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so many of us have had some sort of spinal fusion and so many of us are still in pain many months even years later my questions are .did you think you would be as bad as you are after your surgery ?
has your life change to accommodate your pain ?
what have you lost ?
what if anything have you gained ?
do you regret your surgery ?
are you now dependant on medication to control your pain ?
thank you
tony {UK}
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've had two, the first one and then a redo/revision/salvage operation......I am 9 years out of the first one, 8 years out of the second....would I do it again. I honestly don't know. After everything that I have gone through, and how my perceptions of pain have changed over these years ( in relation to the pain scale and what i believed at one time was high/intolerable pain) and now, I don't know.
    At the time, after some 8 months of trying to deal with the pain with conservative measures, if that visit to the chiro hadn't happened, I most likely would not have undergone the surgery. I was avoiding the surgery route prior to that at all costs.
    BUT, that "adjustment" set off a spiral that there was no amount of conservative measures that made even a dent , and honestly, I was rushed into surgery before I really had time to consider much about it. I was too busy getting preop testing and imaging done, and didn't have time to really consider much.
    Then the injury happened during surgery, and the rest is history.....for a long time I regretted surgery, but I also learned so much about myself, what I am capable of, what I can endure, and fight for, so I am also not sure that I would change anything.
    As for the pain levels, there were times when I didn't think that I could survive another second of it, but I did, and over these years, some of the nerves have died off, so the pain has changed , and I have learned to adapt and cope with this new "me" that I have lived with. I do still use pain medications, but I am at a far lower dose now, than I have been in all these years and honestly, I feel better now than I have in very long time.
    My life is not without it's limits, and having to adapt to how I do things, and when, but I have learned to do those things that I want to do, just a different way than I would have done them some years ago.
    I think that one of the lessons that anyone undergoing spine surgery needs to figure out, is that this is a journey, not necessarily a destination, and you have to be prepared to make changes in your lifestyle....this isn't about the kind of surgery, where you have it, recover and jump back into your life full bore. You need to be willing to work through the stages of recovery, and have a ton of patience. This isn't a quick fix to getting back to doing whatever you are doing in your lives, it is repairing a problem, and then making changes to reduce the chances of it happening again.

  • I would have my fusion in the L5s1 again, I am so much better than this time last year, I have only had back pain for 1 year. My surgery was in jan 2014...... I could not stand the pain, I know a fusion is not for pain relief, but it certainly has helped with my pain, next week I am 6 months post op..... my leg pain has
    gone, but I have still a bit of nerve pain in my lower back....hopefully that will demise in time, I'm not on any narcotics, what I have gained is to walk in other people's shoes with agonizing back pain, I had no idea of the pain that people suffered. Now I do.!! I just thought back pain was a tweak, get over it.......was I wrong!.......so now I am very compassionate towards people with back pain and cervical pain. Nerve pain is awful, I'm on gaba and a muscle relaxant. Tony I have lost my confidence. In driving I don't like being on the road now.... I always think I am going to slip in the shower, when I do a food shop, I am nervous that maybe a trolly may push into my back I take forever to get dressed and get ready.But these are only small things, and maybe down the road I will get my confidence back.and move forward, I treat my back so much better now, no blt and i will continue to do so as i don't want anymore back problems.

