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  • Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

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    Old 12-01-2005, 04:30 PM   #1
    msmona
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    Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    Well I finally got my appt today and the doctor showed me what was causing all my pain. Well I could have told him that. He said I dont how you been managing. Anyhow he said they could do a decompression and fusion at that level L5/S1 thru my back not my stomach (I was happy about that) and then I asked him about things I have read on this computer where you can have the fusion there but down the road the others L4/L5 etc can blow. Does anyone or better yet has anyhow had that happened? He said he would use some of my own bone and my own blood and put a cage in there. I feel confident in him but there never seems to be enough time to ask him more questions in regards to this big move. Surgery scheduled for Jan 18, 2006. I dont know if I should get second opinion, that costs more money, I am a little upset tonite with this news, but I knew from all the pain I have been in the last several months that this was no muscle strain. Your body has a way of talking to you and sometimes SHOUTING at you. I never had a chance to tell him how bad my neck hurts also. I was wondering if you have a disc herniatied in your neck and if that interferes with this low back surgery. Any input into that someone could give me I do appreciate it and take deep breaths and relax the mind it will help the back. Lord knows it works better than the pills. He also told me no PT and no shots, something to do with your blood sugar? I never knew that. Please write soon and bless you for reading.

     
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    Old 12-01-2005, 06:16 PM   #2
    injured betty
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    Before undergoing any surgery, especially something as serious as back surgery, which will effect you for the rest of your life, I would go for a second opinion, no matter what it costs.

    Did you have an EMG? Is there a nerve involved?

    Surgery is such a big step. It should be your last resort.

    Better to spend the money on a second opinion than to second guess yourself for life.

    I had a muscle/ligament strain and a herniated/bulging disc in my lumbar and they said, No surgery Because this is not what is generating my pain. If I were you, I would follow Quiet Cook's advice to find a spine specialist. I found one and have an appointment set up after almost three years of pain and over a dozen doctors. Not one of them said surgery, though.

    Doctors do two things, cut and prescribe unless you get one willing to listen.

    When you go to them for pain, what other options do they have to offer? They follow insurance protocol unless you say different. When they run out of options they send you to surgery or pain management.

    Did he happen to expand on what PT and shots (not that I am a proponent of shots) have to do with blood sugar?

    What other steps have you taken for the pain? Sounds like you tried the pain meds already. And, breathing is good. I do deep breathing also.

    The reason that the L4/L5 can blow is that you will be fused and the discs above will take on the work that the ones that were fused, were doing. This places extra stress on this segment and it might eventually blow. The L4/L5 is about waist level, so it gets quite a work out.

    Age?

     
    Old 12-01-2005, 08:23 PM   #3
    Tugs
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    To answer the question as to the shots. Steroids will cause blood sugar levels to shoot up, especially in a diabetic. I am a diabetic and had to keep a real close watch on it. After all that the shots did not work anyway. I am going in for a double laminectomy on L4-L5 and L5-S1 on 12-8. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.
    All the Best,
    Tugs

     
    Old 12-02-2005, 12:52 AM   #4
    msmona
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    Thank you and my age is 48. I appreciate what you wrote, I had a lami back in 2000. But like you said I am concerned about the other levels. he said they looked good, I beg to differ with him on that. He told me my disc space is not good and the bone is hitting bone. I have been in really bad pain last couple of months. I had a appt for paiin mgt next week but by the sounds of it he doesnt want me to go. I guess nothing will help this but the surgery to stabilize the back and get those bones fused, he said it is a partial fuse now. I just have so many other questions concerning my whole spine with this. I am up now at 4am because I cant sleep pain is killing me. My neck and my middle back too, would this lumbar problem cause all this pain in my whole spine? What do you think and thanks for writing...

     
    Old 12-02-2005, 01:00 AM   #5
    msmona
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    Hello Tugs and I just rea some of your posts, You know I have the same thing in my arms and hands (especially at nite) thats what wakes me up all this darn pain and I wondered if my l5s1 was causing. I see you are going in for surgery soon let me know how you make out. I had that same surgery in 2000, and now I have to have the fusion. I will pray for you and let me know if you had that neck checked out too.

