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martyjommartyjo Posts: 57
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi, I am just a bit over 1 year post op Lumbar laminectomy with fusion L3-S1. I thought by now I would be able to talk a decent walk or even clean house but it's a real pain. I do not have the radicular type of pain down my legs but I have terrible painful spams in my back, especially on the right side where I had the bone graft. I'm taking Tyl #3 maybe 3 a day and 2 10 mg Flexoril. Should I be in this much pain?
Some days it feels like I didn;t have the surgery at all. When I rest, the spasm is a whole lot better.. almost gone or tolerable. When I start to do housework, walking at the grocery store, I have to hang on to the cart because of my back pain and spasm. Does this sound familiar to anyone out there. I'm 58 years old. I don't know if that matters . Any help someone can give me would be greatly appreciated. Is this normal?


  • I'm near your age and there is nothing to say something else won't pop out of place at our age. In fact-I never had neck pain, but now I do. It hasn't become serious yet, but I have a feeling that it will mean another operation in the futute.

    Dont wait to long to check it out as it could be unrelated to the operation and the sooner you know, the less permanent the damage will be. Sorry, but that is what I would do. Good luck!
  • I am 31 and 8months post op ALIF L5/S1 so I don't think it matters as much about age. I am still in a lot of pain and at times worse than before surgery. I was doing well for about 2 months after surgery and then the pain starting coming back as well as new pain on left side of body I didn't have before and nerve pain and pins and needles feeling in my feet and legs that I didn't have before surgery. I would suggest you contact your surgeon and have a CTScan or MRI done if you haven't done so already. I wish you the best of luck and pray you don't need to have another surgery.
  • ask doc about keppra. works great on me for les and foot spasms and cramps
  • At one week post op I had to be seen by my neuro because of the horrific pain that was getting worse. Muscle spasms!!!! In one leg from mid-calf to just below my shoulder blade. OUCH!!!! I was on Amrix (one every night) and he added Valium (one in the AM and one in PM) to help with the pain.

    My PM wants me to switch from Valium to another med. Guess time will tell. The spasms aern't as bad as they were but at 2 months post op I am still having them.
  • For muscle spasms I use Soma which really really works great. Pain wise I use Tramadol. Have you tried either of these? My doctor suggested them and he also referred me to www.rxovernight.net where you can order them without a prior prescription or insurance as they have online U.S. licensed doctors and pharmacies and they only use FDA approved meds and none of the overseas junk.

    Look at the site and hopefully you can get some relief. I know they carry other pain relief meds and muscle relaxers besides the ones I use.

    Good luck to you!
  • I'm 15 months post surgery. I've posted here before about the muscle spasms which I still have even though I saw my orthopedic doc and he told me everything is fine. I don't have alot of new bone growth at the fusion sites. I need time. He gave me a different muscle relaxer which tastes horrible if you don't get it down the first gulp. I'm still using 2 -3 pain pills a day. I use aspirin also to help the pain meds. Some days more if I'm busy. I want to not take pain or muscle relaxers as I'm gaining weight. I don't feel the pain meds are so good. Vicodin 5/500. It does not work for long ... like 3 hours I'm ok and then I have pain. It's like I didn't take any pain medication at all. I don't want to make a case to my doc about the pain medication as I feel he believes that I worry too much about my progress and that I'm not giving it time. It's been 15 months! He did say that I could be having a reaction to the hardware and that it could be removed when the bone is there? Now that would be crazy. Having the surgery gave me the worst pain I've ever had in my life. I've never, never felt so much pain. This hardware is going to the grave with me.

    My question is does anyone who's had this surgery have nerve pain? It's stinging pain just under the skin surface at the surgical sites and down into the hips. I feel it even when I sit. It seems that there's always something that comes up when your healing and is it good or bad? I can't go running to the doc every time I get an ache, but this is so bothersome. I want to get out and do stuff and I can't. Physically, I'm wiped out just cleaning house and doing the floors. Anyone else have the same problems?
  • Is Hydrocodone 5/500 tablets 2 tablets twice a day, is that strong medication? I'm 15 months post surgery. I add aspirin to boost it. It just does not seem to be working well. Maybe it's my perception. I've had trouble with pain medications in the past as they just didn't work or when they used the heavy stuff, it made me feel so weird I never wanted it again. Any thoughts on what works and does not work would be helpful

    Just wondering. Does anyone know of a good muscle relaxer?
  • I don't know if these will help you but I'm on Amrix at night and Klonopin twice a day for muscles spasms. I also take Cymbalta for nerve irritation. Percocet 7.5/325 4 times a day for pain. And Provigi in the AM to help curb the drowsiness from the pain meds.

    My situation is getting more painful every day. I'm just over 3 months from surgery. All of my pre-op pain is back on top of the post-op stuff and I'm getting new pain and spasms that I've never had before. I see my neurosurgeon tomorrow morning and we will be having a serious conversation about this. Plus I see the PM the next day.

