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Pain after lumbar fusion

sally jo bishopssally jo bishop Posts: 2
edited 09/30/2014 - 9:00 PM in Lower Back Pain
OK, I am sure I am one of many suffering from the same problems. I had lumbar fusion 12/30/13 on L4 and L5. The surgeon also wanted to do a cervical disc replacement. I thought, let's do it all at the same time. WOW! was I ever wrong! The recovery from lower back fusion was painful!! I started PT 2 weeks after surgery. I have not been pain free yet.I have gone through periods of dizziness, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, shortness of breath. I have seen every specialist around. NO ANSWERS!! Liver enzymes were high, Vitamin B was low, BP has been higher than usual (approx./ 134/92) I walk one to two times daily, 1 to 3 miles a day. My knees are so stiff, feet (on the outsides) feel like bone bruises at all times. Many walking trips, I have to stop and rest. I can barely make it down the stairs in the mornings, I'm out for too long, and I'm hobbling around like I am much older than my years! I haven't returned to work, because I am on Percoset all day every day! I have now begun to get migraines, pretty regularly. I have gone for shorts a couple of times, when I can't take it any longer, but usually, just suffer through. I know the rod has slipped (from my post op 6 week apt), and now (with xrays) the screws are moving back and forth as I move. My May 2014 MRI showed L4 was herniated. HOW?? I haven't even touched my cervical herniated disc issues,. a little afraid to do so. The Doc EDIT said he wouldn't do any surgery until I lost small motor skills. I am at a loss! If anyone has any insight, I'm up for suggestions!

Post edited to remove name of specific medical facility. The moderator team



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I've had increasing pain walking after l4-s1 fusion. Lots of pt and diligent efforts with walking led to an emg showing nerve damage in ankles and calves. Finally have discovered a possible dural tear at fusion site on MRI. I have only just tried bed rest flat on my back... Eventually ALL pain and nausea and palpitations and general feeling of wanting to die went away until I stood up again. If you have spare time to try this, it might at least rule out a CSF leak. CSF leak can cause vagus nerve disfunction which can cause nausea, palpitations etc. It's worth reading about if you're having these symptoms. I also refused any more pt from the docs and asked for tests and scans instead.
    I hope you make some headway soon in finding out how to feel better.
    EDIT : just noticed you mention migraines. I would definitely definitely research CSF leaks. Mine didn't show up on ct scan, but fluid showed on MRI. Had to insist on the MRI despite neurologist saying the fusion hardware would make it pointless.
  • MRI shows soft tissues and fluids......that would be why your surgeon wanted the CT scan, to ensure that hardware wasn't the cause of the problems, before ordering the MRI.
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