SpineUniverse Community Advice
Get help and share your story with others who know what you're going through.
Please register or log in to join the discussions!

Is anyone better from a lumbar back Fusion ???????? How long did it take you to get better????????

Started by Mel2 on 11/17/2010 10:58pm

My surgery was May 15 I had a lumbar fusion. The more I read here only one person is better. So am I ever going to get better. I`m doing every thing the doctor sa ys. He said I`m fuse right also. Pain is alot worse than presurgery. Please Help Me. Melanie

Do you find this discussion helpful?
1

47 Responses

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Melanie. I am just under two years out, and I am no better. I
have more severe pain, red, and a host of other issues. I have been told by pain management that it is going to get worse and willl be on meds the rest of my life. Wish that I could tell you better news. Wish you luck. Will be glad to answer any questions.

Like/Dislike
0

Hey cutie keep your head up. I has L4L5S1 fusion laminectomy and foraminotomy on aug 5. Almost 4 months old and the first two months were agonizing but after 10 weeks I was 40 percent fused so I went back to work
I teach high school math so I HAVE to be able to keep up. My MIS is in el paso and he is in the top 5 minimally invasive spine surgeons in tx
Text me back how your pain comes on.

Like/Dislike
0

Oh yeah I'm almost pain free. I went back to work on oct 25 so its been one month and either my brain told the pain center to shut up due to some of the horror stories I've read on this blog or I'm really physiologically healing well. Dr said the matrix grafton would envelop the nerve endings so they cannot get exacerbated. Do u hurt standing or going from standing - sitting, sitting - standing? I cannot stand reclining halfway I have to either be prone on bed or supine on couch bed but I only get 2-3 pain at worst case scenario
Let me know

Like/Dislike
0

I had a lumbar fusion in 1966 using bovine bone- Had a relapse eighteen months later and was told is was muscle strain- Found out 22 yrs later that 85% failed and mine was cracked- All states notified patients except Massachusetts, I guess- At the time, the doctor was dead and hospital was closed-
I'm now 65 and have lived with pain and ruined my digestive system with years of ingesting pain pills-
Do your home work and us extreme caution before you decide- I didn't have much choice, I was a kid and lost control of both legs and told it was the best thing since sliced bread- NOT--
I now have spondylosis in C5 & C6 and arms and hands are in constant pain and surgery is the only cure- It's been five years and counting- I completely understand you being apprehensive, and that's a good thing--
BEST OF HEALTH~

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Melanie
I had lumbar fusion one week after you did. I wish I could say I have improved but I haven't. The pain is worse for me than before surgery with very limited range of motion. I've tried physical therapy sessions but after two weeks the pain becomes unbearable. My mobility is good, my spine is more stable and I have better balance but my quality of life is not what it was before the surgery because of chronic pain. I wish I hadn't done the surgery but I really ran out of options, my vertebrae and disk were disintegrating at L4-L5 plus I had spinal stenosis.

I will look into nerve ablation techniques if things don't improve in the next month. I have bad reactions to pain meds plus need to work so have very few options available.
Hope things improve for you.
Best wishes,
Fenspot

Like/Dislike
0

My mother had less invasive TLIF with dr. Robert Saftic in Croatia in March. Now, after 7-8 months she feels good improvement and return to her daily activities.

However, experts from all over the world state that for the real effect and results of spinal fusion surgery you have to be patient and wait 12-24 months.

Like/Dislike
0

i have to agree with bigotist i had mine almost four yrs ago was promised the world of pain free NOT!!!! was a six month grueling recovery and i was only pain free for 3 months. my current doc feels it was the worst thing i could have had done knowledge is power learn all u cann and be proACTIVE IN YOUR TREAMEN SEEMS DRS, LIKE TO BULLY PEOPLE INTO THINGS DO NOT LET THEM and best of luck

Like/Dislike
0

Hi new gal here. I have spondello and my L5-S1 has slipped and is causing minor pain-weakness in my leg & numbness. I'm considering surgery-but reading this makes me nervous! The Dr wants to fuse L5-S1 together-use screws, put some kind of a buffer in between and graph. What am I in for? Is a neurosurgeon better or an ortho Dr?