    My friends and family keep trying to say that it will get better. Hard to believe that it will when it's only getting worse. Hope you start feeling better soon.
  • I had a L5/S1 fusion. after 12 months had a lot of pain in back and butocks. My ortho said it was the hardware, I was sure it was not. Removed hardware. It was not the reason for the pain especially pain in the buttocks. PM didn't give meds for 2 years. just epidural shots which never helped at all. Ortho released me PM said he did not know why the pain. gave kadium 30 mg. still hurt all the time and really pain even to walk after 6 hours What now you all?
  • When I had muscle spasms post-fusion the only thing that helped at all was Valium. Hydrocodone did not do anything. Valium may not be something you would want to take often or for long but it might help to get the spasms under control.
  • I can't believe in this day and age that doctors are baffled when a person has an operation and then is not "cured". I had my surgery 15 months ago L3-S1 fusion with graft and I'm still in pain daily. Sometimes, I can't even stand to make dinner. I have support belts and they don't work. I have pain meds Hydrocodone with acetametaphin which don't work and Robaxin which also does not work and If I take one pill close to the other I get sick. I was taking Flexoril and I believe that worked better.

    I'm not removing the hardware, I just want to be better. I feel nuts that this is continuing on a daily basis. I know that L3-S1 is alot of fusion but I feel I'm crazy having all this pain. The only time it stops is when I lay down. Now that's stupid. If the rate of success for this surgery was so low I never would have had it. I'm hoping a new mattress might help as now I'm desperate. I don't want to be a couch potato. I want to get outside and walk and do gardening and such. I'm 59 years old. I did not think age is a factor but perhaps it is.
  • I did some research over the last few days as I'm having a lot of pain. Worse than before surgery. What I found on multiple sites is that a surgery is successful when the hardware works but many people still have pain. It seems that a successful surgery (fusion especially) has nothing to do with reduced pain. I was so bummed when I read this over and over. My surgeon did not tell me this. I feel completely mislead.
  • HI, I finally made an appointment to see my Ortho doc next week. I know he's going to say remove the hardware and we'll see. I say no to that. I want to see the fusion on my back so I want x-rays. I was never told that fusion would not help my pain. I was told that by removing the discs and releasing the nerve pressure, it would get alot better. I would no longer have so much pain. Wrong!
    Bummed is not what I feel. I'm mad. If I have to go to another doc to get better pain medication or answers then I will, but I went to the Best Ortho Group in Chicago. You'd think you'd be OK.

    If I have to live with this pain then I will be continuously depressed.
  • I'm right there with you. I said bummed because that was the only word I could think of at that moment. I'm angry, mad, hurt, sad, scared, betrayed and don't even want to imagine that I will have this type of pain for the rest of my life.

    I was told that permanent nerve damage could've been done from all the pressue on the nerves before surgery. I knew that this could not be reversed and accepted that after a year we would know for sure if that was the case. I'm not ok with being in more pain than I was. I want to live a life that has some degree of quality to it. Am terrified that this may not happen.

    Hope you get some answers and start to feel better. How long has it been since your surgery?
  • martyjo said:
    Is Hydrocodone 5/500 tablets 2 tablets twice a day, is that strong medication? I'm 15 months post surgery. I add aspirin to boost it. It just does not seem to be working well. Maybe it's my perception. I've had trouble with pain medications in the past as they just didn't work or when they used the heavy stuff, it made me feel so weird I never wanted it again. Any thoughts on what works and does not work would be helpful

    Just wondering. Does anyone know of a good muscle relaxer?
    If you've been on Hydrocodone 5's for 15 months, you should probably be bumped up to 7.5's. There are also 10's but you step up gradually. I don't know what they do after you reach 10's because I'm at that point. Next time you vist your doc, (or schedule an appt now), ask them if they will bump you up to 7.5/500's.

    I also "chase" my hydrocodone with aleve. Despite what all I'm taking none of it is an anti-inflammory, which usually helps with back pain. I take 2 or 3 as that is about prescription dose of naprosyn. Or ask for a script of that.

    For a muscle relaxer, I like xanaflex over flexoril (sp?). Flexoril knocks me out and I hate that. Xanaflex does make me sleepy do I take it only at night.

    I also have a "tens" unit which is helpful altho it's a pain to wear.
  • This is just a note, I don't think these are spasms per say, but I noticed after surgery I had more "jerks". They have lessened considerable but from a medical standpoint, I found them interesting.

    I could be lying in bed and my whole body would "jerk". Now it's down to more of a regional "jerk". Has to be surgery related as I didn't have them before.

