and nerves coming out of the spine. they used to specialize in spinal decompression but that only seems to be a temp fix too. I stll take pain meds and muscle relaxors when needed..heat and ice are great..muscle stim,try to strengthen your back muscles and core..also a big help is finding a good massage therapist in your area..i know insurance doesnt cover it but it really helps get the knots out.. I also used to work for an mri facility that you stand up in which is good to see how your body is in a standing position compared to when your laying down. it does not have the same magnet strength but it makes a difference in what they see.

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on 10/13/2010 11:44am

Hello, I'm so sorry to hear that you are suffering so much. I had a lumbar fusion also in May of this year and Sept 2 of this year I had to have my hardware removed, I was in so much pain. My body was stiff, and It was like I never had surgery. My L4,L5 S1, and S2 was damage and I had DDD, and a budging disc. So my doctor advise me that I had RSD which my nervous system was damage. So he told me about the nerve stimulator, so I decided to try it. Just waiting for my appt to get it. I will keep you in my prayers...Good Luck...I was depress also but pray healed me... .

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on 11/24/2010 10:41pm

I cannot believe some of yalls stories. My symapathies. I wrecked on a jet ski during a race in new mexico on memrial weekend in 2009 going @ 85 mph
I cracked C3 C4 C5 and severely hyperextended my lumbar spine. Completely flattened disks between L4 L5 and S1.
My MISurgeon in el paso tx is dr robert urrea and he fused the neck and fused the lumbar and I am virtually pain free. I had the low back done August 5 2010. I know its less than 4 months so I'm not gonna jinx myself. Don't give up hope. Gotta quit smoking completely(5 a day now) but I lost 35 lbs. My new target weight is 190 and a two lb gain causes 2_3 pain. He only put hardware on the right side, said my lumbars were very dense. Am I still in the post surgery no pain honeymoon because most posts I read say the first few months were cool than the nightmare began. I find that standing is when the pain is nonexistent but when I break the plane(sitting, getting up from sitting) are when pain starts to pop its ugly head out. I use a bone stimulator that looks like a Wii steering wheel and my xray from monday indicated @ 50 percent graft growth/fusion, so maybe this 5000 $ device works

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on 12/22/2010 1:36pm

i am curious as to what i said ... constitudes abusive content ? it truly was not my intent .

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on 01/27/2011 3:52am

I had a decompressive laminectomy fusion L4/5 level 21 yrs ago and am still in pain. Wished I had never had the surgery because it did not make a difference. Often wondered if I had the instrument (cage) removed, if it would help. Cannot walk any meaningful distance or stand unsupported very long. When doctors look at my scans, they keep saying everything looks fine so they don't seem to care that I am in constant pain. My body tells me that everything is not fine. Please tell me about the removal of the instrument and titanium screws. It may be what I will have to resort to having done. Have tried everything else....except a pain pump.

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