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Failed back surgery are the percentages right.

Started by Sam227 on 05/01/2010 8:41pm

I am having a fusion and leminectomy in July. My pain management doctor said I have a 33% chance of being pain-free after surgery. Does anyone think that percentage is off a lot because people don't want to go back to work? You think people are just looking for the free services for life? Back surgery is a major surgery for all of us. It would be a lot nicer if the percentage was a lot higher that get better. Please let me know your thoughts. I am unable to do almost anything now. My choice is surgery even at 33% .

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Hi Sam, Thanks for the shoutout! I'm now 7 months postop fusion of L45S1. I'm doing well but can't say I'm pain free. I still feel stiffness and muscle spasm(around a 4 on a scale of 10) around the operative site which responds well to constant application of ice on and off all day. I wear a brace most of the time and it helps stabilize the lumbar region as its healing and getting stronger through developing my abs, hips quads,gluts and hamstrings by exercising. I'm doing aerobics, core work and all the PE exercises in the pool every day. it may be inconvenient but worth it. I find that sitting for more than 45 minutes increases bouts of pain so I walk a lot. I've lost 15lbs to reduce the size of my gut and keep it off by cutting down on eating, especially going out to eat and limiting fats, sugars and processed foods(aka junk food) My whole life has been forced to change and foolishly resisting the changes required only leads to more bouts of pain.
Fusion is not a magic bullet. It repairs defects in the back but I still have permanent arthritic changes present. We have to dilligently build our neglected core muscles to take over for our failed backs. It takes a long time and a lot of patience but Sam, in the end, it's worth it.
My very best and a Happy Thanksgiving to all of my buddies at SU!!

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Thanks for your last post Anne D. As I said before I was improving little by little until I had angioplasty in my left Illiac artery which we knew was claudicated. After that day I developed pain my left buttuck around the hip and down my leg, I naturaly attributed it to my angio.. The vascular surgeon was listening until I said I develop pain when sitting or in the morning after sleeping, this was new, when he heard that he said that it was a symptom of my back problem. But when I went on line it said that the pain was from the PAD??? It was good to see Annes post that she also had pain after inactivity. Anyway I have an appointment with the surgeon on Monday for an evaluation.

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good luck riverhawk
postop 1 month , my neck is improving still feel pain in certain areas i had problems before, however i still can tolerate it without pain medicine. Still have to wear my collar most of day for support.
keep trucking guys

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hey everyone?
sam how u doin?
dont remember if i told u, but i was vp of my union local
well because of this injury i had to give it up
This was very disappointing ,because the people loved me
I felt really guilty.
i campaigned for 2 days and my neck and right arm gave me to much pain.
to be vp , u must also drive the bus all day
Im 58 still have alot of pain 11/2 months post op
thinking of retireing on disabity , thats about $500 a week clear , and work cash jobs if i feel better later
whaTS YOUR OPIONION?

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Hi All, I did a lot of walking on my trip to Aruba. It was really slow starting most days but I still did it. I think I`m doing about the same as presurgery now. It sounds crazy but I`m happy I`m back to where I started. I took a chance with knowing the odds. I now feel I have a chance to get better now. I know I have stay active force myself to walk daily no matter what. I know I`m a lot stronger now. I still have a lot of pain I hope I stay where I am now never where I have been for 4 months. I have always said what was going on with me not proud of having the surgery,pills andpain levels. To all presurgery people truly make sure IT IS DO OR DIE. This surgery is very hard and painful. Please understand I was in shape before surgery and 48 years old. The people that have been though this not in shape I don`t no how you lived though it. Anne D. I want to meet you this summer you are one heck of a person. You all on this website have keep me from truly going crazy. If I was alone I wouldn`t of made it. There were many days I wished I would of died. I even had some days I wanted to find a gun and make it happen. So just make sure you have something to keep you going through your bad days. My kids are the only things that kepted me going/sane. I just hope this last week is not the calm before the storm. Thanks to everyone thats helped me so much here. Sam
Rosey it was hard to reply in aruba. How are things going for you now?

