I'm brand new to this forum and am looking for similar experiences to mine, or advice/guidance - anything really.
Please bear with me, I try to include important details here.
I am a 52 year-old male, in fine health - except my spine!
In 2006 I had a anterior/posterior (360) fusion at L4/L5, using BMP with cage, screws, rods, etc. Recovery took a while (as expected), but after several months the pain and burning in both legs and feet started to dissipate and I felt pretty good, resuming to normal activity.
After one year I was out helping coach my son's little league team and suddenly started to feel pain returning to my legs. It came on strong and eventually went to see my doc, who ordered images etc. MRI did not show much but CT scan showed solid fusion at L4/L5 (good news), but some residual compression of L4/L5 bilaterally.
I tried injections, anti-inflammatory meds, PT, etc. but no relief. Eventually my doctor suggested I have a bi-laterial decompression to open the nerves up since that was what the scan indicated and I had not responded to anything else, but it was never exactly clear why this had happened - perhaps "settling" during the fusion or some bone growth on the spine's part trying to create extra stability. The ortho surgeon told me it was not likely that the BMP had anything to do with it since it was in the contained intervertebral cage and a year had passed. The screws were not out of place/moved or anything, so he said removing the hardware was not necessary and would require a more invasive surgery which was not what I wanted to deal with.
So I had the decompression in 7/2007, which was a far easier surgery to recover from. I gradually got better, was able to resume normal activity, again felt good, so seemed to me decompressing the nerves was the problem.
3 weeks ago - guess what? Out of nowhere the pain in my legs (knees to feet) started to come back again. The exact same pain and location as before! This is very depressing and frustrating :''( , as it seems I can be "fixed" - but only temporarily.
I am scheduled to see him again this week to tell him what's going on. My questions are these:
- Is it possible the BMP is still active 2 1/2 years after the original fusion? I know at the time he said the only approved application was as a 360, single level fusion, at the L4-S1levels, using the cage and hardware (infuse?), so as far as I know he didn't do anything that wasn't FDA-compliant or on the up-and-up. (Fairly reputable Bay Area uni hospital.) I read a lot on the internet about BMP a the time and it seemed like a reasonable approach in my case.
- Is it possible that me being fairly active after I felt better is causing bone to regrow? Since a solid fusion was found at L4/L5 and the fusion is solid it doesn't seem to me like anything can be "moving around".
- Anyone have any kind of experience like this? I'm at my wit's end as the discomfort (that I am SO familiar with) is putting my life on hold again. Some of the talk about BMP bone regrowth in this forum scares me and I'd like to know more, like how long can the BMP still be active?
Any and all advice is greatly appreciated!