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29 days out from l5/s1 fusion with instrumentation

Started by squirtatious on 03/22/2010 8:44am

Looking for other ppl to share their experiences with who have gone thru what I have. Feb 22nd I underwent this surgery. It was 6 hrs long, spent 3 days in the hospital and have a 5-6 incision. Upon hitting my 4 week mark exactly post-op, my pain levels dropped to a 1 or 2 and I felt the best I have since my surgery. Went walking yesterday nite as usual for my theraoy. Got about a mile in. The pain in my back began. I have a back brace I wear when I'm up moving. Its begun to make my incision and infusion site burn when I wear it for long periods when I'm walking. Anyone else experience this? And my lower back is so stiff which I expect but the pain has come back and it hurts to sit up, roll over in bed, etc. When will it finally just be those 1 and 2 days continuously? Plz share ur stories, I need ro hear other's exopeiences of their recoverys. I no longer suffer from the nuerological deficits which led to surgery. Thank u in advance and greatest blessings to u all!!!!

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On Feb 17th, i had the same surgery. I was very pleased immediately after...most pain was from cutting the abdomen. I have felt very good (pain 2-3) until now. I am presently experiencing some intense pain when I am laying down and/or rolling over. Called the dr. He said to take it easy for a few days. (I have been told I'm doing too much!) and contact him if it worsens. Wondering if anyone out there has experienced anything like this. Good luck to you all!

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I had L5 S1 laminectomy w fusion on Jan 4, 2010....spondylolistisis w intense sciatic pain.
I took it very easy for 6 weeks....BLT no bending, lifting, twisting....started driving at 7wks....PT at 8 wks....sciatic pain is gone....some surgical pain , but very managable....Ican now walk,pain free. Standing in one place is not easy.
My understand ing is 3-4 months is the number that the fusion is solid, although it still takes 6month to a year to heal completely.
Be patient with yourself...now is the time to take it easy and heal...take lots of naps....when ever in your life will you be able to really rest.
Good luck,,, hope this helps

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I had L5/S1 fusion (T-Lif) on 12/16/09 so I'm a bit farther along than you are in my recovery. I also had a microdisectomy at L3 at the same time & was in the hospital for 6 days. My surgery was 9 hours and I'm 58 years old. I have to say that I was a smoker (quit when the surgeon said he wouldn't operate unless I did because the fusion wouldn't take) I'm overweight and the last time I did any real exercise was in college, so I guess you'd say I wasn't the ideal candidate for surgery. By the time I was discharged from the hospital, my pain level had decreased dramatically, so I wasn't taking alot of pain medication - also it doesn't take much to make me "loopy". By about Jan 10th, I was able to get in & out of bed without assistance. I was initally walking with a walker, but didn't need that after about a week. On 2/12, I had xrays & saw my neurosurgeon & was discharged. Since then I'm just taking NSAID's and occasionally 1/2 a Percoset pill. About a month ago, I started using Wii Fit Plus (a cousin used it after hip replacement in a Rehab Facility). I have to say it's been working wonders. I've lost weight, my stamina is much better and my back pain level is in that 1-2 area & I do minimum 30 minutes each day (today 1 hour). Only neurological symptoms I still have is numbness in both outer thighs which has gradually decreased over time. I also wear a back brace, but at the time my doctor discharged me, he removed the large inner portion in the back of the brace and also the smaller portion in the tummy area - so now it's just the belt with the "strings" in the back that velcros together in the front and tightens with the "rip cord". It's much more comfortable now and now I don't have the pain in my left cheek from the brace pressing against it. I ALWAYS wear a t-shirt under it and I also took the softest face cloth in the house to put under it to keep it from rubbing and irritating my incisions. I think in another month or two you'll have much less pain. Just remember to not overdo it - and you will be tempted to because you've been limited for so long - but don't because you will feel it when you do. I have a paint sample on my living room wall that I put there before my problems began that calls out to me every time I walk past it, but for right now I'm sticking with the program & ignoring the temptation!

I'm really glad I had this surgery now - my surgeon catagorized it as "elective" right now - because the initial recovery was tough & I'd hate to think of going thru it at 70 or older. I also preferred to have my back "fixed" rather than bandaiding the problem with epidurals that didn't really help. I feel much better than I did before at 3 months post surgery. If anyone's contemplating any spine surgery, make sure your surgeon is highly qualified. I'm lucky to live in South Florida and my neurosurgeon, Steven Vanni, is a Professor of Neurosurgery at the Univ of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is Board Certified and is part of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. My back was probably the first "virgin territory" he's seen in quite a while because everyone else I met while waiting for my appointments had prior botched surgery and was there for Dr. Vanni to fix them. I also knew 2 other people who were patients of his & who raved about him. He also works with Barth Green who is the "guru of spine" down here - doesn't get any better than these guys. Good luck with your recovery.

