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failed lower lumbar fusion with rods and screws L4L5

relief4merrelief4me Posts: 2
edited 08/26/2012 - 6:04 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am a 49 yr old female with failed L4L5 back surgery along with now drop foot after surgery and its been a year. Now I hurt in the upper back and practically hurt all over my body. I haved twisted my good new and its in a brace and cant seem to get it back to normal. Doctor says its my mnectus ,kneecap,lots of fluid. My left shoulder is completely in a mess. He says its that of a 65 to70 yr. person and I have a bone spur on top and under arm. I was a career outdoor for 27 yrs and this has been going on since 2008 because I did everything and I mean everything to not have surgery. I have advanced DDD along with other things that happen with the spine. I never say this coming and its now killing me. I just recently got more use of my foot and praise God. Went for a second opinion and he wont even put a percentage of recovery if any. It would now be a 3-4 way surgery. Looking for help because the metal has to come out regardless.
paula ashley


  • Hi relief4me.

    Let me start of by saying that I haven't read your profile, so I apologize if you know about and have tried all of this. I wish there was some magic cure that we could all share with eachother, but, we all know that's not the case. The best we can do is suggest what has worked for us in the past and hope that it may help you too.

    I have failed back syndrome (going on 15 years) from 3 x interbody fusions at L5/S1. Obviously, I'm not a doctor, but from my experience, because we are constantly shifting our gait during sitting, standing, and walking, to compensate for our pain, we often end up with additional pain in other areas of our bodies. This can be a result of inflammation of muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as referred pain from the original problem.

    Have you had any steroid injections or nerve blocks? You should talk to your PMD to see if they feel this might be helpful, not only for your back, but your shoulder. You can also ask him about coating your hardware with cortisone (with fluroscopic guidance) to see if that gives you any relief. Sometimes, they can also use that procedure as a clinical trial to determine whether your hardware is in fact a major contributor to your pain.

    What meds are you taking? Many people on this site talk about Lyrica and Cymbalta (in simple terms, both are 'neuroblockers' - essentially they disrupt the pain messaging being sent from your brain. In my case, I had horrible reactions to both. There's also Amitriptaline (Elavil) and Nortriptaline - neither worked for me. Instead, I found Desipramine (in combination with my other meds) really helpful. It didn't alleviate my pain completely - but I didn't expect it to, that's not realistic - but it kept me, on average around a 4/10 (notwithstanding any major flare ups).

    Next would be NSAIDs. Do you currently take any? I've found Naproxen to be the best. I've been on so many during the years - celebrex, vioxx, mobicoxx, etc - but Naproxen works for me. It can be rough on your stomach after prolonged use, so you can also ask your doctor about taking a stomach coater, like Cytotec.

    Then there's the old stand-bys which most chronic pain patients have used at some point or another, with varying degrees of success - like TENS, ultrasound, IMT, heat and cold therapy. Of course, make sure you sleep with a pillow under your knees (not your thighs) when lying on your back, and between your legs when lying on your side. And only one pillow under your head (if any) so that you are putting the least amount of pressure on your spine. When you are sitting in a chair, can you use a footstool that keeps your knees at a 90 degree angle? That also helps take pressure off your lower back. All pretty basic, no big news here.

    I hope I was able to give you some suggestions, and maybe some things that you haven't yet tried that you can discuss with your PMD.

    The bottom line is that pain, of any kind, sucks!! I wish you the best of luck. Keep me posted on your progress, ok?
    Good luck.
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