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Where do I go from here?

gaj399ggaj399 Posts: 270
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Lower Back Pain
At my post op visit for C5-7 fusion, my Neurosurgeon released me and said that I was fusing just fine. At that point I brought up the lumbar problems that I'm still dealing with. He immediatly said their is nothing more he can do, although I have a hearniated disc at L2-3 He said that my pain problems were not being generated at this level. He said that all my problems are being caused by scar tissue being wrapped around nerves, and that there is nothing he can do to help this.

So it seems that by going the conservative route with my prior lumbar surgeries has now caused me to have to live in constant pain. I thought with my understanding of the situation that if the conservative methods failed I would still have fusion surgery to fall back on. Now he doesn't want to touch my lumbar again because he feels the scar tissue will just return and no long term relief will happen.

And so the question is still where do I go from here?

I also have a total shoulder replacement that is going to be done as soon as I'm 1 year out from my fusion. My Orthopaedic surgeon doesn't want to to the shoulder replacement until my Cervical fusion is solid, which he considers at least one year out.

Any suggestions? It seems that each question I have brings on a beavy of new ones that need to be answered. I want to be able to live a not pain free, but less painfull life.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    Scar tissue can play a very important role in your overall condition. My 4 lumbar surgeries were done in the 70's and 80's with no fusion and I developed a lot of scar tissue which still causes me problems today.

    There is something to be said about having additional surgery which in fact will create additional scar tissue. At this point, I think it might make sense to get another opinion just to see if the action(s) are consistent.

    Now, as far as the total shoulder replacement. I had both totally replaced in 2010. One in April, one in October. I had cervical surgeries in 1994 and 2000 (C4,C5,C6,C7) and they have completely fused. I also had several herniated thoracic discs in 2006 which we have treated via non-surgical methods.

    The total shoulder replacement is a major complicated surgery. It will impact muscles, tendons, rotator cuff and more. Recovery is slow and painful. Exercise and Physical Therapy is a MUST a MUST In addition to the standard therapy, my Deep Tissue specialist worked on the shoulder scar tissue to make sure it was pliable and was able to ensure that I had super range of motion. My therapists and doctors are amazed at just how much range of motion I do have now. It was a lot of work getting here, I still have to do specific exercises, but it is worth it.

    I am not trying to scar you, just letting you know the honest truth.
    It is good that your surgeon is telling you to wait until your cervical fusion is completely healed and the surrounding muscles/tendons are strong again.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Sounds as though you have a lot on your plate. The one thing for sure is you want your cervical fusion to heal completely and be a solid fusion before you under take anymore surgeries. As far as the lumbar goes, another opinion would be a good option. However, I don't think I would schedule that opinion till your 6 months out of the cervical fusion, otherwise you might look as someone who just wants surgery. In addition it wouldn't be good on your fusion if they need to move you during surgery and you don't have a solid fusion, yet.

    I really don't like the fact the surgeon released you without following the fusion process to be sure it is fused solid. So maybe it is a good thing your not with this surgeon any longer? Being someone who's fusion failed, and thank goodness my surgeon was following me, and then was able to fix it. Unfortunately I see to many stories here where a surgeon released a patient before the fusion is solid and then the find out years latter the fusion actually failed and dealt with all the issues due to a failed fusion.

    I know it is hard getting left out in the dark like this, but maybe it is for the better in this situation, who knows? But hopefully your cervical spine will heal fine and then the shoulder replacement can be done and you will find some relief.
  • At my last appointment with my gp, we went through all of the tests that have been done, on both my shoulder and my lumbar. His advice is that I should seek at least one more opinion, and possibly 2. He sees my pain levels that have me in tears at most times. He said if the 2 opinions come in with nothing more to be done(he feels that something can be done)then he feels that my next step should be having a pain pump installed for my lumbar problems.

    Now on to the shoulder replacement, He feels that the shoulder replacement and therapy that goes with it should be done before any more lumbar work is done. So there it is in a nutshell.

    I know it must sound like i just want surgery.This couldn't be farther from the truth. Each surgery has left me in more pain and less able to care for myself. Why would anyone want more and more surgery?

    Thank you for your input, as always it helps me to keep things in order.
  • I'm trying to wait patiently so that I can be sure that my cervical fusion is solid. In the mean time my shoulder has gotten so bad that I can barely move it at all any more. I know from reading Ron's posts that shoulder replacement is not fun, I'm not looking forward to this surgery at all, but at the pace my shoulder has gotten worse, I'm afraid that I may not have any range of motion left by the time I finally get something done. I'm afraid that by the time something gets done, I'm going to have some major rehab to get the shoulder working again.

    Guess i'm just afraid, I'm right handed and this is all going on in my right shoulder. Seems like each surgery I have causes me to be a little worse off than the one before. I'd like to get this over with and get rehab done before it's all too late.

    Or maybe I just need to rant about my troubles.lol. It's amazing how you can go 43 years and never have any surgery done and now have 8 done in 9 years. I need a break!!
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