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Had my third spine surgery on 1/6/10, XLIF procedure to fuse L3-4. L4-5 had been fused in 2006. I went back to work and the gym three weeks post-op. I still have some manageable daytime back and hip pain and weakness in one leg, but can't get through the night without taking Tylenol. Night pain is quite bothersome and I can't tolerate lying on one side. I've been going to the gym, doing Pilates, cardio and weights for more than 30 years so that might be what motivated me to get back to it as soon as possible even though I wasn't pain-free yet. I'm 72. Hoping the pain disappears completely soon.

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Wow!!!! U guys are troopers!!!!! My dr won't even consider medically releasing me til around june 22nd for work. Guess it depends on how my recovery goes. I see my surgeon for my 7 week check-up on april 9th. I'm hangin in here, tryin to walk 4-6 times a week for at least 45 min each time. Thanks for all ur replies, its helpful and interesting to know other ppls journeys and what its like for them and what I may possibly expect out of my own recovery!!! *hugs*

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I am 23 years old. I actualy work for an Orthopaedic Group in Towson, MD. I have horrible degenerative disc disease and I had L4-L5 & L5-S1 Laminectomy,Discectomy 5/11/09. I thought I was better until after a few months, my back pain and left leg pain began to return. My body built up so much scar tissue and it is surrounding my nerve again. I came on here looking around b/c today I am in so much pain, I am contemplating what to do. One of the Doctors I work for did my surgery. He is a very good doctor and I trust him, but sometimes, I feel like I'm being shoved under the rug. I am unsure whether or not to get a second opinion from a Neurosurgeon or another Orthopaedic Spine doctor. Anyone have any suggestions???

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Dear Kmaves,
Of course you should get a second, maybe even a third opinion from a neurosurgeon and another orthopedist.. You may be surprised at how differenty doctors view the type of condition you have. Good luck. BTW, degenerative disk and spine conditions do not stop after surgery. The process continues so your suyrgery may not have been the final answer. also, I would suggest not using any of the doctors in the group that employs you. It's just not a good idea to mix employment with medical care - in my opinion.

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Kmayes hun, always get 2nd and 3rd opinions!! I'm sorry to hear things arnt working out as wellb as u had hoped!! I hope u find sum answers soon!!! *hugs* I've been doin rather well until bout 2 weeks ago when this new "popping/twanging" pain came on in my fusion area. Made my time b4 this sound like a piece of cake. Upon going from a laying to a standing position, rolling overb in bed, walking etc this "poppingntwang" pain rendomly comes on. Mainly when I'm in motion. The pain is sharp, piercing pain that lasts bout 30 seconds then dimishes into an "inflammed type ache". If I get this pain enough in an hours time, my back feels so inflammed that even with my brace on, my walk is so stiff from my fusion pain. Went to my 7 week post op ppt, had exrays, hardware intact, nothing loose there to cause this. Nothing fusing yet, dr said could take up to 3 months to see fusing. He didn seem to concerned with my "popping" problem but couldn't give me an answer as to what it is and why I'm experiencing it. I tried to research this phenomena to no avail. I now believe it to hacpve sumthing to do with my paraspinal muscles and ligaments, and soft tissue. Sumthing is defenitely going on in there. Anyone else present with this type of symptoms? It has got me developing anxiety upon moving. Thanks

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Kmayes hun, always get 2nd and 3rd opinions!! I'm sorry to hear things arnt working out as wellb as u had hoped!! I hope u find sum answers soon!!! *hugs* I've been doin rather well until bout 2 weeks ago when this new "popping/twanging" pain came on in my fusion area. Made my time b4 this sound like a piece of cake. Upon going from a laying to a standing position, rolling overb in bed, walking etc this "poppingntwang" pain rendomly comes on. Mainly when I'm in motion. The pain is sharp, piercing pain that lasts bout 30 seconds then dimishes into an "inflammed type ache". If I get this pain enough in an hours time, my back feels so inflammed that even with my brace on, my walk is so stiff from my fusion pain. Went to my 7 week post op ppt, had exrays, hardware intact, nothing loose there to cause this. Nothing fusing yet, dr said could take up to 3 months to see fusing. He didn seem to concerned with my "popping" problem but couldn't give me an answer as to what it is and why I'm experiencing it. I tried to research this phenomena to no avail. I now believe it to hacpve sumthing to do with my paraspinal muscles and ligaments, and soft tissue. Sumthing is defenitely going on in there. Anyone else present with this type of symptoms? It has got me developing anxiety upon moving. Thanks

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I had an l5-s1 fusion and my surgeon didnt have me in a brace for that reason. infection at the incision and your back doesnt have a chance to heal as fast.(muscles). He had me walking the day after the surgery( in severe pain) with a walker which I used for I think was about 2-3 weeks. Talk to your surgeon about removing the brace, your back can take it and as long as you roll and stay erect, it's okay. slow and easy steps. Take care and best wishes. Hope this helped some.

