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Still in Pain

N8_BeeNN8_Bee Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I injured my back on 6/11/09, had surgery on 10/23/09 to repair my L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs. The procedures included a discectomy, foraminotomy, fusion and laminectomy. Since my surgery, I'm no longer able to sit for any prolonged period of time and most often I stand wherever I go, and only sit to ride or drive. In addition, I used to sleep on my back but now I can only get comfortable on my right side (ironically, the side that I had the surgery on) and am in excruciating pain when I lie on my left side and even more when I lie on my back.

On the rare occassions that I do lie on my back, it's when I'm already asleep and I'm always awakened with extreme pain in my back and the pain is so severe that I can feel it in the right side of my chest. I'm dealing with a popping feeling in my lower back and buttock, my right hip and even so far as my right foot as I now limp due to my back pain.

Is this normal? I've started therapy for the 3rd time and I'm getting ready to go into Work Hardening, but will this help relieve the constant pain that I'm in now? My Neuro-Surgeon who operated on me keeps prescribing me NSAIDS for pain although I've told him time and time again that I'm allergic to them. What do I need to expect and where to do I go from here?

Because I was injured at work, I can only go where the insurance authorizes me to go.


  • I'm sorry you're having so much pain still. I hear for fusion it can take a year to heal the nerve pain. Maybe your Pain Management Dr. will help with that pain you're having. Hopefully another person who had back fusion can help more. 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
  • Hey N8, I am so sorry you are having such pain. I am only 6 weeks post op, but I would be concerned to have such pain. Has your NS ordered an MRI?

    Can you be referred to a Pain Management Doc. Perhaps you have a flaring/immflamation to a nerve, and a nerve block would help. Definately a PM doc could perscribe meds to help with pain.

    Are you taking a muscle relaxer to help with the muscle spasms?

    How are feeling about the therapist you are working with? Do they specialize in spinal cord/ortho?

    Hopefully others can give you some input. I hope you feel better and we are all here for you to offer support and ideas! Best wishes! Shari
  • Call the workers comp nurse or case worker today. Explain what you are feeling and that your doctor is ignoring you and had on multiple occasion made prescribing errors.

    You do have rights even under workers comp. Remember they want you back to work as fast as possible so they should be eager to get you to a doctor who can help.

    Another approach is to see a neurologist. Often surgeons only want to talk about the surgery. A neurologist will look at everything again. I would not go the PM route until the surgeon has ruled out any possible complication since this will only mask a problem if it exists.

    Good Luck and let us know what happens.
  • I an not quite 4 weeks after my fusion so can't help you about the pain you are still in. However, if it was me, I would feel concerned and would want to get it checked out. I sounds like you still have nerve compression/irritation.

    I do hope that this can get dealt with.
    There are lots of people here who are in similar situations who will be hear to listen and support you. They can often offer helpful advice too.

    I hope things improve for you soon
  • Hi N8,

    I'm sorry to hear that you still have pain that sounds like it can be disabling at times. I'm with the others in that I think it should be checked out/into further to rule out nerve involvements.

    Have you tried warm moist heat or ice - sometimes either one can help ease you some. If I'm reading it right, you're going into a 3rd course of PT - perhaps, it's a little too aggressive a regime and is aggravating the nerves?

    I had a lot of issues immediately post surgery w/ spasming - after some trial/error I was prescribed a mix of valium, flexiril, ultram, percocet & fentanyl patch 25 mcg changed off every 3rd day - worked really well w/ spasming/pain issues where I was able to stop all RX meds w/in 2 weeks of surgery.

    Please let us know how it works out for you.

  • History:

    Injured my L4, L5 and S1 discs on June 11, 2009 at work.
    X-Rays, MRIs and Catscans
    Therapy, Epidurals and Pain Relievers June 15- October 20, 2009
    Surgery (discectomy, foraminotomy, laminectomy and fusion of L4-L5 and L5-S1) on October 23, 2009
    Therapy December 2009 - April 2010.

    Pain intensified in lower back (bulge in back at surgery site). Severe pain in both legs, difficulty holding bladder, cannot lift right leg at all when lying down and have severe pain and difficulty lifting my right foot off of the floor/ground when walking with a cane/assist.

    Saw Neurologist on June 4 who recommended further surgery with the insertion of pedical screws. Advised that reduction in pain and improvement chances were 50%.

    Peer Reviewer for Chartis Domestic Claims (Workers Comp Insurer) denied approval for my surgery because of the 50% chances of improvement. After the surgery was denied, I was scheduled to see and Independent Examiner.

    ** Problem** Prior to my initial surgery, I saw the Independent Examiner first who noted in his report that I needed surgery. Afterwhich, the Peer Reviewer refused to authorize my surgery. Because the Peer Reviewers decision contradicted with the IE's decision, surgery approval was granted.

    Now it seems to avoid that Contradiction in diagnosis, my surgery has been denied before sending me to a peer reviewer.

    My question, Is this normal procedure; to deny the procedure prior to input by an Independent Examiner?

    Thanks for your input. . . All

  • I can't help you with all the WC stuff, but I'm most concerned about your loss of bladder control and foot drop. The bladder control issue can be emergent if it's related to your spine problems and you need to get to an emergency room to get examined.

    Please see this article:

    Your doctor might change his percentage to accommodate the WC issue, I don't know. But please take the bladder problem as a serious and emergent issue.

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