I am 1 year and 4 months out from my PLIF. I have had mod to severe pain in the right side of my back since about June of 2004. I was just sent to a pain clinic after my surgeon said that the fusion is perfect and there was nothing else he could do except more surgery to remove the hardware. (thats what he thinks is the problem even though bone scans are normal) They gave me Neurontin 6 pills a day and Relafen, I have never taken these before, Seems like the Neurontin would make you loopy. Had anyone taken either of these before. What side effect have you noticed. Is anyone else having this much pain this far out?? Im just about going crazy. Cant stand it much longer. Im only 25, just married, and feel useless.. Thanks so much.
I had a 2 level fusion done in 10-03, the pain from the surgery never went away. It fixed the leg and hip pain tho. They never saw anything wrong with the hardware in the xray's or ct's, one level of my fusion did not take so we went in and low and behold 2 screws were loose. They redid the failed fusion using infuse, and were able to keep all the hardware out since one level was fused. I can truely tell you I would do all over in a heart beat. I feel better already, as the pain from the second surgery lessens, I can't feel the pain I had. Everyone is different, and my Dr. tells me that it unusual for the hardware to cause pain if it's not loose, but he said it can bother some even if it is in tact. He went in to remove the hardware thinking it was fine and finding out it wasn't. I have not taken the meds you refer to, but I know I can't stand depending on vicadin and soma forever either. I can also relate to the useless feeling, hang in there, you find the help you need, just don't give up. God Bless
crzycat: I took Relefen. Everyone reacts differently, but, it did eat up my stomach and I had to take a packet of Protonix to heal it. Within three days I was so sick I wanted to die. I had taken Advil, Celebrex, Vioxx, and Bextra in the past. None of these did to my stomach what Relefen did. It was horrid. I think that a lot of doctors are going back to the old meds because of the heart problems associated with the new meds and the reason that we got away from the old meds is the stomach problems they caused.
Neurontin made me way loopey but did not effect my husband in that way. It also made me very forgetful. I took it at night, all at once, so that I could sleep through the worst of the side effects. My husband took his in the morning and said that he had no effect, good or bad.
As for the pain, way out, it could be unrelated. It could be muscles, nerves, ligaments, or the illiac band. Could be SI joints. I would consult a PT and have them do a few diagnostic tests that they do by moving you and measuring your movements.
I have taken neurontin for a while now. At first it made me drowsy and a little loopy, but it didn't last long. But I'm with Betty, it made me have major memory loss. I took it for restless legs and only took it at night also. But after about a year it stopped working for me. So I stopped it and that's when I figured out that was what was causing the memory loss. I was very concerned. I was training for a new position at my job, and was having a lot of trouble remembering what I was being shown. I felt like an idiot. That was one thing I always had was a good memory.
After this last back injury it really started my restless legs up in a major way. So I started taking the neurontin again and it is helping after taking the break from it, but again I am paying for it with the memory loss. I'll worry about it later, if I remember to, lol.
Betty, I hope you are doing well and getting things in motion for your much needed relief.
I have taken neurontin... did absolutely nothing. No positive results, no side effects, was like I wasn't taking anything at all.
I'm curious, those of you with pain still 1 year out...what exercise are you doing. Walking, stretches, Physical Therapy routine, did you have physical therapy in the beginning?
I still get pains now and then, and granted, I'm only 19 weeks along, but I know when I stretch, and do the exercises I'm suppose to, I feel sooooo much better. Not saying that it isn't uncomfortable to get started, but when I'm done I do feel better. Laying on heat when I stretch helps too.
I was told loose hardware will not show up on any tests. After over a year, it might be a good idea to have the surgery to remove it, considering it is no longer needed. And your still in alot of pain.
Thanks to all who have replied.. I really dont want to have the surgery as I just got married and we cant afford it and I really think my boss would fire me if that were to happen. As for exercise, I do my stretches and walking everyday. I take my pills like a good girl. Im just worried about what the future may hold. WE havent even had children yet. Thanks!
Hello, I took Nuerontin also, did nothing for pain but made me loopy and blurred vision. Dr. had me stop taking it because of eyesight. It cleared up. I did have my hardware removed 6 mos. post op from L5S1 posterior fusion with bone graft. It was a miserable 6 mos.. Did not get much better afterwards either. I am now about 11 wks. post op from L4 L5 anterior/posterior fusion, cage in front BMP, bone graft and Cadaver bone used. My mind is so healthy and ready to go and my body just can't catch up. It's very fustrating. I feel like I should be doing so much more. Some Dr. say that using hardware posterior approach in small framed people in alot of cases they are very sensitive to hardware. Who knows! I am on a new med. and I am so spaced out. You have no idea how long it has taken me to write this. UUUgh! Take Care!
Did you get an opinion from another surgeon??? I don't know if I'd trust the original one to be honest with me - what with the concerns about lawsuits today and doctors seeming more interested in avoiding lawsuits than doing what's right for the patient....
