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1 year after spinal fusion pain and numbness in legs back

katie0219kkatie0219 Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Lower Back Pain
I had a fusion from L4-S1 May 23, 2011. In August 2011 my tailbone was removed. I have never been able to return to work (occupational therapy) and am still in bed hours a day (up for a few, down for a few), still taking low doses of pain meds daily, and still in pain.

The last few months my pain has been increasing and the pain is now just below my fusion, spreading down to my bottom. the pain is back to traveling down my legs, and i have numbness in my but and legs frequently. I have tried taking muscle relaxers and upping my pain meds but no relief. I have another doc apt. in 2 weeks, but since I am out of work I lost my insurance, and the private one I could afford doens't cover much so I can't afford a ton of testing and such.

Has this happened to others? Am I doomed to spend the rest of my life in pain? Any suggestions on what to ask the doctor to do or to try? I am taking hydrocodone 2 x a day and tramadol at night, I take IB 800 3x a day, zoloft at night. I can't take steroids, the side effects are so bad I can never make it past day 3. I have tried a TENS but it isn't helping since my surgeries really at all. I have even tried pain patches, but it does nothing for the pain in my legs and numbness.

Just scared that at 37 this is my life.


  • I had a bad fusion experience - not as bad as yours though, so I send you my sympathy. My hardware was infected and got ignored for two years because I "wasn't in enough pain"!

    Are you actually fused? What responses have you had from your surgeon so far? I assume the aim was to be back at work by now so I wonder what your surgeon has said about your situation.

    My new problems might be caused by bad facet joints above my fusion - I am having injections in a week to see.

    I hope you get some answers (some "nice" ones would be good) soon.
  • I have a great doctor. Up until the last time I saw him (in January) he and I thought the pain I was having was more from my tailbone removal (i had it removed because all that was holding it to my spine was bone spurs and it literally felt as if someone was stabbing me there at all times). I only have a 30% chance of being completely pain free in that area. It is only in the last few months that below the fusion has really flaired and the pain is back to traveling down my legs like before the surgery. The pain is exactly like when I had the bulging disks in L4 and L5, but I don't lift more than 30 lbs. and that much is occasionally, and I am not terribly active due to restrictions caused by both surgeries. When I went in January the x-rays continued to show that the fusion was doing great. I wouldn't think it would suddenly since then go bad, but maybe it could? I am mostly worried that the pressure from the fusion and the tailbone removal on my lower spine is causing the degeneration to speed up there and that is where the pain is from.

    nel- i am sorry you continue to have problems! living with pain daily is so difficult. i hope your injections work!
  • I to have the same problem. I have a wonderful pain Doc.. He sent me for a MRI and the results are bad my fusion is bulging and i have herniated above and under the fusion. And the pain is horrific
  • There are other ways to stop the pain aside from meds. Therapy for example... Ask you doctor for other alternatives too to stop the pain your experiencing...
  • my back and legs are bad due to the fusion i had on the 29 dec 2011 ,i thought that i would be free of pain by now too.but not ! and i have noticed that i have swollen legs and tread vains on my once very nice legs ! i blame that on the fusion as they were fine before the op .i think that legs suffer post fusion .i don't know why but that my thoughts on the matter .and yes it looks like you will be in pain .i can't read the future but many people are still in pain long after the operation ..sorry cart help
    tony {UK}
    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
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