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upper thigh pain 5 years after fusion and no herniation

terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Chronic Pain
those of you who know me know that i have had numerous back surgeries and the last fusion was 5 years ago. my first fusion was 10-12 years ago and i had a immense pain that lasted for a couple of days after first fusion. it was horrible. well many years later and after my last fusion f years ago, i have had upper leg pain again. this started about 4-5 months ago and has gotten worse and worse. had a mri and back flexion x-rays which showed minimal stenosis and no disc herniation. the main thing it showed was, i wish i could draw a picture, my discs right above my last fusion, L3 are not flush with one another. in fact the disc is about 45 degree angle from the disc below it. it looks like an open mouth with the screws from the fusion still showing. the dr thinks the screws are not stable especially when i bend, hence the back flexion x-rays. the pain goes form the outer part of the upper thigh on my right leg to just above the knee. mri shows no herniation. when i lie down to sleep, the pain wakes me up everynight and now it is getting worse and now starts when i sit and sometimes when i walk. it is a dull aching pain. dr had another dr check my hip but he said that was not the problem. walking is worse and i bend down more when i walk also but he said stenosis is nothing to write home about. he wants to operate because he says my back is so instable that the problem with the L3 disc needs to be fixed. he does not know what is causing the pain. his partner looked at film also and concured that i needed surgery but also does not know what is causing leg pain.
help help help and more help
anyone have this and what is causing pain if it is not stenosis or herniated disc
I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.


  • also i have butt pain in right butt area and also pain across my lower back which is worse and worse and worse.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • ellencalieellencali Posts: 162
    edited 12/14/2012 - 1:46 PM
    Did you ever figure out the thigh pain? I have almost the exact pain myself. I am only 5 months out from 3 level fusion, and i know I am still "early". I hate that comment, BTW...its early....I know it doesnt matter, but I do! Anyway. I just saw surgeon and he says the disc above is bad, but not so bad...he wants to wait to do more surgery until this fusion heals. I still have no talk of whether fusion has even began. He said he cant see anything on MRI or the Xray I had done. My insurance denied the CT so surgeon is fighting for it as we speak. I am going nuts with the pain in my thighs...down to knee. Pain in my hips and low back. Pretty high in the pain game. He did say there is quite a bit of scarring at L5-S1. So, Im just wondering if you ever figured out what is going on. I was not put off as much by another surgery as I am by being stuck in pain forever! I know that might still be a possibility, but I am still hopeful for recovery from all of this. Thanks for reading. Peace, Ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • Pain maybe? I do not believe that SI joint shows on ct scans don't know if it would on MRI since I can't have MRI anymore because of SCS. They would give you SI joint injection. If that helps then good probability that its your SI joint. May be something you could ask your doctor if that's a possibility. Good luck:-)
    Herniated disc C5 C-6, DDD, Fibromyalgia, Nerve damage both arms, Disc Decompression, SCS 2010, Si joint pain, many epidurals, mri's, trigger point injections. Nerve conduction tests, RFA 11/28/12, RLS
  • that your in 5417 street again with pain !! you have had it bad over the years .to be honest with you and from what i have read fusions don't work .they cause so much pain and leave the patient with a life time of hell .i hope you can get some relief .there's not much i can say as i am also suffering too
    take care jon
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • I have a feeling your leg pain is directly related to your fusions. I had a three-level also and, occasionally, I get a lot of leg pain. Usually on my outer right thigh all the way down to and across my knee. About the only thing I've found that helps for one of these "flare-ups" is Lyrica. Fusions are, as Tony said, bad news. I'm glad I had mine done because I am really so much more mobile and better off than I was before, but that's a danger too. I get to thinking I can do lots more than I really should (I installed a sump pump under the house a few weeks ago) and then I end up in a world of hurt. I'm four years out from my fusion, which required two surgeries within four days because I had so much scar tissue, and I still occasionally have troubles. Talk with your doc about meds for nerve pain. I believe those nerves still get trapped every now and then, or scar tissue can grow around them and make them very painful.

    Good luck.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Well guys, Im gonna throw a wrench in the thinking:) I have the upper thigh usually from mid thigh to outer sides of thighs and it goes to knees. The right is worse but also have hip pain on right isde. Sometimes is hurts so bad it feels it almost feels like deep bone pain. Now here is the wrench....I have not had a fusion. Just 3 lumbar lamenectomies of L4-5 and T7-8 which was last on in May. I dont know which is the worse, the back pain or leg pain. Maybe Linda is on to something and maybr scar tissue from 3 lumbar surgeries but past month or so it is driving me crazy and not sleeping:(

  • Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
    edited 12/16/2012 - 3:32 AM
    I have the same pain and getting surgery for it on Tuesday. Mine is caused by sponylolisthesis at L2/3 an L3/4. That's causing the unstable spine. I also have stenosis and facet joint problems, so they have to work on that too. If your flexion X-ray shows spine offset, it may not be discs at all but sponylolisthesis causing the pain and instability. My doc said that my thigh pain is consistent with my problems.

