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  • Been a year since fusion and still pain

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    Old 03-17-2009, 10:19 PM   #1
    kyma3
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    Been a year since fusion and still pain

    I had fusion to my L5/S1 last year and it was done anterior and posterior with the last surgery done on March 5, 2008. I am still having a lot of pain when I bend and was wondering if this should still be going on. I went out to pick up some kindling for our fireplace and by the time I got back in I was in tears and these were not big branches. How long do you have to go without bending after these surgeries? The last time I was at the doctor( PA) for my checkup which was December she told me that she didn't believe I would ever be pain free and everytime I asked if I was showing fusion they would say that is up to the surgeon to tell me because he could tell from the x-rays. No one has ever told me if I am fusing or not. Does everyone else who has had this surgery still have problems bending?

    Linda

     
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    Old 03-18-2009, 09:39 AM   #2
    BlueAtlas
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    Re: Been a year since fusion and still pain

    Hi Linda!

    I can't believe it's been a whole year already! It seems like so recently we were talking about you heading in for the surgery! I'm so sorry you're still in so much pain. I'm not a good one to compare with, as I have so many levels fused. I do have to be constantly careful. If I went out to pick up kindling, I'd be paying for it just as you are. Picking anything up from the ground or the floor just adds to the general stress to my back everyday. I CAN lean over to pick things up, but I know it's going to affect me. I still use my grabbers as needed.

    You must be frustrated with not knowing if you're fused or not. When will you have an appt with the doctor rather than the PA so you can find that out? It's been a whole year, so they really ought to be able to tell you something by now.

    Are they still giving you something for pain? Does it keep it tolerable?

    Gentle hugs coming your way, dear back friend.
    Love, Emily

    Last edited by BlueAtlas; 03-18-2009 at 09:40 AM.

     
    Old 03-18-2009, 09:45 AM   #3
    JanKR
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    Re: Been a year since fusion and still pain

    Hi,
    I am 4 1/2 months out from surgery and just visited the neurosurgeon yesterday who said that I was indeed showing signs of fusing. I am still sore with any new type of movement and so far I have only bent forward slightly as in bending over the sink to brush teeth, or bending forward some to tie my shoes. If I go much further than that (and it's usually by accident) I pay for it for the evening. My brother had surgery for spinal stenosis several years ago (no fusion) and he said it took at least a year for his muscles to feel normal. He also stated that he was told not to bend at the waist but to use his legs when going down to retrieve something off the floor. I have been doing that (it's hard on the knees!) but can't bear the thought of doing something else to my back. I have just tried to train myself to figure out some way to pick stuff up without bending so much. Can't say that it works all the time but I guess the memory of surgery is fresh enough on my mind that so far I've done pretty good.

    Did you go to PT after surgery? Did they give you any instructions regarding future bending, twisting, etc?? My surgeon didn't recommend PT for me as he felt like I was doing well without but I would think they would be the ones who could guide in that respect. I hope there are others out there who can respond to this also with their PT input. Sorry you are in such pain and hope that it is a time limited thing.
    Jan.

     
    Old 03-18-2009, 09:26 PM   #4
    kyma3
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    Re: Been a year since fusion and still pain

    Hi Emily my dear back friend. I know it doesn't seem like it has been a year to me also since I am still having more problems then I thought I would have at this time. The only time you see the actual surgeon is if you need to have more surgery but I will go back in June to see the PA again and I will ask if he made any comments in my chart about the fusion. I had to have an IVP done for my kidneys and the x-ray technician said she had never seen a fusion done the way mine was done with an extra screw placed vertical in the fusion along with the ones on the side with the rods so I will ask that question again in June. I guess I thought I could still bend a little bit since it was a year but maybe not ever again since the PA said she thinks I will never be okay. When I take a bath and my butt hits the bottom of the tub I have terrible pain so that is something new. I still take Lortab 10 mg 4 times a day and Soma for the muscle relaxer also 4 times a day and she said she doesn't think I will ever get off of those. The medicine does not get rid of the pain but makes it tolerable at times. The Rheumatologist has me on Tramadol which does help with my arthritis at times but makes me nauseous. They did tell me that the disc above the one that they fused is now giving way and my cervical spine is acting up again and causing terrible headaches and making creaking sounds when I turn my head so I am sure the arthritis is probably worse. I go to my Rheumatologist tomorrow so maybe I can get him to make some comments but I doubt that.