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Hi scott, thanks for ur reply!!! I've never had spine surgery b4 so I don't know what to compare my experience to. I just know I'm supposed to wear my brace when I'm up and moving for 3 months. When I DON'T wear it, it feels like my back is going to collapse inward and it hurts to even just walk without it on. I'm interested to hear more of ur journey without a brace and how its goine foir u. I too have been walking since very early on in my recovery. Have a great day:)

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Hello,
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but my L5/S1 fusion did not go so well. My story began in '01 when after a summer of playing on three ball teams, I didn't seem to be healing in the off season. My back pain was constant but I had lived with it for so long that I thought it was normal. Then in August of '02 as I was standing out in right field, I noticed that along with the usual pain, I could no longer feel my right foot and some of my calf. I went to the dr. six days later when I was at work and all I could do was cry...and I have a very high pain tolerance but I was just worn out, I couldn't stand it any more. My dr. sent me home with some percocet and told me he would order a CT scan. I thought great, I can take one of these pills and carry on...not so, I just laid around all one day and then the next morning, I couldn't even walk. Off to the emergency ward where they told me I had a herniated disc and they kept me there for five days in which time I had my CT scan that showed not only was my L5/S1 disc herniated, it had ruptured and a quite large piece was pressing on the L5 nerve root which explained the numbness and sciatic pain I was experiencing. I won't bore you with too many more details except that I also lost the ability to rise up on my tiptoe on the right side. I was visited by an orthopedic surgeon in the hospital and was told that I would need surgery as soon as they could book it. Four weeks later I had my first discectomy. I had been told that most people have to be careful that they don't do too much after the surgery because they feel so good. That was not my experience. I awoke from surgery in intense pain. They had me up walking the next day and home the next. For the next year I saw my orthopedic surgeon regularly and he kept telling me to be patient. During that year, my regular dr. sent me for another CT scan that showed that my disc was still herniated. When I saw the surgeon, he was quite offended that my dr. had sent me for the scan, he said I should have had an MRI and that you can't tell the difference between scar tissue and disc material in a CT scan. He then told me that this had never happened to him in his 25 years of being a surgeon and when I asked him to send me for the MRI that he suggested...he told me I was welcome to get a second opinion. So I did, and was booked for surgery again, this time with a neurosurgeon. Unfortunately, more damage had been done in the year and a half since the first discectomy so the results were less than satisfactory. Once again, I awoke from the surgery in intense pain, no worries about doing too much! My surgeon this time had no problem sending me for MRI's and different therapies but in the end, there was nothing more he could do for me. During these next four years I continued to suffer, all the while using more and more pain meds to make it through the day and not being able to work anymore or take part in the activities that I loved. Also, all through this I managed to stay in shape, 5'2", 114 lbs., and eating a diet of mostly organic foods. In September of '08 I had a fusion of L5/S1 done by another orthopedic surgeon whose best prognosis for me was a 40% reduction in pain which at that point I would have settled for, unfortunately, it didn't go that way. When I was roused in the recovery room after 6 hours of surgery, I was in the worse pain of my whole life, I was trying to pull my legs up to get in the fetal position and the whimpering, begging them to please hurry and hook up the morphine pump and the nurse told me that I should do a little less crying and a little more breathing and remember that they had fixed what was wrong. I hope nobody ever says those words to him. Anyway, they wheeled me up to my room, I was pushing my pain pump constantly and when I was just getting so I could almost stand it, in comes the nurse and tells me I need to get up and take a few steps. I thought she was kidding...but no. Anyway, to make a long story short, the surgery was on Friday, by Sunday morning the surgeon decided he better have a look so I was sent downstairs for a CT scan and an X-ray, but first the physio lady thought it was a good idea for me to walk to the gurney parked out in the hallway. I was in tears by the time I got there. On Monday I was told that I would be going back into surgery to remove one of the screws but first I had another MRI...and they had to unhook my morphine pump while I was getting the MRI...not pleasant. Tuesday night I had the surgery and this time when I woke up, the pain was manageable. They kept me until Friday and then we drove four hours home to begin my recovery. Oops, I forgot one detail. When my surgeon visited me in my room on Friday afternoon he was doing the usual tests...you know, poking your feet and asking if I could feel it and if I could move my feet. Left side yes...right side no. So on top of everything else, I now had dropfoot. It has been 1 year and 7 months since my fusion. I have to use a brace to walk, I am still in as much and sometimes more pain than before the surgery and worst of all, there is nothing more they can do for me. My hopes of less pain were dashed and I am still not able to work or do any of the sports and activities that I loved. So if I had anything to tell someone to help them it would be...trust your instincts, be a squeaky wheel, get a second and third opinion and surround yourself with positive people. I wish I owned stock in a pharmaceutical company!

thanks for reading my story,
lori

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Wow lori, my heart goes out to u hun!!!! *hugs* what a nightmare!!!! I'm so sorry ur journey has been one of much pain and discomfort!!!! I will keep u in my thoughts, take care

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I definitely know what you're feeling. I too underwent a fusion at L5/S1 in Nov '09 due to Degenerative Discs. This was of course a last resort after a discectomy/laminotimy in June '04 which only brought on more pain. Then I had artificial disc replacement at L5/S1 in Jan '05. This brought the pain level down to about 1 or 2 for about 8 months. Then gradually my pain got worse again which prompted me to seek help. I was told by 1 doctor that I should consider a fusion at that level, but he didn't think it was really going to help.

