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One year post FUSION.

Scott in the UKSScott in the UK Posts: 136
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi all,
It's been a while since I've posted on here so I thought I'd post an update for anyone that maybe interested.

I had my fusion of L4/5 done on November 16th last year and I had to drive 75 miles to see my surgeon yesterday as I'm still in quite alot of pain. I'm currently having to take 160mgs OXYCODONE HYDROCHLORIDE along with 150mgs of PREGABLIN.
I take the OXY' morning and night as they're a 12 hour slow release medication and the PREGAB' 3 times a day.

I asked him if he could explain why I was still suffering and he said all fusion surgery is 80/20 meaning that the success rate has been 80% so I'm part of the unlucky 20%.

It was then that we discussed my options.
Firstly he said he'd referred me to another colleague whose speciality is Pain Management and he suggested that I give that a go for a further 6 months.
I mentioned that I'd heard about something called 'Nerve block injections' and he dismissed that by saying with my condition I was way past that.
If after 6 months of Pain Management he said there was another surgical procedure he could try which would involve going in through the front below my navel and inserting a cage and fusing the offending disc from the front aswell.
Again this procedure has an 80/20 success rate but there was a nasty possible complication called Retrograde Ejaculation.
This REALLY put me off(please forgive me for not describing it) so I've got my fingers crossed for the Pain Management which starts on December 13th at 3:10pm GMT.

Anyway,apart from all that life is wonderful if you ignore the fact that I've also just been medically retired from my job as a Prison Officer.
Seasons Greetings everybody.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Thank you for coming back to update us with what has been happening after your surgery. I am sorry to hear it isn't better news. I hope the pain management work, as PM is for a period of 6 months, will that be all done as an out patient?

    Seasons Greetings to you and your family

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    But sorry the news isn't better.
    I too hope the pain management doc is able to give you some relief.

    You said you were medically retired. I know it took me a little while to get used to the fact that I was unable to work. Then I realized more and more that just taking care of myself turned into a full time job.

    Wishing you the very best with your PM doc and possible future treatments
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Good to hear from you again, butI'm sorry to hear that you ended up in the unlucky 20%. Let's hope the pain management helps. >:D< , Ess
  • Hi Liz,
    It's nice to see that someone familiar is still posting on here as I didn't know what to expect to be honest.

    In answer to your question-yes it's done as an out patient. My first appointment is next Tuesday where I assume some sort of assessment will take place.
    From there I don't know whether it'll be a case of tinkering with the medication I'm already on or perhaps suggesting some sort of exercise regime or even a bit of physio or hydrotherapy again.
    I said to my surgeon that straight after the fusion surgery I found the 'hydrotherapy' very helpful and as I felt I was making some progress I was chucked out of the pool and on land when I started to suffer again.
    If I can ger this new doctor to listen to what my body is telling me we might get somewhere.

    Thanks for the support of everyone that's posted on here but I cant reply to all as it's 12:40am here in the UK and I've supped some beer aswell.
  • I'm glad you've posted an update on how you're doing. I've wondered about you and am sorry that you're having these ongoing problems.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that the PM helps. It's helped a lot of people. Do you know if this PM is a physiotherapist as well? I doubt it if injections are not a possibility, but just wonder.

    I'm also glad to see you still have that zest for life, that's encouraging and will help you in the long run. Never give up.

    Take care and please continue to keep us posted.
  • Hey scott. The retrogage ejaculation or whatever they call it was explained to me also before my adr that they did from the front, Any time they go in from the front there can be a risk of this hapening where they can hit that artery or whatever you want to call it and would cause that issue you speak ok.

    I was told by the neuro that if it was to hapen it can be fixed at a later date but does not hapen very often, Thats was a very serious concern of mine also at the time of my surgery from the front, This was the reason i had sex soon after the adr surgery to make sure everything is working, After 8 years now i still use that excuse to have sex,
    Hey a guy has to do what a guy has to do!

    I mean how long can a guy use the same story that i only have 6 months to live honey so i need sex?

    Ps. If all fails you might want to ask the pain dr about the scs for pain control before you decide to go under the knife once again with all the risks involved,

    Best of luck,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Hey Alex,
    Good to see you're still about and no doubt 'still hurting' like the rest of us.
    Can you explain what the 'scs' you're referring to please.
    Keep on trying!

  • Scs is the spine nerve stimulater for pain control, They put leads in the spine canal and light you up like a christmas tree, lol. Ask your pain dr about the scs he will know if you might be a good candidate for it, Trial is fearly simple last usualy 5 to 7 days. And if it helps then they implant it,

    Sadly it failed for my nerve pain but i might be giving it 1 last try, That way every time i have a flare up i can just zapp myself until i have smoke coming out of my ears,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Welcome back but sorry to hear you're still in pain. Did the Surgeon say you were fused? Did he do an x-ray and CT scan?