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Melanie I had my fusion done about 7 months ago and I feel alot better but I still have a hard time walking. I was unable too walk at all.The pain was soo bad that all I was able to do was lay down and not walk at all except for the bathroom.I feelmuch better.At least I can walk with the aid of a cane.Still have aches and pains.Don;t give up! Best of luck.... Bob

Like/Dislike
0

I'm so sorry, Mel,2, that you're still in such pain! I hope they find a way to give you some relief. As someone who has been there, I know you probably feel like you're drowing in pain, so I'm praying for you!

I had a lumbar fusion L4-S1 on 11/24/10 using the TLIF procedure. From the recovery room, I knew it to be successful as the pain running down my leg was no longer there (they'd also decompressed several nerves that were being pinched causing hot burning pain).

I'm post op less than 2 weeks and although I'm not allowed to do much yet, the pain meds they're giving me are actually working (pre op all the pain meds that pain management gave me were barely touching the pain) so that kind of relief is wonderful!

I agree that most of the posts here have been about surgical failures and can get you down and worried about whether or not to have the surgery, or whether or not yours will be successful at a particular point. All surgeons are not alike so I can't speak about other surgeons, but mine has been great so far. I had visited another surgeon who agreed by the first surgeon. But there was something I didn't like about the second surgeon and decided to go back to the first. Glad I did! I had several different problems that none of the other lesser surgeries would not solve.

I truly believe in a positive attitude. If you are still in pain you need to communicate that to your surgeon. Does the surgeon say you should have seen improvement by now? Can they send you to pain management for a time until you fully fuse? If they don't help GO SOMEPLACE ELSE. DO NOT WAIT AND SUFFER, PLEASE!

When I read a lot of the posts here I was so concerned surgery was not for me I almost canceled. Then my husband reminded me that my quality of life, even with all the pain meds, was so poor I didn't have a choice. And my family needs me! I want to try to give you a little hope, knowing that fusion does work. I'll be going on 12/14 to remove my staples and see the surgeon since the hospital and I'll let you know how I'm doing then, if you're interested. The home physical therapist will be here tomorrow to begin physical therapy (which I'm sort of dreading) but it was recommended by the home care nurse a week early because I'm doing so well. I believe that most of the posts are negative because the successful surgeries for the most part are not sitting around on a computer all day-they're out living their lives.`

Good luck. Let us know the outcome.

Like/Dislike
0

Hi everyone. My Dr. said to walk to help my legs and back to get stronger.I try too but,I get tired very fast. I feel alot better for doing so.I went to an Ortho and he told me there was nothing he could do for me. What a blow to me! I saw another Dr. who said this may help.I'm glad that I had it done.I just take Mobic(nsaid). GOOD MED.!!! This Dr. is a Nero..Try to walk alittle,if possible.While I think of it,has anyone ever found a topical ointment that works? I still need something to help ease the pain.
A pain Dr. gave me morphine pills to ease the pain(pre op)All that happened was,I GOT HOOKED!i WENT THROUGH HELL getting off of them.I.m stronged willed and did it on my own.I don.t take anymore narcotics.Let us know how you feel. Good kuck and keep your chin up. Bob

Like/Dislike
1

Hi bluesy brother, I'm happy Mobic worked for you. Unfortunately, before my surgery, while in pain management and in order to prevent addiction to drugs like morphine and vicodin, I tried mobic. I helped a bit. Vioxx seemed to help the most and they took that off the market. I went through a lot of different medicines. I even wound up with ulcers as a result of pain meds, so that eliminated a lot of pain meds for me.

