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


martyjommartyjo Posts: 57
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi, I've posted before but that was to find out why after 2 years status post L4-S1 fusion I was still experiencing pain. The pain was bearable this summer and I actually was able to get out and walk and ride my new bike (awsome bike) perfect for back problems. Then I had a bike accident where I went over the handlebars and got my left leg all twisted up in the cables and fell. Now, my back was sore but not that bad. Things went along ok but riding a bike was out for awhile. My ortho was still letting me get refills on Skelaxin 800 mg and Vicodin 5/500. Now I'm not a person who gets up and immediatly pops my meds. I wait til the pain starts in and I can't stand it. Then I take my pain meds. Really, now I can't even sweep the hardwood floors I have without stopping and resting my back and then starting again. That's with the medication. I had a MRI w /wo contrast at L2-3. Today saw my otho. He states L2-3 is herniated. He showed me on the MRI. The radiologist who read the MRI stated that L2-3 is the worst part of my back. It;s the level just above where the others are fused. Ortho wants to place a flexible implant instead of adding to my current fused area, that way the spine can still bend.I'm all down for that, sounds good. He's also stating I need hardware removal. That it can help with pain. My pain is in my low back, right hip and down the right leg. I had a horrible hospitalization for the first surgery and notified my ortho that I would never want that kind of pain again. He's assured me that I would not be. It was terrible. Nothing on earth compares to what I felt. #1 hospital in area, top notch docs and I laid there for 6 days without even a change of bedclothes or linens, in pain constantly. Plus, they never told me how to work the morphine pump so I just pushed it once and waited an hour to push it again. My ortho says he ordered 2 different oral pain meds which I should have gotten along with the morphine. I never got them. I told him that also. Someone else must have been getting happy! He assures me he will make his post op orders about my pain control an issue to the nursing staff. Plus, he says he'll follow up to make sure I'm not in pain.
Now, here's the question. Door #1... Do I get the new silicone disc at L2-3 and keep the hardware, Or go with door # 2 and have L2-3 fixed and get the hardware out also, or door #3.. do nothing and take pain meds for as long as he will give them to me. He's assured me that he will not continue to give me pain meds forever. My husband and I may be moving in a year or so and so I've got to decide now so I'd have the same Doctor I've always had for my back. I'm 60's years old.. female. No prior back surgery before this L3-S1 fusion 2 years ago. I just want to be able to do my daily activities of life without pain.. some pain is ok but stopping me in my tracks dead on is too much pain. Any help from anyone who's had this done I'd love to hear from you. How long is the recoup time. Did removal of the hardware make you feel somewhat better as far as low back pain.

DX: spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated disc L2-3, Schmorl's nodes. Disc desiccation T11-12. {Post fusion L3-S1 with hardware.

surgeries: L3-S1 2007 fusion with graft from hip bone
bilateral carpal tunnel 2003
elbow surgery to move nerve 2004
prior epidural injections have offered no pain relief. Ive had 6 prior to surgery.


  • Let me start out by saying that I won't be much of a help with your decision-making. But I can definitely empathize with you. I had a spinal fusion T3-L4 almost two years ago. Now the lower discs are acting up causing burning sensations and leg pain. I have an app't w/ my surgeon tomorrow. Haven't heard about a flexible disc. Interesting. Hate to give up the motion I have left. Definitely know about what you mean by wanting to be able to do daily activities. I'm a full-time teacher and it's getting harder and harder!

    Take care and I'm sure you'll come up w/ the best solution. Lots to consider.
  • Martyjo,
    Having taken consideration of all the facts in reality only you can decide what to do next, we do not have your back or consecutive experience, you would be going into a new surgery with your current unique condition which will have an influential effect on the final outcome.

    I understand that you feel the ability to cope with the pain at the current rate and it is never easy surmising if that will stay static of decline with time. Most surgery should be determined by your condition I myself could not stand that was the optimum time for my fusion no sooner or later, keeping your expectations related to reality is always difficult and we rightly go into any new opportunity with the same hope and perhaps increased expectation of success, it is vital that we are positive at this stage even if the reality of improvement does not meet those desirable improvements.

    You more than most understand that reality of and surgery not being effective and who is to say other than your surgeon what percentage of success is perceived. Those are only statistics and not you, we are all individuals and I would presume that the surgeon has some reason for proposing this option as potential success.

