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    Old 07-29-2008, 07:23 AM   #1
    Angelina 101
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    Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Hi , I have joined this site today with hope that I can be advised, in return I would like to think that I can hopefully give advice when needed and make some freinds along the way too!!
    Right, this is a long one.......... In year 2000 I started have pains in my groin area after a year or so the pain increased to my hips , down both legs, numbness in feet and low back pain . I was also having difficulty doing every day things.
    After 4 years of seeing so many different consultants and various tests I had a MRI scan which showed that I had split my disc at L4/5 level (I have no idea how or when I had split my disc)It was actually great to know the cause of my pain after 4 years.
    My medication for the pain at that time was Dihydrocodeine tablets.
    I then went on to have a lumber Discography to confirm the source of pain.

    With that done in November 2002 I had a L4/5 antero-posterior spinal fusion using translaminar screws and femoral ring allograft and iliac crest bone graft. Operation went well.
    After my last post op check up a few months later I was told it was fusing fine but will take up to a year for best results and was discharged. I was never out of pain though so was continued to be prescribed Morphine which I started taking after op. I went back to work 3 months after op.
    2 years later (2004) still in alot of pain and still on morphine but now a higher dose. I decided to go back to see the surgeon ( I hadn't before cause I kept thinking it's just me being mardy and that I must just have a low pain threshold!)My Doctor also just thought it was taking it's time healing.
    I was given a CT Scan which showed the screws were actually lose!! So non-union at the intended level of fusion.
    In March 2005 I had 2nd operation whereby the trans laminar screws were removed and replaced with pedicle screws in combination with a posterolateral fusion between L4 and L5 and bone graft.
    About 4 0r 5 Months after this at a post op check I was discharged.
    I was then sent an appointment with physio. When I went for my appointment at physio the lady said I was wasting my time as I was in far to much pain to do anything. I was given a tens machine but did nothing to help the pain.
    It is now 2008 I had to give up work , infact never recovered enough since my 2nd op to go back. My medication is now Morphine, Dihydrocodeine, amitriptyline and bisacodyl. I am regestered disabled. I am in more pain than ever before and have been told by my doctor that basically I am going to be like this for life, I've been told that the disc above and below the point of fusion will now be under great strain and will be wearing quite bad.
    My life has changed so much I was once very outgoing, confident the life and soul at any party! I have lost alot of freinds now. I try to hide alot of my pain and depression from my husband as when he met me I was a different person. I am 46 by the way only married 6 years ago. I rely on my husband for everything, he helps me dress and with personal care.
    I will try and describe the pain:- Deep throbbing in Groin and hips. Sciatica down both legs, burning tingling down in legs, numbness in both feet, Lower back pain deep inside like I have a heavy weight pushing on my lower back, a feeling of my back going to give way and does give way often. Cannot stand for long periods or sit comfortably. I use a walking stick but cannot walk for long without great discomfort, about 30 metres.
    I was sent to a pain clinic not long ago, basically the doctors there try to help you in how to live with chronic pain.
    Just to know there is someone out there like me will not make me feel so alone......Thankyou for reading , apologies for any spelling mistakes no spell check XX
    P.S I have epidurals and injections into facet joints, non of them worked.

    Last edited by Angelina 101; 09-06-2008 at 02:14 AM.

     
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    Old 07-29-2008, 10:13 AM   #2
    countrymama08
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Hi Angelina 101...Sorry to hear of all your pain, there are so many things I can relate to..but I just had my 1st spinal fusion 5 weeks ago..I read about you being a different person..I can so relate....My problems started a month before our wedding, I am 47, I used to be a social butterfly, worked as a waitress at a golf course,..always on the go..kids are raised and on there own....so its just me and hubby, he's probably wondering what the heck he got himself into....I know I am not the same happy go lucky..i was in pain 10 months before we were married, thinking it would go away, it never went away till after surgery, know just dealing with surgery pain...its getting better though, little by little...day by day....I actually told my husband if he wanted a anilment...i would understand....of course he dosent...he has been so good and patient with me....I am so lucky to have him...I just hope and pray that I do get my life back...that this surgery I had will work...I also try and act like my days are ok...I get so upset and depressed cause of the situation...He's taking me for a second honeymoon in Oct...So lets hope by then I'll be doing much better. Hang in there...there are alot of good people on here.I have read so many posts that I think...I could of wrote that!!!!
    Keep posting .....Hope this helped you..Take Care, Penny

     
    Old 07-29-2008, 10:52 AM   #3
    tmv30
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    I am so sorry for your pain and yes i can relate to alot of it as well. I had PLIF in 2002 with hardware and the surgeon kept saying everything looks great and fusion was solid but in 2006 i found out the fusion nevr took and the screws were broke. The doctor ( a new one ) said it wasnt the broken hardware that was hurting so bad it was all the movement from unstable spine. So in March of 2008 i had anterior/posterior fusion with all new hardware and added cages and they went a level up L-4 to S-1 this time cause the broken screws were lodged into L-4. It has been 4 months and i am in no way pain free the only thig i think right now that feels better is it stabelized the movement. And most leg pain gone.