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Sam:

Good to hear you're doing better. There is hope!

I will try to call you next week.

Sounds like since your feel better you're attitude is more positive. i know it's hard to be positive when you're in pain 24/7 . . . just ask me!

Talk to you soon.

Pam

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Hi Guys I have been feeling a little better if I don`t do anything. Just wordering how everyone is doing? Merry Christmas to all and a Painfree New Year,, Thanks Sam

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hey u guys
long time i didnt hear from sam
man, i lost everthything
maybe going back to work in feb
the pain seems to be leading me to ssd
it woulld mean $550 a week clear.
what u guys think?
sam good hearing from u!

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Hi Rosey, I couldn`t live off 30,000 ayear but I have two young kids. I was the only one working the whole year till last summer then my wife filled my shoes and did better than me. Just remeber for the first 2 years you can`t work for cash anywhere. I owned a gas station for 11 years and I had pi `s in my driveway checking people if they were working or not. I would demand who they were watching and it was ladie`s as much as men. For all kinds of insurance fraud.I know what you feel like daily and it suck`s!!!!! Yes if I could I would go on ssd. I`m in pain every day some days I feel like before my surgery that`s a good day. This week two days I couldn`t put my socks on 5 months post opp. Yes I was better before my surgery. MY pain mangement dr. tryed so many times to tell me DON`T DO THE SURGERY. She was right I wish I heard her guys.
Anne D. how are you? I bet you arn`t doing as good anymore for some reason. So many I talk to say that had a good month or so and that`s it. I`m going to come and see you all in NYC this summer . again thank you all so so much you all helped me though the worst time of my life. This surgery was HECK HECK HECK for me. I turly wish I didn`t do it. Sam

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Dear Sam and Fellow Sufferers:

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I will post again after seeing my surgeon next week.

Pam

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Thank`s Pam and good luck to you call me any time . I no when I talked to you I had nothing good to say about. my surgery I still don`t it`s been bad for me. Please the make sure you do every thing I said. Go to all the rehab centers around where you live. You can`t even think of having your husband take care of you for the first 10 days. I know you are loved very much but you need to take the best care of yourself after surgery. Have your husband bring you you favorite foods. I would have stayed longer if i had it to do again. I only stayed 9 days hospital and rehab. Should have stayed two weeks. Better care than at home.But I went to a first class rehab center most all paid by insurance. Maybe you will wake up feeling better who knows really .. Good luck Sam

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my SU buddies. Sam I'm doing great. I still do the physical therapy exercises 4 to 6x/week working out in a pool. It's challeging in the cold weather but worth it. I just bundle up and go to a nearby indoor pool. My hip muscles and quads are getting stronger and I notice that I've got more stamina. The back muscle still get stiff and spasmy but that too is gradually decreasing over time. I drove myself into Manhatten last week for the 1st time since the fusion surgery in April. It was a non event. Little by little my back feels stronger and more stable. Sounds like you're turning the corner too and are beginning to feel better.
Where is Riverhawk hiding out? Better not be in his Lazy Boy. Get up and keep moving gang, it makes you feel better!!!!! God Bless

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Yes that is where I am I in my Lazy Boy I am suffering from great pain in my left hip , left butock and goes down my leg. I thought it might be from and angiogram I had in Sept. left Illiac artery. Pain gets worse and worse. The back surgeon says not from him and got really nasty with the vascular surgeon you were right about how arrogant they can be. ANyway there seems to be a consession that it could be arthritis acting up, the vascular guy is setting me up with another specialist. We have to get to the bottom of this. I was doing well until I had that angio procedure down hill ever since. I walk with a can and am still on the pain pills. I hope to get this resolved as I have no interest in anything. Just pain pain pain. I walk a little but just a little.

