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My husband is in HORRIBLE Pain even AFTER surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone
My name is Robyn and my husbands name is Lou. He is 51 years old and has had 5 back surgeries. The last 2 were spinal fusions. The first fusion was done in 2005 and it was on L5 S1. I think thats correct. If not he will let me know.. The last fusion was done in February of this year (2009) and it was on L2 L3 & L4. The surgeon removed the metal from the original fusion in 2005. The problem we have now is, He is in HORRIBLE pain at the site of the original fusion in 2005, the one that they just removed the metal from. Not only that, he had an MRI done 2 weeks ago. The radiologist who read the MRI noted in his report that L1 looks bulged and torn. This is exactly what he had fixed in the discs below in Feb.

The surgeon then looked over the MRI and told my husband ( I wasn't able to go with him that day I was sick) that infact L1 is NOT bulged and torn it only looks that way on the MRI because it's an indentation from the surgery. I am still not sure if my husban mis understood him. WHAT does an indentation from the surgery mean? Haven't got a clue. He told my husband that because he's been opened up so many times he's not shocked that he's in the pain he's in but he did expect him to be feeling better than he is. He also said a lot of my husbands pain is coming from Neuropathy which we agree. He told my husband to give it 2 more months, this was in April and then he wants to do another set of Xrays and see whats going on..

The problem now is, in the last 2 weeks my husband is right back where he was before his original fusion in 2005 and now he's having problems being able to walk because of the pain. He woke up in the morning on 2 occasions in the last 2 weeks where he couldn't get up to walk because he hurt so bad. He says it feels like someone has a knife stuck in his back, the pain also once again, is radiating down his legs making them weak across his entire lower back into his feet. His feet and legs go numb again and at times the pain is radiating into his groin again. We've been through all of this before his fusion in 2005. How can his surgeon say there is nothing wrong?

We both know what neuropathy is and what it can do but what my husband is feeling is NOT neuropathy. Currently, well for the last 3 years he's on Fentanyl patches 150Mgs every 3 days, 60 mg's of morphine every 8 hours, Tylenol, Neurontin 1600 mgs every 8 hours 20 mgs of valium when needed and just 2 weeks ago our MD gave him a script for Amytripoline to see if it would help with the neuropathy and help him sleep which is barely does..

He's also been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease.
Needless to say, his mental state isn't well. He's depressed, aggravated and frustrated, who wouldn't be right?

I am at my wits end because I don't know what to do for him.. Does this ever end? Is there any hope?
Sorry this is so long and thank you for taking the time to read it all.


  • i am sorry about your husband pain .i was like that after my surgery .at the moment i am having a bad do with pain myself .i carnt help but just to let him know that he is not on his own and i wish him all the best and hope that his pain settled down {maybe a trip to the doctors to increase his pain medication will help sorry i carnt offer any more advice
  • hi louswife
    glad you have come here to share your thoughts. there are folks here who have been in lou's shoes and yours too. there is no doubt lou's suffering has increased. and it's an even tougher situation for you who feels so helpless.
    i am not a dr. and can only offer what i personally have learned from my own painful experiences. my surgeons told me further operations would not help my pain. we don't know yet whether that's lou's situation. i would obtain more opinions both from surgeons and pain management dr.s
    will further surgery help?
    are pain meds going to help?
    are there other options?
    the depression alone is a great problem, let alone the pain and weakness he suffers.
    you have a lot of work to do. get going, get opinions and then try to decide what to do. you still have plenty of options!
    my situation is similar. i've had 6 surgeries, i have neuropothy, i can's walk, i can't stand. i gave up on narcotic pain killers....they were giving me depression. not being depressed has made me more able to fight the pain. i am currently researching a spinal cord stimulator. the dr. says this may help. he even said that the scs works better for people with more extensive pain than for those who have it in just a few areas.
    get going, get opinions and keep us posted!
    we all feel his pain
    best of luck and keep us posted

  • Robyn,

    I really don't have any words of wisdom. I can't imagine being in your husband's shoes. I have one lousy disc--but I am still able to function. I've been through war since my fusion surgery--and I feel beaten down, discouraged, physically tired, and yet your husband has been through so much more than me. I can still walk, I can still do anything I want to albeit with pain.

    The meds he is on are going to mess with him. But I don't know the answer. He's in so much pain on one hand and has the meds on the other--what do you do? I don't know. He has already had the 5 surgeries--is there someone top-top-top notch you can see even if you need to travel?

    Also--this sounds like an assinine question--but have you tried--and I mean REALLY tried--all other measures? Gone through months and months of therapy, accupunture, stretching, injections, lifestyle changes, etc. Again, dumb question for someone who has had 5 surgeries--either you have already done these things--or it is kind of late anyway--but maybe not.

    There is a book that my hematologist gave me. My hematologist is renowned in this area--he isn't a cook. He told me that his back was healed by this guy. He (my doctor) had surgeries--fusion done--and found no relief. The doctor's name wrote the book is Dr. Sarno. It is called the Mind Body Prescription. Since your husband has tried almost everything--maybe this book would help??? I read it--and I have to say that he raises good points on every page--if nothing else it is a good supplement for those in back pain. I'm sure some will say he is a quack--but I would dispute that based on the high recommendations I have heard from my hematologist. Also, there are people who testify Sarno healed them through his methods. Howard Stern (love him or hate him) was doing his radio shows laying down on the floor because of his back pain--he claims to have been healed. John Bosset (I think that is his name)--is from Dateline or one of the big news shows--claims to have been healed by him as well with similar problems.

    As I said--not much to give you--but hang in there...

    There you go---I hope that helps.

  • Robyn,
    Sounds like he has been threw more than his share. I can relate to his pain and frustration especially when there is more PAIN after surgery. I have had the same surgeries and a hardware removal also. He probably thinks he would be feeling a bit better by now but Dr. is right he has been opened up a lot. Sounds like he could use the amytripoline i started it a few months back. And the good thing is there are different dosing like neurotin so if it works even a bit talk to DR and see if a stronger dose might help more.

    Here are just a few things that may help him.

    Does he have and Ice therapy machine like Polar, DJ ortho or different manufacture. When days are just to bad to get up it works great for swelling and nerve pain. works much better than ice packs.

    or a heating pad belt i find it very helpfull to put on a tens unit and then the heating pad i use it when doing household chores like cooking, laundry etc. but it would be great for him just around the house.

    Also there is a relaxing technique called autogenics that i have found help full for the extreme pain and stress full days. Its breathing and body scanning that relaxes the pain fibers.

    Just wondering how long he has been on that does of neurotin, and if he has any side effects from it. Like weight gain, swollen joints hands legs?

    Hope somethings listed could be help full in easing his pain, since that is the only thing you can help him with right now. Just remember he is still new out of a fusion and needs to fuse before being to active so you do not run into hardware failure and fusing issues later down the road.


  • Robyn, I'm sorry to hear your husband is in so much pain. Perhaps it would be a good idea to get another opinion. Have another qualified doc look at the test results and say what he/she sees there. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can spot something that has eluded a doc who sees the same thing over and over again. Pain is a horrible thing and can really change one's personality. The drugs we all take to try and mask the pain can cause problems too. I'm sure your husband appreciates your trying to find help for him

    God bless you both,

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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