    I teach also and bad backs are not conducive to this form of employment it is always hard to know when and which way to jump for the best, nobody here has a crystal ball and you will have to live with the outcome for better or worse. Some here regret having had surgery and that is only with hindsight we all go into any possible intervention with our fingers crossed. We all have to equate if those indescribable moments may be improved with surgery I am in my 20th year of medication after a failed fusion, it was the right decision even though it did not work for me. We all come to that point where we have to feel comfortable about the decision that we make either to continue with additional surgery or stop and use medication alone, either way is up to us.

    Take care and good luck with your decision.


  • I have had back pain for ovr a year (Lower). I aksi have severe osteoarthritis everywhere. My rheumatologist sent me iin 2005 (rith befire Hurricane Rita) to a local orthopedic. He said I required a shoulder replacement. After 3 surgeries, I asked Dr, Mendez (rheumatologist) for anohter referrel. He sent me to an orthopedic dr in Houston. EXCELLENT. Quick relief and increased use. Now the back thing. Dr, Mendez sent me to a kocal nuerologist (Dr. Rubino) who put me through the conservative measures-to no avail. He then tells me 2 weeks before scheduled surgery that my bone density is too low and he won't do it. He sent me to a Baylor Medical College Dr, Kim who specializies in this. He said no problem-he would do it. He , my husband, two resients and one nurse practitioner met for several minuntes - like they had all of the time in the world. We set the surgery date TLIF-2 joints L4/L5 and L5/S1. The next time I see the doctor is for less than a minute before surgery. I follow all of their instructions. I just found out from my husband that Dr. Kim did not come out and tell nim how it went - 2 residents did. The hospital stay was (St. Luke's) was very less than desriable. I was discharged by the nurse practitioner who seemed to have soomething up her butt. I had asked during the originsl visit if I could Dr, Rubino remove the stples since it is a 2 hour trip. They said No Problem - Dome All the the time. When I called Dr. Rubino fo make the appt. - he said he would not remove someone elses work. I went to the ER where the removed them.I have several dr friends around here who do not understand Dr. Rubino's actions. Anyway I am now having constatnt pain down my right leg, burning in my upper left thigh, and numbness on the outsu-=ide of the my right leg. My hand writing (Right Hand) has changed for the worse and a I have had 203 friends tell me my speech occasionally slurrs (Not riht after pain RX). My PT has written a letter to Dr, Kim - to no avail. My next appt, with Dr, Kim is 1/14/10. I am wondering in I should ask for the surgical notes and if I should go see Dr. Rubino to see if there is a problem between the two since he would not remove the stiches, Should I try to see anohter nuerologist ir orthopidist? HEP PLEASE!!!
  • I had my hardware out because of pain, 8 months after my fusion, this past September. That surgery is nothing compared to the fusion. I woulod ask him why he wants to take it out. If he thinks it will releive pain, and you are having the other one, it probably is a good idea, rather than waiting and having another surgery later. It is gonna as they say kill 2 birds with one stone. If I was in your shoes, and was gonna have the surgery, I would. I have had 9 in the past two years, so asked my Ortho that did my knee surgery if he could do a scope on both knees at once. In order to have less surgeries.
    Good Luck in what you decide. I would think a flexable thing would be better, but I dont have any knowledge on this at all. I also would have it done if you are moving, as I would want the Dr I had already dealt with and felt comfortable with. Hope you can reach the decision that feels right for you. Love, Robin
  • Hi All,

    Well, it's been a few weeks since my post and I've decided for now to wait on any surgery. My back is awful with pain every day. If I lay down it's better but try to tell my husband that that is the only way it stops hurting. My Ortho gave me "Norco" when I saw him last and made it seem like he was giving me stronger pain meds. I was on Vicodin 5/500. Norco is 5/ 325. It's the same thing. I hate to have to have my script filled over and over. If he'd truly given me something longlasting then I'd be ok to do what I want to do in my day instead of `15 minutes of housework... 20 minutes of sitting. Over and Over. Angry, Yes! Pain is a personal thing. Some people have low pain tolerance and others high. I figure I'm in the middle. I can take alot but I get frustrated when I take my pain pills and they don't work for long and I'm lead to believe he's giving me something better! I was told by another doctor to get 2nd and 3rd opinion. That's ok but how would that change the MRI findings? A smashed disc is a smashed disc. I don't know what another ortho opinion would do but agree there's a problem that's only fixable thru surgery. As for now, I'll continue getting my so so pain meds and wait it out.
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.