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What NOW?

lstellerllsteller Posts: 1,428
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Good grief. I'm not even 55 yet. I had a three-level lumbar fusion in November. The recovery was hell at first and I've just in the past month and a half felt as though I was doing well and getting some flexibility back. Today, I get to work and sit down in my chair and the back of my thigh (biceps femoris) goes into a total spasm. The nerve pain was so intense it just caused the muscle to spasm up into a tight ball. I made it home, got my TENS unit and went back to the office all wired up. I made it through the day, but could not shut the TENS unit off without starting horrible pain. I put my laptop on a filing cabinet and spent most of the day standing, as I couldn't sit down.

Thankfully, when I got home I remembered I had some Lyrica in the drawer of the coffee table. I only had ten left, but I took one, along with a percocet and half a flexeril, and I think I'll live now. I'll have to talk with the doc tomorrow about getting more Lyrica. When I lie down on an ice pack, I can feel throbbing at the bottom of my tail bone. I'm fused. What the heck could I have done to myself to cause this? I don't remember doing any bending, lifting, or twisting that would have set this off.

The hell of it is, I have an appointment to see an orthopedist tomorrow because my right shoulder is inflamed and bothering me. I think it's bursitis. I sort of feel like Scotty on the Starship Enterprise - 'She can't take any more of this, Jim! All systems are failing. We've got to try to get the shields up!!' What the heck am I going to be like at 85, if I make it that far?

Has any one else had this happen after healing from a fusion? I know that at my six month appointment my surgeon said I wasn't totally fused, but nearly there. What sort of damage could I have done to myself?

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


  • Linda,

    As you know I have not had a fusion yet, but I have suffered powerful spasms due to my herniation being in contact with my L5 and S1 nerve roots. Neurontin and Valium helped tremendously. My docs believe Valium and Soma are the best in terms of muscle relaxers and don't have much faith in flexeril. Perhaps a few days off of work might help as well.

    You have been very kind in taking the time to respond to my posts and I appreciate that - I hope this is just one of those "bad days" for you and everything works itself out in a day or two. Take it easy and don't push yourself to do anything. I hope you're back on the pain free recovery train real soon. All the best, Mike
  • My pain is bad now, but things like this are why I fear surgery. What if it doesn't get fixed, or god forbid, gets worse?
  • I hear ya ..

    7 weeks after 2nd fusion for me. First was a non fusion after 3 years and I still have continuied right leg pain. I know nerves take long top heal and mine needed scar tissue scraped from them and they were tethered and being hammered the surgeon said but I'm sooooooooooo fearful that my life is over and I will never be pain freee.

    I'm 29 and can't imagine how ill be at 55 so I completely relate eventhough I'm younger. I'm so scared.

    As far as your spasm maybe you moved too fast or som,ething simple like that. However have tpo physical therapist check if your hip became roated which would pull on the back of the thigh muscle and cause extrme pain. My hips are rotated bc of the long time I was compensating so maybe check into it.

    Hipe all is well with you soon.

  • but I can get those spasms too. I noticed that if I sit in a chair where the bottom edge "cuts" into the back of my thigh, it pushes into my sciatic nerve. From all the years of pain and assault on it-it's REALLY sensitive. Not sure if it's the case for you or not, but thought maybe it might help. Also, maybe you need to get up and take just the general pressure off of the back of your legs.
    Hope you feel better!!
  • Linda,

    Are you feeling any better today? Hope the spasms and pain was just part of one of those "bad" days. Keep us posted. Atb, Mike
  • Hi all - thanks for your posts. I'm back on the Lyrica and doing well with it. I don't know how I'll be if I stop taking it. I have a very ergonomic chair at work, so I can lower the front of the seat so it doesn't press on the back of my thighs above the knee -- that can cause a lot of pain. I also get up frequently and walk around to keep the pain at bay. This was set off in a matter of minutes. I could not sit at all. I just drove to Portland (2 hours from me) on Thursday and drove back yesterday, so I'd say the pain is under control. So much so that I haven't needed a percocet for at least a week. Don't get me wrong -- my condition is so much better than it was before surgery. I know pain becomes relative and we begin to think we're dying when, if we think back, we'll realize we're much better off now than we were before. I was talking to my friend in Portland about how I used to just lock up and not be able to move because the pain would become so severe. I haven't had that happen to me since before the surgery, so I guess I'm much better.

    Hope you're all hanging in there too!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • So glad you got your pain under control! It's so worrisome when we don't know the cause of sudden pain! Here's to keeping the pain at bay! <:P

    Hey, are you talking about Maine or Oregon (curious, I'm in Vancouver, WA)

    Be well!

  • But I am a member of a Scoliosis surgery board and it seems lots of fusion patients get nerve pain and muscle spasms for up to 12 months post-op. It seems to be quite common. I have not had them (yet - touch wood!) but know that Lyrica is a medication that is generally prescribed for it. Some patients are on Lyrica for a year. Some only have one experience of it and never get it again.

    So you're not alone! (I know, it doesn't help!)
  • I'm in Eugene, OR.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • so glad youre doing better. :) :) :)
    Based on my own experience the terrible cramp/spasm may be a sign your muscles are strengthening. I have found in my body that the weaker and more atrophied a muscle has become the less likely it goes into spasm. as muscles get stronger the terrible cramping emerges because that muscle now has more strength and now has the power to cramp and spasm. I hope this is a sign of a strengthening muscle.
    best of luck to you >:D<

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