So I sought another opinion - a neurosurgeon. He wanted to fuse 2 levels (L4/L5 & L5/S1). He also told me that the facets were likely causing pain. When I told the original doctor, he was dumbfounded that someone wanted to fuse a disc that was only partially degenerated. Arrggghhhh.

So now I go to another Ortho surgeon here in Dallas & I'm so glad I did. He told me that yes, my facets were degenerative too & that he recommended only doing a 1-level fusion. Since this seemed to be the majority answer, I went with it. Before surgery, I was taking 2 20mg Oxycontin & up to 6 tramadol daily. Also was on Lyrica (150 mg) for the leg pain. I was only 37 at the time & didn't want to rely on pain meds (I also take meds for ADD & depression). It took me about 3-4 months to reduce meds. Wore my brace religiously which really helped. Just be sure to wear a t-shirt or tank underneath to prevent rubbing. I also had bandage gauze & tape that covered my incisions. That really helped.

Fast forward 1 year & I'm now down to only 1 Oxycontin at night, along with 1 hydrocodone. Occasionally I have breakthrough pain where I have to take an extra pain med during the day, but it's finally starting to settle down a bit. I was told to hold out as long as possible until all research data comes in from disc replacement. Studies are showing that fusion at L5/S1 & ADR at L4/L5 is working better than fusion at 2 levels. Time will tell. After all, DDD only gets worse with time.

ALWAYS get more than 1 opinion. If you're in the Dallas area, Plano has some of the highest qualified ortho surgeons around. I'd be more than happy to recommend doctors if anyone needs it. I also recently started having major depressive symptoms which only increased my pain level. After trying many different anti-depressants, I found my pain level differentiating with each one. This was like an aha moment. The serotonin/norephinephrine (sp?) combo seemed to treat both depression & decrease pain. (Amazing how much the brain chemical balance affects pain.)

Any surgery, especially spinal, is going to take time to heal. Don't skip doctor visits & continue to monitor your condition w/ regular x-rays & MRI's. There's a whole community dedicated to ADR if anyone is interested. It's athttp://www.adrsupport.org/forums/ Very informative site. They're even going so far as polling every member & putting all the info in a database to compare results. Hopefully something will be invented to stop DDD, but until then, do your research & know the facts BEFORE surgery.

Good luck to all!
Molly in Dallas

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Thank u very much for taking the time to comment and share ur story molly!!!! *hugs* very glad things went well!!!! I had severe spondylolisthesis at l5/s1 (and no disc) which caused severe bilateral foraminal stenosis which resulted in significant, bilateral root nerve compression. My nerves to my legs were getting crunched and had been like this for a year. Its been a long fight to get this surgery. I'm not normally a believer in spine surgery. Exceptional cases like moderate-severe scoliosis or cauda equina, etc are valid reasons that surgery can help with. I've tried 15 months in an extensive spine rejuvenation program at my chiropractor's calle "The Pettibon System" which I highly recommend to anybody having back issues. This program is better than any risks from spine surgery. March 21st 2009 at 11am my legs began to feel heavy and sluggish. Within one hour, I could not control them any longer. They were equally weak, my muscles didn't worl, couldn't walk normal. I walked like I had a bad case of cerebral palsy. Up until this point, my back problems and pain stayed in my back and buttocks. It had never extended down my legs. I didn't even know what was happening was related directly to my lower back. I went to instacare 5 hours later after work as I was still walking this "funny walk". He sent me to have brain and lumbar mri. Brain mri came back fine, lumbar did not. Dr told me I was going to require surgery. I thought "oh hell no ain't ANYONE messing my back up further by carving into it". I had this walk for 3 straight days. On the second day, severe charlie horses set in in both calves. Couldnot walk,dance, stretch, or massage them out. It was constant, tight charlie horse pain. I went to visit my chiro. He looked at my mri and my abnormal gait and heard my "new leg pain" symptoms. Since it wasn't a herniated disk, or just a deteriating disc, but a bone fracture issue that helped to cause the holes that ur root nerves exit to become dangerously narrowed, he told me that it was time to see a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. After 3 days, the charlie horses subsided, but then a whole new kind of hell set in...l5/s1 r adiculopathy pain in my legs. The weakness and inability to control my legs and walk normal now came at will. Bending, walking up or down stairs, up or down hills, walking in general would trigger myabnormal gait. O almost lost my jo b due to my boss being concerned about my ability to do my job. One spine dr thought I was faking and or exaggerating my abnormal gait. Made me feel like sumthing more had to be wrong with me to cause such an "abnormal walk that even a neurosurgeon had never before seen".

