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.

Failed Spinal Fusion; Extreme Pain; No results! Depressed...

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Scoliosis
Will someone please tell me if you've had the same experience? I had spinal fusion for a Scoliosis curve of 59 degrees from T2-L4 in 1998. I only had five good years of feeling "normal" or pain free, even though it didn't straighten out my spine to more than a 30 degree curve. Suddenly I woke up one day out of the blue in extreme pain and my neck was hunched forward. It has been four years and I have had chiropractic adjustments every week since then and even purchased a Tempupedic bed only to get minimal results. I am crippled by the pain and cannot live a normal life. My entire neck is always out of alignment, as is my lower back, and I have constant burning in my upper back near the rods. I just feel like I can't go on anymore in this much pain and the orthopedic doctor said my spine is better than before, he can't explain the pain but he believes me, and there's nothing he can do for me. If you ask me, these spine surgeons want to get paid and they don't care if the surgery fails and you're left with your life ruined. I'm so frustrated!!!! Anyone out there like me? I would love to know you!


  • Hi and welcome to Spine Health. Well I don't have the same experience as you, however I didn't want your post to go unanswered.

    Have you only been to the one ortho surgeon? Have you ever had any other spine specialist take a look at you?

    I hate to break it to you but surgeons do care about more than the money. I'm sorry that you are so bitter at this point.

  • I had the same problem.myneck goes foward i,m in pain all down my spine burning piching stabing mine was done in 1980 my back is curving to.didn,t hold.doctors won,t do any thing because my doctor is dead.
  • advertisement
  • I hope I am not to late to help. I had a spinal fusion about thirteen years ago due to scoliosis. After the first year every year after the pain in my lower back got progressively worse. I just started going to physical therapy about three months ago and it is wonderful!! I am still having pain...I don't expect it to ever fully go away, but it is much more tolerable. They are working on strengthening my stomach with exercised that don't move my spine at the same time. Such as tightening my lower stomach muscles and holding it for five seconds at a time (without letting your larger upper stomach muscles tighten much) and holding those same muscles tight while you lay on your back and march with your legs (also try not to let your back arch upward, that means you are using your back muscles and not your stomach muscles)and many others but those would be the easies to do at home. THE BIGGEST HELP I think is the therapeutic massage...it hurts, but what happened in my back was because the muscles around the fusion don't really function properly my fascia (the part of the ligaments that cover the muscle mass) dried out and formed adhesions (additional scare tissue). It was explained to me like this. The fascia is like a rubber band and when it dries out it is no longer flexible to it is constantly pulling the ligaments and thus pulling on your spine. The only way to really fix this problem is to find some one specifically trained in this particular type of massage (My physical therapist is). But a regular masseuse probably isn't. They rub on and around where the nodules of scare tissue(adhesions) formed in your back which lubricates them and makes them elastic again. After having my rubbed for about the past two months twice a week I am just now starting to feel the difference so it takes time, but I definitely have seen enough result to feel confident that one day I will be at a manageable pain level. I hope this helps you...and good luck.
  • hi. i have scoliosis. i hope your pain goes away. i also suffer depression. good luck.
  • Hello Edy,

    I'm new this this forum too! I completely understand what you are going through. I have been through a very similar situation. I had a fusion over 2 years ago and I am now in worse condition than before. I've been in constant pain for nearly 6 years now and it's horrible physically and emotionally. I've known about my scoliosis since I was 13 and I'm now 33. But I never had any problems with it before I had an injury. I hurt my back picking up a heavy suitcase and bulged a few discs in my lower back. After a few years of very conservative treatments that failed including injections, PT, drugs and some others I can't remember at this moment... nothing worked for the pain. I saw numerous doctors (spine specialists) and eventually wound up having the fusion. My surgeon basically said that until we addressed the scoliosis that we wouldn't ever be able to control my pain. So I took a leap of faith and did the surgery.

    It was horrible! The worst experience of my life at 30 when I had it. I was off work for 5 months. Since the surgery I've never fully recovered and I'm now in worse pain than I was before the surgery. I regret it every day now. At the time when I decided to do it I thought I had nothing to loose because I was already miserable every day in pain. Little did I know that yes it could get worse, WAY WORSE! So now not only do I have the original pain, but I have pain in areas that I never had before including my neck and above and below the fusion. I feel like I have a knife in my back all the time. Oh and let's not forget the loss of flexibility! There are many things mechanically I just can't do. I pretty much don't have a life right now. Pain keeps me home and not able to do the things I love. I'm sick of it, sometimes it's hard to keep living. But I do somehow find the will to live.

