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Old 08-17-2003, 09:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Wadsworth
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adamswife0324 HB User
Unhappy Spinal Fusion- How long will the pain last?

I had a microdiscectomy and laminectomy at the L5 S1 level in October. It helped with my back pain quite a bit, but I still hurt alot more than I could deal with on a day to day basis, and the disc that was "fixed" seemed to me narrowing more and more so my orthopedic surgeon decided to go on to do a spinal fusion. He did the fusion through my stomach and used a cage and allograft(spelling?) That was done in May and I am now 14 weeks, 5 days post-op. I still have awful back pain. On an average day, I'd rate my pain to be about a 7 or so, some days I hurt so much I can barely drag myself out of bed. I have pain that radiates from my back, down into my butt and into my thigh. It's a shooting/burning pain. Is this normal? I haven't started any physical therapy yet, my doctor hasn't done any x-rays to check the fusion or anything, so I don't know if it's showing any signs of fusing or not. I am just getting so frustrated, I'm tired of hurting all the time. I walk every day for about 20 minutes or so, and by the time I'm done, I have to lay down for a couple hours because I hurt so bad. I'm currently taking ultracet, which has been pretty much useless in relieving my pain.
I don't feel like my doctor is taking my pain seriously at all. I don't feel any better than I did before my surgery. I had a period of about 2 weeks last month where I thought things might be looking up and then the buttocks/leg pain started getting alot worse. I just don't know what to do, I'm so discouraged and frusttrated. Do I look for a new doctor, do I try talking to my current doctor? Is all this perfectly normal and I'm expecting too much too soon?

Any answers or advice anyone could give would be greatly appreciated.
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  • L5 S1 microdiscectomy & laminectomy 10/4/02
  • Anterior Lumbar Fusion L5 S1 5/6/03

 
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Old 08-18-2003, 07:12 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: South Texas
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ScarS HB User
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Hi...sorry you're still in so much pain. I'd schedule an appointment with your surgeon, ask for xrays and tell him about the severity of your pain. Nerve pain meds can be prescribed to ease the burning sensation (I take Neurontin) and since this is such a major surgery, it takes months to heal. I haven't used Ultracet, but I've been taking Oxycontin for over 2 years with no side effects and good results for pain control. If the surgeon seems to be dumping you, ask him if he has an affiliation with a Pain Management doctor and ask for a referral to help with your pain. Don't give up...be persistent! Good luck.

------------------
Had posterior lumbar interbody fusion at L4/L5/S1 on Jan. 30,'01 with 6 pedicle screws, 2 Steffe plates, 4 Brantigan carbon fiber cages and my own hip graft for spondylolisthesis. Wear leg braces (afo's on both legs)for drop foot from nerve damage.
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Had posterior lumbar interbody fusion at L4/L5/S1 on Jan. 30,'01 with 6 pedicle screws, 2 Steffe plates, 4 Brantigan carbon fiber cages and my own hip graft for spondylolisthesis. Wear leg braces (afo's on both legs)for drop foot from nerve damage.

 
Old 08-18-2003, 10:56 AM   #3
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magnetlady45 HB User
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First of all are you in Wadsworth, Ohio? I had a posterior lumbar fusion at level 4-5 on July 9th of this year. My followup appt was July 29th at which time they took xrays to see how it was coming along. Everything looked great. I started doing a couple of exercises two weeks ago and going to physical therapy for two weeks to have some stimulation done to my back muscles. Wednesday will be 6 weeks since surgery and I can honestly say that I am doing a lot better now. Yes I do still have pain. I walk 15 minutes 4 times a day which is really helping me. I am no longer wearing a corset as of 2 weeks ago. I wish I could say that I am 100% but I.m not, but I am better than before.

They say that it takes time. I believe it. Also pain in leg and buttock may take even longer to go away because nerve was pinched for so long. One thing I found out was that when my back swells a little it does put pressure on nerve therefore intensifying pain. Also the weather plays a big part. Saturday I felt like I was a walking barometer.

There is hope but we need to have patience. This was my 3rd back surgery and I too am tired of pain.

 
Old 08-19-2003, 11:44 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Buffalo NY 14202
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Horta HB User
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HI I am new to this board, I had back surgery 8/02 two rods and six screws w/fushion on L4-L-5 L5-S1 and a yr later I am in more pain now then ever. I went to the Drs. after reviewing my xrays he advsed me that L3 is now showing Degin. and he advs me to have a 2nd surgery to take out the rods and screws and get what is called a cage w/fushion. I am very scared of the outcome and am very tired of the pain. So if anyone knows anything regarding this cage w/fushion please let me know I feel as though I made the wrong decission w/the 1st surgery and do not want to repeat the mistake so please HELP!!!!! Thanks.

 
Old 08-21-2003, 04:12 PM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Wadsworth
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adamswife0324 HB User
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Well, I have an appointment with the ortho on the 28th. Hopefully they'll do X-rays, but if not I'll be asking for a set. I'm also going to discuss different pain medication and pain management. I want to start PT as well.

I've been using ice more often and it helps the back pain, but the nerve pain is still horrible. It's so hard not to think, it's never going to get better, I'm always going to feel like this. It probably don't help that I have an upper respiratory infection and everytime I cough I get that lovely shooting pain down my butt and leg.

magnetlady45-Yes, I am in Wadsworth, Ohio. I know what you mean about feeling like a walking barometer. If the humidity is over 40% (seems like lately it's almost always over 40%), I notice a major increase in pain.
__________________
  • L5 S1 microdiscectomy & laminectomy 10/4/02
  • Anterior Lumbar Fusion L5 S1 5/6/03

 
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