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spinal fusion surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Lower Back Pain
:( I had surgery 7 mos. ago.I had a lumbar spinal fusion. I am now in more pain than I was before surgery. I've done all of the recommened PT and continue with an exercise routine but the pain is constant. I really do not know what to do now. Is there anyone who has had this surgery and is expierencing more pain than before? I am really feeling alone with all of this. I can't seem to get anyone to understand.


  • Hey Scoops,
    I seem to be there too. I had my fusion May of 2008 and felt my best in july/august. Had a very agressive PT schedule and follow all my instructions. Well, I'm in more pain than I was back then, and on more meds than before. I have nerve pain down my left leg and lots of back pain. Just had an MRI, and there doesn't seem to be any reason for the amount of pain I'm having. :??

    Do you get flare ups? I get one every 2 -3 weeks and they make me nuts. 8}

    I am on Wc and they have me going for and IME (Independent Medical Eval) next week. My OS has been taking care of me so far and they set up the IME with a NS...so instead of looking at it as a neative, I'm hoping that a different doc with a different specialty will be able to help.
  • Have you had further MRI's done? I've had 5 spinal surgeries

    Hello (my first post).

    - I had an L4-L5 Laminectomy and Discectomy in 10/2002.

    - I had L5-S1 fusion and discectomy in 1/2006.

    - I had L4-L5 microdiscectomy in 6/2006.

    - I had L4-L5 XLIF with fusion in 4/2008, fulldiscectomy, cages, pedicle screws, rods and laminectomy.

    - I had L3-L4 XLIF with removal of instrumentation from previous XLIF, and re-installation of full instrumentation from L3-S1. Surgery was 7 hours. Oh yeah...that surgery was 4 days ago (12/30/08).

    The two that took place in 2006 were completely unrelated, and I had to PUSH to get an MRI following the first surgery.

    The two that took place this year were somewhat related. When the initial diagnosis for the L4-5 pain was offered (10mm bulge), there was a 4-5mm bulge at L3-4. They opted not to do a multi-level fusion, which is what ended me up back on the table 4 days ago.

    Push for an MRI. If you've had one, has it been with contrast? Also consider the CT. You may have tissue damage. That is fairly common.

    As for not listening, I feel your pain. I had to SCREAM in order for people to listen. I even went as far as filing formal grievances with my medical facility and my medical insurance. Funny how things sped up when this happened.

    Other option?
    - Psoas Muscle post-op pain and/or haematoma
    - Instrumentation not taking properly? Sometimes the instrumentation can cause more pain than the symptoms leading up to the surgery.

    Keep screaming Scoops. You know your body. If you are feeling more pain 7 months after surgery, something is not right...you know that. Begin your search for another surgeon. If you saw an orthopod, then seek out a neurosurgeon. They often take a more minimalist approach, and recognize the potential for pain outside the standard disc issues.

    Best of luck to you.
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  • Oh my gosh, do i ever feel your pain and you are so young to be going through this, i hope you are feeling better but as you know it is a long recovery process.

    also am getting ready for revision surgery and going a level higher, i sure hope i will feel better than i do now. I have been going through test since july 08.am so ready to go on with my life. the pain is so bad most of the time. i am hoping in the next few weeks it has already been approved, verbaly,, ha how convienant now we need it in writing.

    very positive and active, now i am scared nervous excited. i sure hope i feel better take care and i hope you are doing better you have been through so much
  • Hi scoops,
    I had my fusion in 91 and 7 mths is still soon my fusion took some 15 months to see some improvement, we all went in with some notion of good improvement and the success rate in relation to the overall number done is successful. Perhaps you could keep a record of what activity you do in relation to the pain and review your medication process and see if a change may help. Part of this will be trial and error and seeing what works for you, as we know sometime the pain will increase irrespective of what we do, I am here to support you, I do understand and my profile testament to my continuing struggle.

    Keep posting, stay positive and try new ideas and give them time to have impact they may work now or later and the option for some improvement is limited. You need to find out what works for you, based on others experience.