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hey guys
happy hoildays
HEY I THINK THE PERCENTAGES ARE WRONG.
im only a little better.
right side is real painful and weak
HOW ARE U SAM ?
Riverhawk
I still feel that execiseing will help with pain
once ur able to do it!
Today its painfull to exercise
tomorrow gets easier
Its mostly the cure
for lower back

rosey

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Hi Roesy, I`m doing better over all about the same as presurgery. It doesn`t seem like much but aleast I`m back to that same pain. I would hate to endup worse. I`m in south Beach now. I walk every day I know that helps me best of all. As AnneD. says the gut is growing some that needs to go away. I have always been a little over weight so now I pay. I will let you know what happens with my walking I want to get better so bad I really want my life back. Pam how are You Get to another dr. that all say different things. Good luck to all. This has been one of the worse times in my life. Sam

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Hi Rosey and Sammy and all . I am still in a lot of pain hobbling around with a cane. The doc prescribed oxy 15mg two pills every 6 hrs
.
I also had a script for oxy10with 650 tylanol I think they work better altohg the 15 is stronger. The pharmacist did not ant to fil it because the doc wrote over the date but I kept going to drug stored until one did. On Friday I have another appoint with the pcp who is giving me this hero 15 and tell him they don,t work as well. Then I Want to see a specialist about arthritis . Siince the surgeon that opetatedvis useless I needvsomeon who can help. I was doing well and now 9 months out I am worse than ever. I just need a diagnosis From someone who cares.

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Hey all! Sam I am glad to hear that you are able to do the walking. I wish that I could. Almost 2 years out, I am not even close to how I was pre-surgery. Even as I write, husband just had to help me to bed. The pain is excruciating tonight. Riverhawk I so understand. I am trying in vain to get in with surgeon. I go to pain management next Tuesday for yet another injection. Yet I am being told I have a surgical problem. Phone calls to surgeon go unanswered and of course without call back. I too just want my life back. I just think at this point that it isn't going to happen. I am so discouraged and disgruntled right now. I do hope that everyone had Happy Holidays!

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Hi Sam227, While I was researching the Failed Back Syndrome, I was beginning to work with
a new pain/spine group and the most interesting thing I found was that I could be suffering
from Arachnoiditis. It said that many Drs are not trained to recognize it on the CAT Scan or MRI's
we always get. If you had in the past a lot of injections in your spine a while ago when they
were putting preservatives in the injectables, you may very well have it as well. This site has
a weath of information about it for you to read, and I always try to read reliable sources. I had
my neuro check it for me, and the people at my pain clinic. They all agreed that this is the cause of
the majority of my back pain. They do not want to increase my meds, but have me off of them for
nearly a year so that my receptors will work better with the drugs. This could be something that
you would like to look into yourself. I am not saying that this is the cause of your pain, that is for the
Drs to decide on. Ihave written a lot about what Ihave found and there is still a lot that I have not
gotten to yet.

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hey, im still here
still out sick, it dont look for returning to work
hey sam
working on taxes and computor, so i have been busy
the one lady above said that was told surgry and got injections
with the back they always give injections frist.
conserative treatment
sam are u in florida now?

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Hi Rosey, I`m in Florda South Beach, I`m walking like I should and with the heat it just helps me. It has been sunny and dry every day I`ve been here. Now I`m by myself so if I don`t walk life gets boring even here. I try to think positive it`s hard to do some days. Every morning I take along hot shower and my pills. I drag myself on the beach and start walking. I walk about 2 hours aday but not fast. It sounds like more than it is. I have to start working in March. Wish me luck on that. But if I can walk for two hours I think I can work for 4. I have to Go back to work at home my wife gets so mad at me complaning all the time about Pain. Plus the mood swinges from the massive amounts of pain meds I still take. 3 days I now I have taking less but its from the heat . I don`t think I`m any better than I was before my surgery. Now I have a chance of getting better but I`m at 6 months now. With spine problems I think Death is are only way out. I hope we get better That`s all of us on here. . Good Luck , Sam

