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post op pain- and solutions

I had a l5-s1 lumbar fusion 3 months ago, I am still in as much if not more pain then before surgery, which radiated down my leg. My dr treats me like its all in my head so I got a second opinion, which also lead to "everything looks good I cant help you". I don't know where to go now or what to do? any and all suggestions would be appreciated. I did my post op PT which did not help either. I do have a significant amount of scar tissue in the area. I just need to find a Dr who is willing to keep searching and trying till I am out of pain


  • I'm sorry to read of your pain. Three months isn't that long after surgery; full recovery from a major surgery, as a lumbar fusion is, can take nearly a year. However, I don't doubt that your level of pain is debilitating for you. The leg pain might be coming from scar tissue or from swelling at the surgical site, especially if you didn't experience that pain prior to surgery. As I wrote, three months isn't that long, but your doctor can perform a few tests that can locate the source of the pain, even through palpation. Once that happens, he or she can set a course of pain relief. A continued regimen of pain meds with NSAIDs might do the trick to get you back on track. Some relief might also be available from a physical therapist. Did a therapist massage just outside of the wound area to break up adhesions or to help avoid them? Good luck and don't feel that your pain is being ignored or downplayed - healing take a while.
  • You have not mentioned if you use pain medication. I am 6 months post op. I am better. I get frustrated because I cannot do things that I used to do. Blt. I have severe pain, but structurally I am healing like expected.

    I know they say it gets better and be patient. I still miss a lot of work because i have a call center job and am locked at my desk 8 hoirs a day and sitting is terribly painful.
    40 year old mom
    Tlif July 18
  • Liz, one of the m oderators posted a couple of links for you regarding postop pain. Three months is early into what could be a year or more long recovery period after fusion surgery.
    It is not uncommon for their to be increased pain, in particular if there was nerve impingement or entrapment , and of course, scar tissue is going to form due to the cutting of tissue, ligaments, and muscle.
    It is one of the reasons that we caution patients not to have surgery simply hoping for pain relief........it can get worse.
    In the meantime, depending on whether the pain is neuropathic in nature or mechanical pain, there are things that you can do.
    Do you have a pain management doctor? If not, it would be wise to consult with one in your area. They can send you for more physical therapy, injections to soothe the areas and if necessary provide medications to treat both types of problems. Nerve pain can heal, much of it depends on the extent and location of the damage but there are medications that are very helpful in easing that type of pain.
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