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Looking for Bruce

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm also looking for Bruce. Have questions about your hardware and the reasons it was removed. Are you still here somewhere?


  • Hey Vicki - yes I am here and still going strong. Feel free to ask me here, or PM me.

    I had my pedicle screws and rods (L5-S1) removed at only 7 months post fusion because they were causing me a lot of pain. Specifically, one screw was causing me pain when I bent forward slightly. Also I had sciatic leg pain again. The reason was that the 'culprit' screw had come loose, or was misplaced in the vertebrae as the screw appeared to have been origiannly placed too close to the edge of the vertebrae (hard to explain exactly). Anyway, the screw having moved or being in the wrong place could be seen on a plain x-ray so was easy to diagnose. Prior to surgery to remove the screw, I had an MRI with contrast to ensure that there were no other issues (e.g. herniated discs etc.) causing the pain or causing other issues. Everything was good.

    The hardware removal surgery took just over 2 hours and he went in through the same scar. I was in hospital 2 nights, and back to work (desk job) after two weeks. I presumed PT also after two weeks. I was fit and strong enough to trek up a 14,000 foot mountain after 3 months.

    I am now at 15 months post hardware removal and live a virtually back pain free life. The only times I get any back pain are if I do something silly like lift something that I shouldn't, or sit all day at work without getting up frequently.

    I find that keeping up with regular back stretching and core strengthening exercises are essential (at least 3 4 times a week). If I stop for a few weeks then I notice increased pain levels when sitting for long periods. If I recommence the exercises then the pain levels go away again. Simply, my physion and surgeon both told me to keep up the exercises for the rest of my life.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Hi Bruce,
    Thanks for the response. Having quite a bit of pain it what feels like both sides of Sacrum or S!, also left leg pain down rear side and into the outside of my foot and right leg down side to front of knee. I was doing well only had these same pains intermintently. I was in aqua therapy all summer until mid Sept. then too cold. I also started full time classes in August 2 of which are welding classes. This is my schedule.

    Mondays 1:40 - 6:40 Design & Drawing each about 2 hours sitting but I get up and move around a couple times in each class

    Wednesday 7:45 - 6:40 (long day) Creative Metals, Design & Drawing 5 hours mostly standing then sitting same as Monday

    Friday Welding 12:00 to 4:30 all standing for the most part

    Because I started this schedule at almost the same time has the Aqua therapy ended I don't know which one to blame it on. Doc says he see's a halo around one of the screws and I may be doing to much. It seems others are doing more than I and doing well. I don't work only school. After the semester ends they will do ct scan to see what I don't know? He said they may have to go in the front and reinforce fusion no mention of hardware removal. I know your not a doctor but do you think this could just be from not swimming? Is the pain I described similar to what you experienced? I'm so disappointed I was so positive it was fixed.
    Thanks Vicki
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  • Vicki, yes, hard for me to tell not being a doctor. I did have pain either side of my sacrum too, which turned out to be my sacroiliac joints (SIJs). This was very annoying and wouldn't go away. My Physical Therapist diagnosed it as an SIJ issue - lack of movement in the SIJs and worked on them for a few weeks. She gave me exercises to do at home for the SIJs too (mostly pelvic tilt exercises) and after a month or so they freed up and the pain disappeared.

    I can imagine that your classes involve you spending a lot of time standing and being slightly crouched forward. To this day, I find that the worst position for me. Even I am by and large pain free if I spent time standing and crouched forward I will get a sore back in no time - the pain goes away as after an hour or so, but I could imagine that if you are doing it day after day it could build up.

    For me personally, I think that a formal PT rehab programme was the biggest thing that helped me in my recovery. I don't want to unnecessarily scare anyone because it takes a lot of time and financial commitment, but I carried on with my PT rehab programme for around 1 year (1 x 3 hour class a week) with a great therapist who really knew spinal rehab. I have also found that keeping up doing back stretching and core strengthening exercises at least 3 times a week is essential. If I stop for a few weeks (as I have done) then I get lower back pain easier (like after sitting for a few hours). When I resume the exercise routine, the pain goes away again.

    Hope this helps
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Thanks for sharing your experience Bruce. I think I will push the exercises a bit more and push through the last 4 weeks of this semester and then only take half as many classes next semester. I might also have to pony up the bucks for the local health club to use the heated pool. I do really well in the pool strenght training.

    I hope the CT scan is positive and no more surgery will be needed.

    Thanks for your time,
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