    Just wanted to let you know there are others out there like you. So don't feel alone. More than anything I'm angry at all these surgeons that convince these hopeless people in pain that they can have a new life with this surgery. The one thing I've learned since then is the fusion doesn't always take away the pain. Yes you might be straight as a board but what good is life in constant pain even if you do look normal? Right now it's my mission in life to help others like me and to create awareness about these butchers out there that make money off of people looking for hope.

    I'm currently seeing a pain management doctor and a new orthopedic surgeon. Who both by the way said my previous surgeon should have never done the surgery because I am too young and that's too much of a life to ruin if it didn't work out. Hmmmm wish I would have known that a few years ago. We are trying all sorts of things to manage my pain, none have been successful yet, but I'm trying to have hope.

    Stay strong and keep looking for an answer. I know it's out there it's just going to take time.

    And for anyone out there who is thinking about a fusion. Please please research a ton and don't take the advice of the first doctor. This surgery can completely change your life, hopefully for the best but often times for the worst.

  • advertisement
  • Please Edy are you taking an antidepressant or something like amitripyline for nerve pain? Have you tried some pool physio? Hope you're feeling better. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I had spinal fusion from t5 to t12 2 and 3/4 years ago. i had a 52 degree thoracic curve and about 35 lumbar. i am straight as a board now but i feel like id rather die than go on living like this. Surgeons are money hungry bastards and contrary to the post above, they dont give a damn about post op care, they wanna rod people up and sed them off to live in hell. My doctor, Peter Newton is one of the "best" surgeons in the world yet he cant even try to explain my pain. ive done everything (ct scan, bone scan, trigger point injections, fecet joint blocks guided by ct imagery, botox and soo many medications. Nothings helped and I dont think Ill ever feel good again. Spinal fusion ruined my life too, and im only 21 years old!
  • Just saw your post since it got bumped up. I assume you did fuse, correct? If you have pain at the top of your rods, then why can't you have the hardware out?

    I don't know much about fusion for scoliosis(my fusion just a two level lumbar), but you shouldn't have to just live with this. I'd get another opinion from a surgeon.
  • hi there my heart goes out to all you suffering, after years of doctors not really knowing or listening to me, i finally got a second opinion at jimmys in leeds..one x ray showed my spine was a complete s shape....6 weeks later i had surgery with a rod from the top of my spine to the middle,and 6 screws holding it all in place...after a long recovery i thought it was succesful. over the years i have suffered a few months here and there especialy whilst pregnant.. however it has been 17 yrs since my surgery (im now 33) and 3 weeks ago i suddenly srarted with pain behind my left rib cage, which spread over my shoulder and sometimes down my left arm..the pain raidiates up the back of my neck..if i look.up or down or left or right the pain shoots across the top of my back, i am finding hard to breath without pain and feel my lungs are restricted, when i wake up on a morn the pain is soo bad and i cant breath,and i also get a burning feeling down the side of my spine. in 3 weeks i have also suffered really bad migranes. doctors keep telling me i must have pulled a muscle, but i feel it is something to do with my hardware in my back. my curve looks as bad as it did before the surgery, and i feel something is not right...i have seen 3 doctors but come away feeling frustrated,the last doc laughed when i said i feel it has something to do with my spinal surgery, his reply was "it was years ago,so it will not be that causing yr problem and an x ray will not show anything anyway" so there i went home with more pain killers another sick note and feeling now depressed. why wont anyone listen to me and just give me a scan or x ray just to put my mind at ease. please if anyone is suffering these same symptoms let me know. :<
  • I have had 2 failed fusions and know how you feel. I have gone threw 3 spine surgeons and all their answers are to have more sugeries. lol don't make since why have more surgeries if it is just causing me more pain. I just had my 1st lumbar fusion that worked i am fused there but have sever pain there and doing PT little by little. I understand how you feel about trying to get thing straightened out after failed surgeies they have done surgeries. i honest believe that i am in more pain now than before my surgeries started, and that sucks for I am only 31 so what kind of quality of live has that left me.

    I am so sorry to hear your in so much pain, but have your Dr's done a CT Myelogram to help rule out some issues there????

    EDY I hope you are feeling better and that you are getting the support you need from Spine Health, also there is chat on here and a great group of people you might find it supportive nice to because we are up late in chat so the sleepless nights you can chat with other SH member.

    Best Wishes
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.