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

One year Post Fusion

sleeprgirlssleeprgirl Posts: 695
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well...one year ago today, I remember taking out all my belongings out of my locker at work, shutting it, and walking out of the room, down the hall; looking around like this was it..the last time I would be making these tracks. I walked away alone, and never looked back. After 30 years physically taking care of so many people, although I didn't have a clue of what life would be like, what I did know was my life was about to take a new direction. My old life was gone; derailed permanently.

I saw my NS today. Six months ago there was NO visible fusion noted on xray. My surgeon patted me on the back. I walked out again without answers. Thank God for my PT. She insisted on me wearing a Bone Growth Stimulator, and I am so glad that she advocated for me, because, three months later, I was laying down bone, and today, I have significant bone growth. They said it was not quite a solid mature fusion yet, but both he and his PA were pleased. He said it would probably be there in 6 more months, and to continue wearing the bone stimulator. The hardware looks perfectly placed as well. Am I putting in a plug for the bone stimulator, well partially. I did improve my nutrition and took specific supplements to enhance bone growth. So...I can't say what was the predominate reason, but I will continue all three. I see the NS's PA in 4 months for another xray.

That was the good news. The bad news...the pain/numbness has worsened over time, and is very severe. Why? I have not a clue. I've only had xrays since January, when I did have a MRI. My six month xray report by the radiologist suggested that radionuclide imaging may be helpful. My NS surely saw the report but I had so much to discuss with him over the 5 alloted minutes, and was overwhelmed as I always am, to date it has not be discussed...He was initially obscessed with me working; not caring if it is my career or not, whether I lost my health insurance or not, disability ins. or not. So I continue to tread lightly. I've been very proactive about improving my situation, and maybe finding some answers along the way.

I went to an interventional PM doc in late Aug thru Oct 5th and had 3 endoscopic spinal procedures, which has left me in horrible pain...it also left me with a dr who would not evaluate and treat the pain he caused. What do you do? I turned back to my NS. For the past month he has helped manage my pain. He wants me to find another PM doc...this time I want one who will actually sit down with me, use a guideline for the treatment of the chronic pain patient. Hopefully he/she will send me for some additional imaging. Again, getting to the root of the pain/numbness, then treating/managing. Right?! Oh, I can't sit up and support my spine either. I have to have a large pillow to lean very far back.

Where then do you turn if you don't get the answers you seek??

Interesting journey!!!




  • Hi Lisa

    Good that you've finally got some good bone growth.

    There's got to be a reason why you've got more pain and numbness seeing as you're in the process of fusing and the hardware is in place.

    Is it possibly L5-S1 that's causing the pain? I had L4-5 done and it's fine, but any pain I now have comes from L5-S1, which was unstable at the time of my surgery, but the surgeon was hoping that by doing the one level, it would be enough.

    I hope you can find a good PM who will take the time to help you cope with your pain.



    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hi Lisa,
    I am 9 months post-op and still not fused, so this week I began using the Orthofix Spinal-Stim. But when I using it for more then 30 minutes, severe pain occur. The pain is much more worse then before I use this stimulator.
    Can you severe pain also caused by your stimulator? Have you tried i.e. a test by not using it for say 2 days and then experience have your pain developing?


    L5S1 is well fused
    L4L5 after 2 revision and 9 months post-op still no fusion.
  • First of all, what a well written post. I wish I had some medical insight for you but I don't. Speaking from my experiences only, I was very much like you after a year. I could barely walk and pain was my only way of life. I had a solid fusion but I had so much nerve damage my doctors weren't sure what I'd regain and what if any pain would go away.

    I have told my story many times on this forum so I won't bore anyone. All I'll say is walking saved my life. Once I was told there was nothing else to be done and I couldn't hurt myself by walking, I started. Today, I still have chronic pain but it is managed and it doesn't prevent me from living my life. I walk almost every day, a brisk 3 to 4 miles. I can even play golf, carefully and badly, but I play. I hope you find some comfort in my story, a work in progress.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Great post.
    By reading it, i can tell you put a lot of thought and expression, of what you have been thru,and your future plans.

    You know i'm pulling for you. :H
  • Dick and Jim,

    I have come to a place of acceptance about my situation, but do want to get some relief from the symptoms soon. Long term, I'm concerned about other subtle changes, like slight scoliosis and lordosis, that I did not have before the fusion, and yes, Trish...I know that I have facet degeneration at L5-S1, and am sure that is causing some issues as well. My SI joints are unstable also.

