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Reoccuring pain after fusion

Let me begin by introducing myself and giving a brief history of my situation. My name is Mary I recently turned 50, and I had my surgery 2 years ago this October. My surgery was spinal fusion of L4 L5 S1 with removal of a synovial cyst. I had pain in my lower back into my left buttock radiating down my left leg with numbness in the left leg and foot. I had to stop working because of the pain and the inability to stand upright, I was always "looking for change" as someone put it because I was bent forward all the time. I have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and severe arthritis of the spine. Basically when I had my xrays and MRI I was told they looked like that of a woman in her mid to late 60, not someone in their late 40s(I had them done when I was 48. I last worked on Sept 11, 2011. And, I miss it horribly.
So, I did the pt and epidurals with little or no relief at all so it was decided by my neuro surgeon and myself that the fusion was my last option and I went into it with positive thoughts of having it done and doing whatever needed to be better than before. Yea so it was a thought. 2 years later I have been plagued with back aches, pretty bad ones as of late, numbness from my left knee down to my foot that has never left, also in the left leg and foot I have sharp stabbing pains and muscle spasms. I currently am on oxycodone, flexeril and at one time gabapentin they have given me relief up until recently. I am not sure if I am immune to them after being on them for such a long period of time (the oxycodone was 5mgs until 6 mos ago, it is now 10mgs). I find myself dreading any kind of activity because I am starting out with a low grade ache and know by the time the activity is done it will be enough to make me first, want to cry, and second I will force myself to go to sleep so I do not feel the pain. I am on pain management which can I just say I HATE. The doctor does not listen when I say the meds are not doing much to relieve my pain and I am constantly, every 45 days, being called to come pee in a cup. I take my meds as prescribed, my count is always on and I have never failed the urine test, yet I can count on being called and given 24 hrs to be in the office. Now my doctor is almost a half hour drive and if you are in the middle of something or have set plans made making the hour trip(there and back) plus office time trip is just a pain in the rear. I am thinking of finding a new doctor but..........have you called pain management doctors, they are not easy to get into, especially if you say you have one but want to switch. WHAT has our govt done to our medical field in this country anyways. Ok....I got off topic.. I now feel like I made a mistake having the surgery, even though I am able to stand up and the pain I had before isn't there I STILL have considerable pain and knowing winter is on it's way, I know it will only get worse......can you predict when it is going to rain? I can......almost to the hour. IS anyone else in my situation, second thoughts on surgery after the fact, still dealing with pain, fed up with pain management.........never thought this is where I would end up.
Sincerely, Frustrated in OH.


  • Unfortunately, with the current environment and all of the guidelines and restrictions placed on the medical doctors regarding pain management patients, and medications, patients must comply with the guidelines of their doctors office.
    As far as the medications not working as well, it might be a good idea to approach your doctor for assistance and suggestions to manage those increased pain flares, by explaining what is occurring and asking him how else you can manage to ease those flare ups. He may be open to trying you on an extended release version of the medication, although you are at a low dose of oxycodone, since extended release versions of medications provide 12 hour pain control versus the immediate release versions which typically only provide relief for a few hours. It is something to discuss with him.
    The other suggestion is that while having to submit to compliance requirements is no picnic, it is part and parcel of ongoing treatment of pain. It might be helpful for you to make sure that you don't plan events and activities around that 45 day mark if you know that is when you will be called for the pill count/urine testing. Too much is at stake to not comply, so the best way to avoid a problem is to plan ahead for those things that you can that might coincide with the testing.
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