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Old 10-03-2006, 01:17 PM   #1
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Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

Hi All:
I am 5 1/2 months post-fusion (TLIF) at L5-S1 and have no regrets about having the surgery. I was debilitated before the surgery and am now able to have a much more active life. My issue is that I still have pain in my legs and feet, especially after sitting all day at work, and my surgeon is not too concerned about it. He says everything is fine at is just "inflammation" and "will subside". Well, he couldn't estimate when it would go away and prescribed some anti-inflammatories, which don't really seem to do anything.

Has anyone here or someone you know had fusion and gotten back to 100% ever? Am I just impatient? I had a cervical fusion some time ago and it took almost a year to feel better, so I keep reminding myself that I am on my way.

Still, it would help to know if anyone had a complete recovery from a fusion. Then again, if that happened I'll bet those folks aren't visiting these boards anymore!

Best wishes to everyone for good health and pain-free days ahead.

Schragie
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4/2006:TLIF L5/S1
2002: C4-5 herniation
1/1999: ACDF C5-C7

 
Old 10-03-2006, 02:28 PM   #2
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Lightbulb Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

Hi,
I've had three surgeries , all fusions in the cervical spine. And I have a little good news for you. I had an acute rupture of C5-C6 in 1992. I woke up with pain left shoulder(horrible!) and pain in left arm.....could not turn my neck but just a little until there was a lightening strike of pain...........I went to work thinking I had a real bad 'crick' in my neck............By that afternoon I was in a neurosurgeons office and had an ACDF with allograft(donar bone about 24 hours later.......after I had an MRI my surgery was scheduled , zip, zip, zip... so fast..........but the pain was so bad I was ready! After my surgery when I woke up in Recovery all the pain was gone. I went home that day.................Returned to work in FOUR weeks, I felt so good! Didn't have PT and never had another problem with my cervical spine, disc or spondylosis UNTIL>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..1998. I was injured at work. I had severe neck injury, the spinal cord was torqued,torn annulas at two levels, C4-C5 and C3-C4---plus thoracic and lumbar damage which is treated conservatively. ............I've never gotten over that surgery or the one after that one in 2002 to this day.
But I know you can indeeed have a 100% cure rate.
Patients will often experience some burning and symptoms even worse than pre-surgery up to a year after...........It is called post-laminectomy..post cervical fusion or whatever you had.post-??????-syndrome......It takes a year for all the nerve roots, bone graft and near anatomical areas to get back to normal.....the more neuropathy or myelopathy you have prior the more you'll have later. And in many instances the nerves never heal like with a true myelopathy there is little chance of healing. I kind of think a lot depends on how long you wait to have surgery . My NS said NO, that wasn't right...........BUT I was literally rushed to surgery in 1992 and did not have any pain after surgery! When I was injured in 98 my injury was much worse but I waited and had ESI times two............it was about 6 weeks before I had surgery so the spinal cord stayed twisted all that time( the NS found the extent AFTER he was in)- I woke up in pain............I hurt , the fusion failed , I had cord damage........then in 2001 I had another surgery since the spine was rather unstable.........and another herniation plus I'd started with widespread severe spondylosis...........so I'm now on the boards as a chronic pain , back(I was injured in the lumbar same time in '98 but have had no surgery there) and neck patient............
But 1992 was a good year!
R

 
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Old 10-03-2006, 02:42 PM   #3
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

today I've had my first pain free day - so far - from l4 - s1 fusion done in late June. Day's not over yet but it's almost 5 pm in Minnesota and I worked 2 hrs today so I consider it a successful day! I do have nerve damage issues in foot and lower leg but no meds yet today other than topamax. My surgeon doesn't seemed concerned about the nerve issues either - says they may go away and may not but that it will take time if they do. Hang in there.

