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Pain after 14 years post surgery - scared to go back

I had fusion L4, L5 and S1 in 2000- I could not walk before surgery - one disc totally collapsed - every thing was great felt like I had a new back - got pregnant in 2005 - OBGYN assured me my back was strong enough - 2008 - started having back pains - and LOTS of nerve pain - diagnosed with fibromyalgia and went on disability - everything hurt. In 2010 - I started complaining to my arthritis doctor about pain in back - and he wants me to go back to my back surgeon. Here it is 2014 the morphine that arthritis doctor gives me doesnt touch the pain in my back and I an almost to the point of not walking again and having to pull myself out of bed - its really sucking. I am scared to go back to the spine doctor - he was awesome - got me walking again - I am so grateful for him - but I dont want to go through surgery again and I am afraid he is going to tell me I need to. From what I read could the surgery have cause the nerve damage ?? thats scary - but alot of my nerve pain is in my hands and the surgery was in my lower back - would like to hear opinions if I should go back to him or see a neuro surgeon

I am 49 year old female - 3 kids - 28, 22, and 8

Thanks so much


  • Seeing a surgeon for his opinion doesn't mean you have to commit to surgery. I completely understand your fear but having a few diagnostic tests & listening to opinions isn't going to change what's physically wrong...it's just going to inform you. In your position I'd go back to your old surgeon because you clearly trust him AND I'd get the views of a new neuro. I always believe in second opinions.

    To answer your other question, I don't know! I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia in the past, to be honest my random nerve pain & other symptoms have been called many things over the years. I strongly believe that suffering from chronic pain plays havoc with our bodies in many different ways. I always say that mine is 'a reaction to unmanaged or poorly managed pain' because when I have a good handle on the pain from my spine damage the other symptoms are easily managed. I haven't had to deal with the fibro type pain for well over a year before my recent surgery pain (not spine) brought it back again..ugh!

    You need to deal with your back pain. Seeing a specialist surgeon might not mean surgery, they could refer you for some less invasive options but you need to know for sure what's causing your pain. I know it sucks. I've been on this merry-go-round for the last 8 years. All I know is that denial & avoiding only makes things much worse & you run the risk of ending-up with permanent nerve damage. I'm sorry ;-(
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/22/2014 - 3:33 PM
    If the symptoms are stemming from your cervical area, then it may have nothing to do with your lower spine.......but either way, you need to find out the cause of the symptoms you are having, and be treated for it. As English Girl said, seeing a spine surgeon does not automatically mean that surgery is necessary , nor does it mean that you have to do it. It simply is the best option to finding out if the spine is what is causing the pain you are having, and what treatment options are available to treat it.
    A lot has changed in spine surgery in the last 14 years, and the types of surgery, and recovery are better now than they were in 2000



  • from what I have read and experienced .its unlikely that surgery will even be offered and you pain and disability is nothing to do with your fusion but more likely to be from damage to the nerve damage that was there when you needed the services of a consultant I guess that you needed surgery as a result of some accident or trauma and over the years the neves have got damaged within your spine and you have been left with permanent nerve damage ..it happens a lot with fusion patients .many don't realise that the fusion is a mechanical fix and nothing to do with the nerves ..the hope is that the nerves will settle down after the surgery and your problems will be gone or reduced but this only happens if there was slight damage to the nerve a ;;;bruising like injury during surgery if you nerve sustained significant damage in the initial reason that you required surgery you don't have a chance of the damaged nerves fixing themselves and another thing damage to nerves DONT always show up on MRI/CT even slight damage can be excruciating .my advice would be to go back to the consultant and get some more medical photography done ..I would avoid surgery if possible .I have a similar situation and have been discharged from the spinal unit after three years as there is no more the consultant can do .the best thing you can do in the meantime is get your home a comfy as possible .things like a recliner the type that rises you up to your feet also a decent bed with a memory foam mattress .things like a grabber to help you if something hits the floor .good luck at the consultants
    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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