Please go to either your surgeon, a physician specializing in pain management (usually they're anesthesiologists), or a neurologist and tell them what the pain feels like. This is SO important! Different medicines treat different kinds of pain, so all the morphine in the world probably wouldn't give you much relief if you have nerve pain, for instance.

What did help a lot for me for the nerve pain was Neurontin (generic is Gabapentin). It was prescribed to be by Pain Management. They're the reason I was able to last so long before having surgery. Maybe too long-the surgeon had a lot more work to do than she thought and my surgery lasted an hour longer than she estimated to my husband.

I hope this helps.

Like/Dislike
0

Hi bluesy brother, I'm happy Mobic worked for you. Unfortunately, before my surgery, while in pain management and in order to prevent addiction to drugs like morphine and vicodin, I tried mobic. I helped a bit. Vioxx seemed to help the most and they took that off the market. I went through a lot of different medicines. I even wound up with ulcers as a result of pain meds, so that eliminated a lot of pain meds for me.

Please go to either your surgeon, a physician specializing in pain management (usually they're anesthesiologists), or a neurologist and tell them what the pain feels like. This is SO important! Different medicines treat different kinds of pain, so all the morphine in the world probably wouldn't give you much relief if you have nerve pain, for instance.

What did help a lot for me for the nerve pain was Neurontin (generic is Gabapentin). It was prescribed to be by Pain Management. They're the reason I was able to last so long before having surgery. Maybe too long-the surgeon had a lot more work to do than she thought and my surgery lasted an hour longer than she estimated to my husband.

I hope this helps.

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Mominpain I rried Gabapentin and it didn t work.Mobic seems to work the best. Ive been on so much meds,it isnt funny!What does a pain management Dr do? If its drugs,its not for me. I dont want to take a chance with narcotics again. Hope you feel better... Bob

Like/Dislike
0

Hello Melanie, It is always sad for me to hear that someone is not feeling better after having a back
surgery because it takes a lot of courage and you really must have been in a lot of pain to go for it.
People don't have surgery for the fun of it. My Mother in Law had a lumbar fusion when she was just
80 years old and she said that it helped her so much and she felt so good after a few months, all she
needed were a couple of tylenol a day for the pain. So I went to her Dr and had one done too. I feel
like it was probably the worst decision I made in my whole life because it nearly killed me and my pain is
way beyond what I thought was some of the worst pain I could have been in and live through it. It was
a total failure for me. Now I feel like a beggar at some Dr's office trying to explain why I need such
strong pain meds. And more than one has told me after looking at my old MRI's that I probably didn't
even need the surgery to begin with. But, I was doing PT constantly all day and didn't even have time
to stop and use the bathroom to keep up with the PT and just kept feeling worse. So, I had to have the
surgery if I wanted to feel better. That was about 6 years ago. I was told about a month ago that I now
needed a fusion in my neck. I was ready with the questions this time. Is this going to stop the spasms,
the weakness in my arm, the pins and needles, the pain in my upper back. NO, but your neck will be
more stable and you will probably be a couple of centimeters taller. I tried to run out of the office, but
I can't move that fast these days. No way would I do it again. And when I hear of people going in again
for back surgery a second and 3rd time, I just want to cry for them and say Don't do it, please, you
could end up worse than you ever thought you could get. Maybe if you do all of the PT, take your meds and take really good care of yourself you will be better. If it worked for an 80 year old woman,
it could work for you too if you are one of the lucky ones. I hope that you are with all of my heart. I just
wasn't one of the lucky people who get better. So don't put all of your eggs in the basket and believe
that you are going to stay like you are, maybe you will get better. I hope you do and can come back
and tell the rest of us what you did, how long it took and give us hope that we will be all fixed and not
be in pain. I hope to hear good news from you one of these days, so don't give up yet and keep
working on it with your mind and body.

