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Failed Spinal Fusion - Depression

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi All

It has been a while since my last post (failed spinal fusion L4/L5). Since then I have had it with my surgeon and physio. My surgeon doen't want to know about my pain and my physio is providing exercises that aggravate my condition. I am trying massage but this doesn't seem to be helping.

The new issue is that I have been disagnosed with severe depression and I think it is because of this.

Is anyone else in the same boat? Is there anyway to break out of this mind state?



  • I think chronic pain and depression go hand in hand. When was your surgery? I suffered from depression before my back pain got severe and it's been worse since the chronic pain.

    Some days are better than others but it is really hard dealing and coping with the fact that my quality of life is much different now. I can not run around and play tag or hide-n-seek with my kids like I used to. I can't go on long walks and 4wheeler rides like I love.

    Now I have to try to stay focused on what I can do. It's hard at times when you don't even want to get out of bed. The mornings are the worse for me as far as pain and depression. It hurts so bad I don't want to move, I'm sad because I can't move and my kids need help getting ready for school, now I feel I am not doing as well as I should as a mother. The bus comes and takes the kids to school...now what? I try not to go back to bed but some days I just lay around in bed until noon or later.

    Keep your head up and try to think of things you can do instead of your limitations. Feel free to PM me anytime.
  • Nothing wrong with a little chemical help. I currently take Zoloft to help me-I've had 5 surgeries(including fusion) in less than 2 years. It sucks. It is a grieving process to have to admit you aren't the same person physically that you used to be.

    I really recommend getting some anti-depressants. And, most important, go to a physician that is willing to investigate your pain. Failed fusion alone can cause pain. You need a second opinion!
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  • ship when it comes to pain and depression! I am so sorry to say that it seems to go hand in hand. The one thing that I can tell you is that you are much better off seeking treatment for the depression now as it is much easier to treat in the beginning phases than it is once it gets to the severe stages. I wish that I had better news for you. I hope that you are able to find relief soon.
  • Hiya , Welcome to Spine health >:D< , i am in the same situation as yourself. A doctor claimed he took 2 discs out and shaved one this was in 2002, in 2006 i had a copy of my MRI , the discs he claimed to have taken was very much there. i had facet joint injections in nov last year, sadly to say they havnt worked. I have been ill ever since im in so much pain, so i went to my GP, he got me to see the orthopedic surgeon, that was yesyerday, and i can say it was a waste of time. hes discharged me and said theres nothing he can do until i get worse(i do think he is having a laugh on my behalf) I was told i have arthritus in my knees, elbows, back and fingers, neck and my spine is crumbling from the lumber area to about the middle of my back. I came away from the hospital and i cried and cried, i cant believe he is leaving me like this. Oh he has referred me on to PT, that was what flarred this back up last time.

    Angie x
  • Anyone with chronic pain is most likely to get depression which is a chemical change in your brain triggered by stressful events such as what you're going through. I'm taking amitriptyline which also is for nerve pain as well as wellbutrin both for depression. Physio should be uncomfortable but not overly painful. Please tell them you feel they're working you too hard. If you have a chance to do water therapy that may be more beneficial. This is not medical advice just sharing some of my experiences. 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
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  • As the previous posters pointed out, I think we all go through periods of depression due to the pain and reduced quality of life. I think that is totally normal and understandable.

    One suggestion I might make, and I am no expert, is for you to find some doctor who specializes in failed back surgery. I know my ortho surgeon specializes in failed back surgeries, and, there are a number of docs who also specialize in this area. Hopefully, they can evaluate your situation and also help you cope with the depression.

    I wish you the best of luck.
  • Critzz,
    Failed fusions are never easy as you are coming out of the others side with some of that hope and expectation eradicated by the pain that you continue with, even after what is perceived to be the remedy for many.

    My professor told me my fusion had failed in 91 and it is a loss and you need time to grieve for that, within a time frame that is relevant for you as an individual. You still have that inner strength that got you through and need to find where you are now going and how you will get to it, for me any additional surgery always had the capability to make things worse and although I as many endure constant pain, would I risk it being worse on the basis that another procedure would be more effective that the previous one, you have to decide when that time for you is right and to let go. I do have strength in the knowledge that my future is down to me and not at the behest of others however positive they were, who failed to fix my condition and that question of quality of life and sustaining this for the duration never an easy situation or option to accept.

    You are doing right in acknowledging you may be depressed and as said by others who would not be, and doing something positive about it and getting the help you need. Keep looking for a strategy that will help you and this evaluating and monitoring stage will take some time through trial and error and continuing pain. Once you stop being active you increase that notion of all things getting worse and although the pain increased with physio it will become easier and your condition may deteriorate faster if improving mobility is not sought, it is not easy, I would never say it was. If you can endure and managed your pain so far it is just additional tweaking to see some improvement. You could see another 50 doctors with another 50 opinions, at some stage you have to take control now.

