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

Fusion S1 and L5

johnbhjjohnbh Posts: 28
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Lower Back Pain
The last 2 yrs I had 2 TKR. Prior to the first knee replacement, I had alot of lower back pain that I thought was due to my hamstrings. The ortho did a xray and he told me I had a stress fracture L5 he did not say much about it.
I did really well w/ my rehab on my knees within a year I was riding my bike 50 miles a week. I wanted to ride in some charity rides. All of of a sudden I started having pretty bad pain isolated in my lower back. I have had no nerve problems going down my leg,I do know whats that like I had that problem out of HS. That when on for about 2 yrs then I started riding a bike and it got better.
I finally went to a spine Doc we went through the injections etc.No relief, surgery next step I still donnot have nerve problems thank God and for the ones of you that do I feel for you. I am really freaking out about the surgery,am I going to be able to ride my bike post op. I have heard nothing but nightmares about the surgery. I'm 57 I want to be active and live my life.


  • Is your back pain such that you cannot live with it? Do you know what your diagnosis is? Stenosis, or herniated discs for example? A bit more information about your situation would be helpful.
  • L5 totaly fractured and unstable. Narrowing indicating possible nerve problems. Dianosis Spondylosis. I have a real problem sitting for long periods of time.I have a constant ache feels like like the sacrum bent in half alot of pressure at end of sacrum. Pressure on bowel. I ask myself that same question can I wait to have surgery, the surgeon talking S1 to L5 w/ cage. I do have degeneration L2 L3 L4. I had 2 well known ortho Docs recommend surgery. Would it be a easier fix now I'm in pretty good shape considering or wait til it gets worst.
    I'm taking 1 10 mg percocet am w/ soma and 1 10mg percocet and soma around 4 pm
  • As you know we are all patient's or "spineys" here, not medical professionals so what I am about to tell you is based on personal experience and the experience of some of my spiney friends.
    Most 1 level fusions are succesful, I have two GF's that had 1 level, 1 was the same level that you are having and she is doing fantastic!
    The recovery is the hardest part as far as I am concern. We have to learn not to do much, no BLT (bending, lifting or twisting) for about 8 weeks, and all of idle time can make you go crazy! I know that it drove me nuts!

    If you have a good surgeon and you are in good shape, I don't see why not go ahead and get the surgery done. Surgery is a very personal decision, and you have to ask yourself; "Can I live like this for much longer, or do I want to get it fix now while I am young and in shape??" If the answer to that is yes, then you have made your decision.

    Just make sure to get prepare mentally for your surgery, and make sure to have all of the equipment and items that you are going to need at home for your arrival post-op. Take care,

  • John, welcome to Spine Health.

    I had PLIF L4-S1- No cages in me. I fused very well and rather quickly. No ill effects. I am in the thought if it can be fixed then fix it. I had sciatic pain for ever and aches in my lb for about 15 years- I couldn't sit in the car and my job inlvolves a good amount of driving. I am also not big on pain meds so for me it was no brainer.

    If you have good support, and are resonably healthy I say go for it. The longer you wait the harder the recovery will be and you can risk more permanent damage.

    What did the doc say about biking after the fusion? I haven't tried a regular bike since mine- I do fare on the recombant bike. I may purchase a street recumbant next spring.

  • Thanks for the responses,I tell you kind of a funny story. I had not spoken to my sister for a couple of months, out of the blue she calls me the the day I have an apointment w/ the surgeon. The first thing she tells me expect the worst pain you ever had. I told her thanks for sharing. She had 2 back surgeries, after the her first she thought she was going to die. The second one she expected the worst and she seemed to do better.
    Like I stated I had bilateral knee replacements,I did really well less than a yr I'm riding my bike 50 mi. a week. Then this , I want to continue to be able to ride. With the fusion will I be able to continue to ride.
  • Hello I had that surgery back in April of 2009. I didnt have a cage I had L5/S1 fusion bone graft rods and screws. Like you will hear alot everyone is different in their recover. I myself is having a hard time with the healing. I still hurt alot and I hope that it is better for you then it was for me. This is something that you will have to sit and think about for yourself. I hope everything goes good and hope to hear a update.
  • I am 8 most post op of a a spinal fusion of L5-S1.
    They stabilized my back abdomenally and from the back. I do not no the correct term for it but it was to be the most effective and sturdy method as Im only 35.
    I had a doctor tell me in order to return to work I needed my spine stabilized and I went to an accomplished surgeon. I would ask how long my recovery would be and no one ever told me the truth!Then they'd make it sound like I'd be better and back to work in a month or another round of PT.At about 5 months the pain became so overwhelming I had to go back on pain medicine (I stopped after 2 months post op).
    Now Im awaiting approval for surgery to get hardware removed that is suppose to be the problem.
    The pain you are in now I imagine is great since your pondering surgery. In my experience that pain prior to surgery pails in comparison to the pain I have lived with since the surgery. No matter what the doctor says you will not be back in action for a year.
    Pain management really lacks!You will become dependent but that doesn't mean you will become an addict,loser,junkie.
    I just wish someone was up front with me so use this forum as it has been amazingly insightful for me!