    Goodluck everyone

    Tlif L5S1 fusion on the 14th Jan 2014
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    After 8 of them, i dont even get nervous anymore, Everyone of them helped in one way or another, As you know I do take daily pain meds without them I know I couldnt work or be as active as I am. How are you doing Toni?
  • very interesting reading .I posted this because I am the black sheep of spine health !! the grim reaper if you like ! only because I have had a very bad experience and I am very bitter .a combination of a car crash that was not my fault then poor initial surgery then more very bad surgery then no one wanting to touch me {as when they saw the MRI scan they knew they were not able to help ] eventually I found a guy that takes on end stage or failed back syndrome patients like me but even he told me that the damage done to my spine was horrific it had been ;;apple cored ;; if you like the consultants had hacked away without supporting my spine so I ended up with ;;two pyramids end to end ;;hence the apple core analogy and the damage to the nerves is what's causing my pain .I have just been diagnosed with arachnoiditis and CES after 30 months post op my consultant has let me go as he now knows that I won't get any better he hoped I would get better but knew I would not he is sure that the fusion has stopped adjacent disk collapsing and that's a bonus but the poor quality surgery had damaged the nerve bundle to the point where I lost sexual function on operation number 2 that's about 9 years ago I have altered sensation down both legs and feet so can only wear shorts no underwear and my feet swell .so I have no social life no sex life its grim .and it was preventable !! that's why I am so annoyed .many of you know me and have heard my problems over the years I wondered if there was anyone with the same problems I know two in the uk .thanks for posting I look forward to others posting too
    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
  • jennypixiejjennypixie Posts: 44
    edited 07/11/2014 - 1:50 AM
    So terribly sorry for your plight, it's just awful what you have been through, as I said I only had bad pain for 8 months a little over before i had my surgery. I was at my wits end that's why I had the operation, I never even worried about the complications, I joined this forum after my surgery, in hide side it was probably a good thing.Tony I really am so sorry you have to go though this if I had a magic wand I would make it better for you, stay as strong as you can.

    God bless you Tony


    Tlif L5S1 fusion on the 14th Jan 2014
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 07/11/2014 - 6:46 AM
    The thing is that you can either constantly focus on what you have lost, or can't do, or you learn to adapt. I have had CES for 9 years.......and arachnoiditis was diagnosed after my last surgery, about 9 months later........so it is what it is. I don't find it at all helpful for me to focus on what I can't have any longer or what doesn't function.
    All it does is keep me in the past. CES symptoms may improve over time, or they may not.......arachnoiditis, may or may not get worse as time passes. Are either conditon curable, no, not at this late date, but you may see some improvement. You do have days where you are able to go out, work on your cars, etc, so confined at home, with no ability to socialize isn't quite the truth.....you have to make an effort to go out and do those things , within your personal limits and tolerance. Is it something you can do every day, probably not, at least not right now, but if you plan for, and then time the activity right, you can visit with friends, or do little jobs around your home that allow you to feel productive.
    Sometimes, you have to shift the focus to what you can do, instead of what you can't......lots of us have lost things due to our spine conditions, and I am in no way saying that you haven' t been through a lot, but your world can become bigger if you allow it to, and work toward making it more than it is currently.
  • I am so sorry that you are in the shape you are in, especially since you helped me through my darkest days! I am now 18 months out of my fusion, and have been on the Butrans patch for several months and it was a God send. My pain is now at about a 1 on a daily basis. So, yes, I would do it all again in a heart beat.

    I wish the best for you in the future.
  • for all your posts .
    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 read your posts and I can understand why you're bitter. Sandi gave a good friendly advice. A mental health is as important as physical health...stay in balance. Be well.
    Jessica Ling

    ALIF on 5/20/2014
    L4,L5 and S1
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    I had my lumbar surgeries from 1978 through 1984 (4 of them) None of them were fusion surgeries. At that time, the general belief was that white collar workers ( I was a programmer ) did not need to get fused, while it was only the blue collar workers that did.

    Fast forward to the 90's Throw out all of the previous believes. In fact, it was the white collar worker that should be fused, while the blue collar work probably does not need that. The rationale - In general white collar workers (desk jobs) are not as fit as the hard working blue collar folks (construction, etc) Those rough tough trim and agile blue collar folks have more core strength in general from the desk type of workers. So, their spines are able to withstand more than others.

    My surgeon, who did 4 of my lumbar surgeries, told me after he started working on my cervical surgeries, and after I started to herniate some thoracic discs, that IF I was fused in my lumbar area, perhaps I would not have herniated those thoracic discs. Just some thought, but something from a well respected neurosurgeon.

    So Tony, if you ask me, I wish I had spinal fusion surgeries back in the 1970's and 1980's

    Would my outcome still be the same? Who knows
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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