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Old 12-29-2004, 10:50 PM   #1
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mhagewood HB User
6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

Hello All,
I am 19 yeras old and a an l4/l5 spinal fusion 6 months ago. I know longer have the shooting pain down my leg but my back still KILLS me, it hurts so bad when ever i do anything, I was a VERY active person before this, played college basketball, and now sit at home. Just wondering if anyone knows anything that would help me or any advice, all commets would be GReAT!

Thanks,

Mike

 
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Old 12-30-2004, 01:49 AM   #2
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Casey5 HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

Mike,

That doesn't sound right to me. Have you told your doctor about this? If so, what did they say? Did you ever have a period of time after your surgery where you didn't have back pain?

Casey

 
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Old 12-30-2004, 06:41 AM   #3
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flyonthewall HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

I was fused from L3-S1 six months ago and I have no pain. Do you have a brace. Have you had any PT? I still put my brace on once in a while.
fly

 
Old 12-30-2004, 07:26 AM   #4
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Casey5 HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

fly,

That is what I was thinking. If the surgery was successful, why would there still be back pain? Both my fusion and redo fusion I had zero pain after it. And when the first one had the pain come back, three months later, something was wrong. It seems if something is wrong, it needs to be found out what it is and fixed.

I have talked to so many people who never had relief from pain after their fusions and their surgeon keeps telling them it is just swelling and to give it time, they ususally tell them a year. Then when the year is up, they go back and the surgeon says, well, your films say you are fused and I see nothing wrong, there is nothing else I can do for you and they dismiss them from their care. Well, now we know the films can lie. My doctor said it has happened to him before and he didn't go by the films, he went by my symptoms. All my films showed I was fusing and when he got back in there, the upper level was a total non-fusion.

That is funny you found your grab-it sticks at Boscov's too. That was a great idea to get more than one to keep in other rooms. I never even thought of that. I guess when I was buying it I was thinking I wasn't really going to use it much, but so many post-op back surgery people told me to get one. Well, they were right, I could have never imagined all the things I would use it for and how often. You were smart!

Casey

 
Old 12-30-2004, 08:13 AM   #5
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MikeZ HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

Sorry to hear of your problems.

I'm six weeks post L3/L4 360 fusion (5 screws, 2 rods). My leg pains are gone, which I'm so greatful that the twisting ankle feeling has ceased, but my back is killing me, particularly the graft site. The surgeon tells me to give it time and, he "has great hope that I'll heal, my pain will minimize and, maybe we can reduce some of your meds" ... that sounds very open ended to me, like I should anticipate some level of pain continuining.

Top that with my first pain management doc, in a fit of rage (long story) yelling at me that "he could give me an entire back full of hardware and I'd never be better" ... he was an anesteologist (spl?), so he couldn't give me any hardware ... I switched docs shortly thereafter.

 
Old 12-30-2004, 08:40 AM   #6
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Casey5 HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

Mike,

Boy, it sounds like that PM doc was a real jerk. Bravo that you left him and found another. I don't know what all happened, but I do know you never deserved to be yelled at. What did your surgeon tell you before your surgery was exactly wrong with your back and what your chances for a full recovery were? I take it your back pain has never subsided since your surgery. I am glad that your leg pain has. I hope you can get some answers from your doctor. I would confront him about what his long range plan is for you, pin him down. At what point will he start ordering more films and test to try and find out what is causing your pain? You certainly don't want to live with the for a year and then find out there was something that could have been done to correct your problem.

I see you had a level L3L4 fusion. Do you know why your surgeon used 5 screws and not four? I am very curious about that.

I hope to hear back from you,
Best Wishes,
Casey

 
Old 12-30-2004, 02:10 PM   #7
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mel1977 HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

I am only fifteen days out and wondering so much the same! I wish I could lend you some comforting advice. I was a cheerleader for seven years and now can't even touch my toes-not a day goes by that I don't wish I could have my life back the way it was just five years ago. But, I can't and at the same time, though cheering and work prob did this to me, i'd do it all over again. oh, had a two level fusion w/hardware, front and back. Def need to go see someone if you are having that much pain still. I know I should have some still, but six months down the road I would expect NOT to have as much.Please keep us updated. (I am 27, injured myself the first time at 22)

 
Old 12-30-2004, 03:37 PM   #8
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Losy HB User
Angry Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

Healing can take time and while some heal much quicker than others the frustration is undertsanding and dealing with the pain along the way. To me it sounds as though you have given it a generous period of time and you need to consult your dr or seek another opinion in order to get some clarification in relation to what you are still experiencing. It took me nearly 12 months to recover from a fusion in 1990 but with advances in tech today I cant see why you would be still suffering. Good luck

Losy

Last edited by Losy; 12-30-2004 at 03:40 PM.

