For the fusion patients, what would happen if your body will not grow new bone ? I understand that the screws are attached , but how stable are they? What I understand is you need to fuse to hold the hardware in place , after bone growth is complete the hardware is usless.
Shawley, I remember reading on a bona fide web site, one of the physicians said that not all patients who have not fused will need to have another spine fusion surgery. As long as the joint is stable, and the patient's symptoms are better, more back surgery is not necessary.
Thats a good question, my first fusion failed and the screws became loose before one year post op. Had to have them removed on 1st anniversary of fusion. After that the vertebra started moving forward again. This time no fusion and no moving, my anniversary was nov.11. still have problems but nothing like I had before any surgeries.
"Thru every dark corner is a door to a new light"
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Hi Shawley -
How did your injection go? I have had 2 epidurals in my neck and, thanks be, both have done wonders. But the 4 I had in my lumbar spine did nothing good for me.
I have asked your question to anybody who will listen to me. What do you do if you do not fuse but still have symptoms? I have not received a single clear answer. I know this is because there are so many ifs. I understand that most harware will eventually loosen or fail if solid fusion doesn't take place. My hardware failed in less than a year due to my first failed fusion. And I have already begun to consider my options should I get unlucky a second time around. I have days when I am sure I am fusing. And then there are those days when I think I can't be fusing. But I can already say at 5 months post-op that I have made important gains. I walk taller and I do not limp anymore. I still have pain and I still have debility BUT I am not sure if I would go thru another surgery if these improvments last. I guess I am saying I might accept this as my best and forget it for now. How I was back a year ago or 8 months ago - I could not accept.
When I asked my surgeon what our next step was if.... He told me we'd do a full anterior approach (so far I have had all posterior or post/trans approaches). Could I face that? I really don't know. One thing I know is my job would be in jeopardy unless I wait a few years. I have maxed out of FMLA time and I have been given generous sick bank hours to get me through this last long recovery. Heck, I am still only working 4 hours a day! I am not thrilled with where I am at right now but I can cope with it. Plus, I just might be fusing and I just might be going to get stronger all the time.
I know, many of us know, just how hard the road is for you Shawley. You are doing everything you can. I'm thinking of you and rooting for you. Suzy-Q
Suzy-Q my select nerve root injection did miracles , I don't have much constant pain , just when I walk , It's a huge relief. I think the pain in my feet and left leg drowned out the pain in my lower back , because now when I walk or stand my back just kills me. Now I am alot better since my injection but I still have a 8 pain scale when I walk. My surgeon told me I couldn't have an injection in my spine because it would hamper my fusion process.
I can't see anything different in my fusion and it's been since October 2005 when I had my revision. On July 2006 my surgeon added bone and protein to my left side of my fusion and wrapped a skin like material around my dura to protect against scar tissue. That seemed to work because I don't have that ripping feeling in my thigh any more.
I know Dr.'s will tell you even though your not fused as long as your hardware is secure and you have no pain your ok..But you can't be ok because you can break ( I did ) your screws and have more damage done. I can't go that route because I'm on w/c and as soon as the Dr.'s say thats all they can do there cutting me lose. I am so scared because I know I can't work , not that I'm lazy , but my education is weak and all I ever done is labor work. Thanks for your help , maybe someone can answer our question with confidence ?
Thank you everyone for your help
I missed your post becuase I am going through another real rough spell. My back is just rotten. I have had 2 terrible weeks and the past few days have been about as bad as any I have known. I think it may be due to my tapering off of a medication, Cymbalta. We decided to nix this med to see if it is the culprit causing my most recent problem - vertigo. Isn't this medical rollercoaster such a blast to ride? Well, my vertigo isn't any better but the loss of this med might explain my rising back pain. maybe.
And when my pain starting getting bad I was so sad because it seemed for sure that this med was just masking the fact that I am really not making any progress. I have a Ct scan and xrays coming up on the 19th so I will wait to see BUT I can't say i am optimistic at all. I've tapered off of one med and I have had to chew vicodan like candy all week. Pretty pathetic.
