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12 days post 360 lumbar fusion - pain pain pain

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all. I'm now 12 days past my 360 (ALIF/PLIF) degree lumbar fusion on S1, L5 and L4 which went very well. Was in hospital for about 8 days total which was not bad. Was doing very well in hospital and then all of a sudden I started getting pain in my left lower back (pelvic bone) from where that took the bone graft, which I can understand, but since then the pain has gotten worse and migrated to my hip and my left leg. I have had 2 days where I have been in so much pain that I have been in tears. I'm on some good pain pills (contramal) and diclofenac as well as dafalgan (similar to tylenol) yes nothing seems to really help the pain. Anyone have any of these types of symptoms and can maybe shed some light?

It's difficult to walk now, extreme pain in hip and lying on that side is almost impossible. Also lying on my back with a pillow under my knees seems to be painful in my hip as well. It's a deep pain. I've explained it before as pain that I'd expect to have if I'd broken my hip. It's driving me mad.

Also in a side note - wondering if any guys out there have ever experienced an issue that I have been having with spontaneous and uncontrollable erections. I get them constantly (15 or more times a day) and when it's happening the whole area goes a bit numb so i don't even realise it until it's fully erect. Doctor said it's a nerve thing and they have prescribed valium, which does in fact work. I take one 5mg pill a day and it keeps it down for the majority of the day, except at night. Just wondering if anyone else had this issue and if it went away, and if so - how long did it take? I know most people wouldn't really complain about this, but its sort of inconvenient.

Thanks all.


check out more on how its going for me at www.futtatinni.com/blog/blog/fuzjun.html


  • Hi JD! I am 10 weeks post 360 and I promise it will get better! I know that doesn't help right now!

    Are you on any meds for nerve pain such as neurotin of Lyrica? That may help.

    I too, had horrible pain and would just pace the floor sobbing. While in the hospital, they mistakenly stopped my neurotin :( just when I needed it the most.

    I started it once I got home and after a few days the pain got more manageable.

    Those first few weeks, I just looked at recovery in 4 hour blocks as I could take my meds each four hours. During the night, we set the alarm to go off each four hours (as if I could sleep)

    During those blocks of time I tried to walk a little, sleep a little, eat a little and just get through it.

    I took Benedryl at night to help me sleep.

    Hang in there! We will be here to help you get through this! Shari
  • JD it's only going to get better so hang in there. When my husbandhad shoulder surgery they had to drill into the bone. That was the worst. Doc said any time you mess with bone its very painful.

    As far as the other - I think that's a guy thing. Most would be jealous.....lol
  • Thanks Shari. I am on contramal (tramadol) for the pain, which is a synthetic opiate to help with both nerve and non-nerve pain. I'm also on dafalgan (tylenol) and Voltaren (diclofenac) for anti-inflammation amongst a few other things for my "boy problems" - one of which is valium, so that helps me a bit with the sleeping.

    The four hour blocks idea sounds like a great idea. I will have to try that. I've been taking it day by day, but it changes so much in one day. It really is amazing how much more hellish this recovery is compared to the discectomy / laminectomy surgeries.

    I can't wait until I'm past these first 4 - 6 weeks.

    Thanks again and I wish you the best in your recovery.

  • Thanks Kris for the note. I saw my doctor today and he said the pain is natural from having had a chisel and hammer hacking away at my pelvis and also from being on my stomach for so long during surgery as they tend to put allot of pressure on your hips during the surgery. He says it will go away over time.

    As for the other problem, he says he's never seen it before and agrees that most men would be more than happy with it, but honestly more than 15 of them a day is a bit much. Thankfully the valium seems to control it.

    Thanks again and best of luck to you!

  • JD,

    Before I had my 360 revision surgery in Jan. the vascular surgeon told me that nerves controlling the sex organs had to be moved aside and that while uncommon the thing that usually happens is the spern tries to go the other way. He said this clears up with time and is pretty rare to have happen. Lots of stuff had to be moved for your surgery and it seems like YOUR nerves, at least in this area, are happy. Go figure. Sometimes we just can't win.

    Hope you feel better and remember you are very early in you recuperation time.

  • David - thanks for the note. I had heard and read about the "retrograde ejaculation" as a side effect of the surgery in men, but never the problem I'm having. It's definitely a nerve/muscle issue from what doctors are saying. Just a wait and see game right now to see if the issue goes away.

    Still no idea if the other problem is something I have to deal with as well, but seeing as this current issue is happening, i won't be shocked if that is an issue as well.

    Anyway, thanks again for the positive note. Even though I know I'm only 12 days out from surgery, it's hard to get your mind to think about all of that when things are not working properly.

  • The pain meds.... tramadol ( contramol) is a joke. I cannot believe a Dr would prescribe such a weak pain killer. Seriously. ..... ask your doc for oxycodone or something similar like Vicodin.

    Do you know tramadol is a pain pill developed for veterinary?

    You just had a major surgery and should not be tortured.
  • Something else you should know.... tramadol is considered a ssri antidepressant and if you stop taking it abruptly you will be in a world of mental hurt. Be careful with Valium it's a powerful benzo and they can be impossible to quit.
  • Thanks much Salty. I have been on tramadol off and on for the past 2 years and have not had any issues coming off of it in the past, but that is good to know. As for the valium, i'm really only taking it when I'm going to be around people and don;t want anything to pop up unexpectedly.
  • Hmm - never really knew that before, but either way - it has worked for me in the past, of course, I've also been on various other meds at the same time. Oxycodone is not prescribed frequently in Europe as they tend to take a different approach to medicine. they'd rather start at the bottom and work their way up.

    Either way, the high dose that I've been on has helped in the past in combination with other drugs. I have to admit that it's not been helping much at all since my surgery, so maybe I will ask for something stronger as the pain doesn't seem to be getting any better when I take it.

    thanks for the info.
  • Lol.

    I just don't understand drs reasoning behind giving scripts for such a weak pain reliever
  • I don't understand that either, but I'm at least thankful that I got the contramal as they did have me just on dafalgan about 4 days after surgery, which is effectively tylenol. It's really not that bad, except for this pain i'm having it my hip, which basically makes me want to shoot myself in the head.
  • Oh please call and let your doctor know how much pain you are in! Unless you have had a fusion~especially a 360, there is just NO way to fully understand the pain!

    Before my insurance would approve my 360, they mandated I have a psych eval. One of the things I learned during this is that with chronic, untreated pain,your brain can develop something called a PAIN SYNDROME. When this happens, the brain will cont to perseve pain, even when there is no pain.

    So it is vital to have your pain relieved! Pain is so individual! Please just let him know!

    My first 3 weeks were really trial and error, trying to find something that would work for me and allow me to be active. I'm young, and I want my life back! But I can only actively work at getting it back if my pain is managed~otherwise I am on the sofa with ice and moaning!

    I have oxicodone that I take daily, and I have Narco (Vicodine) that I take for break through pain as needed!

    I am going to an Houston Astros baseball game on Sunday! I can't wait to be out and feel like a human again (wish I didn't have to wear my brace though!). I am sure I will pay dearly for it, but I don't want to be left home! Hence~break through pain!

    Wishing you the best! in 4 hour blocks:)
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