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Ongoing lower back pain post 4 months Fusion

The EdgeTThe Edge Minneapolis, MNPosts: 6
Greetings fellow members,
I am new to the site but have been reading many comments over the past several months.
I'm looking to see if I'm the only one in the boat that is still having ongoing issues.
About 2 years ago, I woke up one morning with severe back and left leg pain. I just brushed it off as I slept funny and just tried to work through the day.As time went on, it didn't get any better and I went than urgent care that night.The doctor that saw me felt that I either pulled some muscles or herniated a disc, she gave me some med and the next day I felt like a million bucks. Little did I know the next morning, it came back with a vengeance. I ended up seeing a spine specialist who did an MRI and said my L5-S1 disc was herniated and that PT would work it back in. After almost three months, the PT basically gave up and said to go and see the surgeon. At that point the surgeon recommended doing microdisctomy and a laminectomy. Work up from surgery and felt great outside of the incisional pain. The next morning they got me out of bed and I took about three steps and the pain came back in a pretty bad way. They preformed another MRI and said the disc had herniated again.
We waited about 1 month to see if it got any better. It turns out it didn't and it required a "revision" surgery. At that time,he told me that he thought my spine was somewhat unstable and that he made need to do a fusion. I told him to do what ever was needed.I woke up from surgery and was told he didn't need to perform the fusion and that he felt he got all the disc out that was causing the problem. The pain continued and at few months later, it was decided that I was now suffering for failed back surgery and a spinal cord stimulator would help. I had the spinal cord stimulator put In in June, 2013. While it provided some relieve, it did not cover what we thought it should. They then burned the nerves in August of 2013 and that provided me with a couple of days relief. I then went back to my surgeon and that point he had told me that the body remembers pain and that we may never get rid of the pain. We had found the that the stimulator had a broken lead and was erroring out. He had given me three options to 1: go in and replace the lead and do another laminectomy, 2: do a Myelogram to see which disc is giving me the problem or 3: to see another Neurosurgeon for a second opinion. I opted to the second opinion and that Neurosurgeon recommended a L5-S1 fusion due to the instability of the spine. We did the fusion on May 21st of this year and shortly after the fusion I developed incontinenece. I returned to the surgeon and he wanted to do an emergency Myelogram and MRI to make sure there wasn't a compression. Back into surgery I went in early July to remove the spinal cord stimulator. The tests came back normal and he really doesn't know what is causing the incontenance. I have never had the incontenance problem prior to the surgery and as of September 13, it still continues along with back pain and left leg pain with "electric jolt feeling" along with the feeling of water running down my leg.
Sorry for the long story but I am looking to see if anyone has had complications after the surgery or if this is the normal healing process. I average 3-4 hours a night of sleep before the back and leg pain eke me up and I still take quite a few drugs to get me by and I would really like to get off all these meds and life a normal life. I see my Nerosurgeon on Tuesday for a follow up.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.


  • Somewhere your neurosurgeon is missing something. Those are all things he should be really worried about. Maybe try a different N-surgeon. THAT is ridiculous. Also, what about your SI joint? could some of the problems be that? I think they screwed up and don't want to admit it. Another opinion is what I would do, and not one recommended by them. They do cover for one another when they refer to each other.
  • I wouldn't have thought incontenance developing after surgery is normal at all. I had a bit before surgery but not afterwards (a TLIF at L5) If it were me I would push for answers.

    Sounds like you've been through the wringer, I hope you get some answers soon,
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • The EdgeTThe Edge Minneapolis, MNPosts: 6
    Thanks members. As for the SI joint,they did do some work on that. It was over a year ago and I can't remember the particulars of it. I did see a Urologist within the same group, and he said right up front that the incontenance problem was surgically related. He recommended a urodynamics test( not pleasant to say the least) and as he figured nothing was wrong and again he said it was surgically related.When I went back to see the Neurosurgeon,I told him what he said and he told me it was no way it could have been from the surgery. He went into the medical records and could not find any notes and was not happy they were missing. The Urologist finally put his notes in about 10 days later and the Neurosurgeon's nurse emailed me and basically said the Urologist agreed that it couldn't be because of the surgery.
    I'm thinking they are hiding something as well. My fear is I think they waited too long and should have done the L5-S1 fusion at that point.
  • and it can also be related to a large compression of the cauda equina ( horses tail of nerves contained in the thecal sac) at the lumbar level.
    I developed a post op cauda equina syndrome after my first spine surgery.
    I also saw a urologist who said that it was a result of the surgery, and the damage to the Cauda Equina post op.http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/cauda-equina-syndrome
  • G'day mate,
    Apart from the incontinence and fusion, I've gone through a similar situation. My neurosurgeon looks at a fusion as a last resort. I have had lower back pain for about 5 years after a work injury. I had been having flare ups which would settle after a week or two. About 2 and a half years ago, my back s#*t itself good and proper. After x-rays, CT's, MRI and injections, I had a micro discectomy etc for a herniated L5-S1 disk. I recovered well until about 10 weeks later when I collapsed. I ended up with severe scarring on the L5-S1 nerve root which was causing severe lower back and left leg sciatic pain from my butt to my foot. I was on high doses of meds including Fentanyl, Endon, Panadine Forte to name a few. 3 weeks ago I had a Nevro Spinal Cord Stimulator put in and it's already made an amazing difference. I don't know where you live but I believe they are only available in the UK and where I live, Australia. I have attached a link below for you to look at. It's new technology specifically designed for people with pain like ours. It runs at 10,000Hz as apposed to all the others which run at 50Hz. Maybe you can have your neurosurgeon investigate it and see if you can become involved in a trial or something if you live outside the above mentioned countries. I hope this helps and wish you the best with your recovery. Sean.
  • JoyinmotionJJoyinmotion Posts: 15
    edited 09/30/2014 - 1:41 PM
    I am also considering possible surgery (including fusion) on the L4-L5 space due to continuing pains. Your experience is terrible! I am worried about that I have no option but to live with the pain and spasms and numbing and must consider surgery. I am worried about the consequences of surgery, like your example. It is very worrisome!
    Lumbar fusion TLIF L4-5 Jan 12, 2015
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