I had a PLIF done back in '88, and was back to normal after about 4 months - jogging in 6.... I was surprised that they are still doing them - I thought they just cut the bulging part of the disc out and sew it back up nowadays...
I never took the drugs you mentioned, but then no drug was ever able to remotely kill the pain from my back - other than what they sent me home with after the surgery - and that was only a 7 day supply of morphine ( made me feel like I was floating in mid-air when I took it...).
I'd get a 2nd opinion - ask for an MRI... I would seek out a neural surgeon and have him check you out thoroughly... He may see something your first surgeon missed....
If a 2nd opinion recommends further surgery to correct the 1st, it may be the only recourse you have....
I hope this resolves for you, because I remember the chronic pain I was in, and I wouldn't want to see anyone go thru that....
What I don't understand is if fusions cause all these problems, why do they continue to still do them?..Makes me wonder if they really work in the first place. I wish I could make all of you pain free, and myself..StarAngel
My Surgery is Feb 2nd at 7am, he is doing a TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion)(on each side of the spine) to put in the cages and a Posterior Lumbar Fusion (lower spine) S1 & L5. (4 screws, 2 rods and 2 cages).
He had me go an hour north of here for the Diskogram, which showed the disks are flat and rubbing bone to bone, they couldn't get a needle into the space to inject the dye and it all went into the spinal column.
It showed the L4 has a very tiny leak and tear. But he is not doing anything about that one, He said there is a 50-50 chance it could get better on it's own once the S1 & L5 are fused.
He is an Orthodedic Surgeon who only does spines.
He tells me I will feel great and there is a 70% chance of my back not going out after the surgery. Yet, Why do I still feel I can wait on all this? Sometimes, I know it is the fear, but there are days when my back doesn't hurt at all, until the next time it "Goes Out".
Sometimes I think by not having this done, I can live on pain pills and bedrest and ESI a bit longer. Well (Scratch the ESI) it threw out my back!
The days my back doesn't hurt, I feel like I can live just like this for a few more years. But when it DOES go out, I know better than that.
My Surgeon showed me how to pick up my Grandkids without hurting myself, and it works great. I just never know when it is going to go out and I am planning on driving to Montana (3000) miles away to visit my son and his wife and my Grandson in 3 months. I don't want this fusion to get in the way of everything.
I guess I am just not sure if it is fear or the fact the times my back DOESN'T go out I can deal with it.
I know I have talked to alot of people on here, and I know it is my decision.
I guess I really need to know, how good or bad was the surgery and are you ever out of pain?
Sometimes I am, then it goes out for 4 days and I suffer and back and forth, I want to break this cycle, but not if it is going to cause me pain daily.
I would appriciate your oppinion since you have had almost the same thing I will be having.
Do you ever regret your surgery?
Stardust, you are NOT going to want to drive to Montana three months post-op! I was pushing it to drive 130 miles to NJ at four months. I can't believe your surgeon would give permission. Can you fly?
Stardust, I read your last post in this thread and wanted to tell you that I had the same surgery as you (except at 2 levels) and so far I'm completely pain free except for the occasional zinger. So far it's the best thing I've ever done for myself. I know I'm not quite 3 weeks out, but I believe that with the awesome results I've had so far, it will be this way for the rest of my life as well. Good luck with your surgery!
No, I can't fly. I have severe Panic Disorder and agoraphobia (fear of open places : the SKY, concerts, fairs, traffic jams, etc, I am over the beach though, that doesn't bother me anymore, and I can travel as long as it is by car ( I keep a close eye on the rush hour timing, but sometimes still get into a stand still, but I deal with it).
My Surgeon knows about the trip, I am surprised he told me I would be doing great LONG before that! and yes, he knows I am driving.
And the vacation is, according to the calender is actually.......2 months away.
Yes, My hubby will be with me, we are taking the Caravan so I can lay down in the back seat when I need too. I checked on a train and it's over $3500 for 1 person, round trip. I could stop at every souvenier shop between Florida and Montana on that kind of money.
How do I scare you???
I am so sorry your in so much pain! If you feel that you can't deal with the pain anymore Star, than maybe it is time to consider surgery. The fusion did make my spine more stable, and without it I kinda of walked with a crooked butt, and back, so I had to have it. It didn't work for me with the pain, but it could work wonderfully for you.. I will keep you in my prayers..And I hope you have excellent results..Hugs..StarAngel
I drove to FL (1400 miles) 3 months post-op. Wasn't a big deal. Yes, you stop often, take pillows to support your back, but it wasn't a bad trip at all.
Also, your boss will NOT fire you if you return within 12 weeks. FMLA is a governmental guarantee (thank you Bill Clinton) that you can't lose your job if you're out for an illness.
To StarAngel: People have fusions because they feel it's their final hope to get better. Not everyone has problems. People come on here to share their experiences so that others are informed, but I think by far more people have success with fusions than failures. Many people with success stories just have moved on from here.