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Hi Sam227, How are you now? I`m worse than be for my surgery. I have to see what my surgeon says now. I wish I would died I had a lumbar 3-4 fusion. mid May.I take all my pain medcine and more. My surgeon said I was doing good. If this is good whats bad not walking at all? I seen some guy that said it was the best for him. I think he works for the surgeons. Like the lazer jerks I see you have had those dumb bells on your comments. The people on here that lye will die and go to hell. I don`t like them at all they think were stupid. One said ~you better beleive lazer surgery works~.My kids step father got taken for 4 time like 68,000$ that he paid. Now is lost his home all because he tursted that place in Florida. Poop on them people they are lyers. Plus my surgeon said 90% get better. I have not seen any in the office I`ve asked many over 30. That`s why I commented on this .Are the % as good as you said 33%.
Thank you so much .. Melanie

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Hello to all my SU buddies, things are coming along slowly but I do see progress in gradual reduction of pain and stiffness. Daily stretching before I get out of bed each morning and applying heat and cold helps. The nerve pain down my leg is subsiding since a neurologist perscribed high dose Neurontin and new healthy nerves are growing in the leg. I found a massage school where students do the massage. So far they're good because they haven't burned out yet, they're enthusiastic and the price of the massage is reasonable. I go 2x/week. The money to pay for massage comes from not eating out or ordering food from take out places. I'm almost 10 months post op L45S1 fusion and now know that for me weight loss and reduction of belly fat is the #1 crucial change that spells the difference in pain reduction. Daily exercise to strengthen the abs,quads & hamstrings and stretching the back muscles definitely reduces pain but the key to the whole thing for me was to change my eating habits eat much less, lose weight , stop going out to eat or eating take out foods. That kind of food is loaded with salt and tons of fat that makes it virtually impossible to work off the calories . I can see now that in the pasr my sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits and failure to control belly fat contributed to back and sciatic pain. Now, I'll do anything it takes to avoid ever having to have back surgery again.. It was a truly dreadful experience My best, Anne

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Hi Anne D. Thought you are feeling so good you forgot about us. I have to start working in march. I will have a hard time just being there watching over things for 8hrs. What I will do is start 4hrs and the 3rd week go to 8. I have to work and save my money now cause I know my working days are numbered now.I`ve been in Miami for about six weeks. I gave my wife a break from me and my ups and downs. This has been the hardist time`s of your married live`s. But I`ve only been go to her over the years so I geuss this is the bad time`s. Hard the think how much pain runs/ruins our whole life and lifesyle. Gald to hear your still with us. I would never no matter what have another bach surgery. My pain levels are the same as presurgery. Just different spots not just the curshing one spot more acking all over now. I`m 61/2 month`s now so I still have a chance to get better. Best of Luck to all. Sam

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my lumbar fusion was 5 years ago and I'm in constant pain. my back always hurts, it's a question of how much. would I fuse again if I could do it all over, yes probably because I wasn't able to be upright at all prior to. spirituality has been my best ally. daily prayer and meditation are superior to meds.

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Hey all. I had L5-S1 facet fusion and left side foraminotomy on 9/27/2010 in Washington, DC. It has been a little over 4 months now. Prior to surgery I walked with a cane and was on high dose pain meds. Now I have completely got off the opiates, but I am still on Neurontin 1500mg daily. My pain honestly goes up and down. I have some days where I feel verry little pain, but then I will get a flare up and it will last for about a week. This back problem has been with me causing episodic bouts of limping for 11 years now. For 3 years they had me on 10mg prednisone daily because they couldn't figure it out. While on the prednisone I felt great and trained for a 10-miler, which of course destroyed the back further. I am 34 and I am getting married this year. Honestly I am very scared all the time. I am a spacecraft engineer and my job is very intellectually demanding. I worry all the time that this problem will not get better and I will end up on disability of some sort. I try to keep it together most of the time, but the fear of losing everything I built is very powerful. I was a wrestler in college and an avid fitness enthusiast. Now I don't think I will ever be able to walk more than a few blocks ever again. Am I expecting too much for 4 months out of surgery? I feel like I am sort of at the make or break point. If it didn't get better by now, it probably isn't going to. I read other post-surgery stories and people are up walking a few miles a month or two after surgery. I couldn't walk a mile to save my life as I would start limping badly after the first 1/8 mile. I called the surgeon today to tell him things were not going well. We'll see where this goes. They left the disc in at L5-S1 and only did the facet fusion. I am concerned I am going to have to go back for another surgery and get that disc out.

