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Multifidus Atrophy causing post op pain?

Brian McCarthyBBrian McCarthy Posts: 58
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a hybrid (Charite ADR L3/L4, L4/L5 ans ALIF L5/S1) on 22nd April and making slower recovery than anticipated. Still on pain meds andstill in pain. Latest X-rays show I am fused and from side view, the ADR's are in place. But front view shows vertabra are all over the place. I have been told I have multifidus atrophy which occurs with any back injury or surgery, resulting in the loss of the stabilisation effect of the vertabra. With this happening, weight is not being correctly distributed through the vertabra but instead is going through the facet joints, for which they are not designed. It is suggested that compression of the facet joint is the source of my continued pain and that FJ injections will be needed as will specific exercises to strengthen the muscle.
Here is the question. In the years leading up to my surgery I had a series of FJ injections with limited success. Then although diagnostic FJ injections still gave very litle relief,it was suggested that I should still go ahead with a full 5 level de-nervation, which I had in January this year. Still not solving the problem, and indicating the FJ were not the source of the pain, I then had a discogram which did confirm that it was the discs that were the source of the pain, hence the surgery. But how can the FJ's be causing the pain if I have had a full denervation?
Anybody had experience of FJ pain after surgery and after de-nervation? Anybody had multifidus atrophy and FJ pain after ADR/Fusion surgery?


  • Sorry that you have to deal with all this.I only had a MicroD last December.I developed a post op spinal infection which affected the vertebrae,nerves and muscles.There was a huge edema and fluid collection in the paraspinal muscles on my right side.I still have some pain there,and in the gluteal muscles.It could very well be mechanical issues.You've had a major surgery,anatomical changes have occurred and your body will need time to adapt.My Physical Therapist told me to be patient and do my stretches&exercises.So I do,and I can see the difference every day.Are you doing PT? You need to work on the core stabilizing muscles under supervision,of course.With exercise it gets better.Just give it some time.

  • Brian, when you had the ALIF, didn't the surgeon used hardware? If you have plates affixed with screws, how can the vertebrae be all over the place?

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  • Thanks GogoBg and Kinpain
    yes, I am doing some PT. I've been told to walk in the water for half an hour every day and have been doing so for the last 6 weeks. I'm doing stretching and some very basic Pilates/yoga. The only relief I am getting is from massage twice a week which is only short lived relief. When I get the medication right, it works but still get b/t pain.
    When I had the surgery the L5/S1 ALIF was with no hardware, just a 2" screw holding the cage in place. The fusion has fused but it's the levels above with the ADR's and above that are out of line.
  • Sorry to hear about your problem Brian.

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