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Chronic pain, no relief after lumbar fusion - HELP!!

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


  • Wow, I can't really be much help here I'm afraid...
    I only have one good shoulder to offer :(
    I will ask. Did they say why you did not get a union? Was it due to bone growth not happening? Or?
    I am just wondering if that is the case will it effect another attempt?
    Otherwise I can only say I don't know enough about fusions to be of any real help.

    I wish you the best and welcome.
  • i just had a two level fusion after suffering for 2 years looking for the cause. I know if you are undecided as to what he is saying, get a second opinion. Then if they both say the same thing, you know that it is truly what you need to do.
    My pain dr told me not to do my fusion. I had 3 disc with tears, so nothing but that would have helped. I am 48 and not ready to live on narcotics the rest of my life. Are you willing to go through it again. It is like my Surgeon said to me, the fusion success gets better all the time. Did you have BMP the first time. I know there is alot of controversy with it, but I totally trust my surgeon and he usees it with all his surgerys. I referred a friend of mine to him and she had her fusion before me. She is 4 months out and feels great. She had pain for 5 years.
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  • are you a pink floyd fan by any chance?
    back to you problems! yes i have had problems after epidural so much so that i can't have any more.regarding pain control .sound like you need to be on different pain killers .also try acticare {top end TENS } and ice ..and rest i have just started water walking /swimming i am still in agony but it's early days yet do you swim?? maybe that will help ..in the long run
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