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Fusion of L5-S1 over two years ago

Started by jtjones on 06/16/2010 4:37pm

I had a discectomy and fusion of my L5-S1 level a little over two years ago. Thirteen years prior to this surgery I had ruptured that disc on the job and every doctor I went to said that since I was only 21 years old that I could not have a herniated disc, I was too young, so they convinced me to ignore it. Over the course of 13 years I injured it another three times and almost every time I had a different set of doctors telling me that I was too young for this to happen to and that I needed to exercise more, I was a metal worker during that time I doubt seriously that I could have exercised any more without further damage.

Anyway, in 2007 I started having MAJOR pain down my right leg, I was used to the common shocks and burns that my herniated disc gave me but this was different so I went to a doctor to find out what was going on. After sending me for MRI's he said that I had a herniated disc at L5-S1 (wow, what a relief that was... sarcasm) and sent me to an orthopedic surgeon. I did just that and had several dozen more MRI's done at higher contrast. The orthopedic surgeon reviewed the films and said that I could either schedule my surgery now or come back in six months to a year in a wheel chair and schedule it then, but I needed to have surgery asap because the disc was dead and collapsing crushing the nerve roots.

I put off the surgery since I really did not want someone cutting on me. I was able to put it off for about five months, in that period of time I lost the ability to drive, most of my ability to walk, and pretty much anything I had to use my right leg for as it had gone mostly numb and I had lost control of the muscles in it. Surgery was scheduled and everything went smooth, I was able to walk and drive again I was a happy camper.

Until about 9 months after my surgery. I started having cramps in my right calf, only my right calf and only while I was asleep, and these were the kind of cramps that I woke up screaming in pain from and would wake the entire house. I went to the surgeon and he told me to drink more water and to stretch it, and sent me to a third round of physical therapy. Needless to say that advice did not work. I kept complaining and kept complaining until he finally got tired of listening to me and sent me to have a contrast MRI and CT. He found something, so he sent me in for a bone scan. When the results came back he sent to the hospital for a CT guided biopsy of the growth that formed in the empty space between L5 and S1. The radiology doctor did his initial scans to figure out how to get at the "growth" when he told me that he needed to call my surgeon for clarification.

Basically that "growth" is a bony finger growing off of L5 towards S1 and impacting the nerves, so my surgeon will not touch it for fear it might damage the nerves worse. Unfortunately now I am having pain in my leg again, this time accompanied by my legs wanting to jerk and bounce when I try to go to sleep, restless leg syndrome is the cop out name for it.

To make matters worse, my surgeon will not provide any pain relief and my primary care doctor now refuses to see me. The only pain meds I have are aspirin and aleve because I live in a city that is prosecuting a doctor for over prescribing pain meds and killing patients so every doctor in town has received a lovely letter from some government agency telling them that they are not allowed to prescribe any pain meds unless the person has terminal cancer (I have a couple friends in the medical community that's how I found out about the letters).

HELP?!?!?! Do anyone have any ideas about what to do because if nothing else I would dearly love to get some sleep at the very least? I would like to be free from pain but I doubt that will ever happen.

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1 Response


Well, logically I don't understand how a bony spur between L5-S1 can touch the nerve. Maybe I read through lines :). Also yoru subject line says fusion and then you talk of a discectomy?

I'd recommend few things -

1) Get a second opinion from Cleveland/Mayo or John Hopkins - they do online consultations too. These doctors are very good.

2) Try some Pt the McKenzie way ?http://www.mckenziemdt.org/approach.cfm?section=int

3) Try alternatives for pain - Acupuncture or homeopathy or others?

Hope this helps.