Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Pain after ALIF Surgery 17 months ago

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi everyone, I had ALIF surgery in March 2007. I had alot of setbacks (blood clots, pneumonia, blood transfusion, Fentyl poisoning, incisional hernia and some other fun things) but finally was pain free, fused and was able to move forward with life with my family. Until now.

The pain has returned. I have the same back pain and sciatic pain down my leg as before surgery. I went back to work as a Home Health Aide (giving the sick and elderly baths, help with showers and personal care) 4 months ago and this pain started 2 months ago. I am really scared that something has happened inside.

Has anyone else experienced pain like this after surgery that was over a year ago? Any thoughts/suggestions? The pain is so bad that I am back on pain killers, muscle relaxers and laying flat on a heating pad as soon as I get home from work. I feel like I did before surgery and with everything that I had go wrong the 1st time, needless to say, I am freaked! :''( I do have an appt with my surgeon at the end of the month but if anyone could share their thoughts it would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you! :S


  • because I have never had a fusion but I have heard that when certain discs are fused it puts more pressure on the discs above and it is like a domino effect for some people because it is only a matter of time before the other discs rupture. Good luck and please keep us posted with your progress.
  • surgery in 2004. L5-S1 was fused. I was still sore or would get sore at times. I used to be a manager for a home cleaning company and when the gal's that worked for me would call in and we were short handed I would have to go clean. I would clean 4-5 houses here and there and at times clean a couple on the weekend for some quick extra cash. I would be sore when I was done doing this, and it only happened maybe once a month. That is the crap part of being an office manager! your job is endless!! LOL Anyway I still didn't need the pain medication at all. I would take some Aleve and be fine. My son was born in 2006 and while I was pregnant I felt so stinking good!!! Almost like I never had any back issues. When I delivered him he came out facing the wrong way and I was in a lot of pain because he was pressing so much on my tail bone. That eventually went away. NOW since May 2007 I have had back pain. It started out mild and never really restricted me. But it was getting worse and worse, especially over the last few months. There is something going on with my back. Disk's and nerves are fine as per my NS and MRI. However the L-4 vertibrae was a bright white on my MRI and it was not that way last year. He had me do a X-Ray because he thought that maybe the screws were loose in my back. X-Ray ruled that one out. So he had me do a bone scan and I am seeing him tomorrow(thank goodness). He thinks I may have some bone tumors but looking at the bone scan I dont think so. But there is something definately going on. My whole low back and right hip lit up like no tomorrow in that scan. I too am having the same pain as I was before surgery only more intesified. And yes when you get a disk fused the ones below or above it can also become weakened. I would call your doc and ask if they can order an MRI so you can bring it to your apt. More than likely they will need the new one anyway, and if they can order it now before your apt that will be one less apt you will have to make and speed the process up. My pain is so bad that I feel like telling him to just cut me open and dig around and look and fix whatever he finds. If my bone scan is normal and he has no concern with it I am going to scream!!!!
    So to sum my long winded story up I would call and ask them to call in and order an MRI. It has been 1.5+ yrs since your surgery so this is something that they should do anyway. I had an MRI every 4 months Post surgery for a yr and then 1 every 6 months for a year. Let us know what the doc says and good luck.
  • advertisement
  • thanks for the replies and advice. I am calling today for a MRI order....thats a good idea. I have the xray orders but let's face it...the MRI is the best!

    I am just getting so sad at all of this. I am DONE being a burden to my family and I NEED my job so its playing in my head big time. Well I guess i just have to take 1 day at a time for now.

    Thanks! :/
  • I had my ALIF a couple of months before you. I have had sporatic issues similar to yours. I just had another MRI done and nothing was found. Bottom line, if you over do it, your going to hurt. At least, that's what I've experienced. As sad as it is to say, I'm afriad I'm going to have some level of pain the rest of my life.

    My PM is pretty good with medications and is willing to do more tests to find the cause. But, I think bottom line since the MRI doesn't show anything structurally wrong that any further testing is academic. Treatment will be the same no matter, so there is no sense getting a bunch of costly tests completed.

    I wish I could give you some happier news about it. Hopefully it is just muscle spasms from over use and not further damage to your spine.

    Keep your head up!