     
    Old 12-02-2005, 02:35 AM   #6
    Susiebird
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    I am 5 days post surgery lumbar decompression fusion/cages and it was interesting to read you have problems with your neck also - I have DDD in my neck esp. c4 5 and was getting awful pains/spasms in my shoulders arms chest, it was definitely worse than the lower back pain from the grade 2 spondy at l5-s1; I haven't had any upper back pain since surgery (I'm on some serious drugs too) . From what 2 chiro's told me, in my case anyway, the spine is out of alignment fighting to correct itself and throwing everything out of balance I wasn't sure I believed it, but I do now!

     
    Old 12-02-2005, 07:01 PM   #7
    injured betty
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    msmona:

    A lot of our pain comes from stress. It sounds like you are experiencing a lot of stress. I know how it is, I have been in and out of pain for almost three years and still no concrete answers. I counted up the number of specialists that I have seen since my accident and it was twelve. Each of them had different approaches. I had not counted them up until the last one said, "I see that you have seen the best of the best of what our valley has to offer".

    I am back to square one. But, what is really strange, is that none of them have suggested surgery on my herniated discs. They have each told me that I am of an age, early fifties, that a herniated disc is normal.

    I am not saying that yours is. Everyone is different.

    What definitive tests has he done on you? Has he sent you to a Neuro? Spine Specialist? If it is bone on bone, do you have arthritis?

    If it were me, I would go see the PM and then seek another opinion before any surgery. It can't hurt.

     
    Old 12-03-2005, 07:41 PM   #8
    teacher51
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    Hi,
    I am 51 and from experience, I would get all the advice you can BEFORE you have surgery. Thank goodness I had a qualified spine surgeon....but, the thought of them doing another fusion on me sends shivers through me. Morphine, etc. did not work on me after surgery like most people. The doctor told me it would be painful, but some days I wonder if the four fusions were worth it to me. I had the surgery in May 05 and just now can go back to teaching after Christmas. I know my pain was bad before the surgery; however, I still have pain daily. I T11-T12, L1, L2 done. I am off the strong medications; yet, I still have some bad days. I have to teach to make a living. I guess I wish I had researched more BEFORE I had surgery. I had tried the shots, pain management, physical therapy, etc. Just make sure YOU make the decision...I think I was just ready to stop the pain too quickly. If I need fusion surgery again, I will not do it. That is just MY experience. Lots of people do better than I have...good luck and many blessings.
    Teacher51

     
    Old 12-05-2005, 08:50 AM   #9
    msmona
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    Excruciating pain in back and neck still

    Thank you all for writing to my post. The doctor gave me some percocet and that did nothing for the pain. I dont believe these kinda pains pills are what I need. Mine feels more like nerve pain it gets so bad I have to stop and take a breath. I find myself screaming out alot like Oh My Gosh and my son looks at me like Mom whats wrong. I am in the middle of alot now too deciding to go to pain mgt doctor tomorrow or skip it. Also I would want to get a second opinion can I do that even though surgery is scheduled for Janu 18,? And then he did tell me that partial ankylosing of the disc space. ther is hardly any room there. Disc is gone I wonder where it went. I had laminectomy in 2000. I think this area of your back really takes a beating. Someone posted something about her neck hurtin (sue was that you) and I have had some terrible nites with this neck pain that goes down my arms and over to shoulder. They get like a rock and burning sensation in my neck. I would think the surgeon would want to see about my neck before he does this low back surgery. If I had a problem in my neck area would that interfere with the flow of blood, etc to my lower back. I dont know I am probably rambling on and I do appreciate all of you for your input. Its great and I share your pain too and your story. And moonlite your right about the stress especially now with all this and disability papers, Christmas, etc. I will hang in there and thank you. Write soon

     
    Old 12-06-2005, 03:43 AM   #10
    Susiebird
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    Re: Excruciating pain in back and neck still

