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No relief from pain

History: L4/5/S1 fusion last year. No pain relief, 7 more weeks PT, no relief. Muscel spasms, injections, no relief. Emerdoral and ablation in pelvice, no relief. Continued lower back pain, muscle spams, hip pain, abdimem and grown pain. In extreme pain, going back to Pain Dr on Monday. Presently taking Tramodol which is useless....what do I do next? I'm really bumbed out! Please give sugestions. Thank you


  • Have you had a CT scan yet? I am 8 months post op T12-L4 with continued severe pain and I had a CT scan that showed no bone growth and a pedical screw threw my L1 nerve spinal canal which is Causin a lot of my pain. I would suggest to your doctor for further tests maybe. Such a Ct scan if you have rods and screws in. There has to be a reason at year post op you still have severe pain like that. Maybe you aren't fused.
    28 F. Chicago. Fusion from t-12 l-4 from scoli in June 2013. Torn bilateral hip labrums. Arthroscopy to fix labrums January 2013 and march 2013. SI pain from hip surgery Lupus, RA, antiphosphidlipid antibody- hypermobility syndrome ( Marfan syndrome)
  • Also, take a look on the dermatome map.. You might have other issues with above segments that could have herniated or something. From the pain your describing it sounds like it's coming from L1 T12 nerves Which is groin and stomach pain.
    28 F. Chicago. Fusion from t-12 l-4 from scoli in June 2013. Torn bilateral hip labrums. Arthroscopy to fix labrums January 2013 and march 2013. SI pain from hip surgery Lupus, RA, antiphosphidlipid antibody- hypermobility syndrome ( Marfan syndrome)
  • surgery can take a year or more , for fusion to complete, while nerve related pain, can take upwards of two years or more to heal , if at all.
    Here is a link to the Step by Step guide to treatment for Chronic Pain that might help you to understand what steps might be taken.http://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-treatment-step-step]Chroinc Pain - Step by Step
  • and contrary to popular belief a fusion is done to stabilise the spine and not for pain relief .any pain relief that you may get is a bonus and not a guarantee .in my case my ALIF has taken over two years to heal and I am still in pain .I am still requiring heavy analgesia to cope with the pain ..the fusion has caused more problems like leg and feet problems and my consultant thinks there may be adjacent disk problems .fusions are the last resort .I wanted ADR but there was insufficient spinal material left to support the artificial disks .once you have had a fusion your mobility will be limited .I have found my fusion to be life changing {for the worst} .my pain and mobility are now a lot worse and I may require ore surgery !
    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'd probably not have had a fusion if I would have known that! Thanks
  • I would ask your Doctor for something a little stronger then Tramodol, that's a joke! I would recommend getting on Opana ER, that's what I take and it works unbelievable for me.. I suffer from a herniated disc and Spinal stenosis..
  • NOT all pain requires the use of opiates and it is against the forum rules to make medical calls on treatment for other members.
    Tramadol works quite well for some members and depending on the reason for the pain, has worked for many years so please do not make blanket statements or recommendations regarding pain medication use. That needs to come from the doctor providing treatment, not members on an internet forum.
    I am including a link to the Step by Step guide to getting treatment for Chronic Spine Pain for the original poster........it might help guide you in the next steps toward getting treatment if the pain levels continue.
  • to be done .and even though you feel rather cheated .I am sure your consultant had your best intrest at heart .I was a little annoyed following my ALIF as my pain was very bad post op and its not got much better in the last two years .unfortunately when you're at the fusion stage ..we are looking at end stage treatment .and you may find that drug treatment is your only option .everyone deals with pain differently ,maybe you a stronger pain killer .I take oxycontin and although it doesn't take all the pain away it helps big time and I would be lost without it ,..as someone mentioned tramadol is a weak pain killer and you may need to go up the pain killer ladder but only your doctor can deal with that good luck
    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
  • The Pain Dr had me get an MRI, the results showed nothing outstanding that may be causing my pain. He seems to feel it is muscular and skeletal. I'm taking morphine 15mg 3x a day, still in quite a bit of pain. I'm debating if I should go to a chiropractor.
  • I would run the chiropractor idea by each of your treatment team. Pain doc, surgeon, family doc and whoever else. I have been advised not to go to a chiropractor and I haven't even had any surgery, let alone a fusion. Certainly, if you must go, tell the chiro what surgery you have had. I don't know how the manipulations they do could affect a surgically fused spine, but it sounds dangerous to me.