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Thank u very much for taking the time to comment and share ur story molly!!!! *hugs* very glad things went well!!!! I had severe spondylolisthesis at l5/s1 (and no disc) which caused severe bilateral foraminal stenosis which resulted in significant, bilateral root nerve compression. My nerves to my legs were getting crunched and had been like this for a year. Its been a long fight to get this surgery. I'm not normally a believer in spine surgery. Exceptional cases like moderate-severe scoliosis or cauda equina, etc are valid reasons that surgery can help with. I've tried 15 months in an extensive spine rejuvenation program at my chiropractor's calle "The Pettibon System" which I highly recommend to anybody having back issues. This program is better than any risks from spine surgery. March 21st 2009 at 11am my legs began to feel heavy and sluggish. Within one hour, I could not control them any longer. They were equally weak, my muscles didn't worl, couldn't walk normal. I walked like I had a bad case of cerebral palsy. Up until this point, my back problems and pain stayed in my back and buttocks. It had never extended down my legs. I didn't even know what was happening was related directly to my lower back. I went to instacare 5 hours later after work as I was still walking this "funny walk". He sent me to have brain and lumbar mri. Brain mri came back fine, lumbar did not. Dr told me I was going to require surgery. I thought "oh hell no ain't ANYONE messing my back up further by carving into it". I had this walk for 3 straight days. On the second day, severe charlie horses set in in both calves. Couldnot walk,dance, stretch, or massage them out. It was constant, tight charlie horse pain. I went to visit my chiro. He looked at my mri and my abnormal gait and heard my "new leg pain" symptoms. Since it wasn't a herniated disk, or just a deteriating disc, but a bone fracture issue that helped to cause the holes that ur root nerves exit to become dangerously narrowed, he told me that it was time to see a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. After 3 days, the charlie horses subsided, but then a whole new kind of hell set in...l5/s1 r adiculopathy pain in my legs. The weakness and inability to control my legs and walk normal now came at will. Bending, walking up or down stairs, up or down hills, walking in general would trigger myabnormal gait. O almost lost my jo b due to my boss being concerned about my ability to do my job. One spine dr thought I was faking and or exaggerating my abnormal gait. Made me feel like sumthing more had to be wrong with me to cause such an "abnormal walk that even a neurosurgeon had never before seen". I finally had an emg study done 6 months later. Showed "choronic and acute l5/s1 radiculopathy and my anterior tibilas and gastro muscles had motor root root nerve damage to them. It was a hell of a fight to "prove what I was experiencing was indeed real". I am into alternative healing medicine and rarely go to western drs unless I feel my problems are very serious. I didn't give two hoots about my back pain, id already been living with it for 5 years and I can manage that pain. I was worried about saving the function of my legs and remaining employed so I could continue to support my 3 kids. Anyway, that's my story of what led up to my surgery. Thank u all for taking the time to comment and may u all be blessed!!!!:)

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Hello,
Wow, it's good to know i'm not alone...thank you to TX Molly and squirtatious for their advice and concern. I know how a dr. can make you feel incompetent and like you are exagerating or lying. I saw two neurologists during the past eight years and they were nothing short of cruel and in one case, incompetent. The first one I saw was about 8 months after my first discectomy. He told me they could cut the nerve and then I could were a leg brace (seriously?!!!), he told my husband to put a wooden slat on my bike pedals so I could have my foot secured to it because I had no ability to push with my foot...he compared me to Terry Fox...this probably doesn't mean much to some of you...I live in B.C. in Canada and Terry Fox was a very brave young man who lost his leg to cancer and attempted to run across Canada to raise money and awareness for cancer. He lost his battle along the way when the cancer returned and he died, June 28th, 1981. Now, I wasn't compared to him for that reason...no, it was because Terry had only one leg, he had an unusual gait...that was why dr. compared us. I take my husband with me to every dr. appt. and this is one of the reasons. Sometimes, you don't believe that you actually heard the dr. right and when we got out of his office, my husband was as offended as I was. The dr. was in a different city, an hour and a half drive from our home...I cried the whole way home. The second neurologist I saw was between my second discectomy and my fusion. He had zero bedside manor and I think he was just a sadist. I don't throw words like that around lightly...he hooked a needle up to electrical current and literally jabbed it into random places in my foot and leg...and then put the current to it. I just looked at my husbands face and saw the horror in it and I knew I wasn't overreacting. When he was done torturing me, he said, yes the nerve is damaged (duh!) and there was nothing he could do. Needless to say, I don't have much use for neurologists. The only thing that has been more painful than my surgeries was in Feb. of '08 I had discography done. You can't have any sedation or pain meds because they want to know the pain level in your disc. Has anybody else has this test? They inserted a needle just above my right hip as I laid on my left side...they put in a bit of local freezing but as they push the needle farther in toward your disc they leave the frozen area. It was crazy pain...the only bright side was when they got to the disc and injected the die to see if it would cause my back and/or leg pain...there was no pain. The bad part was, they were only able to get to L4/L5, my trouble is in L5/S1 but there was so much scar tissue and boney growths around that disc that they couldn't maneuver the needle in. At that point I wondered why the dr. had sent me for this horrible test if they didn't even think they could test the proper disc...Anyway...enough of bad dr's and horrible tests...just a few more facts...I take 60mg of oxycontin three times a day, approx. 8 - 10 10mg oxycodone for breakthrough pain, effexor for the depression from long term pain, and a plethora of vitamins and supplements to counteract the long term effects of pain meds. I was also diagnosed with degenerative disc disease along the way. Also, when I said I have to have a brace to walk, I meant a leg brace, not a back brace. I never used a back brace. I used to be very self conscious about my unnatural gait but now, what really bothers me is that I can't wear any of my shoes...I have to buy shoes that my brace can fit into. It's black, and it goes up to just a few inches below my knee...kind of hard to hide in the summer with shorts and dresses... But, I know, there are people who have worse conditions to bear but I can't help feeling that if my first surgeon had not been so arrogant, I might not have suffered the initial nerve damage and one surgery might have fixed my problem...but you can't unring a bell, right? I am waiting to hear from a pain clinic...although I have been down that road before too...cortisone injections, spinal blocks...I hope this clinic has something new to offer...maybe meditation...anyway, it feels good to get this off my chest and thank you so much for your comments and advice...like I said before...it's nice to know I'm not alone out there.

