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.

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

Disappointment at 1year check up

lstellerllsteller Posts: 1,428
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had my one year surgical check up today. This entailed getting up at 5:00 in the morning and driving 2 plus hours to the "big city" to see my surgeon. The last part of the trip was spent in rush hour traffic, but I made it to the health center in time to have a cup of coffee before heading off to get my xrays and then heading to the doc's office. As many of you know, I have been having increase pain in my lower back, hip and leg over the past week to week and a half. I finally gave into taking some Lyrica on Saturday (and have been taking it since) because the oxycodone was not really helping. The Lyrica has given me a bit of relief, but after driving for 2 plus hours, my back and leg were howling by the time I arrived. I got my xrays and headed to the doc's office. After a bit, he came in and we talked about my pictures, my pain, and the things I was doing for it. He told me that my fusion was never about eliminating my pain. Before I went to see him, I had been referred to a pain management specialist to have an SCS implanted. I just didn't want to go that route. Because of the nature of my injury, my surgeon did his very best to stabilize my spine and MINIMIZE my pain, knowing that he could never eliminate it. I will have to live with these flares for the rest of my life and I need to fight to keep myself strong while not over-doing and aggravating the injury. The problem, as you will see if I can post a picture here, is not that I had a three level fusion, but that before I had the fusion, I had DDD, Spondy, Scoliosis (apparently a rather wicked kink to the side which he managed to almost straighten out) and arthritis.

The good news is that my fusion is complete. I cannot hurt my spine, except for the discs above the fusion. Currently, those discs all look fine and healthy. The bad is that I will never be back to normal. I guess I knew that, but I had hoped for more. Here, if I can post the pic (or at least a link) is my lovely fused spine.

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


  • Hi Linda

    Sorry you're going through another flare and hope the pain comes under control soon.

    Good news that your fusion is complete. Unfortunately I couldn't get authorization to have a look at your picture.

    Perhaps you could go back on the Fentanyl patches during these flares??


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • At a year, I assumed I was as well as I was going to be. I had a second surgery a year later to try to relieve the sciatic-like pain...which lasted about 2 weeks. I have spent the rest of this year trying to pin down exactly what is causing this pain. My surgeons both suggested I try SCS but I didn't want to go that route either...especially because I wanted to answer as to what was causing the pain....

    Anyway, what I have discovered is that my situation is constantly changing and evolving and I think I am better than a year ago. So don't think that just because you are at the one year anniversary, you are finished healing. I have heard several people on the board say that they had pain up until two years, and then felt better....So I hope that is the case with you, too.

    It will probably take you awhile to recover from your trip to the big city!!

    Take good care,

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I wasn't able to access the picture (it said I had to be registered user and have a password).

    I am so sorry that the message they've given you is that you have to live with the outcome. That is very tough to hear and I totally understand how that type of message changes your perspective. Is there any option for ESI to get to the affected nerve and maybe calm it down a bit (this helped me after my cervical surgery and the cervical nerves were inflamed due to the surgery.

    Even with my anticipated 360 fusion I also fear I'll get the same message (I also fear the message that surgery is not an option and that I'm at maximum medical improvement). I've tried to prepare my husband for the fact that I may not improve enough to go back to work and this can't be totally fixed. Any option for ESI at the affected nerves (or perhaps it's not nerve pain). I did ESI after my second cervical surgery and it helped. Apparently the nerves needed help calming down after the surgery.

    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • The picture is on my blog which I have closed down with a password. Try using the password spine - just the word spine - and I think it will let you see my mess.


    Or maybe I can put it here:


    YES! As you can see - I'm not completely straight.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I have, hopefully, fixed the picture by now. Just finding a place to park it on the web without having to use a passworded site is quite a workout! At any rate, I will try not to lose hope and I will work harder over the next few months to regain some strength and hopefully diminish my pain. At least this wasn't quite as bad as when they initially told me there was nothing they could do for me but allow me to crumble into a painful mass of tilted vertebrae! I just don't want to think that I will always be in this much pain.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I see 3 screws on one side but 4 on the other...is there a reason for that?
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I don't think there's too much significance to the lack of the fourth screw on one side except in my xrays from early out there doesn't seem to be much of a vertebra on that side. Not sure if it just sort of got worn away or what. There didn't seem to be much for them to screw into. It doesn't look so bad now, but you can't see much of the natural bone anyway.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I'm sorry to hear that pain is going to be part of your life into the future, Linda. I can't imagine what that must be like.

    I have mentioned this in other posts, not just here but on other forums and it's always greeted with stony silence. But at risk of it happening again, I am going to repeat something that helped me enormously in the year prior to my surgery.

    I wore an elastic magnetic wrap, with velcro fastening. Now, I will never know whether my pain was eased because of the support the wrap gave me or whether it was indeed, the magnets. I put a few people on to them and they reported an easing of the pain but thought it was the support offered. Either way, if there is any chance that one of these might help anybody here, it's worth a try. I bought mine in a pharmacy but I see they are also on ebay, though some are firm, boned fabric as opposed to elastic fabric. Either way, the support would be there.

    The wrap took away a lot of my pain, so much so that I hardly needed to wear it in the last couple of months prior to surgery. I haven't worn it since because I don't have any pain, but have kept it just in case. At the first sign of pain, I'll be digging it out before I run to the medicine chest. I know how much good it did me, and I really wish others could get the kind of relief I did.
  • Considering what you've been through, if this helped you, it might provide some relief for me. I was doing very well for quite a while. I don't know what has caused my pain to grow, but it's been growing for quite a while now. I'm willing to give just about anything a go. I'll look for one of the wraps.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I'm glad to hear it Linda. They are not horribly expensive so if it doesn't help, it hasn't been a huge waste. But I have high hopes that it will. As I say, I don't know whether it was the support the wrap offered or the magnets that worked, but it really did help me a lot. I would feel an improvement within 10-15 minutes but others said it would take half an hour to an hour.

    Good luck Linda. I would be thrilled if it helped you. You really have suffered a terrible lot and you're overdue some good luck.
  • I am sorry about the bad news. reading your post got me thinking about me , my surgery was done 10 months ago and my last xray was 4 months ago.At that time the doctor told me that everything looked very good and that I was fused.the problem is that I am in a lot of pain and in the last month and a half the pain has increase ,I am afraid that he is going to tell me the same thing ,that your doctor told you
Sign In or Register to comment.