    I also felt that the arm/shoulder pain was causing me more problems and pain than the grade 2 spondy- but that was pretty much blown off. My pain was so bad that I couldn't sit upright for 5 minutes. I thought I was having a heart attack - the pain started under the left shoulder blade, went across the top of the shoulder, sometimes across the front of the chest, down the arms and into my pinky and ring fingers. An echocardiogram ruled out valvular disease. The MRI showed minor cervical disc herniations that "couldn't possibly be giving you that much of a problem". For the first time in my life, i had BP problems (always 110-70 and when this started in June, BP was at minimum 140-88 and once it was 150-88) and my cholestrol ratio, that everyone seemed to envy, went out of whack. Since the xray and MRI the lumbar spine showed the problem at L5-S1 there was no question that surgery would be the best choice - luckily (I guess) the slip was bad enough that once the PT didn't help (made the pain worse) surgery was scheduled fairly quickly. I was under a lot of stress from work, they made me go for an IME and that joker determind I could basically do my job as a line operator as long as I didn't bend or twist (I work 12 hour swing shifts and it's quite physical at times). I started seeing a new chiropractor to see if I could get the neck pain under control while waiting for surgery - it helped ALOT at least I got back into a walking program and into a basic level of fitness before surgery - the pain was still there but it was at least a littel relief. Anyway, sorry to ramble but I started out with arm and leg weakness, pain/spasms/numbness from the base of my skull to the tips of my toes, and post surgery for the lumbar decompression, replacing the disc with titanium cages, fusion with hardware at L5-S1, I HAVE HAD ABSOLUTELY NO ARM PAIN OR UPPER AND MID BACK SPASMS. There was a problem with my BP during surgery, it went way low (after being high for 6 months) they wouldn't give me pain meds automatically (THAT was a real $#@!%). The day after surgery, the bottom number was 42 don't remember the top one. I had also wondered about blood flow also so would be very interested to find out if anyone else has this problem. One week post surgery I am feeling better than I have in months.

     
    Old 12-06-2005, 03:03 PM   #11
    msmona
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    Re: Excruciating pain in back and neck still

    Thanks Susie and I hope your feeling better. I do too have that bad neck pain on top of all the back pain. What kind of instruments did they use in your fusion and did you just have it done on the L5S1 area? I have read so much about this on here and it does help me out some. I know everyone's different please write again and take care of yourself

     
    Old 12-06-2005, 03:58 PM   #12
    jacritch
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    MSMONA,

    Right now I am 6 days post op from L5 S1 surgery w/cages. I have Thoracic Outlet syndrome and had pain in my neck all the time. I realized today that I haven't had the neck pain since surgery. So, I think it is related to surgery, but not sure.

    Take care,

    Judy

     
    Old 12-07-2005, 08:09 AM   #13
    Susiebird
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    As far as I know, I have rods and pedicle screws and titanium cages. There was also a "cracked arch" not sure where or how they fixed it; I'll find out the details on my follow-up visit on Monday. They didn't make a separate incision to get bone off my hip; he though he could get enough bone from the decompression but forgot to ask after surgery. Feeling pretty good, at least the muscle soreness is going away. Haven't used the walker at all today, and had hubby take the toilet seat extension off - I'm 5'4" and can't touch the floor with my feet. My legs are in pretty good shape since I'd been walking regularly pre-surgery so my quads help me up

     
    Old 12-17-2005, 03:09 AM   #14
    Susiebird
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    Re: Lumbar Decompression with Fusion

    I asked the ortho for an explanation as to why my neck/shoulder pain was totally gone after surgery; he said most likely the paraspinus muscle has been working overtime to keep the spine in balance and therefore constantly irritated the nerves and muscles all the way up. That's what the chiropractors have told me all along but none of the doctors had any explanation; they assumed it was a separate issue ..I have rods and screws at L5-S1 plus the cages at L5. The cracked arch is what allowed the vertebrae to slip forward (grade 2 spondy); I was probably born with the defect, and 40 + years of physical labor finally caught up with me!

     
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