  • i know how you feel i ruptured a disc in dec 2005 (L5/s1) i was off work for a year in which time it healed on its own,
    went back to work and after a few months of work my back pain came back and slowly got worse, i had a spinal fusion in march 2008, for the first 1 or 2 weeks the pain was a lot better, then it slowly started to come back and now is a lot worse than before the operation, i have had massage's and done physical therapy program's, i still try to exercise when i can but nothing seems to work, i can barely bend over to touch my knees, can't sit or stand for extended periods i have increased pain from half way up my back down to my lower back and sharp pain in my right buttock.

    i am currently seeing another surgeon whose advice was to wait until a year after the operation to see if it's any better, if not then he will try to find out whats wrong, but to me it seems like no one really knows and are just taking a stab in the dark as to why.

    despite what i tell people about my back no one seems to listen or care, they say there is nothing more anyone can do and that i just have to get on with my life.
    i'm 29 and i don't want to have this pain for the rest of my life

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  • I had a 360 fusion L4/l5 with instrumentation, april of 2007. All went well for about 4 months. My supposed stable spine then started to collapse in on itself. My body responded by growing a bone spur which pressed on the spinal column. I had to have an MRI with contrast for the doc to discover this. And then another fusion, L1-L5. Once again I had several good months and am now back in pain at the L5/S1 level. Had another MRI and CT scan and nothing shows up that is drastic. I do have a lot of arthritis in that jointm tho and that might be causing the pain. I have just had my 2nd rhizotomy to see if that helps (burning the nerves). I had a cortisone injection and that helped for a few days so we knew we were in the right place. Being in chronic pain is no fun. Get a second opinion if you can and see a back specialist. My fusion is rock solid and there are no problems there but the other damage, the arthritis, resulting from the initial impact of the injury is starting to show up and that is hard to deal with. Good luck!!


    Spinal Stenosis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1-L5 fusion with bone graft from hip, prolotherapy, PT, accupuncture, numerous cortisone injections, numerous rhizotomies.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • I have the same problem as you. I'm 8 months post op from a 2 level fusion and feel worse than I did before I had it. The same thing happened when I had decompression surgery prior to the fusion, I never had any relief. I have tried conservative measures like PT and ESI's. Now I'm left with chronic back pain and nerve damage. This is one club you do not want to be a part of. All there's left to do is live life one day at a time and hold on to hope that there will be more options available to people in this situation.
  • Glad I found this page, I know what you all r going thru:( I've had back pain for about 10 yrs but last 6 yrs have been the worst & also have permanent nerve damage in both legs due to the disc pushing on my sciatica for so long.
    I had a laminectomy discectomy L5/S1 in 9/2002, got relief for about 3 months after than the disc rehereniated. I tried pt, nerve block injections & pain mgmt, which Im still in. My back got increasingly worse over the next 6 yrs, so after 5 "2nd opinions", they all agreed I needed more surgery. I had a 360 spinal fusion in 2/2008. They went in thru my stomach & back, removed the bad disc, took bone from my hip & put in hardware, 4 screws & 2 rods. After the surgery I defintley had some relief, especially with my legs. I wasn't pain free, which they said was normal as I was recovering from major surgery. Now over the last maybe 4 months I noticed the pain was getting worse & than the last 2 months it is soo much worse, feels worse now than before the surgery. My last xray in 10/08 showed everything looked good & the bone was starting to fuse. I go back on 1/29 for another check up. Im scared somethings wrong, actually more scary is them saying "everything looks good". Cause than WHY am I still in soo much pain now? And what can I do about it? Has any of this happened to you? What happens now? I'd love to hear any feedback...like what the doctors have said, and what's to be done? or if they are even helping you. I would really appreciate it, i'm truly at wits end, it's really got me down. Thank you :)
  • Scoops, I had spinal fusion in dec.07, L5/S1 with instrumentation, went ok for 3 months, then more pain, still couldnt stand upn straight and had to use walker. Finally my dr said I need further surgery because a bone just above the 10" rod they put in has rubbed together and is completely gone, they have to take out screws and rod,then a 2nd surgery for upper back,they say its very risky and complicated.but if it works dr said 10 days in hospital then 2 - 4 weeks in re-hab, he said some people get up and walk out of hospital. Hope your dr's can find the problem and fix your pain. Mine is terrible and am on oxycontin + oxycodone and Lryica. Plus having to use a walker for 13 months is yucky. Good luck
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