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need to hear peoples' experiences with fusions

Jaya BachertJJaya Bachert Posts: 5
edited 01/09/2015 - 2:16 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 22 and had my first spinal fusion at L4/L5 (two rods, four screws, bone graft and disc spacer) it has been a struggle and the worst pain I have ever been through in my life! I just reached the six month mark post surgery and I am finally able to get back to having a life although it is still painful every day. Sitting in school and doing everyday things hurt and I can stand for about ten min and walk for about twenty before need g to sit/lay down. After six months is it normal to have everyday pain? I attribute most of my pain to trying to get off pain meds but my back feels more weak than I think it should be at this point, or maybe its normal, irk what are your guys experiences? Do steroid shots help you get off pain meds because that is what my doctor recommended. What about a tens unit???
Also, I have read on here that you can have the rods and/or screws taken out after so many years, is that true, or is this a for life surgery??


  • 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
  • Are you doing regular stretches, and excercises to strengthen your core muscles and help protect your spine since your surgery. These must be done every day, in order to keep the muscles surrounding your spine strong and supporting your spine. Are you walking every day, increasing time and distance?
    Fusion surgery recovery is an ongoing process, and yes, 6 months out, you can still have pain, and feel less endurance than you had, but you need to work steadily at doing regular excercise and strengthening to build your endurance and stamina back up.http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/spinal-fusion/spinal-fusion-surgery-recovery-three-months-and-after
  • They do have a surgery to take the instrumentation out- although it usually isn't an option until at least the 2 year mark. It is normal to still have pain because this is a surgery where everyday your body has to work in order to fuse so it's just adjusting and waiting for it to get better.The tens unit didn't personally help me but has helped others. The steroid shot is another shot in the dark- it can help some but not others.
  • So, I have tried a compounded cream for my back pain as well as medical massage and steroid injections. Doctors have figured out that my pain is coming from the muscles around my incision sight; the muscles are extremely tight and I am having a very difficult time getting them to relax and it it is very painful. I am going to try flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) for a few weeks along with cream and exercise. Anyone else out there feel a lot of pain from the muscles around the surgery sight??? Any suggestions about how else to deal with the pain/getting them to loosen up?
  • My surgeon told me about a year for full recovery. Steriod injections don't help me, I had 4 before my surgery now two for some sacroiliac joint pain. I thought i was pretty tough, but progress through pain was long. I'm at the 10 month mark and still have some pain but now some other hip, sciatic problems also. I've heard that steriods work for some but not for me. Pain meds unfortunately.
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