Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

Notice
All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Feeling Hardware

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a fusion at L2-T11 and have a lot of trouble sleeping on my back as I feel the hardware. I do seem to tolerate a little more now than weeks ago but wonder if people ever really feel comfortable with it? I'm currently about 7 weeks out.

thanks.

-mark
advertisement

Comments

  • Mark, I have a lumbar fusion, but yes, I can feel my hardware, even now @ 9 months. It's not unpleasant, just "there", like a brick w/ a banana-clip around it..for lack of a better description..Just a "full-ness" in there, a feeling of support and/or immobility, which I guess is the whole point of it all...

    It hurts like the dickens when the weather is damp/rainy/stormy...just aches, throbs, etc...but all my MRI's & x-rays are fine, my fusion looks good etc, so I guess it's just part & parcel of the whole ordeal.

    And yes, lying on my back, I can feel it more, too. And somtimes it gets "caught-up" if I stand up too quickly & then I need to gently bend laterally --sometimes it makes a sound like when you crack your knuckles when I do that & then it feels better...

    You may want to try sleeping on your side, do the "pillow-fest" thing & stay off your back for awhile? Just a thought, as you are pretty early-out & may have some surgical swelling in there yet, etc. Also, if you're slim, you may feel it more...I'm really skinny, so my NS put in a pediatrisize, low-profile implant, with really small screws---but I can still feel it! A friend of mine who has had 2 lumbar fusions says "You just get used to it" & she's correct. I usually never notice it, just when I've been too active or the weathers' bad.

    Take care! Keep your doc in the loop, esp if things feel worse, etc. At 7 weeks, as you are, I felt it A LOT!

    ~Lakeside















  • I'm really struggling with this whole thing. lots of depression etc. Hearing from others helps.
    How active can you be now?

    thanks.

    -mark
  • In fact, i'm back to teaching F/T (second grade...) but w/ restrictions & I wear my brace during the day. It's tough, but it's a wonderful "distraction" (15 seven-yr olds w/ energy to spare!)I walk 2-3 miles a day & have done that since about 4 weeks out. Walking is so good for you & gets you outta the house, which can drive you nuts as you recover, all that "resting" which is so necessary yet discouraging in that you WANT to do things yet you simply CAN'T yet....

    Yes, the depression I remember well. Some days, I still get "down" etc. It's just huge & brutal surgery & your body is just depleted in so many ways. Your serotonin (feel-good hormones) are terribly reduced after fusion surgery & take a long time to build up again, so talk to your doc about an interim med or just know that it's totally normal to feel blue" for awhile. It gets better, too, as you can be more active again, I found.

    I really began to feel more like myself at about 6 months. But I'll never feel the way I did b4, of course, now being mechanically different & I think that does something to your mind as well. There are many research reports on depression in back surgery patients, specifically. You may want to Google that...helped me a lot to know I wasn't imainging things. Pain meds can also cause some dark thoughts...

    Thanking of you, Mark! Been there, truly! I think the immensity of the pain just wrecks a person for awhile. I had lots of other surgeries b4 my spine procedures & nothing prepared me for them. You whole Central Nervous System suffers--they worked on your Hard Drive! So take care! Stay here--you're among those who totally "get it"!

    ~Lakeside
  • Thanks to everyone.
    Well my other post is about depression which I'm feeling a lot! I'm starting celexa to try to combat that as I've become so miserable I don't want to leave the house.

    Very, very hard to get through this.

    -mark
  • In the beginning I could feel the hardware but after 2-3 months I no longer can. Now I can lie in any position and as long as my back is straight that is fine.
    I am now nearly 5 months with also a multiple fusion.

    it will get better >:D<

    Blessings Sara
  • Well that's good to hear.
    I do feel it but I would agree it's less and I can lay on my back with some discomfort which is better than before.

    thanks.

    -mark
  • That was helpful for me to read. I am 8 months out from a 9 level fusion. I still feel "a brick with a banana clip!" at the base of my lumbar. I remember well what the beginnining and the middle were like. Now I just surrender to the sadness that i am differant , and changed forever. I am active and go to PT 3 times a week, and the gym, but travel, which I loved, is very tricky , as is the thought of finding a boyfriend. I too take celexa. It helped for a bit, I think I probably need to increase the dose. Hang in there , your current situation will improve, as mine will too. it could be up to 2 years for me with so many fused, but it gets better with acceptance. Not looking forward to the weather thing!
  • I always just feel 'tight' in my back. Sometimes I wonder if it is the scar that is pulling (when I bend - I know, I try to avoid it, but sometimes I catch myself bending anyway) or I wonder if it is the hardware I feel. In any case it's not terrible, just uncomfortable so far.
  • Yup, Salz, that's another thing...don't know if it's realted to the hardware, the new scar tissue in there or just wrecked muscles....but yes, it's a tightness & often stiff-ness in the whole surgical area.

