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Lower back pain two years after spinal fusion



  • I am new to the site and posted this twice as I really need some help/insight for people with failed back surgery (pseudoarthrothis) I had a lumbar fusion at L5-S1 a little over two years ago. I sustained a back injury 22-years ago while doing squats and have lived with the pain ever since. Finally, unable to stand it I had the lumbar fusion. I have continued to experience severe back pain and recently was diagnosed as suffering from pseudoarthrosis by a neurosurgeon. (My orthopedic surgeon that did the fusion never mentioned the non-union.) The neurosurgeon says I need to have another fusion, this time much more involved - more risks, more possible complications, etc. He says his success rate is 90%.
    My pain management doctor says such repair surgeries actually have more like 40-50% success rate and says I should only submit as a last resort. Four weeks ago he did ESIs over two days from L3 all the way down to S1. Fairly high dose of steroids in an attempt to deal with the pain aggressively. Some relief.
    I am at a loss at what to do and frankly am beginning to think this is just my lot in life. (Prior to surgery I tried chiropractic, decompression, massage therapy, injections, physical therapy, acupuncture, stretching program, heat/cold packs, etc.)
    Now I have developed severe pain, tingling and numbness in both feet - primarily on the bottoms of my feet, hurts to walk. Seeking insight from fellow pain sufferers:
    1. Anyone had the repair surgery - successful?
    2. Anyone developed pain, tingling, numbness 4-weeks after ESI's?
    3. Anyone had any success with lowering pain using some other treatment?
    I am at a loss at what should be the next step. Any insight, suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
  • I had 2 spinal surgeries. During my second one, Dr removed old hardware from lumbar area and inserted new hardware in upper levels. I have to say that my pain in lumbar area much worse after removal of hardware and my spine is less stable.
    Pain is much worse after the surgery than before and I can say that before I couldn't get up from chair or walk...

    Everyone is very different and results of surgeries varies too. More levels done - usually more problems after. I thought I will go through surgery and will be like new again and can go back to "normal life".
    Did not happen for me; so far I am awaiting on test results, but according to my Doctors I need to go now to cervical and T areas to fix.

    To all: feel better please! :-)
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  • Please tell me about the ultrasound massage. I also have had the same exact fusion as you and I had the hardware removed 3 weeks ago. I am still in constant pain and am serching for some relief. Also, please tell me how long after your hardware removal did it take you to feel as if it did some good. Maybe, I haven't given myself enough time to recoup but I am over the pain. I need some relief.
    Thsnk you
  • Geetings to all.

    I'm not sure what will come of posting... other than to know there are people who know what this stuff is like.

    Is it OK to give a brief history?
    I had a spinal fusion 01-28-09, L-5,-L-6,S-1 -- a little 7.5 hour surgery. I don't know all the terms, but the Drs. went in through the front and the back. The fusion was only on my left side because I still have something in the nerve where a schwannoma had supposedly been removed when I was still living in Brazil (2002).

    It either came back or was never removed, but in any case, there seemed to be greater erosion or bone loss around it, as the erosion was going down into the S-1.

    The fusion did help eliminate most of the sciatic pain that ocurred on the L side, opposite of the schwannoma. (Thank God for that!) Anyway, the problem is that I still have so much pain especially at night in the Sacro-iliac area when I lie down. So I don't sleep. And I have lost a good amount of weight. 142-5 down to 128. (The scale yesterday said 125.5, but I don't believe it)

  • I had a spinal fusion 14 years ago and I've started having a similar pain. I went to my doctor because I could feel a knot in my lower back (I almost thought it was a tumor), they suggested pilates and handed me pills. I have been doing pilates for 1.5 yrs and it helps a little, especially rolling on a firm bolster. But the pain was still bad-- until-- I had a Thai Healing Massage.

    My first session was 2 hours long, the Therapist insisted on giving it to me for free, just by taking one look at my back she knew I was in pain. after that session the ache was gone. I called my fiance as soon as I got in my car and burst into tears I hadn't felt that "normal" in so long. The ache was gone. I've been going back ever since and my quality of life has improved.

    Before you do anything drastic, try it!

    ** I still have all of my hardware, I am a fit 28 year old female, and I drink tons of water.

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  • I, like you are having a hard time with the pain after having a L5S1 lumbar fusion. It has been over 10 years and I have had complications the whole time. "Lately my pain level is fairly severe and I am unsure of what to do anymore. I'm not sure if you finally got relief or not. I am hoping that you did.
  • I’m two years post still have my hardware and having pain too. I am more active the b4 my surgery so I don’t know if its that or what.
  • anonymous said:
    has anyone experienced lower back pain after spinal fusion and removal of all hardware? it has been two years since my spinal fusion and i have had all my hardware removed. i am having similar pain in my lower back when sitting and driving as i did before surgery.
    i still have the hardware...
  • :< Hey there. I had my surgery Sept, 2011. For about 6 months it seemed to be getting better, I started having muscle spasms that would pull my back over to my left. (Kind of a Quasimodo look) LOL. That has eased up kindof, but I also developed an uncontrollable itch on the left side that drives me crazy, becuase I cant fell me scratching. And most of the pain is back. Im never got off any of the meds and cant stay off work long enough to go on disability. Went back way too early because finances.
    I am frustrated too and dont know what else to do. And I agree with Mings that in some ways I am worse off since the surgery. I wish you the best with becoming pain free.
  • Hi All, I was just wondering if it is normal to still have some severe pain after having the fusion surgery? I had a disc collapse at L5S1 and my neuro dr inserted spacers and screws. Now my right leg is numb and I am having some pretty bad lower back pain. I am on pain killers, muscle relaxers and neurotin. It feels like I have a ball attached to the bottom of my right foot when I walk. I know this isn't normal. Hope everyone is doing o.k.
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