    I happened to run into a retired chiropractor today, and he confirmed everything that I just said as he saw this progression of the spine happen to so many patients after fusion. He wants me to see a friend of his who is also a chiro., to maybe help with the SI joint since my neurosurgeon really isn't addressing it at all. I'm willing to have a consultation and see what happens. I'm not going to let anyone hurt me, but I'm not opposed to letting him take a look at the joints.

    Renos, no I never had pain when using the stimulator except for the fact that it is hard, and everytime I sat back in a chair or tried to lie down, it just hurts lying on a hard surface. The only strange thing that I notice is that I hear a clicking noise when I'm on my cell phone, but otherwise, it has been easy. Blazer, has used the bone stimulator also, so maybe he would have some insight about the device. Have you told the device representative about it. Mine left me his number...maybe he can answer your question...I so hope it helps you as it has for me. Much luck to you!!! Let us know how your xrays look over the next few months.

  • Acceptance, what a warm and comfortable place to be. I am happy to hear your fusion is growing strong!

    I will keep you in my prayers. I hope you get some relief soon, hang in there, Lisa.

  • Hi Lisa,
    I am to at the point of acceptance and that helps a lot how you experience the pain. Although when I have a flare-up and it cost me again 2 days to stabilize to acceptable levels, it is always hard to handle. I red the book "Explain pain" of dr. Moseley where is normal languange is explained how the brain also manipulates the pain experience. When I red it several times it seems to be that the pain is different and it give hope.

    About the clicking of your phone cause by the stimulator is a a well known test that the stimulator is working well.

    I think the cause that the stimulator generates a lot pain is that I also have some nerve damage due to surgeries, so it irritates my nerve system. Lisa, do you have nerve pain going into your leg/foot alwell? Or only pain into the spine?

  • Lisa, I know that you aren't looking for sympathy... so I am trying to empathize with you for what you are going through. I cannot believe the way that your Interventional PM doctor treated you. I honestly wonder if he felt a little threatened because you really know what you want, you know what you are doing, and you know what he is supposed to be doing. I'm not saying that you were being aggressive, I'm suggesting that maybe despite his apparently ridiculous ego, he was insecure and afraid that he couldn't give you adequate answers. Thus the avoidance? That's just awful "health care" on his part (in my opinion).

    Regarding acceptance of your situation, I can relate. My PM doctor is being very compassionate now and has finally made an adjustment in my meds that will allow me to cope with working. After he handed me the prescriptions, which were truly a blessing, I still just sat there with a dejected look on my face because I realized that this is probably as good as it gets. While I am grateful that he is helping me to be more comfortable, I still can't help but feel a great sense of loss of what used to be my life.

    I recently resolved to get out of my recliner and suck it up and start increasing my activity level. I'm playing a lot of Wii Tennis, Bowling, Baseball, and even Wii Boxing with my daughter who also needs to keep moving to fight off her RSD pain. Last night I massaged her shoulders and neck for almost an hour until she fell asleep. It was really hurting me, but when I saw her eyes close as she fell asleep and her pain subsided for awhile, I felt such an awesome, blessed sense of Peace that itmade my own pain seem unimportant.

    Anyhow, with the activity has come more pain, but I have to do this. I'm hoping that in the long run I will feel better as a result of all of this exercise.

    Lisa, you know that you are in my prayers. I believe that someday they will be answered.

    If I don't have a chance to say so later, I wanted to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving. That goes for everyone else here as well -- Happy Thanksgiving!!

    Take Care, and God Bless You!

  • Lisa, I am so pleased to hear that you are fusing at last! That is good news to the ears of a fusion patient. :D

    Not so good about your continuing pain. :-(
    I hope that you manage to find a very good PM doctor soon who will be able to help you.

    I am still walking a couple of miles each day and eating healthily to try and aid my fusion, but still have to wait until March to have further x-rays to see what is going on. Painwise I am doing pretty well (in the lumbar area), so hope that it a good sign that all is going as it should.

    Take care and keep fusing! >:D<
  • You had your surgery exactly one year after I had mine. I hope it is the case that it will just take you a little while longer to heal. I needed a full 18 months to get back to feeling like me again. I actually remember the day I went out for a walk and half way into it, I realized I had "my" walk back again. It wasn't the walk of a person with a stick up their back! The fusing is a big part of the road to being pain free. I was very fortunate that at my eight week appointment, we already could see signs of fusing. It's definitely a long row to hoe, but I hope you eventually get to feeling like yourself again. I had several setbacks in my journey. I think at least three times when I had to go on a medrol pack (steroids) and a whole bunch of pain pills to calm down the spasms and agony. Threw a little Lyrica in there from time to time also. I stayed in physical therapy the whole time - going once a week - and I started playing ball with the dog, including having to stoop down to pick it up. Gradually, my flexibility increased and I feel good again. I wish the same for you.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Sounds like you are coming along well. I do wish, however, that you were able to have an xray before March. My xray at 6 months was void of fusion, and I would have never known that I needed the bone growth stimulator.