    But again, it's not really painful--just annoying & a constant reminder that I am now different than b4. I do belive we will get used to it...I often don't notice it anymore, unless, as I said, the weather is bad, or I've had a really active day, etc. Or protracted lying on my back or sitting too long, etc.

    It is what it is. Foreign objects in your back now. And we knew that going into this and that's OK...it's still better than the constant misery I had for a year b4 the fusion. I'm certainly not sorry I had it done--indeed, it HAD to be done or I would have lost the use of my right leg. So in the balance, it's OK to "feel" what is esentially allowing me to get on w/ my life now.

    I see my NS in a few weeks & will ask him if I can start some myofascial release massage..he nixed it last time I saw him in July, but if my x-rays are showing expected progress, he may say OK.. I know that would help the stiffness/tightness, as I think a lot of it is muscular & scar tissue issues & a good therapist can help relieve the achy-ness, etc.

    So it goes! As I always say: At least we can WALK!

    Take care...got papers to grade w/ my Chardonnay ... :) :)

    ~Lakeside
  • Yep, now I know what you all are talking about. Its tightness. The worst is when getting up in the morning and when I've been active on my feet for a few hours. I have been thinking it is muscle spasms of some sort, not the charlie horse want to cry kind I had in the hospital post-op, but an annoying tight kind that makes me wish I could twist to try to pop my back (don't worry I won't try it). Maybe it is the hardware. My incision looks great but feels tight too at times. Probably a combination of it all.

    Lakeside, is myofascial release done by your PT or a massage therapist? I started getting massages with my NS's okay 2 weeks ago. We are going really light and easy on the back, but I was just feeling soooo stiff. I see the NS on the 29th and I am thinking of asking for a PT referral. He told me he doesn't always send his patients to PT, only if feels they need it. Just not sure if I can get some flexibility back on my own. I go to the Y and walk in the pool, do a few stretches, etc.

    Saltzy, NO BENDING you naughty girl! Does leaning count ;)?, I am guilty if that is the case :$ Sue
  • :) ..is usually done by a registered PT after an RX from your doc...my NS ordered them for me between my 2 & 3 procedures, but has not yet OK'd them after my fusion..

    I see him in a few weeks & I am almost ready to BEG him to let me have some...

    But he knows best. They do wonders for that tightness & sore muscle feeling.

    But he's ultra-conservative after my 3 spinals lately..

    Ohhh, they feel soooo goooood! :)

    ~Lakeside
  • Saw my NS today for my 6 mo check up from 3 level lumbar fusion, Laminectomy, Facetectomy And Foraminotomy. I felt I had been doing better at 4mo than now and was afraid my hardware was causing my discomfort, could have sworn I was feeling it and it hurts. He showed me the xray and told me there was no way I could be feelng it and showed my where the hardware is compared to where my skin is and said if I weighed 90lbs maybe I could feel it, but trust me, I am far from that. He examined me and immediately said "when did you stop your exercise program?" I had reduced my exercises considerably once I became active again, and that was the WRONG answer. He said I was feeling the muscles tightening and shrinking again and asked if I was having pain between my shoulder blades-which I am. All a result of discontinuing my exercises. He was quite upset with me. Stressed I have to begin my daily routine my PT set me up on and said I should feel better within a month of sonsistent exercise. I felt terrible that I had brought this on myself!!! I guess I hadn't realized the PT exercises were a lifelong committment. But it is far better than another surgery to have the hardwar removed, which is what I was afraid I needed.
  • hee hee - yep, Cali-sue my friend, I think I've been a bit naughty lately - sure hope I don't end up paying for it!

    I will bend no more. I promise. I did sit for too long yesterday again though. I keep thinking I can stretch the envelope, but everytime my back comes right back at me with an emphatic NO!

    Ah well, I'll live with the hardware-ish feeling that has replaced the stabbing incapacitating excruciating pains I had before!!

    Hey Phasti - good thing you mentioned the lifetime exercises - I too have reduced my walking since I became more active.
advertisement
Sign In or Register to comment.