    I keep saying i will never do this again so i hope i fuse this time. know i am 31 and still have small kids so i might would do another surgery for them but i dont know. I just never want to have to go through that pain again.

    I wish you the best of luck and i definitly can relate to you!

     
    Old 07-29-2008, 12:25 PM   #4
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Hi Angelina

    Welcome to the board and i am sure you will gain alot of infomation an understanding regarding your pain.

    I think it is such a brave decision for anyone to go ahead with a fusion.

    I am supposed to have a 3 level fusion in my lower back but am trying to live with the pain because the odds of recovery after fusion was only 30% which isnt good enough odds for me.

    I also have had 3 years of injections and and have tried so many meds including Morphine which doesn't work for me at all.

    Just wanted to give my support and let you know there is always someone here who will listen to any problems you have.

    Best wishes

     
    Old 07-29-2008, 01:42 PM   #5
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Oh honey. I feel so for you. I could have practically written your message word for word.
    I had a myelogram(sp) in March 07... horrible. L4-L5 fused in June 07. A chip removed July 07. The harware removed Feb. 08, thoughts were that was the cause of the continuing pain.
    I tried the tens after all of this... nothing. I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted 2 weeks ago. I am off oxy er's now but still taking Percs daily but not nearly what I was prior. This was/is my last resort. Has anyone discussed this with you? Some people get 100% relief, others none. I am 1/2 & 1/2. I can at least start to function again now after 2 1/2 years. Mine is from a car accident. You are impalanted with a temp. unit for a couple days to see if it gives you enough relief before they put you through another surgery. Sounds like it may be your last hope also.

     
    Old 07-30-2008, 12:23 AM   #6
    Angelina 101
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Thankyou so much for all the replies. I cannot beleive the support, kind words and very interesting advice I have been given. Wish I had found this site some years ago, however I have now and don't feel so alone ......thankyou, you all have made my day!! x

    Last edited by Angelina 101; 07-30-2008 at 12:24 AM. Reason: missing comer

     
    Old 07-30-2008, 03:15 AM   #7
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Hi Angelina. I think everyone on this board can relate to how living with constant pain changes you - whether it's from the pain before surgery or the pain afterwards from a failed surgery. Like Countrymama I am 5 weeks post op from a 2 level fusion. I have to say all of my leg pain is gone, but I am now dealing with irritated nerves from both the surgery and the brace I have to wear 24/7, resulting in skin pain that makes me feel as if the skin on the outside upper thighs are burned. Interestingly enough, most of my pain meds at this point are needed because of that, far more then my back itself. My lower back is achy, and the ache gets worse towards the end of the day, but I fully expect that with only 5 weeks since surgery.

    But that doesn't mean I haven't changed over the years. The pain started 2 years ago, on and off, and the past year was constant. Little by little all of my activities had to be curtailed. As time went on all I was doing was going to work, praying I'd make it through the day, coming home and collapsing. My weekends were spent recovering from the work week. Quitting work is not an option, I'm the primary income in my family (a nice way of saying I earn more then my husband.) Sense of humor is lost, depression kicks in...I think all of us here understand how that feels.

    The fusion, for me, was my only option because of what was wrong with my spine. Without the fusion I was looking at continued degeneration that no physical therapy could help and no focal point for injections to work. Even while waiting the 6 weeks from decision to surgery everything got substantially worse.

    Anyway...there are a wealth of people here who understand, who will laugh with you and cry with you.

    Paula

     
    Old 07-30-2008, 07:11 AM   #8
    Angelina 101
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    [QUOTE=KJW;3668106]Oh honey. I feel so for you. I could have practically written your message word for word.
    I had a myelogram(sp) in March 07... horrible. L4-L5 fused in June 07. A chip removed July 07. The harware removed Feb. 08, thoughts were that was the cause of the continuing pain.
    I tried the tens after all of this... nothing. I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted 2 weeks ago. I am off oxy er's now but still taking Percs daily but not nearly what I was prior. This was/is my last resort. Has anyone discussed this with you? Some people get 100% relief, others none. I am 1/2 & 1/2. I can at least start to function again now after 2 1/2 years. Mine is from a car accident. You are impalanted with a temp. unit for a couple days to see if it gives you enough relief before they put you through another surgery. Sounds like it may be your last hope also.[/QUOTE]