hugs and warm wishes,
lori (PIMMN)

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PIMMN u have my sympathies hun!!!! *hugs* u have been on ur on bumpy and rocky road...I hope ur journey with this new pain management establishment goes smoothly for you and that u can find relief!!!!when ur nerves became damaged, ws the sheath surrounding the outside od them cut or bruised? A lot depends on how damaged and for how long inregards to how much will heal in time. If docters coud only treat their patients like they would want their own families to be treated. I had one dr, the one who thought I was "exaggerating" my walk tell me I could use with a psycological evaluation. That he didn't believe my symptoms were of an "organic sort". Even told me he has my same back issues and runs marathons. Now remember, I can barely lift my legs to walk they were so weak and I had absolutely no control over my muscles, but he thought I could run a marathon too, that I was faking. I am like u...it embarassed me to be seen in public for the first 8 months. Ppl would stare and treat me differently. I hated doing anything socially as I never knew when my "gimpish walk" wouldcome on. U had to endure ur poor gait daily cuz ur nerves were so damaged. Since my surgery, my gimpish walk has come on about 5 times in the last 3 weeks. Started around week 4 after my surgery. I hope my nerves completely heal. I know nerve rejuvenation is very slow and can take up to 18-24 months forfull rejuvenation of whatever healing is going to heal. Hope u have a great rest of the week, stay in touch, I enjoyed chatting:)

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Hello squirtatious,

Thanks again for your kindness. I hope you have a great rest of the week as well...I have enjoyed communicating with you and will keep in touch.

take care,
lori (PIMMN)

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Lori, checkin in to see how ur doing...*hugs hope all is well with u this week, take care:)

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Hello,
I just underwent L5 S1 spinal fusion surgery on 4/15/2010 at Jefferson Hospital, in Phila. Pa.
I have been a cronic pain suffer for over 10 years, due to a sports injury on September 20,1998, where I was forcefully pushed forward, from behind me, while seated on the floor, in a straddle position, streching, at my childs 8th birthday / gymnastics party and when I got pushed from behind, my L5-S1 disc blew out. The class insructor thought he would take it upon himself to "make me stretch", as he had insrtucted the children to do. The childrens ages averaged from 6 years old to 15 years old. The adults were welcome to join the activities as well. I was 37 years old at the time and in peak physical condition. He did this pushing manuver on me without my permission or knowledge that he was going to "help" me as I was stretching and breathing, eyes closed.

From that moment in time I have suffered intense radiating, burning pain from low back right side down my right leg through my right foot to the end of my two small toes. It ruined every waking and sleeping moment of my ife from then on. I lost my maraige, my job, my self confidence, my self esteem, most of the people i thought had "Loved" me and sometime, even my will to live. I thank god, the universe or whatever, that I did not give up the fight to live a better quality of life. I have two beautiful children to live for , my Daughter 18 years old and my Son 20 years old.

I tried every conventional and non conventional therapy over the last 10 years.Some offered mild , short lived theraputic benifit, none lasted.
In March of 2004, I underwent a partial discectomy with bilateral foraminotomies. Although the surgeon thought her work on me was very sucessful, once I weaned off the pain meds., I realized the pain was worse than ever. In subsequent years leading up to my most current surgery, my quality of lif has diminished to a point that I could no longer bear exisitng in this body.
As a last resort, I have taken a "Leap of Faith" as my surgeon calls it, to allow him to attempt to improve my condition with Spinal Fusion Surgery, which he performed on 4/15/2020. I was opened in the front (lower abdomen) and the (lumbar) low back. I am left with about a 4 inch incision in the gut and about a 5 inch incision on my back. I was dicharged on 4/17/10 as it seems I have tolerated the procedure well. Some of my radiating leg pain has already diminished as the surgeon told me that he removed alot of scar tissues that had filled in at the Foraminotomy locations of the(2004) surgery and that this scar tissue was causing alot of the radiating pain. My incision site in the lower abdomin also burns quite a bit, at present. The incision in my lumbar does not bother me very much at all. I am tapering down on the pain meds, steroids and muscle relaxers and am looking forward to the 30% to 80% reduction in my prior chronic pain level that my surgeon estimated for my case.