But I am thrilled to hear that you are doing better and your shot worked. That's just great. But what does this tell you about the root of your problem? Does this point you in the direction of some new treatment option? And what about the dreaded SCS - is that on hold? I've been reading up on TENS Units wondering if I should give that a try. My docs have never even mentioned them to me. I'm always interested to hear from you. Looking forward - Suzy-Q
The TENS machine is great. I got one two years ago after my insurance kicked me out of physical therapy. It is the same as the electric stim you get at therapy. It is not as strong. My problem is I have gotten de-sensitized to it. I have to crank it all the way up. I still use it. I used it every waking minute before surgery. I've used a few times post op. It helps. It's a pain for me because I get the wires tangled. I use two butterfly shaped electrodes made for the back. It's worth a try. I never put over the scar area but around it. I'm 3 months out and having horrible pain also. Just started on Valium and Oxycodone when needed. I was on Ultram since surgery but did not do the job.
SUZY-Q , sorry to here about your vertago , that stinks. If it isn't one thing it's another. I'm not sure about whats next now..I was supposed to get my trial stim this month , but since my legs and feet are normal again I don't think I should go through with it. I see my pain management Dr. next week. You would think they could fix whats wrong if they can numb it with steroids huh ? Life has been great for me since my injection. Now I'm going to tell my Dr. to ween me off my pain meds slowly , I been on them to long to quit cold tiurkey..
Thanks for being so nice to me , ya know when I'm lonely and need to get somthing off my chest I come here and chat with you people , it makes me feel better..I'm sure it does for many. I been outdoor's in the cold the last couple days walking up and down hills..I still get back pain pretty bad but, not as bad as my feet and legs were.
Keep in touch with me on here. I like to here how my friends are doing.
hessie 28 , yeah I have a tens to , but were talking about the implant one..The one where they run leads close to your nerves..I crank mine up to , my therapist about flipped when I ask for more juice at therapy one day , he said he has to hook it up to a powerline for more..lol.
I take morphine and percocets but I want off them since my pain is relaxed. They are real addictive huh ?
Hope you get better.. thanks for posting
I have searched everywhere and couldn't find ANY info on what happens if you can't fuse . Is it the end of the world for someone who can't or maybe eventually everyone fuses. I know Dr's tell there patients that haven't fused that they will be fine because their fusions are stable. BUT you still need the bone to secure everything.
Shawley, I don't know if you saw my response to you on another thread about this. I'm fusing already, started showing up at only 6 weeks, and I wonder if my osteoporosis medication has anything to do with such a fast start to it. I have been taking Fosamax for a couple of years after being diagnosed with osteoporosis at age 46 (having popped NSAIDS like crazy for years for back pain -- don't know how much they contributed to it). After a year, I had regained bone to the point of having my diagnosis changed from osteoporosis to osteopenia, which is the stage in between normal and full-blown osteoporosis. I'm continuing to take it now. If it's able to build back bone lost from osteoporosis, it would make sense that it might help to grow bone for a fusion. It doesn't have hormones in it, so it should be able to be taken by both women and men. I've never heard of anyone being prescribed the osteoporosis medications for fusion growth, but maybe they've just never considered it. It might be worth a try as a last resort!
BlueAtlas , thats a good question..I'm sure the Medical people already tried it though ? Sorry about your ostreo. Wish they would come up with somthing soon , I don't want to have surgery's every year. I think once I fuse and they rip my hardware out I will be fine. I feel 80% better since my injection but know its only temorary.
Had an appointment with my PM Dr. I told him my injection has given me great relief and that I would be ready for another one soon because I can feel the pain comming back into my legs and feet. I told him I was sick and tired of waiting for my fusion to heal. He told me " your fusion is stable it's not moving". I told him yeah but I need bone to keep it that way and he just gave me that look like your right.. But I still have no answers on what happen's if you never fuse.
Now my pain management Dr. wants me to have a MRI and a CT with and without contrast to see if I have somthing pinching nerves back there. He thinks there's somthing putting pressure on my nerves. I just hope this doesn't lead to another surgery .
Think maybe one day my fusion will heal , the Dr. will pull out my hardware and I will be pain free the rest of my life. Ok maybe I dream alot , but you never know ? If anyone has any info on this thread it would be great to here about it. Thanks alot