  • The very best thing a spine specialist has ever said to me on the subject of chiropractors is "It's improbable that they will cause permanent damage". Not exactly a ringing endorsement! Others have just said "no!", "don't!", "never!". I know we're all different. Please be very careful ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • before my first surgery, and he was the reason that I wound up needing the surgery. He was told by his partner NOT to do any adjustments on me, and he did anyway, I felt something pop in a bad way, and lost the feeling in my legs and had no strength to stand on my own two feet. I fell three times on the way to my car and needed assistance getting there.
    I was in the surgeon's office bright and early the very next morning and into surgery some 10 days later.
  • Well, today I received two facet joint injections above my fusion, only place I haven't been stuck. And I have to say, for me, they have never helped, but I thought it was worth a shot. While I was there, I asked my Pain Dr what he thought about me seeing a chiropractor. The answer was, that I am far beyond that point and it is not a good idea with the fusion. This reinforces the input I got from you all also. Thank you for the advice.
    And Sandi, that must have been a very scary experience, amazing!
  • when it occurred.........he just suddenly grabbed my leg and snapped.......it was the strangest feeling, like there was no connection between my upper body and lower body and when I tried to stand, my legs just folded underneath me...after a minute or so, I was able to get up, but when I tried to walk, my legs would just suddenly not be there...
    Not an experience I ever care to repeat.
  • Well, it's been one year ago that I had my surgery....had the X-rays and met with surgeon today. He seems to think my abdominal and groin pain has nothing to do with the ongoing pain in lower back/glut pain. Suggests I go to an Urologist, that's fine with me, although it just seems it's one in the same with the back pain...but what the heck, nothing to loose. He also has me going for a NM Bone Spect CT Tomogram, lower back, pelvis and scrotal regions. He also suggests thinking about getting a "stimulator" implanted....I feel I'm not close to going in that direction yet! I'm currently taking Morphine 15mg 3x a day, helps some, but still in MUCH pain. This Friday I meet with the pain Dr, I think we'll be discussing my pain managment for the long haul, I think he's done all he can with injections, etc.
    So.....I'm up for for some constructive imput....what do ya all think? Thank you!
  • I happened to notice this evening, while looking in the mirror (scary) that I appear to be swellen on my right side hip area, quite noticeable. Is this something to be concerned about? I haven't hurt it, other than my on going back issues. Could this be the cause of much of my pain in the back, buttocks, groin and abs? Just a thought
  • These are some things I have tried (some didnt work but some did):
    TENS unit
    Nerve blocks/ injections
    methadone (works on 2 parts of brain)
    along with others but it seems like you have tried those
  • you take morphine and are still in pain? morphine is the strongest legal pain med there is. there is heroin but that is illegal in the us. it is hard to believe that you get no relief from morphine. and giving morphine for muscle pain is questionable also. they would probably give a naisd for muscle pain not morphine. this sounds weird to me that no relief from morphine and dr giving you morphine for muscle pain and finally the tests show nothing unusual. so if nothing shows up on your tests why are you getting morphine?
    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.
  • backache99backache99 Posts: 1,338
    edited 03/21/2014 - 8:44 AM
    a good chiropractor won't touch you if they know that you have had a fusion its TOO DANGEROUS ..unfortunately many fusion patients go on to suffer with pain and complications long after they have had their surgery ,,ALIF is a nasty operation to recover from .I am over two years down the recover line and I am no better in fact I would say my pain and altered sensations in my legs and feet have got so much better my quality of life is not good as I am restricted in what I can and can't do ..its very annoying .I am totally reliant on oxycontin for a bit of pain control ..I was careful to say control not relief as the oxycontin only take the evil backache and legs pain down from a 9.9 to a more manageable 8 ...my consultant was very honest with me when he offered to do the ALIF [ I wanted ADR} but my spine was not good enough to support the ADR hardware .I was very weary about having the ALIF but felt that I had no real choice as I was in agony anyway ..but I do remember the pain on waking from the operation there are no words yet in the dictionary to describe that pain ..I looked at my wife and asked her to get me some help as every second felt like an hours torcher ,eventually they gave me massive amounts of painkillers and I was still in pain ..it was an awful night ,the following 6 weeks were EDIT too.as I have said its been 2 years + and I am still in pain and now I have more problems as a result of the ALIF ....I feel for anyone going through this ..I know a few people in the same situation as myself .I am an upbeat person but I can say that the ALIF and its effects have taken the life from me .its the only time in my life when I have questioned why am I here ? .I do try to enjoy what bit of life I have but everything is a major effort and with the sleep depravation and intractable pain it takes some doing ,!

