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spinal fusion

Hi to all fellow sufferers... I had a microdiscectomy in August 2010 to treat sciatic pain in my right leg. This surgery was not successful as the disk protruded further causing intense pain in my lower back and both legs. A week post surgery I was given no choice but to have the disk removed a titanium cage put in place and fusion of L4, L5 & S1. During the fusion surgery the surgeon placed 2 screws in to far damaging L4 and L5 nerves on my left side. This was corrected with a third surgery another week later where he corrected the screws and relieved the pressure on the nerves. I have progressively got worse with cramping in my lower back, burning tingling and numbness in my left leg muscle wasting of left shin and foot drop of my left foot. I also have bursitis in both hip joints. Now at 45 years of age a single mum of 3 boys and living on the disability support pension with chronic pain life is really hard. I've stopped socialising and going out with friends have many addictions including cigarettes and pain killers lyrica, codapain, brufen and valium. I have frequent rest periods through the day and feel I've become lazy. My life has changed and I have changed because of my pain... If anyone knows of a treatment or medication that can give me back some quality of life please let me know.


  • I don't know a treatment or aaa medication that can give you you life back, but I understand the situation you are in. My spine was fused from the bottom of my neck to below waist, rods on both sides. I've had surgery to try the fix the pain 12 years later by having a pain pump put in. Complications of the pain pump surgery required three more surgeries and procedures, it has to be really compromise my ability to do everyday tasks. I really understand what you say about feeling lazy. What sometimes helps me as I ask myself if I'm doing everything I absolutely can, keeping in mind my pain level for the day. The answer is usually yes, and that helps me feel less lazy.
    I desperately want my life back after the surgery and returned to work in between each procedure that was meant to fix the pain pump complications. Each time I was there that my doctor but looking back now I don't know if I pushed it too fast. Now I had to quit my job due to having no more leave time and it's been very hard.
    I am not an expert on addictions but I was wondering if you had talked to anybody about your concerns me about being addicted to the meditation you are on. Number one why do you feel like you were addicted? I feel as though I am addicted to my medication because I can't live without it right now. However I have learned that I am only dependent on my medication because at this time I don't show signs of addiction such as not following the recommended daily amount by my doctors..
    I'm trying to think of my life as it is now as the new normal. I wish thre was a pill I could take or a magic wand, but no luck with with that. Hope it will get better.
    2000- spinal fusion, complete spine due to scoliosis
    2012- pain began, started treatment for chronic pain
    2013- install of pain pump, procedures to address complications
    2014-blood patch, spinal fluid leak
  • Thank you for your reply. It helps to know I'm not alone in my condition. I feel addicted to my pain killers as I can't cope at all without them. As my condition gets worse I fear my addictions will get worse. How do I live knowing I'm reliant on medications etc. It's a hard ask to accept. In my non acceptance I have pushed myself and ended up in more pain. This only creates a vicious circle. I feel for you and can understand how hard life is for you also. Guess it's all about acceptance and knowing we have limitations on us now.
  • I hear ya....I am 39 and some days feel like I've lost everything due to my fused neck and persistent pain and lack of being able to turn my head. I lost my career that I went to college for and still have student loans due. I loved my job, and it gave me a sense of purpose. I can no longer run, bike, backpack, etc and I am a very outdoorsy person. Like you, I struggle with having to take my pain medications. It's hard to admit that we are weak.
    I don't know a solution. I'm constantly pushing myself too hard, and paying for it days later. Good luck, and best wishes. You're not alone.
    April 2011 C1-C2 Fusion (Brooks wiring)
    January 2012 C1-C2 Revision Fusion (Harms Technique)
    2010 - current: Trigger Point Injections, Epidural Injections, Bilateral C2-C3 Radiofrequency Ablations
  • Hi Monica, it's taken me nearly 4 years post surgeries to see any positives in my situation. I've had 2 visits to a psychologist now who has helped me see things differently. It's a long hard road. I still struggle with pain but if my mind is positive the pain is more bearable. Acceptance of the condition/pain and working within the limitations on our physical bodies is all we can do. I don't want to believe taking pain meds is a weakness. I'm starting to realise pain meds are necessary for us to exist and cope in a painful body. I'm so sorry to hear you're in this situation also. It does help to know we're not alone. Stay strong and be kind to yourself!! :-)
  • function for pain control and abusing the medications, which is one aspect of addiction.......
    If you are following the prescribed directions, not taking more than you are supposed to, not running out early or obtaining more from other doctors, loosing your home, possessions, family etc, then addiction is the wrong word to define what you need the medications for.
    The key part of the use of pain management programs is the judicious use of pain medications, along with other modalities to manage the pain and function to the best of your personal abilities.
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