I would greatly appriciate anyones advice who has had a similar surgery, on the best ways to handle recovery in hopes of living as pain free as possible, once again.

Best of luck to all my fellow pain sufferes!

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Bogin my hat goes off to u!!!! I wasn't even coherent at 3 days post-op due to pain and medication, I mainly slept. I'm just 9 weeks post op and just pushing thru the pain each day...I know I couldn't of began taoering off my med's at 3 days. Ur incredible!! I have reduced down from 4 pain med's, to 1. I am currently awaiting a tens unit to help with my back pain after surgery. Before surgery, my leg pain far surpassed my back pain, now it is the opposite. Feels like my paraspinal muscles, ligaments, and soft tissue around, above, and on my fusion site are giving me my greatest pain. A grabber stick helps to make recover easier as does ice packs. Make sure u have others there to assist u so u don't bend, lift, or twist. Take stool softeners regularly and eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Change positions regularly and listen to ur body, don't over do it. And walk, walk, walk:)

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Thanks Squirt.
Lets keep in touch and be srong for each other!

Bogin

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Sounds good bogin!! How are u today? How is everyone else? Hope everyone is as good as can be:)

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I did not have a brace and it sounds as if you are healing and I would call your doctor and ask
if you could leave it off and on taking rest periods.

How does it feel when you leave it off completely and the maything I had was spasms. BJ.

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Hi BJ thank u for taking the time to comment!!:) I take my brace off here and there while at home and put it back on mainly when I leave the house. It hurts my back worse without it, makes it feel unstable and it aches more.

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It's been 4 months since L4,5S1 fusion and I' m about to turn 72. Reading these posts is interesting as I compare my experiences with some on Spinal Universe. Fact: The blood supply to the back is not great so getting oxygenated blood which promotes healing to the area absolutely
requires moving around constantly. If you can't move on your own, use a walker, crutches a cane but just keep moving, dont sit for more than 30 minutes. Fact: Keep your abdominal muscles tighten every time your move like getting up from a chair, rolling over etc it helps with lumbar stabilization.Fact: Ice your back 5 to 10 times a day, it controls pain and spasm..Pain signals that you've overdone it.Fact: If your insurance doesn't pay for physical therapy, go to the library and print out the exercises for post op spinal fusion and do them religiously(it's free).Fact: It's hard to move around when you're looped out on pain pills, you have to eliminate them as much as possible. Try anti spasm pills like Flexoril or /backlifin, not Oxycodin. Fact: Lose weight, 20 ,30 or 40 lbs that takes the pressure off the back.Stop eating junk food and reduce your food intake by half..Read a book called :Cure Your Own Back" by John SarnoMD.Fact: Don't depend on doctors to cure you. You must take care and responsibility for youself. Fact: There is no benefit eliminating the back brace. Wear it when your up and about to stabilize the lumbar region.
Stop recounting horror stories from the past. about doctors or nurses hurt your feelings. Fact: Most doctors are high functioning Asbergers Syndrome so they have the personality of a shoe. It's not you, it's them! Their lack of personality has nothing to do with your treatment. If you can't stand your doctor get another. Good luck and Godspeed to all.

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Anne D -& Squirtatious - you rock! I've been reading your posts which have been very helpful. I am trying to be as informed as I can be in making a decision about surgery. Right now, it is still
"an option" as I have congenital Spondylolisthesis w/pars defect L5-S1, with a grade 1 slippage.
I say "option" as I currently don't suffer from any emergent circumstances, cauda equina or drop foot. My pain began Jan/09 while out walking and my feet started to hurt. By that night I could not even cut an onion, the pain was unbearable for weeks during the process of diagnosis, which at first was sciatica. First doc I saw (Dr# 1), a Neuro/surg. came out of retirement to do consults.
Mid 70's but very respected doc. He was very conservative, which was ok, but could not see the MRI well (My Iesson #1- get a good set of films!) (Doc#1). said he did not believe surgery would be necessary. He gave me a script for Celebrex & PT and sent me on my way - no follow-up....
Feb. 09 I saw (Dr #2), Ortho-surgeon, he ordered new MRI .. though only a grade 1 slippage, He
said my desciption of the pain and symptoms led him to believe that a fusion w/ instrumentation
would correct & alleviate my neurological symptoms. (Doc #2) is board certified spine surg, a fellowship from Emory. Thank God he suggested Neurontin. It really decreased my nerve pain & gave me mobility back. He set up an Epidural to see if I could get relief that way. I must say that he was very accepting to anything I wanted to try and not "pushing" me to the table at all. Since Feb 09 I've had 6-7 epidurals. Problem is I wound up at a state University hospital in Oct 09 . Tests & tests, concluded my Pituitary system does not process steroids very well..causes side effects. So epidurals are not going to be a long term treatment plan...
Feb 2010 Had a consult with (Doc#3) a Neuro-surgeon from that University who then brought my case to a colleague who is an ortho. Periodically they go over cases and will do some together as a team. Doc #3 said he and this doc felt I would benefit from surgery.(My Lesson# 2) - follow your instinct, don't allow yourself to be a lab rat. (Doc#3's) office has since called me twice to book my procedure! pushy? or is business slow? An ortho & a neuro doing your surgery - sounds good, so why did I not feel good about it?
So here it is, almost Sept 2010...I have days when I can honestly say to myself that I could live with this and then there are "those days" :O I can function pretty good with a tramadol in the am, and a 1/2 to 1 lortab at nite, along w/ 300 mg of neurontin. I'm in my mid 50's and don't know if waiting will result in deterioration of other nerve endings causing permanent damage? If I'm older will that effect recovery time or cause other issues? (My Lesson #3) Dealing with chronic pain is a long road with no end, no different than dealing with any chronic disease. It becomes a part of your life, but it does not have to define it. Each day I try to do as much as I can & keep looking for new info. on my condition. I have had a few therapeutic massages that were very soothing **I soaked in a natural hot mineral springs.. felt wonderful for days afterwards and would highly reccomend it!!. Please let me know if anyone has suggestions or are in the same situation. Sorry this is so long. Thanks for your time.

