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l5 s1 fusion 6 months post

mandygirlmmandygirl Posts: 4
edited 10/10/2014 - 7:54 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
my name is Mandy. I had a l5 S1 fusion six months ago and am still suffering. the pain i originally experienced is gone and replace with a different pain of equal or even a tad greater. my feet burn, i cant stand or sit for over 5 hours. If I am up for over that i start to get shooting pains down my leg and walk with a limp. I am emotional all the time. I just cry and feel so fatigued. Im fairly certain my surgeon said at six months post i would have a good idea how the surgery went. Now he is being very dismissive about my pain, and is say 12-18 months. I have no idea what is going on with my body. Is this normal, am i healing is there still hope this will get better or should i just accept my situation. accept that my life will never be the same. ..? does anyone feel me...? does anyone have these symptoms, and what can it all mean?


  • If there was nerve compression prior to the surgery, then it can take up to 18-24 months for you to see how the nerves are going to recover.....especially when the nerves were compressed for a period of time.
    There are things that can be done to ease nerve related pain, such as gabapentin, lyrica, cymbalta and topamax are a few of the medications commonly used to treat nerve pain.
  • 6 months is still early, hope things will get better and better for you. I am 14 months post op for L5-S1 and although I still have pain, the periods of painfree living have gradualluy gotten longer and I have been able to do more and more.

    Hope you can get things sorted out with your Dr. and as long as everything is structurally in place I am sure your body will continue to heal and stabalize.
  • Hi -- sorry for the pain I am having my fusion at L5-S1 next week. How much nerve damage was there before surgery? I'm having mine finally not solely because of the pain but because my L5 nerve is impinged and my right leg nerve pain and atrophy is terrible. Just curious how much of that you were experiencing prior.

    Good luck
  • Mandygirl hit my 6 months mark on the 11th and my journey so far sounds identical to yours. I See the pain management Dr. On Tuesday and am curious as to what he's going to say.

    In some areas I'm better but in some I'm worse. I feel like my entire world is spiraling out of control because I never know how I'm going to feel from one day to the next.
    Herniation of l5 S1 l4 , DDD , microdisectomy in June 2013 and re herniation in September
    Cervical herniation at C5-7 Jan 2014 with impingement of spinal cord. 2 level cervical fusion Feb. 2014 and 2 level lumbar fusion in April 2014
  • The emotional part is extremely difficult. I want answers... I understand what you are saying.. I feel alone alot of the time
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 361
    edited 10/17/2014 - 7:39 AM
    I can tell you that when I first ruptured my disc (L5-S1) I was very emotional too. I believe that the morphine I was prescribed was the culprit for that, but also your body just doesn't know how to manage that pain so everything gets out of whack! I noticed a significant difference in the nerve pain and my emotional state once I had gotten to full dose of gabapentin (it is a gradual increase-age dose prescription med). I'm sorry it's a slow road to recovery for you, but getting a Dr to work with you and the right meds for you can make such a difference. For me, a side effect of the gabapentin is that I'm a lot less 'concerned' about stuff, people, etc., it has sort of 'numbed' that part of me, where I used to be more empathetic and sensitive toward others. Not really a good change, except that it is helping me not to be so stressed about what I'm going through. I wish you all the best in finding relief!
  • Hi,

    I am almost 5 months post op now.. fusion L5 S1 and still having lots of troubles. Muscles spasmes, muscles weakness in buttocks, hips, abdominals, back. I exercise daily and still there is no automatism yet in muscle contractions needed to move normally. I also had a proximal hamstring tear ( due to previous backtroubles) and surgery 6 weeks ago, got some severe sciatica from that too.. Anyway, it is going very slow and sure i am am worried like hell too. Courage and hope you get some answers to work with.
  • yes it can be normal .a fusion is done to stabilise the spine and not primary for pain relief .if you get pain relief then you have won the jackpot but its rare .when I had my ALIF 3 years ago my pain also changed its difficult to explain to another person but I do know what you mean I was warned that my legs may [play up] and they have become as bad as the back problems rendering me almost useless .I will send you a PM for the rest of this message
  • Coming from an L5-S1 rupture and having delt with back pain for over 4 years I wouldn't suggest that you accept anything. I personally never went through with the surgery but like a few of the people who have posted here it seems like your having similar results. There are a lot of different avenues you can take with starting to work through your pain management. A great start is not simply exercising more but really focusing on your cores ENDURANCE. Not just strength. The only way to train your core for back pain relief is by training your spine in a neutral position. No crunches. sit-ups or twists. These will just make the compression issue worse. The doctor did his job at "cutting out" the issue now you just need to retrain the body to accept the work that has been done.

