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Old 12-13-2011, 11:12 AM   #1
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3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

In September I had my 2nd back surgery. It consisted of an ALIF of the L5-S1 with a cage and plate. I had been feeling good with no nerve pain; just minor muscle aches and had felt really good.

Just recently in the past week I have started to have nerve pain return in both my legs. Now I am not freaking out or anything but am not fond of the idea of my old pain returning. Now I am wanting to throw this up as being pain from it getting cold lately and just side effects from the cold and my plate and the likes.

I was wondering if people you have previously got the same surgery as me have been effected by the cold causing these issues or is this the sign of another joyous time approaching for me?
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Nov 2010 - Discectomy L5-S1
Sep 2011 - ALIF L5-S1

 
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:09 AM   #2
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Re: 3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

Hi,
Did the surgeon use BMP for your fusion? There is a lot of controversy with this product.
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L5-S1 hemilami w/ microdiscectomy 2/18/03 - right leg pain gone
Successful chiropractic care 2005-2011
Daily low back pain and HORRIBLE spasms since 2011
L5-S1 ALIF 6/30/12 - back pain is GONE!

 
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:43 AM   #3
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Re: 3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

Yea, BMP was used for my fusion. I am still having nerve pain and back pain but my Neuro told me it was nothing to worry about and should go away in time...

Also this month around my 5 month mark my Neuro said I was fully fused and could go back to duing regular activies. Issue with that is I am in the military and with no limitations listed on what I can do well; it becomes very easy to over work my back and pay for it.
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Nov 2010 - Discectomy L5-S1
Sep 2011 - ALIF L5-S1

Last edited by bringers; 02-28-2012 at 11:47 AM.

 
Old 02-28-2012, 08:41 PM   #4
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Re: 3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

I think you already sense that you can greatly increase your pain level if you over do it, so I hope you won't mind if I suggest you be careful for the next six months. Speaking from experience, and especially with fusion at the L5-
S1 segment, it is really easy to do too much and not realize it until after you have already aggravated the nerves.

People with fusion at this level often dYh). In either case, it can effect the sciatic nerve and cause symptoms that feel just like the original ailment.

It will be up to you to protect your recovery. It is difficult with any back surgery because even though you are still healing, you "look" OK to everyone else. People do not realize that you still have limitations and need to be careful.

Remember that now that these two levels are joined together, it will place additional wear and tear on the adjoining levels -- L4-L5 and the SI joints in your case. You need to avoid any activity that involves repetitious bending or twisting.

Also even if the cells have formed completely and it appears you have fused, the bone will take a year to set up hard and strong. After that point, exercise will actually help to strengthen the new bone. But for now, it is too new and is still vulnerable...so be careful. Think before you move and learn to develop a new "lifestyle" that protects your spine. There will probably be some things you can't do and you have to learn to say no to some activities. (I have to resist the temptation to buy new shrubs and trees at the garden center, and I gave up ice skating, for example.)

Good luck with your recovery.

 
Old 02-28-2012, 11:09 PM   #5
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Re: 3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

It can be difficult to convince an employer that "no restrictions" does not mean that you can lift 50 pound bags of concrete on a continuous basis for eight hours, especially in the military. If you have a position description, you may want to take that to your surgeon and ask him to delineate what you can and can't do, to make sure that your employer recognizes your limitations. And to make sure your neurosurgeon understands what a full release with no restrictions will entail.

 
Old 02-29-2012, 10:23 AM   #6
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Re: 3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

I understand perfectly that I still need to impose limitations. I understand that I need to protect my back. The issue is since my Neuro says I am 100% then in everyones eyes I am 100%. Also my Neuro disagrees with you about the bone. He told me that since its Fused its firm and strong now and told me not to worry about my DDD, which is at a higher level for my age then it should be and the Fusion which is only going to effect the DDD at my L4-L5 even more.

The whole tell someone no you are not going to do something does not work in the military, specially if you like your pay and free time.

I am currently working on getting my packet together for a Fit for Duty Eval as the military does understand limitations to fusions just sadly have to jump through hoops where I am currently stationed to actually get seen by my own branch and get a Permanent profile.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:54 AM   #7
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Re: 3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

Glad to know that there is a process and you are using it. Good luck with getting through the layers of bureaucracy. (My grandfather always told my mom that an uncle worked at a red tape factory. Mom found out later that the uncle was in the Army Corps of Engineers.)

 
Old 03-01-2012, 12:45 AM   #8
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Re: 3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

Not to disagree with your neuro, but there are multiple studies that state the bone is not strong for about 12 months. Prior to 12 months the patient may be completely fused, but the bone has not set up. After a year when the bone is stressed, it will actually become stronger, but prior to that time, before the full growth of the new cells is complete, it can cause problems. I'll try to find something I can quote so you can read it. These studies are from reliable sources.

I would even question how the neuro even knows you are completely fused. He is assuming you are because it looks solid upon X-ray, I would assume...but you cannot tell without a bone scan.

But I understand the problems you are up against, being in the Military. When the surgeon says you are fused, you're fused. End of discussion.

You might want to consider getting one of those orthopedic fabric braces that close with velcro and wrap around the middle section of the body. You can wear it under your clothes. It would provide a bit of additional support...but of course wouldn't protect you if you have to lift something, bend over repeatedly, etc.

 
Old 03-01-2012, 07:35 AM   #9
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Re: 3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

I agree 100% with the 12 month thing; was just telling you what my Neuro said.

He treats what he believes is the problem; thinks its good and gets you out of his hair.

I might look into the brace thing just for stability in general
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:38 AM   #10
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Re: 3 Months Post Op (ALIF L5-S1) Nerve Pain Returning

I wear mine when I need to do some work around the house that I know will be taxing. It not only provides a bit of support, but it also is a good reminder to minimize how much I am bending, etc. You can find a variety of types online.

 
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