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Hi All, I was in florda for 6 weeks. I was by myself most of the time. I walked 3 to 4 hours everyday. I can walk but can`t bend at all. I`m 7 months out from a fusion some other things done. I drove 22 hrs home I was sick from pain now 3 days. For me my pain gets so bad its like I have the flu .
philly That`s what I`m afraid of to. I haven`t worked seen july 1st 2010. I have to start by March 1 . If I can`t drive how can I work. I will try, my life will be over if I can`t work anymore. I worked very hard all the time my job is most of my life. (a good part) So with a lot of us our job is the reason that were Here. When I was away from home 2 times this winter. I was much happyer I wasn`t letting anyone down like I do at home everyday. To some of my friends on here go away from home and be by yourself. It`s not fun but for me it help me be a man again. I`m a person that is able to make friends easy. Away from home I was really better my pain. I know I`m crazy Please reply to this if you understand. Sam

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Sam I understand. The feeling of letting others down is a huge part of the problem. Guilt turns to shame. Shame into isolation and depression. I totally get it. I understand the job thing too. Male ego is a bitch. I promise you that no job you ever did made you who you are. I promise you.

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I figured I would put my picture up so you guys could put a face with my comments.

Matt and Sam, I feel what both of you are saying 100%. I have been slowly letting others down more and more since late summer of 2009 when this problem got really bad. I couldn't have said it better myself Matt. Guilt turns to shame. Right now I can't do much. I am about 50% effective at work, and even less so in my social life because I spend all my energy trying to keep my job and get my medical appointments straightened out. I know others don't understand the pain and fatigue. No matter how much they say they understand, they don't. I used to be a very social guy, but I have withdrawn from social activities over the past year and half. I can't even say exactly why, but I but I think it is because I don't have the energy to make convesation. And Sam, I hear you about being afraid to go back to work and things being better when you are away from your family. I love my fiance, but right now I wish I was alone when I got home at night. I can't keep her happy right now, and the lack of being able to do so causes the guilt and shame Matt mentioned. It sucks.

Like I said on the other thread though, keep fighting for answers guys. I personally know quite a few people who have had fusions and can walk fine now. In fact, I know about 5 people, some with multiple levels in the lower back. If we are not fixed, it is either because there was a mistake, too much damamge had already been done to the nerves, or there was an improper diagnosis. And these days they can figure out damage to the nerves with an EMG, so it isn't a mystery.

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Thank You guys for caring thoughts you guys are so young. I kind of given up on this website. How many times can I say my surgery failed and I`m still in massive pain. This thead was my first on here and so many have help me on here. I think we are up to 280 comments back and forth. Sam

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Hi, SU buddies, Sam,who's following you since the fusion? Neurologist?, Pain Management? have you been evaluated for implant devices which interfere with the pain signals to the brain and are very effective?Has anyone diagnosed what could be causing this debilitating pain? As far as letting others down,let me put my psychotherapist(I used to be one before I retired) hat on now and state that it's NOT your responsibility to "keep those around you propped up". They have a responsibility for managing their own interior lives and not be expecting you guys "to be there for them" OR not "let them down"or that you must "make them happy and fulfilled". That's their job not yours. That kind of unrealistic expectation on their part would make anyone feel pain. Marriage or long term relationships are for better or worse. Real love has no conditions attached to it. Sounds like these relationships may be more like hostage taking where you must meet their conditions or you don't love them.
. Your wives/girlfriends need to grow up and cut you guys some slack.. Kids seem much more understanding and tolerant than adults. Hang in there guys. You have all of our support and concern,always PS.My daughter gave me an airline ticket to France as a gift. I'm going next Sunday comes hell or high water, pain or no pain. HAVE FAITH and stay in touch.

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