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little late on my 4 month follow up

dapopo315ddapopo315 Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello to everyone, it's dapopo here with a quick update. I had my 4 month follow up appointment for my open TLIF on February 16. I thought everything was moving along great. I was still hurting quite a bit but had been off all pain medication for 2 weeks. I have been back at work for 2 months working 4 hours a day (after this appointment my work day was increased to 6 hours per day) Doesn't sound like much but it really kicked my butt & wore me out. I'm on light duty doing some office work. It will be some time before I can put on my 28lb gun belt & be back out on the streets again. I leave work to go to physical therapy 3-4 times a week.

Going to physical therapy 3 times a week. My pt appointments consisted of ultra sound, stretching, 1 mile at 3mph on the treadmill (approximately 20 minutes), ¾ of a mile on the eliptical machine (approximately 16minutes), & would do a random selection on the stair stepper for 10 minutes. I hurt after wards but if I lay down flat on the floor with my knees bent I could get comfortable. At my December appointment he said he saw some bone growth starting. Now he said I'm probably not fusing & that would cause me to still have as much pain as I am having. He takes x-rays at every app but said the new fusion doesn't show up on x-ray, he just does it to check my hardware. (hmm, then how did he see fusion starting in Dec?) Said he would get a CT Scan if I was still in pain on my March follow up.

Then one week after my appointment I started having severe back pain again. It began while I was at therapy on the eliptical machine. I felt a sharp stabbing pain that went down my left side to the back of my knee. The only medication I am taking is three 800mg ibuprofin a day. (the doctor had me start taking them the day after my Feb 16th appointment) My therapist contacted my doctor to tell him about the severe pain I was experiencing & to see if the CT Scan could be moved up. He said no, it was too early & would be a waste of money for the scan because the results would not change his course of treatment. I am to continue with therapy but cut down on the conditioning.

I called the office to see about getting something for the pain. DENIED!!! Told me he has me off the narcotics & will not give me any more. I was told to take up to 8 Extra Strength Tylenol a day for pain, but suggested I didn't take that many cause it would be bad for me.

So, now I work 6 hours a day (instead of 4), my pain has increased to a 7 whenever I'm moving around, continuing with therapy (stem/heat & ultra-sound), unable to do any of the exercises there that I was previously doing, can only walk on the treadmill at 1 – 1.5mph for approximately 6 minutes pushing myself with everything I have to get thru it, & the doctor will not give me anything for the pain. I know there are many of you that are having a much harder time but I feel like I'm about to loose my friggin mind. Trying to stay positive is getting more challenging by the minute.

Sorry this is soooo long. Take care all!!!


  • I just read your post and it started out so encouraging but obviously something isn't right, as your are progressing in your recovery time, your recovery abilities have declined, surely your doctor has to see a problem with this?

    Its obvious your anxious to get back into the routine of your daily life and have worked very hard, being that its almost impossible for you now I would be exremely upset and frustrated if I were you and not getting any answers from your doctor.

    It does sound like you were doing alot in the beginning, perhaps it was too much too soon which is slowing your progress now. I understand your doctor doesn't want to keep you on narcotics but surely there is something else he can give you for pain besides ibuprofen. Can you make another appointment with him to tell him that you are really in too much pain and unable to up your hours at work and that your not getting any better?

    I have not had a fusion, so I cannot advise about that, I am having my second back surgery this summer due to continued back and nerve pain, so I do understand the frustrtion of not getting better, its taken me almost a year to find out what could possibly be wrong and what we can do about it. I really want to wish you well and I am hopeing others here have really good advice for you, but I do think you need to let your doctor know just how bad things are right now for you.

    Please keep us posted and I do hope this is just a remporary set back for you and you start to fuse and heal soon.

    Take care,
  • I was just checking your post and I see no one else has answered you, so I am hopeing that some of our spiney friends will see your post again in order to offer you some advice and let you know we are all here for you as you go through your recovery.

    Take care and good luck,
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Are you treating with any kind of Pain Management physician? My PM physician took over my post-op medication management as of last week (when I was 3 weeks post-op) and my surgeon was fine with that. This way I can have continual Pain Management during the whole recovery time. My goal is to get off most narcotics, but if not at least I have my PM to manage that going forward.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I think if your Surgeon won't help you can you call and get an appointment to see him and explain that your re-injured yourself on the exercise machine? If he doesn't listen to you you need to follow up with your Primary Dr. to get further tests done. And maybe a referral to a PM Dr. Is it possible that you need to be on short term disability? I hope everything works out for you and have less pain soon. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Have a fusion, but when I had my partial shoulder replacement and the pain did not subside, I went from my surgeon, to my PCP and told him of my troubles with pain, he sent me to a PM. My Pm does not write scripts but between the three of them they finally agreed that I was indeed still in pain and my PCP started writing my Hydrocodone scripts for pain control.
    A lot of surgeons seem to think, "he can't still be in pain, I FIXED him!" as we know that is not always the case. Sometimes it takes a while longer to actually start getting better. You may have overdone it and just need to back off and reattack after things calm down.
  • I'd love to be able to go to my PC doctor but I'm dealing with workmans comp. Because of this I don't think I can go see anyone else. I've contacted my lawyer & he said I have to continue with the treatment provided by WC because I'm still under their care. He appologized & told me to take good notes. YAY ME!!!
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