Like/Dislike
0

I had the TLIF procedure a year ago at L5/S1 and also had a microdisectomy at L3 for a small herniation. My pain started on 9/11/09 and I initially saw a chiropractor who did decompression therapy on me. After 3 or 4 treatments, I was in such agony standing, sitting, lying down that I was literally screaming and crying. Went to emergency room and got pain meds and was sent for an MRI and then saw an orthopedist who sent me to physical therapy and to a pain management facility. I had one epidural and around that time looked on the internet and read about microdisectomy and thought that would be a better solution than multiple epidurals every six months (at the time the only thing they were treating me for was the L3 herniation). A friend said if I was contemplating surgery, I should go to the University of Miami Spine Institute. The head of the neurosurgery department is Barth Green who is one of the best in the country and his team works with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. They are all the best and most of the patients I met while waiting for my appointments were there to have prior botched surgeries fixed. Steven Vanni was my doctor and I think he's a saint and I would guess that my back was the first "virgin territory" he had seen in a long time. He was straight with me right from the beginning that surgery would be elective for me at the time, but that eventually I'd definitely need it. My pain wasn't as severe by the time I saw him, but he said I could cough or sneeze or bend the wrong way and I could be back in the same agony I had been in initially and since I had only been scrubbing the grout in my bathroom tiles while sitting on the floor - nothing strenuous - I decided not to wait and had the surgery. I'm so glad I did. I'm 58 and those first few weeks were really tough and I can't imagine being 70 or 80 and having to go thru that. I'm now PAIN Free and I take no medication at all. The only thing I have is a feeling of pressure at the fusion site (can't bend over & touch my toes) and I still have some numbness in my outer thighs which is now less in area than it was initally and I have more sensation than I did originally. Initally, he stressed that I needed to walk which I did initially with a walker which I ditched after about 2 weeks. I was discharged from his care in Feb 2010 (surgery 12/16/09) and he asked if I wanted an Rx for rehab. A relative who had hip replacement had gone to a rehab hospital and they had her work on Wii Fit Plus. She also was the only one of the people she met in rehab who followed up with Wii at home and she was the only one without a limp. So I started with Wii in February and started out slow doing balance and some yoga and then moved on to more strenuous things as I improved. I've gotten my life back. I love doing home improvement projects and was able to redecorate my living room - paint and install miles and miles of crown, baseboard and picture frame molding and go up and down the ladder a million time and also spruce up the landscaping for the holidays (we're in FL) and spread 65 bags of mulch - I let my husband do the hauling, but I weeded and spread it and NEVER was I in any pain. I would definitely do it again. If any of you who've responded on this post need additional surgery, I'd say come to Miami and if you can't, find a board certified neurosurgeon in your area associated with a medical school and talk to people who've had surgery for recommendations. As it turned out, 2 of my husband's business associates were Dr. Vanni's patients and the guy whose home is right by my husband's favorite fishing hole in our neighborhood was operated on by Dr. Vanni on the day I was discharged from the hospital - having prior botched surgery fixed. He's only taking Advil as needed now.

Like/Dislike
0

To Becca5 - Go to a neurosurgeon - definitely and see my comments above about Miami or find someone associated with a medical school. They're teaching the state of the art techniques. Get referrals from other people and make sure the doctor is board certified. Just one other thing - look for the guy with the packed waiting room. The first neurosurgeon I was referred to by my orthopedist must have been 80 years old, wasn't board certified, didn't do minimally invasive procedures and his waiting room was EMPTY and it looked like it hadn't been redecorated since the 1960's - heavy on the Spanish influence and lots of oranges and golds. to the contrary, my neurosurgeon at the University of Miami had a waiting room that was packed with people who were coming there for them to fix prior botched surgeries. . . . and he was straight with me from the get go. . . he wasn't desperate for business because he had patients lined up waiting to see him who were worse off than I was.

Like/Dislike
0

The best advice I can give is the following: 1). Get an MRI as close to seeing a specialist as possible whether a neurosurgeon or an orthopedist. 2). Try all therapies and medicines prior to going to see a surgeon. 3). Get recommendations for surgeons 4). GO. FOR A SECOND OR EVEN. THIRD OPINION 5). Ask each of the specialists after looking at your MRI what would they recommend to relieve your pain and get you back to normal? And what their success rates are and what do they look for in a patient whose outcome will be more successful than others?