 
Old 10-03-2006, 02:48 PM   #4
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

Schragie,
I know you've heard my daughter's story before. She had fusion and other procedures L4-S1 done 16 months ago. She is now living the life of a normal 17 year old. She was cleared to play on the high school tennis team and couldn't be feeling better. Her leg and back pain subsided immediately. She had no pain what so ever after about two weeks post op. Best wishes. cas

 
Old 10-04-2006, 06:08 AM   #5
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

I personally believe after a fusion your always going to have pain , Maybe if your young like caszymans daughter everything heals faster and more solid or somthing , because eveyone I know or have read that had a fusion is always having pain. Sorry to be so negative,there isn't much to be positive about. Since July 2003 I have been miserable .

 
Old 10-04-2006, 07:01 AM   #6
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

I agree, any one under 20 can go through a car wreck and heal up fine. It's the older folk like us that heal slow, or not at all. I am sure that caszyman ( no offence indented here) would be posting differently if his healthy daughter was over 40. I keep getting better each day after my fusion, very little though. It is more like creeping along, but each morning is like starting over. After I have been up for 5 hours, I feel good enough somedays to putz around. I donít know if the weather has anything to do with it, but today I am sore all over, and it's storming outside. That will probably never leave me. I donít see anyone going through fusions and coming out pain free down the road, unless they have youth on their side.

 
Old 10-04-2006, 10:25 AM   #7
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

Hello all,

I'm 13 weeks post fusion and every day seems a little better than the last. The mornings I've noticed I feel pretty good up until around 11 am then pain sets in. I try to get little things done early in the morning so I'm ready for the afternoon. Not sure if it's because I take a vicoden at around 6am or so or that I'm rested up. Probably the meds because I toss around alot at night. I am currently getting a set of epidural injections for nerve pain on left leg. Doctor is trying conservative treatment again for this leg pain as it's on opposite side of fusion & can't see anything causing it on mri's ct's etc. I have faith I'll get better day by day. I'm out of work 2 more months to heal properly. I don't want to fall into any cycle of being out of work once I go back for any pain again. Too risky at this point. I hope everyone is doing ok. Take care.

 
Old 10-04-2006, 12:49 PM   #8
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Lightbulb Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][SIZE="6"][/SIZE][/FONT]Ha! Us older people do heal slower and that's a fact....................
I was 40 when I had my first cervical fusion C5-C6. I had a fusion,, and I promise I had no pain afterwards. Returned to work in four weeks......and never looked back.....................
BUT when I was injured in 1998 and had another cervical fusion and then ANOTHER multilevel fusion about 3 years later...........I wound up with myelopathy and am now a chronic pain patient.
I'm not sure how much the age had to do with it the latter ones being such a pain(literally)...........but it probably does make a difference because by then we tend to have a little or a lot of spondylosis and the disc have started to 'dry out' a little..........
I've known quite a few people around 40 who had fusions, even with hardware, and did well afterwards...............But thinking about it does seem the older ones seem not to bounce back as quickly........

 
Old 10-04-2006, 05:05 PM   #9
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

I agree with everyone else. I had a cervical fusion in 2000 when I was in my forties and I felt better a heck of a lot sooner then with this fusion (7 weeks ago). I'm not sure if it's the place cervical vs. lumbar or my age, I am taking neurontin now & at least I am almost pain free until 11AM. Then it's back on my pain meds.
Getting OLD is not for the faint of heart!!!

 
Old 10-05-2006, 04:17 AM   #10
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

Talk about getting old ! Just 3 years ago I was playing tackle football with the guys , now I'm lucky If I feel like walking out of the house...I did yesterday , took my little brother ( 36 years old ) up the mountain , did ok goin up it was comming down where I was in pain , and then the rest ofthe night perc's and morphine...I'm 41 , I don't feel thats old , but if you would have ask me when I was 20's I would agree I was an old fart !

Hope everyones painFree today...