    I hope Pain Management will help lower your pain level so you won't need further surgery. 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 scott. good to hear from you. so sorry the outcome didn't work in your favor. 80/20 odds? that is better than they gave me. but after 4 yrs and pain management doc, things have improved some. though i too am in medical retirement not by choice. that is a hard one to swallow and you are still very young. there is still time for recovery though. they did tell me it can can take up to 18 months for the fusion pain to subside. hope it gets better. miss our chat room! good holidays! rose
  • Hi Charry,
    Yes I saw my surgeon and he showed me the scan results-both CT and bone and said that the fusion appeared to have taken well.
    I'd like to avoid further surgery if i can although it could be 3rd time lucky.
  • Hey Rose good to hear from you again.
    I find it difficult to sit up on a chair or stool for long so I tend not to use the chat but the good thing about my forced retirement is a small lump sum which means I can get a decent laptop to use in the bedroom in the New Year.
    I hope you're well and maybe we'll chat soon.

  • I'm really sorry that you're still having problems, but at least your surgeon is observing you and trying other things. Hopefully the pain management will work well for you and that no further 'treatment' will be necessary.

    I was also sorry to hear that you have been retired from your job. It's a shame they couldn't find you alternative duties - even part time - that would keep you going until you find out if the pain management helps you.

    Out of interest, how long were you off work before they retired you? The reason I ask is because, if you remember, I'm still having pain issues too. I work in a school and after the Summer holidays I went back to work for one week and then, from 12 September, I have been off sick ever since. The whole work situation is really getting me down and I cannot believe the things my managers have done to me since then.

    For example. They have known from the very beginning that I had back problems - I even put on my application form that I considered myself to have a disability. But it seems this tiny tick box on the form was overlooked, so I was passed fit for work. Since my fusion last year, they advised me I'd have to work on the floor with babies/toddlers and they knew this could cause more back pain for me. It was supposed to be 'experimental', but they just kept giving me more and more clients to visit. Since I have been off work with back pain, they have received the occupational health doctor's report and my local doctor's Fit Note. I should have gone back to work on 5 December - and it was suggested that I be given 'alternative' duties (if possible) avoiding bending, driving and sitting in unsuitable chairs. I received an email to say they could NOT accommodate me AT ALL and therefore I could not return to work. Also, my Union man advised me to complete a 'disability leave' application (so I would at least get paid for some of the time), but they emailed again last week to say they were not approving it. Great! What do I do now. They break up for the holidays tomorrow and it seems they don't answer the Union rep's emails to them. It's so frustrating.

    The thing that has annoyed me most about this process is that my managers made the decision that I could not return to work without even discussing it with me first. I thought I would have a welfare meeting where we would discuss what other skills I have and how I could be of use to them. I believe this meeting should have taken place beforehand, and I was even asked if I wanted a meeting, which of course I said YES - but it didn't happen. It's not going to happen now until the end of January. I am sure they haven't followed their own guidelines regarding disabled employees and long term ill health. Well, that's what my Union man says anyway but I am not sure if it's true or not.

    As for my back - well, I'm booked in for 'revision' surgery on 22 December and I've been told I can't work or drive for 6 weeks afterwards.

    After reading your post, I am now worried that they will want to 'retire' me too. I have always felt that they were trying to get rid of me and now I know the truth. My manager said that if the occupational health department had scrutinised my application form properly in the first place, then I probably would not have been employed!!! It's a total mess and my Union man said he thought it might end up in Tribunal. I do hope not because the worry of it all will do my head in.

    Did you have to attend a Tribunal or anything like that? If you would prefer to PM me, I would really be interested to know what your timescales were and what procedures you had to go through.

    I really hope you can benefit from the pain management programme. I have also heard of SCS, but forgot to ask about it when I last saw my surgeon. Hopefully, though, this last (4th) surgery will sort me out once and for all - fingers crossed!

    Will you let us all know how you get on with the pain management programme, what they do and how it helps you?

    Bye for now and sorry for the long post. As usual I got carried away moaning about work (which is something I do frequently these days!!).

    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Hi Sue,
    Sorry to hear about your terrible work situation.
    If I'm honest I'd have to say that my employers have been brilliant and I guess because the Prison Service is Government they had to do everything by the book.
    They gave me every opportunity to get back to work but the main thing stopping me was the Class A controlled drugs I'm having to take for my pain.
    Not only could I not take any such drug into a Prison but I wasn't allowed to be in there effectively under the influence of drugs.
    After my first surgery I managed to wean off the MST Morphine after the surgery in February 2010 and got back into work on May 1st 2010.
    Unfortunately for me one of the implants started to unscrew itself and the pain returned so I had to stop again on May 28th.
    That was my last day in the Prison Service so aprt from those 28 days I was off work from February 2009 until December 2011.
  • Will you let us all know how you get on with the pain management programme, what they do and how it helps you?

    I just noticed this bit and it made me laugh a bit.
    Hmm. . .programme?
    I went on Tuesday 13th December at 3:10pm and saw the same specialist that I saw back in February 2009. He was the one that said 'lets try an epidural-it works for some people'. I had that and it made my pain from bearable- to absolute agony. In fact they put me on MST Morphine straight after it.
    I took with me a printout of all the medications I take and when I take them.
    The first thing he said was there's a mistake on here.It says that you're taking 200mgs of oxycontin(oxycodone) 12 hourly.
    I said that's no mistake.
    He seems to think that there's something else going on so he's ordered my 6th MRI to rule out something called discitis.
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