    I am completely sold on having a back disorder and still being able to find freedom from chronic pain. Its just going to take time, knowledge and the determination and trust that it will get better. Like I said before I have had a ruptured disk for over 4 years now I live 90% pain free without surgery. Whether you have had surgery or not you can still have the same end result.

    Its not a solution but I hope it helps in some way!
    Living pain free with a ruptured L5-S1 Disk. Zero surgery and zero medication needed. Passionate about teaching people how to do the same.
  • I have recently started feeling alot better. There is still pain but, I have hope.
  • Mandygirl, it takes a lot of patience and prayer. I'm 7 months post op from my lumbar fusion and am feeling better. Totally off all pain meds and very very happy about that.

    Unfortunately, 2 weeks ago I had a pretty bad fall due to my foot drop. I've been diagnosed with muscle Sprain in my hamstrings, glute, and groin as well as injuring my l4 disc. Starting PT in a couple of weeks and hoping for the best.

    It's difficult to keep a positive attitude, I know, but a negative attitude will only make you feel worse and get you nowhere.
    Herniation of l5 S1 l4 , DDD , microdisectomy in June 2013 and re herniation in September
    Cervical herniation at C5-7 Jan 2014 with impingement of spinal cord. 2 level cervical fusion Feb. 2014 and 2 level lumbar fusion in April 2014
  • i had TLIF in June. This was actually my 3rd surgery. I had my first in March 2001 for a herniated disk at L5S1. I woke up totally pain free in my leg. I was so mad that I was made to wait 2 years before the disk herniated to a worse degree. Not more than 4 weeks later and my symptoms started to re-occur. Because it was so soon after surgery the were unable to confirm if indeed it was herniated once again. By July it was confirmed that indeed it had happened again and in September I had my second microdiscectomy. This herniation was much larger than the first. I never fully was out of pain from the second surgery. In October of 2013 my back totally went out again. This time it was at L4L5. I had a bilateral herniation with pain in both legs. After seeking out 3 opinions and having multiple epidurals (a waste of time) it was decided that my best course of action this time was TLIF surgery. I was told I would be in the hospital 3 nights, yea right! I ended up 6 nights with 5 of them being in the step down from ICU. My L5S1 level had totally collapsed from the prior surgeries and had self fused so nothing could be done at that level. I am now more than 5 months out with no relief. I get the excuse from the doctor that it will take time and be patient. When you feel like this every day patience are no longer an option. I am still on narcotics no thanks to the surgeon. The surgeon will only provide pain meds for 3 months and then your left fending for yourself with no guidance of how to decrease them. Thank god I have a great primary care doctor who was willing to work with me. I do not like being on them because of the side effects but really have no choice in the matter at this point. I have reduced what I take but at this point I cannot imagine not being on anything the way I feel everyday. I can no longer tolerate the car for more than a 20 minute ride which is a huge problem. I had to hire someone to clean which I really cannot afford but again I had no choice in the matter. It has drastically affected my moods each and every day and I get no where from the surgeon. I specifically changed surgeons from the one that did my first and second surgeries because I felt he was uncaring. This one seemed so different and came with a great reputation and high grades and I get the same damn attitude as the first, if anyone in this forum has had TLIF what has your experience been like? I am looking for some truthful answers because I do not get them from my surgeon.
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