 
Old 10-05-2006, 05:10 AM   #11
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

Shawley - 41 - not old! I posted under this thread I had my first pain free day and last night had to take a percocet before bed so it's up and down for me too and Im older than you - AND I'M NOT OLD (at least that's what Oprah says - and I'm gonna have to agree with her!) I wish you felt better.

 
Old 10-05-2006, 08:32 AM   #12
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

Yeah 41 isn't old ...If ya think about it. Opra ? She don't know whats she's talking about. Now Dr. Phil..and Montel is my favorite...Good to see your pain low..wish you luck with it..

 
Old 10-05-2006, 08:42 AM   #13
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

Hi Schragie! Long time no see gal! I posted to you, but the system was hanging up and it never showed or it would be here.

We have an anniversary coming up on the 18th! SIX MONTHS! WOW! In some ways it seems a long time, and in others.. a blink! How's your back pain, if any? I see you are having problems with legs and feet. Are you stretching out your nerves and hamstrings each day? Makes a big difference for me, and also wearing decent shoes. When I was wearing my flops.. my feet, ankles and legs would just kill me. I didnt think it would make that much of a difference, but it has. Nuts, cuz I like wearing flops! Good thing cold weather is coming eh? hahaha.

Well, for me, I am noticing small improvements each day. I am still on pain meds though. I average 1 10mg of vicodin daily and more when I overdo or therapy flares me up. I still have therapy twice a week. She says I am getting there, but am still not where I need to be for good spine stabilization. One of my biggest issues at work is of course, getting into bottom file drawers and being exhausted at the end of the day. Just don't have the stamina that I once did before the surgery. But I admit, it is better than just going back to work.

We are busy reading one of our homes for sale and it's been real hard doing work there and having the know how and itch to do things that I physically can not. Well, yesterday I did spend 3.5 hours on/off the floor laying tile around the toilet. I am so sore today and my right foot is a bit numb. But so far so good. I have all my hairs crossed I will won't hurt myself doing this stuff. I am taking it slow though.. I am takingit real easy today and will wait til probably saturday to continue tiling a bit more. Little by little is better than none!

Well, yak back when you can. Glad to see you post!! Take care. Tammy

 
Old 10-16-2006, 01:36 PM   #14
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

my mum has recently been told that the bottom 3 vertabrae in her neck are crumbling and pressing on a nerve which means that she has lost most of the feeling in her right hand and all reflexes. her consultant mentioned surgery but in doing so also mentioned the risk of paralysis. My mum is 62 and in constant pain although she now wears a collar. The famly feel that surgery would help her and make life more bearable but she is so worried about the risk of paralysis that she has declined surgery for the time being. Can anybody offer any advice on the surgery or any really good websites that i could show to my mum to help her. It doesn't help that my dad at 72 is not able to do as much as he could and as i have been waiting nearly 5 months for carpal tunnel release surgery I am not able to do as much as I would like although my husband and I do try to give up as much of our free time as possible. Any help would be really appreciated. thanks

 
Old 10-16-2006, 02:00 PM   #15
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Re: Post-Fusion: Is Pain-Free A Possibility?

Hi Schragie,
I think you hit the nail on the head in your original post: those whe have sailed through and are now pain free aren't hanging around here! I'm sure they're out there, though. Those who are here are honest and realistic about recovery and have loads of good advice. For that, I'm very thankful! But do keep in mind that many who are here are still in the process of healing or have been some of the unlucky ones who have had failed fusions. Pain free is a possibility, and I hope it happens for you, but it won't happen for all of us.

Littlevicky, paralysis is a possible complication to any spinal surgery and the doctors must mention it. Can you call the doctor, explain your mom's fear, and ask him what the chances are of that happening? If your mom hears that it happens 1 out of (some huge number) of cases, and that it's really highly unlikely, maybe she'd reconsider. There's no guarantee it won't happen, but it's really quite rare. Just one of those things that must be mentioned to avoid lawsuits in this day and age.

Take care,
Emily

 
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