    Jan thanks also for your comments and I hope things will go better for you too. They did not have me take PT because he just isn't a firm believer in that but I think I will ask my Rheumatologist tomorrow to get me into some water aerobics for the arthritis and maybe that will help me. I had knee surgery back in July which causes problems with me bending at the knees so I guess I need to get my grabber back out and use it like Emily said.

    Now that the weather is turning off pretty I am hoping to get out and walk more. I go down to Kentucky Lake and walk around and that gives me alot of mental satisfaction but I still have a lot of trouble walking for a very long time. We live on a hill so walking in our yard doesn't help me at all. I guess I just have to accept the pain that I have and try and watch what I am doing.

    Love and gentle hugs
    Linda

     
    Old 03-19-2009, 07:52 PM   #5
    hearts4120
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    Re: Been a year since fusion and still pain

    I had fusion surgery Dec 2007. It was ALIF on L5 S1. I finally started showing some fusion after over 11 months. I never knew if I totally fused or not because I quit seeing the surgeon after the 11th month. At the 11th month I began to show some fusion. I still have back pain every single day but the real trouble for me is perm nerve damage in my right leg. I woke up with from surgery, never had any leg pain prior to surgery. Now I am in constant chronic pain in my leg. If I walk too much (which is not much at all) my leg gives out and the nerve is irriated in my leg and the pain is excruating. So I am in a wheelchair when I go out to the store etc.
    __________________
    L.


    DDD, Spinal Stenosis, Fibromyalgia,
    ALIF surgery on December 10, 2007, numerous Injections, SCS December 2010.

     
    Old 03-19-2009, 08:29 PM   #6
    JanKR
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    Re: Been a year since fusion and still pain

    Hi Linda,
    Sorry to hear you are having problems from both areas. I, too, have cervical DDD along with the lumbar area problems. How did we get so lucky? HA!
    Anyway, my neck was behaving pretty well as I wasn't doing much post-op but now is starting to act up with my increase in activity. I have found that I get pretty good relief with the tramadol but it does give one some nausea.

    I am still using those grabbers and will probably be using them for some time to come. I'm so afraid of blowing out my knees with all the dipping down (they make awful sounds but don't hurt). My neurosurgeon didn't think much of the PT idea and I have had some issues with my neck doing PT, so I wasn't keen on it either. I've had friends who did the water aerobics though and swear by it for joint pain relief. Sounds like a good idea.

    Great place to walk there at Kentucky Lake. I went to school in Memphis and we used to drive up and camp there. Get out there and enjoy as much as you can. I know I always feel better after coming in from a stroll.
    Jan.

     
    Old 03-19-2009, 10:12 PM   #7
    kyma3
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    Re: Been a year since fusion and still pain

    Lori thanks for your response and I am so sorry to hear about your continued back pain and having to use a wheelchair. It seems like every time I ask the PA about the fusion they want to skip around it but hopefully I can pinpoint them down this time in June. I know I still use my cane because I don't fill secure without it because my left leg does give out on me sometimes when I least expect it. I asked my Rheumatologist today about the pain that I have in my groin area and what should I do since I have received 2 different opinions from 2 different PA's. One told me it had nothing to do with my back surgery and then the other one said it definitely had something to do with my back surgery. The Rheumatologist smiled and said I guess you need to get a third opinion. I am glad someone finds humor in all of this.

    Hey Jan thanks also for your response too. I asked the Rheumatologist today about the water aerobics and he said "It won't hurt!" I know I feel like my whole body is creaking whenever I move. There are some days all of my spine hurts and then for one reason or another the pain might be worse in my neck and then the next time worse in my lower back. I did ask him about the Tramadol and he said it could cause nausea but he knows how much trouble I have with medication so he said this is the best one for me if I can get through the nausea. When he asked me today how I felt I told him "Not good but isn't that how everyone feels?" He just smiled. I just get tired some days of just feeling bad and I have to remind myself that there are other people worse off then me and I am thankful for what I DO have.

    I think tomorrow will be a good day for a walk along the lake.

    Thanks
    Linda

     
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