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Is this pain normal, or does my hardware need to be removed?

Hi ya'll!

I have been to physical therapy multiple times over the years, gotten numerous injections and procedures, and see my neurosurgeon a few times a year for check-ups, and no one can explain this pain to me. I am hoping that some of you may recognize what I am about to explain and could give me some advice or share your experiences, both good and bad so that I can possibly find out what it going on because I am not getting any help from my physicians as far as relieving my pain and problem with getting "stuck" and not being able to stand up straight after doing certain activities.

I had a fusion in the L5/S1 4 years ago. I immediately woke up from surgery with nerve damage in my left foot.I have some serious back pain that exists almost exactly between my scars, to maybe just slightly underneath them. I am not sure if I would say it is a pinching pain or stabbing pain. For the most part, I can not lean back or bend forward, lay flat on my back (including in my bed or on an exam table), lift anything (even a 24 pack of water), or sit on a hard floor or chair for longer than 15 minutes, or else I can not stand straight up again. I could stand, but I would need to do the granny style tilt to the side to get up. Once that pain starts, I am "done" for the day. Yoga makes it worse because of all the bending your back does as well as sitting on the floor or laying on the floor. It hurts me so bad!!!! I immediately have to take pain meds and lay down on my side

I almost feel like my back is "stuck" and it is too painful to straighten my posture. Maybe this is a "pinching" pain? It doesn't feel the same as sciatic where its a zapping nerve pain, I can only describe it as it feels like someone is trying to bend me in backwards until the crunch me in half. It hurts bad and feels like my spine is crushing together. I have spoken to my surgeon and he said the fusion looks great and he has no idea why I get that pain. I have had an MRI, X-Ray and Myelogram and they all show DDD, DJD, I have central spinal nerve root compression as well as spinal stenosis and a bulge in the L4/L5. He suggested physical therapy which I had done years ago and it didn't work. He said if PT doesn't/didn't help then this mystery pain is permanent by now. He says he could go back in and widen the hole so that my left foot pain isn't as bad, but I don't feel that it is worth the risk of having another surgery, especially close to the nerves to POSSIBLY improve my foot pain when my back pain and sciatic pain are the pains that stop me from living a normal life.

Do any of you have similar pain like this? If so, where you told it was normal, or is it known as a common problem after a fusion in those discs? If you had it and were able to fix it, what seemed to be the cause of your pain? Was it from pinched nerves, the DDD, etc....My surgeon says that arthritis is common after surgey and it is likely arthritis but he doesn't know for sure. I have had this problem ever since I had the surgery and not prior so I strongly believe that is not arthritis. I feel like arthritis would take longer to develop than immediately after surgery.

I have been reading about hardware removal and was starting to wonder if it is possible that the hardware is pinching something or poking me internally, or is causing bone pain, etc... Basically wondering if it could be causing me to have this issue with feeling like I'm stuck and not able to stand up with the lower back pain, or if that is normal for most with a fusion in that area. I had the typical "fake disc" placed and by bone grew in perfectly he said, and I also had two small rods and four screws placed.

For those of you who have had your hardware removed years after surgery, how was your surgical pain? I am wondering how painful the procedure itsself is. I remember having the fusion done and it was the worst pain of my life. I feard any sneeze because it would tense up my back muscles and I would be in agony as they spasmed. Would this procedure be worth it to try just to see if it relieves any pain, or is it so painful that I would want to make sure that I have a test confirming its the hardware before I opt into it?

If anyone has any advice or can explain to me what the procedure entails as well as their experience, either positive or negative, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank You all for your time!!! I just have so many questions and hope that I am not alone with this specific problem with "locking up" when I lay flat, sit too long, etc....


  • to see if it is in fact, the hardware. My revision surgery wasn't nearly as painful as my first fusion surgery, they went in through the exact same area the second time.
    It could be the hardware or it may not be. Have you considered that even though physical therapy may not have been helpful prior to surgery, it might be worthwhile giving it another try?
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