    You are being so proactive, and doing everything that you can to fuse, and I applaud you, Jelly!!

    Virginia, I know that you have had a difficult few months, but you are doing all the right things as well. It does require developing an acceptance about this new life, and that transition is not easy. That is where I've been the last couple of months. I had been in denial about how much of an impact chronic pain and worsening spinal issues were causing. The last couple of months, you saw me go thru that tunnel, but finally I'm seeing with better clarity where things stand in every aspect of my life.

    Dave, thank you for supporting me these past few months. You have gone thru so much yourself, trying to find an advocate...I pray that you are able to manage your pain more effectively also. That is what it is all about! I can not change that past, and do not regret having the endoscopic surgery at all, even though I'm worse than before. I had to try, and it seemed the right solution for my radiulopathy, but I could not agree to going in there a fourth time. My pain was as bad as the initial postop fusion pain, and my sacrum is on fire still 6 weeks later.

    Renos, I do have nerve pain down both legs as well. I hope that you can continue using the bone stimulator. I am very impressed that I am seeing more bone growth on my films.

    I am making an appointment tomorrow with a new pain mgt dr who is also a board certified neurologist. This person was recommended by my endocrine doctor, who is a jewel. I'm so hopeful that I can find some answers, and maybe work towards a solution for my ongoing issues. I don't have unrealistic expectations anymore, but I will take any improvement that I can get.

    Hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday!!


  • It truly is an ongoing journey for so many of us here.

    Your inner strength is amazing and you have so many of us that are praying daily for you.

    I hope you can be scheduled to be seen real soon... please let us know when your appointment is scheduled with this new doctor.

    There is a saying I used to have on this really large button in my bedroom when I was growing up. I had it placed in a plate holder on my dresser. It's actually still there, as my mom really hasn't changed my room that much (and I'm 43). I believe it was purchased in the 70's. Anyway, it read... "I believe in miracles because of rainbows". I truly do believe in miracles, as I have witnessed a few during my life. Situations can improve for the better and I pray this happens with you. O:)

    Wishing you a pleasant Sunday and everyone else, as well.


    P.S. "I had been in denial about how much of an impact chronic pain and worsening spinal issues were causing. The last couple of months, you saw me go thru that tunnel, but finally I'm seeing with better clarity where things stand in every aspect of my life." I am really close to this point and I know once my SSD goes through, that will be my final acceptance moment. You are an inspiration and I thank you for the help and advice you have given to me. It is very much appreciated.

  • You are a sweetheart, and I thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I so need them right now. I pray for your SSDI approval so that you can concentrate on reaching your optimal health.

    My son got engaged yesterday, and it is the most wonderful news. She is a terrific girl, and I am so excited for them, and can't wait to share in make lasting memories with them both. The news has brought me great joy!


  • Good to hear you're fusing but sorry you're having pain and numbness and hope you can find another PM Dr. to help you and you get more imaging to see what's going on. I hope this gets better for you and will pray for your recovery and hope you feel stronger each day. Congrats to hear you're son is engaged I'm happy for you. 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
  • Thanks so much for the kind words. I am now determined to get to the root of these issues. I have spent one solid year treating symptoms, which is fine if you know what the diagnosis is.

    I have been nice long enough; now its time to take charge and deal with these problems as a team.

  • Lisa,
    A year ago, I was a couple weeks post L5-S1 PLIF and about the only bright spot in my day was reading posts on SH from some of the folks. You were one of those I liked to keep up with. I am very happy to hear that you have had some improvement. Reading your recent post here sure reminds me of my doctor's office visits. I too feel completely overwhelmed sometimes when trying to convey so much information to this doc in the '5 minutes' we're alloted.
    My goodness, what a year this has been for me, and you as well it sounds. Again, I'm very happy you're fusing. I'd send you a "Happy Fusion" card, but I don't think Hallmark makes one of those just yet. I'm sending much positive mojo your way just the same.


  • How are you getting on?
    Your recovery has been very long, I remember. I was wondering how you are now?
Sign In or Register to comment.