    One thing at a time, get yourself in a better emotional state and some guidance and support for your depression the gateway to despair and keep posting, many here have and continue to endure what you have, it is not perfect and you can do this.

    Take care and keep posting. John… still failed.
  • Dear heart,
    you are definitely not alone in this situation. I am sorry, but I am new to this board and not aware of your dx and what kind surgery, what and how many levels was done. Are you in pain, what levels from 1-10? What kind meds are you on?
    After you sharing this, will be easier to communicate knowing what I am talking about.
    Yes, I agree with others that CP and depression connected. Not for everyone, but often people complain about being depressed while leaving with CP.
    I had 2 major spinal surgeries. My first one was in '06. I had done L-4, L-5 S-1, SIJ - all fused with hardware: rods, screws, cage, clips, metal plates, prostesis. Bone was taken from my hips. I had decompression/lami and also BGStimulator was inserted and 11 month later surgically removed. Surgery was 10 long hours.
    Surgery failed and I was left alone with my severe pain (worse than before surgery), a lots of nerve damages include colon and bladder, dropped foot. I was going for my app with surgeon and he kept saying that surgery was major and i have to have patients to recover. About a year later I realized I have to go and see someone else. I went to Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC and was pleasantly suprised the way I was treated, what kind tests were offered, how they all work in groups. They sent me to their Neorologist, PM - and after results came back I was told I need another discogram (I don't wish this test on my enemy) and another surgery due to upper levels giving up on me.
    So 12/07 I had another surgery for L-3, L-4 and removing my old hardware, put a new one, decompression/lami.

    I was told that with each surgery spine gets weaker and weaker, that I will never leave my life pain free and I have to make the best of it.
    By having CT done I was Dx by Neurologist with Arachnoidities, condition non curable, non treatable and debilitating. When I read on Internet about this condition, I was crying, this is very scary dx especially if I have MS, RA already. Anyway, ARC is severe scaring of spinal cord and nerves in a low extremedies causing non- controllable pain and disabilities. My colon and bladder is not working, and I am only 53.
    ARC may happens during spinal surgery when blood goes in a sack, due to the dye injected in your vein during Myelogram test or due to preservatives in steroid shot in your spine - I had it all!

    Now I am looking to fix upper levels + Cervical area, but due to medication I am on for other conditions I can't have surgery at this point. So very soon I will be all "titanium lady". :-)

    My PM Dr surprised how come I don't suffer with depression with all this. But I don't. I think that my spirits are strong, I am very positive person, I have great support of my family and friends and my mind-body attitude: I do meditation, some little yoga (whatever I can do with my spine), meditation tapes... I am on a lot of medication. Unfortunately Pain meds used to help in the beginning, now not as much and pain does rule my life in most days. But after I ended up in the hospital in severe condition after my DR increased my Fentanyl patch, I try to wait and wait until i agree with my PM on increasing my exsisting medication.

    See, how many of us here in same boat. Life in pain is not an easy one, but it still life. I do believe in " a little pill" to help your serotonin level, but also believe in your own body's ability to stay strong, to find inner strengt to fight. Do yourself a favor, don't close yourself from relationships with good friends, go out there, socialize anyway even if you want to go to bed and do nothing, find support groups, therapist, people who you can talk to and who is kind and compassion. This is the key to our well being.
    And of course don't forget about us: we are here to share, to support each other, to listen...
    Best of luck to you!
  • New to the site, I just finished reading all the comments. I am in a similar situation with doctors wanting me to have surgery. Doesn't sound like that is the answer for every one. I have done a lot of research on the Laser Spinal Instiution located in Tampa, FL. It is worth a shot for anyone interested in a different type of a surgical procedure. I sent my MRI to Tampa and doctors responded back by stating that I qualify for this outpatient procedure. The only problem is that my insurance company placed a rider on my entire spine, and I have use up all of my life savings on other failed procedures. Have applied for disability two years ago. My attorney and I are waiting for the hearing. I urge anyone that has failed surgeries or needs information about the Laser Institution to contact their website. That is where I will go when funds are available, I wish you the best with your health issues.
  • I did a lots of research on this statement regarding this Tampa institute.
    Please, everyone, before you decide to go with them, do a lots of research yourselves and talk to trusted professional Ortho in your area. JL, read all about it and particular about procedures itself. I am not sure what kind problem you have, but if something serious/major needs to be done, don't do this. In fact when i contacted them and told them about my problem and about what needs to be done to my spine, they refused to have me as a patient due to complecity of the problem- they don't perform such level of surgeries.

    This information given only b/s I care for all of you and b/s I done it myself. Anyone wants to go easier, less invasive way, right? You have to look at the end result, you have to go with someone who is well trained and has fellowship in Spinal Surgeries, not just an Ortho Dr.
    How many spinal "big" surgeries do they perform in one year, not just lami or decompressions. Good Drs usually give you a contact with his patients who had surgeries done by him and they can share their experiences with you. My Dr offered this to me and it was very nice gift for me.
    Best of luck to you all!
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