    Sorry you're having these issues!
  • Kelli and all - I did say I thought the pain was related to the fusion, but I would think it would have to do with any sort of back surgery or any spine condition that hasn't been treated, for that matter. The nerves for the legs run from the lower spine and down, so pain can appear in the legs even if it's not leaving a blazing trail down the butt like mine does. Prior to my fusion, I had a discectomy and foraminotomy -- it worked great for about six months, but one day while walking, bam! All the pain came back in an instant and I had to hobble back to the office. At any rate, nerve pain sucks.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • jdkidsjjdkids Posts: 11
    edited 12/16/2012 - 2:36 PM
    I had my back surgery in july ,was told I'd be back to work in 3 months,fusion on L4 and L5,I'm in pain everyday does it ever get better?it's worse now then before the surgery,Should I be doing PT? PLEASE any help would help,My Dr just smiles and tells me I can be in pain for up to a year but gives me really nothing very strong enough to take it away,,
  • just to let all of you know thanks for the feedback. my pain gets worse by the day. it wakes me up at night and is worse when i lie down or sit for long periods. i am thinking of having an injection however my dr wants $200 down before he does the injection. he has never asked for this before. the pain has gone from a 5 to a 7 now to a 10 in one year. the surgery did not help it and as a fact it made my left leg worse. it is still numb after 7 months. there is no feeling in it. so now both legs are screwed
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • How many second opinions have you gotten? The surgeons partner doesn't count, because of bias.

    If you don't have these, sounds like its time. If the hardware screws are loose, that implies that a solid fusion has not been obtained and spine is unstable? See http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/spinal-fusion/fusion-surgery-considerations

    Good luck. Are there really no better surgeons in your state than your one that doesn't know what's happening to you?
  • i just had the surgery to correct a prior mistake by another surgeon 5 years ago. my pain dr not surgeon is doing injection. my surgeon who is a neurosurgeon is first rate and highly regarded. he fixed the break but i still have pain in my right leg that i had befofe. he said there were no guarantees with the surgery.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I am too. I am waiting for approval on a nerve block at L2...I pray that works like you have no idea. Pain is crazy. Dropped me to my knees tonight. That has not not happened since before surgery. My surgeon still says his work looks beautiful...guess they all say that, right? I am starting to think that this is just the fusion game...never really get good. Very depressing. JDkids, I am out from a 3 level fusion July also, and its a struggle. I have good days and bad...more bad recently. What kind of pain are you having? Leg, back, both? Can you tell if its nerve pain? I try and figure mine out, always hoping there is something that they can do to fix it. This back crap is really messing with my life...I hate how my family suffers with this right along with me. My poor kids are so sick of hearing I can't because I hurt...I hate saying it anymore. Sounds like such BS...been said so much! Ugh...very depressed tonight...pain is high and I am starting to lose the can do attitude. I hated falling to my knees tonight, gasping in pain. Took me a good 5 minutes to get up...all with my little girl crying in fear...both of us thinking...uh oh, this is the time I dont get up! Peace everyone, E
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
    edited 12/20/2012 - 8:12 AM
    my pain dr and my neurosurgeon think it is nerve pain but that is a guess on my part. i think it is also.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I agree that it's probably nerve pain, but finding the source is now the issue. I'm still thinking about your original post and the flexion x-ray that shows possible spondylolisthesis - your nerve pain is consistent with slippage, thus nerve pain, at the L3/4 level. That's just my opinion from what I've been going through.

    Good luck in finding the source and getting the danged thing fixed. Keep us posted.
  • jdkidsjjdkids Posts: 11
    edited 12/30/2012 - 2:09 PM
    My pain is in both my feet and in my back,Dr is telling me that my pain meds have flipped on me , that they are now causing me pain ,Instead of helping.Has anyone ever heard of this? Jan 2013 I'm going to wean off pain meds and see if that helps.I just can't see how.This was hard xmas,I couldn't do anything I'm use to doing for the holidays,OH, btw I believe my feet pain {nerve} and I think most of my back pain muscle but heat Kills me,It's strange to say but I can feel the hardware because there is pain around it,,Stay stronge Ellen,,I'm hearing it could take up to a year to heal ,I feel as you do this back sh#t sucks ,, my life is not as it was,and hard for my family to even understand what we are going through,every day ,every hour,every minute of our day,
  • I am going to start of new thread for us July surgeries...Im sure there are other's still having a lot of pain, scared of success or failure etc.. I hate when I hijack peoples threads...;) Never done on purpose, sometimes I just cant shut up! Jon, I hope you are getting a little relief. If you find any answers, please share! Peace, Ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
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