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Post-Fusion Back Pain

fredfredffredfred Posts: 1
edited 03/28/2015 - 6:51 AM in New Member Introductions
I was born with a bi-lateral pars defect which caused back pain most of my life. Five years ago, just after retiring, the pain became chronic and I was diagnosed with L5 - S1 level 2 spondylolisthesis. After four years of swimming, physical therapy and steroid injections which had been initially helpful nothing was working anymore, and I was becoming quite depressed. I finally decided lumbar fusion at the L5 -S1 level was the only remaining solution and worth the risk. I selected the head of orthopedic surgery at one of the top hospitals in the nation for a ALIF with rear pedestal screws in October 2013. After a lengthy recovery including permanent nerve damage in my feet and legs, I was once again able to sit in a chair without pain and even doing a little golfing and fishing. Life was good again. But the back pain started to gradually come back and in January of this year it became severe…now worse than before surgery. My recent MRI and CT Scan shows solid fusion, all hardware in place and no pinched nerves. The pain management doctor gave me steroid injections at the S1 level in both the facet joints and lower back muscles which have reduced the pain for the last two weeks if I am inactive, but the least amount of activity brings it right back. Could the spinal fusion caused my problems at the level below in only 15 months, and if so, any recommendations on where I go from here?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I think I am in the right place to introduce myself. My name is Judy and I have had 2 back surgeries for bulging discs and both spinal and foramenal stenosis with compressed nerves at L4-5 and L5-S1. The first surgery was a hemilaminectomy at L4-5 on the right side where the sciatica was the worst, that helped immensely. But I fell on my hip a couple months after the surgery and wound up with spondylolisthesis. I thought I had something wrong with my kidney but it turned out to be my back after all. It worsened over time and i started having sciatic pain on the left. A little over a year ago I had a laminectomy and spinal fusion at L4-S1. I was in the hospital for 6 days and the pain meds made me so nauseated that I could barely keep anything down. But there is no way you could handle the pain without them. When I woke up from the anesthetic my feet were alive with horrendous tingling. Now after a year, I still have tingling and numbness in my legs and feet but it has improved. I also still have pain both with pressure and independent of it on both sides of my buttocks where the S/I joint is. I am looking forward to getting some insight as to these issues and being of help and support to others when I can.
    Judy in AZ
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