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Low back fusion

ddriver1123dddriver1123 Posts: 26
edited 07/01/2014 - 6:01 PM in Lower Back Pain
Hi everyone, I have a l5s1 fusion with hardware in April of this year. It has been almost three months and I am still hurting in my back all the way to my toes. The pain meds just dull the pain never takes it away. I have taken so much it doesn't even make me sleepily anymore. Now I am starting to feel every time I lay on my couch or bed , when I go to get up I am in so much pain I scream out and tears start falling. This can't be normal. I can't stand very long with out my feet hurting so bad that it forces me to sit down and I am getting a burning sensation right close to one of the cuts that was made. Has anyone else had this to happen to them and if so what was the problem if so please message me with some clue as what is going on
Doris Driver


  • Although you're not expected to be healed so soon, you shouldn't be in pain to the point of tears. Have you had a recent xray? I think it's time for an appt with your surgeon. Best of luck.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • They do say it takes six months to heal properly from the fusion..I think you should definitely inform your spinal surgeon of your severe pain...
    Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.
  • please don't worry after my ALIF 30 months ago .I am STILL IN PAIN 24/7 fusions are not done for pain relief there primary function is to stabilise the spine any pain relief is a bonus .at 6 weeks I could not even stand without crying my wife would have to take me to the shower and shower me !! as I had no energy then I would just lay on my recliner and take pain killers and that was about as much as I could do .I had ALIF {I have had 2 previous spinal operations ] my consultant has just discharged me as he can do no more he has diagnosed intractable spinal pain as a result of cauda equina syndrome and arachnoiditis 30 months down the road and I still can do very little .please don't beat yourself up its very early on in your recovery .many people with fusions {especially if they have already had previous surgery } take longer to heal and its not uncommon for a fusion to be a life changing operation many spend their days in bed or on a recliner ..I know its sounds bleak but remember its still early and you may recover better than some remember you have had a massive operation and it can take around 3 years to recover .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
  • I had a fusion 6 years ago, @ 29yo , had a ruptured disc, and yes first 3 montha are painful, but after 6 weeks, I was able to stand/walk for 30 mins a day, and did 25 sessions of reformer pilates to stablise my core. After 1 year the pain was minimal, and manageable with twice weekly massages. After 2 years I was feeling normal, and stronger than presurgery. Its a long road to recovery.
  • ddriver1123dddriver1123 Posts: 26
    edited 07/07/2014 - 3:42 PM
    Update from last post. I made an appointment with my surgeon for Monday. Is it normal to be in so much pain after getting up from bed that you are paralyzed in pain unable to move. My feet wouldn't move because of the pain. I know I am close to 3 months post op but this can't be normal. After that the pain has gotten worse all the way down to my heal of my foot. I seem to think the pain is getting worse than better. As anyone has this happen to them please if anyone can help I have had two surgeries prior to this fusion. How will I know if it's failure
    Doris Driver
  • Are you doing any physical walking? Or are you spending the majority of your time in bed, or resting? A huge part of the recovery of spine surgery is the post op walking and activity levels. It sounds like you are having a flare up of nerve related pain, and that can be treated with the proper medications. Opiate pain medications are not going to help ease nerve related pain........gabapentin, lyrica, cymbalta, amitryptaline, and others are far more helpful when it comes to easing nerve pain, than any opiate.
    You are still in the early days of healing and recovering from your surgery......nerves take time to heal, and because of that, you may have some nerve pain for several months, while the nerves recover.
    It is important that you do the amount of walking, even in short walks, many times each day in order to help your body recover. Paralysis from pain? Do you mean that you physically are paralyzed or is it that you don't want to move?
    A flare up of nerve pain is normal post op, but as more time passes, you should see improvement.


  • yes i am walking everyday, but after about 30 mins my right leg gets to hurting so bad I cant stand it and have to get off it.i don't spend anytime during the day in my bed because I cant get out of it the pain is so bad trying to get out of bed or my couch I choose to stay out of it .it does feel like a nerve flaring up but more than that I have continuous pain in my back where the surgery was, and into my hip area. when I said I was paralyzed with pain I really couldn't move at all. I couldn't move my legs at all, until the pain went away some, I know this is a hard recovery but I also know I should be seeing some relief by now. every week my pain is worse than the week before, and to me that doesn't make sense to me. I am tired of hurting , I want my life back
    Doris Driver
  • As Sandi mentioned in her previous post, nerve pain meds might be what you need to help you push through. I had what you describe in the first week following my PLIF L4/S1 but almost within 48 hours of being put on Lyrica the morning pains subsided, and thereafter my recovery could begin with regular walking etc. have you been given any nerve pain medication?
  • Nick hey I haven't been put on any nerve meds only muscle relaxers and narcotic that's it .
    Doris Driver
  • Nick_MurphyNNick_Murphy Posts: 171
    edited 07/08/2014 - 8:35 PM
    I hope you can get through until your appointment on Monday and that you can explain the specific scenarios whereby the pain is flaring up, and the type of pain itself. I had similar symptoms as I mentioned before, which came on after about 20 minutes of being awake, usually just about when I had got myself showered and was moving about gingerly to get dressed, and would have to sit / lay down for 40 minutes to an hour in agony whilst the nerve pain ran through my back and into my leg. It did usually settle after that time so I could at least then begin to walk, but I remember it really took it out of me and made me less inclined to get up each day because I didn't want to go through it again. The nerve meds work on an entirely different plane to the opiates, and I really hope you can get put on something that will ease your pains and help mobilise you. You need to get walking about, little and often, and increase your activities and you will be amazed how setting yourself small challenges to increase duration / distance / occurrence really can help push you along. Is there perhaps a way you can contact your doctor / consultant ahead of Monday to possibly get some meds prescribed without having to wait until Monday? I was fortunate to have been able to get my prescription at the time sent to me rather than have to wait for an appointment, which sped things up?
  • If the pain flares with 30 minutes of walking, try walking for shorter time frames. Sitting , laying down, standing too much is going to make things worse. I was told by my surgeon's post op, no sitting for more than 15 minutes, long enough for a meal, standing was limited to the same amount, then laying down for no more than an hour at a time, then get up and move around again.
    The more inactivity there is, the more difficult it is to manage the pain once you try to start moving around. Start small, shorter walks, on even terrain/side walks..........then over a week, try to increase both the distance and the length of time that you are walking.
    Talk to your doctor about a nerve pain medication to help ease the symptoms......
  • Hi nick my dr won't do that . I am not having pain because I get up it is when I do get up. It Is when as I get up I am in so much pain I can't move. It feels like something is breaking the pain stays in my back. During the day I have nerve pain that goes down my leg to my toes. But the real bad pain is when I go to get up from laying down Monday the dr is gonna order another MRI because it is possible it's a failed back surgery. I have been having these pains since surgery and every week the pain gets worse than the week before.
    Doris Driver
  • We'll I went to my dr and told him what I was going on. Such as pain so bad in my back that I am unable to move, he tells me the surgery went well and it takes a year to fuse completely. And that I need to start pt. we'll I have done such started pt. we'll the other day I went to get up out of bed and the pain was so bad that it caused me to fall to the floor and was unable to get up. This can't be normal. Every time I lay down I can't get up with severe pain. Has any one else had this
    Doris Driver
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