  • I hope you are still checking into the board...I see you haven't posted in awhile.

    I'm wondering what type of bike you ride? And I trust it is on a road rather than off-road. The disks get quite a thumping when they are jarred, and repetitive motion is the worst.

    I would think that having surgery may be the only way you can continue to ride. From what you describe, it sounds like you have spondylolisthesis which is a slippage of one vertebra over the top of the other. It makes the spine unstable and often results in a pinched or compressed nerve. You're lucky you do not suffer from sciatic-type pain down your leg. That is usually the result of a spondylolisthesis.

    I would think the bent-over position of bike riding, with the legs pumping up and down like a piston, would really irritate the sacroiliac and the issues at L5-S1, since you are basically sitting on that area. If nothing else, I would think the nerves would be irritated.

    At this point in time, there is really not another effective way to treat spondylolisthesis. As far as I know, there are only variations on a fusion on the horizon, so I do not see what you gain by waiting five or ten years.

    From my experience, I would say it is a matter of time before you develop sciatic pain and nerve involvement. I had fusion at L4-5 two years ago, but I had waited over three years before deciding to have surgery.

    I started out with what you describe, with little leg pain. But as time passed, the nerve became more and more compressed, and the pain got worse and worse. Eventuallly I could not stand more than a minute or two and was driving to my mailbox at the end of my driveway to collect the mail...I could not walk a block except on good days. This is fairly typical for people with this ailment.

    I guess if I knew I would need surgery at some point in the next several years, I would go ahead and do it now. Your recovery is not going to get any easier as you get older!! That's my two cents for tonight!


    Also, remember that Heather's experience is HER experience -- not the experience of others. My experience would not be your experience.

    When I was three months out from my fusion, I flew half way across the country and spent five long days looking at houses with my son, who was about to marry and move. I did lie down and stretch my back on the floors of some of the houses we looked at, but I was fine. Several months later I was dancing at his wedding.

    It does take a year for the bone to knit together and to be strong. Fusion is usually complete from six to nine months, but it takes longer for it to grow strong...and when it does, if you follow doctor's instructions and do weight-bearing exercises, the bone can be even stronger than prior to surgery.

  • I have always been very active.After my first back surgery,I returned to all of the joint punishing sports that youth allows.My cervical fusion was necessary,due to extremity pain and to prevent nerve damage.I would never have spinal surgery for pain that did not go into my arms or legs.The cervical fusion was a complete success.I reluctantly gave up running,which was quite a passion for me.My PT reminded me of the increased pressure put on the discs above and below any fusion and I gave up high impact sports,but continued enjoying a very active life.That active life eventually led to the re-injury of my back.My thinking,[ that having a fusion would stabilize my spine,so I could continue with the same lifestyle]was flawed.The back pain after the fusion was worse than before.The leg pain was gone,but take a good look at the metal that will become a permanent part of your body. Even with the best result-most of us are reminded daily of our choice.I understand your passion for riding and how it represents a great part of yourself.I slowly lost the ability to do things that I thought made me who I was.It is quite a journey.I would now be thrilled to walk 1 mile without pain,play with my dog.Sit comfortably with friends for hours over a good bottle of red wine.{or several}I would give up any sport or hobby-rather than have a spinal fusion.I wouldn't have said that 3 years ago.Being in good shape will help you with your year long recovery process.I had knee surgery ,two rotator cuff repairs,ankle surgery and a cervical fusion{had quite a life and would not change any of that}and all of it was like a birthday party compared to the mental and physical challenges after a lumbar fusion.
  • Hi,
    I am brand new to this forum. I am 21 years old and very active. Recently I was diagnosed with grade 1 spondy. In addition the x-rays show between 5 and 7mm of anterior subluxation of L5 and S1. The only times I feel pain is either sleeping, sitting and driving for long periods of times. I participate in high impact sports, surfing, rock climbing and extreme kayaking. Is 5 to 7 mm of subluxation really bad? Aren't I too young for surgery? :) If I continue to participate in these sports am I more susceptible to serious injury? In your opinion does it make sense to have surgery if I am not in disabling pain all the time? Should I wait?
    Thanks for your feeback,
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.