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Maggie1422,

I too suffer from the same, but it's been going on for more than 4 years and I have tried everything but surgery. I am no longer at a 1st degree slippage, but have just encroached upon the 2nd degree just recently and I just turned 40. I'm tired of the epidurals, all the meds, and all the pain. I don't know what to do. I just had my second appointment with a surgeon, this one neuro who said, "you were born with this, so it shouldn't bother you like you are saying it is. I can't tell if you've slipped more because I haven't seen the first set of images (even though it does talk about it in the report...read the report you idiot!) and you loosing an inch in height doesn't mean anything to me. I will operate with instrumentation and I'm not gonna adopt you afterwards so you are gonna have work to do. For instance, you must first quit smoking one month before surgery, and ween yourself off of the narcotics. Nobody will hire you on morphine, therefore it has to go."

I wanna know how he expects me to deal with the pain without the narcotics. I've been on morphine for 4 years now and it doesn't keep the pain away. I am mostly clear headed on a good day, but I do have problems with my memory. My pain mgmt dr wants to increase my morphine to 45 2xday because the hydro doesn't work for the break-through pain and the Lyrica isn't helping at night anymore. I guess he thinks I'm able to just run out and get a job and forget the pain without the pain killers. I can't do housework anymore and this man is worried about the morphine keeping me from working! HELLO??
I know I need to go and get another opinion, but I don't really want to hear the word "fusion w/ instrumentation" That scares me to death, worse than the morphine that I'm on. I hate taking it, but I know that without it I wouldn't be able to do my simple tasks that I can do now like being the taxi driver for the kids and being able to watch the kids play sports.
He did try to sell me on more PT and I'm even thinking about it. I figure why not try PT for the third time and then have surgery in the spring if I get no relief. He was realistic about the odds and the risks, but there was something about him I didn't like...can't put my finger on it, but it's like he was talking down to me like I didn't know what I was feeling or understand what was going on. And we went for my neck...the mri on my cervical spine showed something funky on the base of the C2 in the bone marrow...he didn't see what the radiologist was talking about, so he didn't wanna talk about it...hello?? I'm sitting there scared to dealth because the results said significant disease and he doesn't wanna talk about it.

Sorry for the rant, thanks for listening!

Best wishes to all!

Wendi

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Hi Wendy - Use the best resources you can depend on right now...your instincts. If there is something about the doctor you don't like, than cross him off your list and move on. Find another
doctor if you can. Find two or three. There are no rules when it comes to choosing a professional
whose supposed to help you, not make you feel uncomfortable. You may also consider a consult with a different pain mgt specialist before upping your morphine. (I am trying with all my might to take as little narcotics as I can) I take neurontin instead of lyrica and for me, it works quite well. Though I had to find the dosage that worked for me....thing about meds...they help one thing -
and hurt another. I get nasty side effects epidurals, to the point they took a bunch a tests and
found out my body does not process cortisteroid, prednisone etc. and it messes with my
pituitary system. PT did not work well for me..but walking helped ALOT, & only on the flat,
level 1 setting on a treadmill. Deep tissue massage also helped, and my favorite (I live not
far from a Hot Springs...the body obsorbs those minerals, and ohhh it's wonderful) . Leave no
stones unturned...and try to find a doc that will sit down with you and "talk" with you, not at you.
If you are looking to hold surgery off, then let him know that, if he's a good surgeon and he thinks
you can hold off, he will let you know that.. My doc explained that MRIs & X rays only tell part of the
story..you tell the rest & believe me, they have heard a lot of stories and can tell alot about you and
your condition just based on what you say.. Find a doctor that will work with you not against you,
...he's out there somewhere.. keep searching...it's worth it! Good luck to you!

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