Happy Holdays to all!

Like/Dislike
1

Thank you All, I have been so sick from pain I have not been back on this website.I want to die now all of you are just like me. I wish i never had this surgery(L3-4 Fusion). I just made my dr. rich they get paid if we get better or not. I think they just do the surgery for money NOT TO HELP PEOPLE. I wish I had something good to say. I`m way worse then presurgery. I need help but I think its to late for me. thanks again Melanie

Like/Dislike
0

hello everyone out there that has to deal with this pain. im new today to ask anyone if surgery is safe, i have to have a 3 fusion from a work injury.ive read your comments and need a pal. mominpain you are very informant and i appreciate your knowledge having to undergone surgery already. ive been waiting for approval for 16 months, i have not had consult on what to eepect where do they cut and how much pain can we expect after surgery. I live in the country have no one to talk too which is pretty sad. thanks for any information you all are a godsend.thanks routerunner

Like/Dislike
0

Mel2 please hold on there is help out there for you, i know i have had no one to talk to for 16 months and this room as already given me more hope than i ever had. what type of doctor did your surgery ortho or nuero.

Like/Dislike
0

Mel2...hi please listen; I had a lumbar fusion on the 19th of May 2010. I spent eight weeks in the hospital, four weeks in ICU, and four weeks in inpatient rehap. My pain was very bad, I could not sleep, barely walk, and didn't want to eat. I was put in a hospital due to my depression, and I still see a therapist, and a pain Doctor. But here is the good part, my neuro doctor has stood by my side
since day one. He explains everything to me, what he will be doing, how I will feel, plus he told me I will never work again due to my back problems, RSD, DDD,and DJD, so I have hope. I started reading Psalms 91 each day, every day and now I feel I have hope. I truly believe I can overcome
theses issues I have. Now, I'm getting ready to get the Spinal Cord Stim implanted after the first of the year. I did the trial and it help me with my pain and the numbness in my right leg and foot. Once,
I do that my C5-C6 need to be repaired. I had a car accident in 1993 but no doctor would do surgery on me due to how young I was. There is hope out there if you believe in GOD and what he can do for you. Please Mel2 don't give up, I'm still depress, but I try to walk every day, and I use a four wheel
walker. That I will use for life because my nervous system is damge and I'm off balance. If you ever
want to talk please contact me. I also gave up on wanting to live, All I did was cry and stay in bed, and sleep. Don't worry I feel worst now than I did before I had surgery. But, you have to give yourself
time to heal, which my neuro told me can take up to two years due to all the scar tissue. Please have faith!!! Have a great Holiday and remember I don't know you, but I do care along with alot of
other people on this site. Take Care....Sunshine!!!!!

Like/Dislike
0

NO I AM NOT ANY BETTER FROM MY FUSION!!I had spinal stenosis and the dr was only going to put 3 titatium screws in my back when I went back to my room they had me on morphine I screamed for a whole day then the dr finally took me back to the operating table and done a fusion on my back I was hoarse for over a month from the screaming and I also had bed sores from laying so much!!!They had me on morphine for 8 straight days too!!!!If I had it to do over I wouldn't of had it done PERIOD!!!