    Post edited by Sandi for inappropriate forum language.........Post edited by Sandi for inappropriate forum language. The use of profanity is not permitted on Spine-Health forums. Please see the forum rules for more information.
    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
  • Morphine does nothing for me either. I once had 24 mg for a kidney stone, & nothing. Yet, demoral works for me & it is not as strong as morphine. My 10 yr old son had 8 mg of morphine plus 1 mg of Ativan for foot pain, & it did nothing for his pain. That floored me, because he's never had anything stronger than Tylenol with codeine just a few times in his life, & that dose would put most non chronic pain adults into lala land. In some other recent threads some people have talked about a simple test that can be done to see how your body metabolizes drugs. I'm going to talk to my dr about getting the test done. I am also going to be taking my son to a pediatric pain clinic because his foot pain is so bad, & I am going to see if he can have it done as well. I am praying that this is not something that you have to jump through a lot of "hoops" to have done, because think how valuable that could be, when talking to your dr about the best meds each of us. It might go a long way helping us not look like an addict when we say a certain drug isn't working; there would be concrete proof that you are telling the truth. You might want to talk to your dr & see if you can have this test done, hopefully it would help you get relief sooner. Personally, I think it's something we all should do, we have nothing to lose, except maybe some pain!
    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • H.EvanHH.Evan Posts: 11
    edited 03/27/2014 - 11:09 PM
    visit an acupressure or acupuncture therapist. acupressure works great for me. you can also try to do self-administer acupressure for your pain, here read this

    Link removed, solicitation not permitted.Please read the Forum rules
    Post Edited by Liz The Spine-Health Moderator Team

  • buffgirl23bbuffgirl23 Posts: 77
    edited 03/28/2014 - 1:43 AM
    Your experience sounds so scary! For some reason, something told me never to see a chiropractor although I know many people who see them and have a lot of success. Somehow someone manipulating my spine sends chills through my body! I guess you have to trust your gut instincts.
  • Discuss with your doctor the possibility of him/her prescribing either gabapentin or pregabalin. I have had great relief using pregabalin with no need for any other analgesics. It's just a thought I am a nurse but I have no speciality in pain relief but its worked for me as well as many other people I know so I guess it's worth a conversation? Good luck
  • and sadly, it happens to others........that is why I tell people not to allow adjustments at a chiropractor if they think that they might have a herniation or nerve compression.....it is far too risky and can wind up causing far more problems than what they are worth.
    I loved my original chiro, he never did any adjustments on me , especially when my back pain was flared up all those years, and he told the new guy NOT to do any either, but he did and that sent me down the road to two back surgeries and a third that I will need eventually.
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