    Hi , thankyou for your reply. What is a spinal cord stimulator? I have never heard of this , could it be that America is more advanced than England or am I being Ignorant. I am going to go back to my Doctors and mention it but, I just need a bit more information as what it is. I wish you well in your recovery and keep my fingers crossed for you. Thankyou Angelina x

     
    Old 07-30-2008, 10:51 AM   #9
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Angelina,

    Delighted to see your post was from England, just a hop skip and a jump from me ! I read your post yesterday, and I just said she is the same as me........ what advice can I give, when i cant even get my own pain sorted. I used to visit the back problems on the forum here alot, but then as the weeks after my double spinal fusion, went into months, and months I just visit the pain management section more often. I recently did a posting there it was "Can you relate to this", on the pain management section. I described my life and how I feel about others etc., not understandin the pain and how disabling it is. Your symptoms are the same as mine. I have had my fusion one year ago last May. While the constant pain is gone. i cant stand for long, cant do a car journey 2hours is the most and I am crippled.. sitting causes me great pain after awhile. I cant stay up all day. 4 or 5 hours up and I need to lye down. 20minutes walking and I am in so much pain, need to sit or lye down flat.

    What has helped me since the end of may is the fact I went to a rehab physio where she told me I was to sore (again like you) I was put on Oxycontin and to build it to a level of 30mg twice aday. But as many here on the board have said they find it just last the 8hours pushing it, no way is it a 12 hour drug. So I learned from the forum that many people were taking it some 8 hours apart some 6 hours apart. So my total oxycontin was 60mg. So I am now taking it 6 hours apart while I am up. When I am asleep it could be 9 hours before the next dose. This doesnt cause a problem as morning is my best time. But taking it during the day has really really helped. I went back to the physio once the pain was under control (but not totally) she was able to work on me. Before even touching me I was so sore. I know it isnt the ideal way of taking the oxycontin if I was on the 80mg I would do the 4 in the 24hours which would be way way better.

    The only thing my physio has said is she would have loved to have seen me before the fusion. She believes it wasnt necessary. BUT I am happy I went ahead, the constant pain is gone. But yes i have a different pain instead.

    I used to feel after the surgery that there was a concrete block in my back, and made several posts here to see if anyone else had it...........

    I am sorry i am not of much help to you............ but you are not alone. Go the to the pain management and see. Another good posting on how we all feel was "walk a mile in my house" and there was one on acceptance.

    Honey you are not alone !

     
    Old 07-31-2008, 05:56 AM   #10
    Angelina 101
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Hello Round1
    Thankyou for your reply. How do I read your post "can you relate to this"?
    Have you tried Morphine? Is Oxycontin, in your opinion better than Morphine?
    Thankyou again for your help x

    Last edited by Angelina 101; 07-31-2008 at 05:57 AM.

     
    Old 07-31-2008, 10:06 PM   #11
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Hi Angelina. My life has completely changed since my accident in '06. I had a L5-S1 PLIF in Nov. of '06, 6 epi's, in May of '07, I developed a DVT in my right leg, had a Greenfield filter put in, am on coumidin, had a spinal stimulator "installed" in July of '07. I have no feeling in my left leg, walk with a cane, wear a brace on my left leg, have dropfoot, and take enough meds to put a horse to sleep! I have been diagnosed with failed fusion, and now L4 is blown out and deteriorating. I also have lots of scar tissue, and my surgeon said the same thing about not ever really getting rid of scar tissue, cause it comes back. Unfortunately the spinal stimulator does absolutely nothing for me now. When I first had it done, it take the edge off the pain, but now because of all the other problems, it really doesn't do anything. I am having a revision done, but this time they will harvest bone from me for the fusion, and go in from the front and the back. I have high hopes this will work. They are going to leave the spinal stimulator intact, and I hope it will help. Many people do have great success with the spinal stimulator, so its worth a shot. I also am told to walk as much as I can, because it supposedly retards the growth of scar tissue. I just wish I could walk more, but right now because of the other problems I just can't. I know the thought of having another surgery is awful, and you have been through so much. Everyone on this board is or are or have gone through alot. You'll get some great advice, and kind words of encouragement. Keep us updated. Hope you find some help. Kathy

     
    Old 08-01-2008, 04:24 AM   #12
    Angelina 101
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    Re: Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........

    Hi Kathy, I wish you well with your op, That sounds like the op I had the first time round! What is a spinal cord stimulator?? My thoughts are with you . Angelina X

     
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