 
Old 12-30-2004, 11:55 PM   #9
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mhagewood HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

Hey all, thanks for the replys, My dr told me to NOT do PT, and i wore a brace for like the first 3 months and havent since, I am trying to stay active, i do curls daily and I do about 100 push ups a day, but like the past week i really cant sleep cause it hurts so bad. I havent told my Dr at all, the past couple of nights i have been taking muscle relaxers. There really isnt any possiblity of a bad fusion is there?

 
Old 12-31-2004, 03:48 AM   #10
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flyonthewall HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

The curls and push ups could have messed with your fusion. The levels above and below are taking all the pressure and they could go, too. I can't believe your doctor said no physical therapy! You have limitations!
fly

 
Old 01-01-2005, 05:39 AM   #11
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Losy HB User
Lightbulb Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

I know you like to keep active but curls and pushup are things I would avoid to protect the upper and lower levels of the spine . Is your Dr aware that you do these and to the extent that you do. There are better ways to maintain a solid upper boody, abs and back that dont involve high risk activities. I would rethink your approach to rehab if you want to lessene the level f pain you are experiencing

Losy

 
Old 01-01-2005, 07:51 AM   #12
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Rhonni HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

My physical therapist has me doing curls and push ups. I do 5 lb weights bicep curls and 2 lb weights to the side and front (all while standing and the transverse abdominal muscle (?) tightened).

The push-ups are a modified push up using the blue exercise ball against the wall and pushing into the ball, keeping back, knees straight. Again, with the trans. abd. muscled tightened.

Strengthening the upper body is just as important as strengthening the abs and back muscles. Our backs can get into these situations (needing attention/surgery) because we have poor body mechanics. Getting everything in sync and "tuned up" will prevent problems down the road. It's also important to get cardio exercises in there, as the oxygen/blood flow helps repair nerves and is essential in proper healing.

I have had bouts of pain over my past few weeks. I can tell you that phsyical therapy has HELPED! I thought my pain was more from overdoing it... and it was...but the physical therapists know exactly how to work out those muscle spasms and tightening. I have gone in there with a pain level of 8 and by the next day after working out have been down to a 2 (my normal level since surgery).

 
Old 01-03-2005, 03:39 PM   #13
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Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

Sorry for the delay in responding ...

I have Degenerative Disc Disease and herniation at a few levels, but only L3/L4 per the Discogram was the pain generator. I did years of conservative treatments (Radio Frequency, blocks, trigger points, PT, TENs Unit, etc.) until I finally bit hard and went for the surgery.

It has been near 8 weeks post surgery and I guess my expectations are just too high. Yes, I'm doing better and 6 weeks ago, but I'm still having a lot of pain. Weird thing is I can feel the left rod "hurt" at time, other times, it is the right one. I dragged out the mirror to look at the scars, as I hadn't done that in a couple of weeks and I was surprised as to how black and blue the surrounding area is. I'll have to ask the doc about it ... I assume it's just the healing processes. What's killing me is the graft pain, particularly at night when I'm laying on my pelvis. The surgeon put me on a month of Ambien and told me it wasn't unusual to have that level of pain from the graft and meds to sleep were a good thing.

His thing at this point is that I'm being too anxious for progress. I asked him to compare the month 1 hardware film to the month 2 hardware film to see if anything has "fused" and he laughed that it was too soon and we wouldn't see any visible fusion until the 5-6 month point.

As far as why 5 screws instead of 4 ... they went in through the front, about a 6" incision to the right of my belly botton, cleaned out what was left of L3/L4 disc and then placed a donor graft (someone's femur bone sliced up) in place of the disc. He put a titanium screw and washer at an angle into the L3 disc to keep the graft in place and eliminate the possibility of it popping forward. Flipped me on my back, an 8" incision in my lower spine mounted the other 2 rods, 2 screws each and about 3" away, I have another 3" scar where bone was harvested from my pelvis.

[QUOTE=Casey5]Mike,

Boy, it sounds like that PM doc was a real jerk. Bravo that you left him and found another. I don't know what all happened, but I do know you never deserved to be yelled at. What did your surgeon tell you before your surgery was exactly wrong with your back and what your chances for a full recovery were? I take it your back pain has never subsided since your surgery. I am glad that your leg pain has. I hope you can get some answers from your doctor. I would confront him about what his long range plan is for you, pin him down. At what point will he start ordering more films and test to try and find out what is causing your pain? You certainly don't want to live with the for a year and then find out there was something that could have been done to correct your problem.

I see you had a level L3L4 fusion. Do you know why your surgeon used 5 screws and not four? I am very curious about that.

I hope to hear back from you,
Best Wishes,
Casey[/QUOTE]

 
Old 01-03-2005, 04:30 PM   #14
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Rhonni HB User
Re: 6 Months Post Spinal Fusion

Mike... maybe your doctor isn't using the most advanced equipment. My doctor has shown me my fusion progress. I'm 14 weeks and have seen twice how it's coming. It's not significant yet, but there's definite signs of fusing starting and I even saw it for myself.

 
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