    Would a heating pad work to help prevent prior to activity?
  • Oh yeah, I know about super spasms. I had a TLIF on L4-S1 11 months ago and I've had worsening spasms in my back and legs. I was told that my permanent nerve damage occurred before my fusion, due to prolonged nerve compression before my microdiscectomy was done. At least my second surgeon was upfront about the possibility that I would get better, stay the same, or get worse even after having the fusion. I just hoped that it would make me feel better so I could get on with my life, but it didn't work out that way.

    I rely on 8mg Zanaflex 3 times a day to help with muscle spasms. I have tried others but this is the one I tolerate the best. And I don't plan on ever having my hardware taken out since no one has point to it causing pain. I have developed scar tissue on both levels and one is pressing on the nerve root. Well, now I know what is adding to my ongoing pain.

    I really don't know what pain meds you'll be able to tolerate because everyone is so different. Right now I'm on Fentanyl patches and I change them every 2 days. Have you tried them before? What kind of extended release meds have you tried? The patches may make you dizzy, cause nausea or vomiting, sweating, or give you headaches at first, but once you acclimate to Fentanyl, those side effects should go away or be minimal. I have no side effects whatsoever and I feel comfortable driving on it.

    I take Cymbalta for nerve pain and percocets for BT pain. Personally I don't believe 2 Hydrocodones every 2 hours is too much medication, so you're okay when it comes to that. I think the best muscle relaxer is Valium but most doctors won't keep you on it long term because it's addictive, and they prefer to prescribe ones like zanaflex, flexeril, skelaxin, robaxin, and soma. I can't stand flexeril because it does ZERO for me and gives me extreme insomnia, and skelaxin is inefficient when it comes to severe muscle spasms, in my opinion.
  • Hi MeyDey,

    OMG! If I even asked for anything stronger than Vicodin I'm sure my doc would laugh. He did give me Norco? It looks just like Vicodin but after talking with the pharmacy it's the same just different Acetametaphine. He did give me a refill which was ok since I can't function without some form of muscle relaxer and pain meds. I boost it with aspirin or Ibuprofen to make the pain meds last longer. I only get 60 pills a month. So if I only take 2 a day that's it. He's still pushing for back surgery but I'm not going there until all hope is lost.

    It's a real bother just to get up each day. I'm not depressed. I'm just not looking forward to the spasm and then I have to sit down. I get done what I can each day and do the rest another day when my back feels better. I've noticed that where I live ( Chicago) when it's really cold I have more pain. Maybe just my own thoughts.

    As for any patches. I don't like the drugged feeling. I once was in the ER and given Dilaudid by IV and I felt that stuff enter my body. I really hated that wasted feeling. My stomach was no longer hurting but I did not like that feeling at all. I know I would never take that again. I've taken Valium in the past but I feel it also gives you a weird feeling. You can feel yourself relax. Weird stuff. Won;t take that either. It's not that I love pain.I just want to know what I'm doing and feel the pain if I overdo.

    I recently had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine and it was horrible. Especially, the body shaking chills for over 8 hours. They nearly lifted me off the bed. I've never shook so bad and just trying to stop the pain in my back and legs was impossible. I felt like I was going to die. My back really hurt after the fever broke and it's been over a week and it's alot better. I should have gone to ER but I couldn't walk. Per my doctor I can never have another flu shot. Never had a problem before.

    So, I'm not looking to any surgery in my future but if I can't get relief from pain meds and Skelaxin 800 mg then I will try surgery as a last resort. I have to get either it's L2-3 or L3-4 Can't remember what got fused anyway it's squashed above the top level of the fusion now and pressing on the nerve. Which my doctor said happens with multi-level fusions. I asked him where does it stop. If he fixes that one, what about the ones above that? that's when he mentioned the flexible implant which would allow movement and would not be a "fixed" fusion. All mumbo-jumbo to me. I didn't get to see the implant so I have no idea as to what he's speaking of and have yet to hear anyone on this site talk about one either.

    Thanks for your insight
    2 years status post L3-S1 fusion
  • My pain management doctor says its just what occurs after surgery. My pain meds help get me through the day but I can barely drive home from the pain. He won't give me soma and the only thing I find that helps is using the tens unit for at least two hours. I take Valium to sleep and that helps me sleep through the night. It seems like I am back to square one.

    Sick of meds. Sick of hurting. Its a battle. A vicious cycle. If I walk I feel great, then suffer the consequences. Stretching helps but sitting all day doesn't help. Any stress and I am in severe pain. House chores get accomplished only because of the oxycodone but after all said and done we are only hurting ourselves.

    11/30/2010- 360 bi level fusion L4 L5, L5 S1
    7/5/12-Revised surgery. Remv of loose hwdware, replace 6 pedicle screws and 5.5 titanium rods. Inferior laminotomy R L5 and facetectomy to deep ligamentum.
    2014 MRI indicates L3-L4 disc bulge,
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