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • It doesn't feel like "muscles" unfortunately....especially with the sciatica pain shooting down my leg like some type of hot burning wire. :''( That's what makes me think that something is hitting that nerve. I hope nothing shows up on the xrays and scan because i think i can wrap my mind around a muscle issue alot easier than it being another disc or a hardware issue. My surgery was just too rough and i will NOT go thru it again. I don't even want to tell you the thoughts going thru my head at this point. We'll just have to wait and see until Thursday when I have my appts. Until then its Norco, Flexeril, ice and heat.

    thanks for all the replies....its a little easier when you have spiney friends to talk to! >:D<
  • advertisement
  • I will just pile on to other comments. I agree that you should get the MRI and X-Rays done ASAP. They don't tell everything, but they do show a lot. You have a very honorable job although it seems like a tough one after back surgery. I was very physically active and fit before surgery and I have learned many hard lessons about my physical boundaries. A small step out of my sandbox can be very painful for days.

    Before surgery my disc was way out. The best pain relief I had was from ice for long periods and cortisone shots. I would be cautious about using heat. At least for me when I have a few rough days, ice is the best therapy.

    Someone wrote about fusion adding pressure to upper/lower discs. This is true; however, it does not effect everyone. I have had quite a few MRI's and X-Rays in the last 4 years and it has not effected my discs at all. Now, my SI joints are a different matter.

    Good luck!

  • Hi All,
    My heart goes out to everyone that posted here, because I know what it is like going through everything, trying to find an answer before I agreed to ALIF surgery on my L5-S1 disc. Actually I have 3 herniations, but after the extremely painful discogram I had to do to determine which of the 3 was bothering me enough for surgery, is when I agreed to the surgery.
    I had mine on June 17, 2007. I was in a good deal of pain, and could no longer drive myself to work because of the pain, and the painkillers I was taking before my surgery. Afterwards I suffered so badly, trying to keep food down was impossible for the first 2 months. Did anyone else feel that nausea for that long, or longer? It is pretty bad for it to be an every day affair, vomiting at least 3-4 times a day, sometimes longer. I could not hardly keep water down!
    After the nausea stopped my pain kept getting worse and worse. I did everything that was asked of me. I had a few MRI's and they all showed that the surgery was a success, but why am I feeling all this pain, I can barely walk for God's sake, and my doctor is telling me that nothing appears to be wrong, and as far as he can say, his work was flawless.
    Anyway, I sit here everyday, taking my medications, feeling like my life is over...

  • Danny
    I had a 2 level ALIF in May, and although I'm still in recovery, I am having really bad pain too.. I have 2 disks with tears and bonespurs above the 2 that were fused. I also think I can actually feel the hardware. And it doesn't feel good. It seems for me that I will have a couple pretty good days and then wham, I'm wanting to be in bed for a week! My only trouble with nausea is from the muscle relaxers I have. I did read something about how back pain will sometimes manifest itself in your abdomen??? But I don't think it meant gastrointestinal.... Your Dr's work may be flawless, but now maybe the other bad disks are causing your pain. That's what I think is going on with me, no, I know that's what the deal is...I can feel where the problem is. Are you in physical therapy? I have a hot tub
    and it helps me tremendously. I sure hope you get it figured out...it's miserable ...have a good day....
  • Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have considered the pain being from another disc, but I just hate the idea of another surgery. I am looking for some alternative ways, being very conservative, just like my previous surgery, but because of the way that went, I am fearful of another surgery.
    Thanks for your well-wishes, I pray that you may find an answer as well. It is sad that we both hurt, but in a way comforting to know that many of us still suffer and that I'm NOT the only one! I'm sorry about that, but there have been many people come close to saying that I can't hurt as badly as I do, then I point them to a thread like this. God...I hate to be judged! I have never been a complainer either! I have worked since I was 12...I know I am too sensitive over this, but that's what pain does to me...it wears me down! And i get very insulted when I speak to people that say I should be well, and question my complaints, like my surgeon. Last time I sat down with him, he looked me in the eye and said, "Apparently you are one of the 30% that does not respond to this type of surgery". I am devestated!
  • backache99backache99 Posts: 1,314
    edited 12/25/2013 - 6:06 AM
    and I sound as bad as most of you guys ! .I have had constant pain 24/7 and since a fall 2 months ago things have got even worse .new MRI ordered for the new year .I just wish I could get some quality back to my life .I am 47 and sit all day on my recliner because when I try to do anything my legs/feet swell my back hurts like hell .and for the last ten years I have only had 2 hours sleep a night ..its hell .its wrecking my life big time ..3 operations on my back .I have gone from fun guy and happy to sad and not able to join in anything ..I did put 100% in to a trip to see my girl a few months ago and it almost killed me .I was staying in a hotel ..so away from home comforts .and boy did I know about it ,,this is where I had the fall out of the hotel bed ..not been the same since ..its Christmas day and I feel so isolated .I fear 2014 will be a bad year for me ,I do hope that I am wrong
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.