Like/Dislike
0

I havn`t post in awhile I had the same surgery as Mel2 on july22. I`m fused 5 months post opp.If I do anything at all. Like walking for 10mins or more I`m in 10 plus pain. Since surgery now I can put my socks on some days I can`t tied my shoes. So I`m worse then presurgery and had it real tough for the first 3 months 4th was bad 5th Ok if I sit in a chair and do nothing at all. I walked alot for 1 month that helped me some> I have to start again so I get stronger.I`m still on Oxy cotin 60s and oxy codone 15s 6 aday plus mobic and mussel relaxers6 aday. Yes surgery is good if its life or death ONLY. I thought my pain couldn`t get worse but it does with surgery. good luck to AllSam

Like/Dislike
0

I had surgery performed on Dec 13, 2010, S1-L5 Posterior lumbar fusion with discectomy and laminectomy and it was an uncomfortable experience. However it removed the horrible pain and I can sit in a chair and walk without a limp, more importantly I can walk again. I try not to take any pain narcotics because when it wears off the pain is worse. I admit that I would try anything to mask the pain but there is no way of ever being pain free. I feel very good walking and look forward to the day that I can exercise. I have been using audio meditation : Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Author) . You can reclaim your body and that will require carefully re-building your strength. Be positive!

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Melanie
Since you and I had our surgeries so close together, I wanted to share this with you:
A physical rehab dr I saw yesterday said that its not very hopeful for spinal fusion paitents who have pain post surgery, but then he said "At 7 months, there is a chance that you will still heal and not have as much pain." He said you have to give yourself a whole year to really heal from the surgery. So I am trying to look on the bright side with that statement.

Here is an update: am now on medical leave, its too difficult to work when you can't sleep at night due to pain. Am using anti inflammatory meds, Tylenol with codeine and misc other things to try to get thru the night. Daytime isn't too bad as long as I do very minimal bending or squatting. I sincerely hope things are going better for you; keep in touch.
Fenspot

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Melanie... had my surgery on May 19,2010, stayed two months in the hospital due to inpatient rehap. A month later my pain was so bad, went to my neurosugeron who advise me that my fusion was fine, but all the screws were bent or broke. So, three weeks later had the screws removed, a month later the rods, and plates removed. Now all I have is my bone graft of my lumbar spine. On Jan 31, 2011 I will undergo another back surgery for a implant of the SCS. Now had a MRI done a couple weeks ago, and have five bulding disc, and two herniated disc in my neck and will have a procedural on my neck on Jan 10,2010. I have had a lot of my scar tissue taken out, got alot still in.
When the weather change my body freeze up, so now II take a celebrex, ultram, zoloft, valium, and a pain patch on my lumbar spine. But over all I'm doing good. Just keep praying to the good man above...I will be praying for you. My doctors tell me everyone heal differ, and can take up to 2 years to completely heal, and sometime longer depending on the problems with your back. I have deg. disc disease, deg. joint disease, scoliosis of the spine, and RSD. Don't worry you will get better just keep the faith...
Sunshine!!!!!

Like/Dislike
0

Hi mel, I'm 10 months post-op from a one level lumbar fusion with instrumentation. First several months were touch and go however I'm doing soooo much better now!!!! Leg pain a mere memory, back experiences a stiff soreness but its bearable and my fusion site hurts if I rub it still. But id say my fusion stiffness is about a 2. I've recovered a lot and am greatful to have the weakness and pain gone from my legs!! I don't do extensive bending as that is uncomfortable to my lower back ande legs...but I'm pleased with the results so far:) I didn't think things would ever get better earlier on....but they have indeed!!

Like/Dislike
0

Forgot to add...I've been off all pain med's since the 4 month mark and now walking is back to normal, no more pain or cerebral palsy-type walking:) I wish u all well and am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking!!

Like/Dislike
0

Hi Melanie,

I had a lumbar fusion about 6yrs ago at L5/S1 and it was the worst pain that I ever experienced after surgery. I was told that the pain was so bad because the doctor had to tear the muscle away so they could get to do the fusion. If I recall right it took me about 1yr to get to the point where I was only taking 1 pain med a day and after 2yrs post op I felt pretty darn good and up to 6months ago I have felt great, now I'm dealing with L4 facet joint issues. If the fusion took place then just give it lots of time as from what I experienced it takes a long time for those muscles to heal. Good luck to you!!!

SHOW MAIN MENU
SHOW SUB MENU
Cancel
Delete