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chronic lower back pain after fusions

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,290
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Pain Management
Hi. I am Amy and I am 30 yrs old. I had selective endoscopic disectomy at L4-5 & L5-S1 but did not help. My MRIs with contrast showed I had degenerative disc disease, spondlothesis Grade I, spinal stenosis, and EMG showed chronic lumbar radicluopathy. I later on had anterior lumbar interbody fusion at L5-S1. I went to rehab for 6 months and did not feel any better. I went saw a surgeon from the Texas Back Institute in Plano, TX. However, I was living in Phoenix at the time and they had a surgeon that would fly once a week to see patients in Phoenix. He ordered another discogram test and showed L4-5 was positive. It actually showed the DDD was worse on the dicogram test than the MRI did. He said the MRI showed I had it but was not doing anything. He did a TLIF at L4-5 with a redo fusion at L5-S1. He said if I had not had the endoscopic and L5-S1 fusion I would have been a candidate for artificial disc replacement. He put in 4 screws, 2 rods, and a bone. I got hurt in Sept 2002 and went to chiropractors. However, they were not able to adjust my lower back due to my skin was so painful to press on. The last one I saw thought I had sacroliits in my SI joints and told me to walk in the pool..not swim. It explains why if I swim I hurt worse when I get out. I can get temp relief if I barely walk. Since I had the L4-5/redo fusion in Jan 10, 2005, about 6 months into the fusion I started having a different kind of pain. My surgeon thinks it is a lumbar strain and left SI joint dysfunction. I have exhausted pain management. I went to the Mayo Clinic Jan 12-16-2009 in Scottsdale, AZ. I got disability back in July so I have Medicare, Medicare Supplement (Plan F), and Medicaid. Based on my diagnoses, I had to see a Rheumoglist. He ruled out on the first day I did not have sacroliits because my SI joints look normal on x-ray & MRI. He order a sleep monitor that I had to use at my hotel the first night to check my oxygen levels..to make sure I was getting oxygen to my body. I also have pain in my knees, and hands. I have numbness in my hands and feet when I wake up. I cannot hold anything until the numbness goes away. If I turn a doorknob I have electric shock so I have to be careful when turning the doorknob. My knees hurt too. I had an EMG test on Wed. 1-14 and showed old lumar radiclupathy but nothing new. I still have numbness and shooting pains in my legs. If I sit on the toilet too long my left leg goes completely numb where I have to limp. Also, I have numbness in the back of both legs. Thursday I went to see a Physical Med doctor and his impression was chronic low back pain, Myofacial pain, and lumbar strain. He suggested manual thepary, breaking the pain cycle, tension unit, and going to a pain center where there are variety of doctors to help me cope with my pain. Friday I saw a Neurosurgeon and he thought I had failed back surgery syndrome. I said why do I have this if my pain is different. He then said he thought it was Myaliga. He suggested doing epidurals since I have not had them since 2003. I went back to the Rheumoglist to discuss what the other specialist said and plan of action. He said it was Fibromyaliga. It was not the structure of my back..it was more in the soft tissues. I got back and went to my pain doctor. She said all these are symptoms and not diagnoses. This past Tuesday I had facet joint blocks at three levels and made my lower back hurt worse. I had ended up going to the E.R. last night. The E.R. doctor thought it was in the L4-5 & L5-S1 and not Firbomyaliga. He gave me a shot with steriods and it really calmed it down so I could sleep. I had been in the pool that day and using heat & ice..nothing was touching it. He suggested stronger pain medication for when I have E.R. type of pain. He said that way my medications will work. I had lost my job right before my last surgery and my mom moved me back to New Mexico. My friend lives out in Phoenix, AZ and she goes to a neuromusclaor specialist/therapist. I misspelled it but you can research it. Her specialist told her to see a pain doctor that moved into the clinic she goes to. She said he told her today she needs to be cymbalta. Lyrica and cymbalta are the only two medications for fibromyaliga. The Mayo Clinic told me not to have any more procedures or surgeries as the fibromyaliga would attack that. I do have feeling in my lower back that is a bee sting/ant bed down there if I sit too long. I can barely stand for 1-2 minutes. If I bend I have severe pinching in my skin near my scar on my back. My hardware looks great but I wonder if the hardware can still cause pain. I have pain over the pedical screws places in my sacrum/buttocks. Massages are unbearable for me. In therapy they do electric stem with heat 15 min, ultrasound over the painful areas 15 min, and a light massage with biofreeze. All of this helps for temp relief. If I get in warmer water/hot tub, I feel worse when I get out. I have to do double duty of therapy. If I walk in cooler water it will provide me temp relief. I take Lorcet 10/650 4x a day, Soma 350 mg 3x a day, Neurontin 800 mg 4x a day, and Relfean 500 mg 2x a day. I bought me z-coil shoes and found out I had flat feet. So I have to have inserts as well.
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Comments

  • I would love to read your story as I too have lower back pain after my second fusion, but please, paragraphs are your friends. My eyes blur and I cannot get past what should be a paragraph. I tried reading further down and my eyes got lost and I got frustrated and stopped reading.

    Please, and this isn't only directed at you, I see it all too often, please put a long story in PARAGRAPH form.

    I also see you have had no responses, this could be the reason. Many people try to read so they might offer some insight, but they too, get turned away because they simply can't read your post.
  • I'm not sure what it is you are looking for? Is there a question in your post or did you just want to tell your story? Are you asking for suggestions as to what to do nest? I'm just unsure of what you would like from us. Susan
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  • Hi country gal,
    You're too young to be having those problems. But I know how it is. You are doing what we all do though,trying to find some relief.And a reason for the pain. You are doing the right thing, it sounds like to me, getting more than one opinion,and from specialists.I understand your frustration when it comes to no relief for the pain. For me, the hot tub works wonders, but only for a short time. I am back on pain meds after having none for a month or so, to see if SI joint injections would help,( they didn't)but like you, nothing ever takes the pain away completely. Keep coming here and reading what everybody else has to say, for some reason, that does help.You're not alone Amy. Have a good day (if you can) Sagehen
  • Hi. I am Amy and I am 30 yrs old. I got hurt in Sept 2002 and went to chiropractors. However, they were not able to adjust my lower back due to my skin was so painful to press on. The last one I saw thought I had sacroliits in my SI joints and told me to walk in the pool..not swim. It explains why if I swim I hurt worse when I get out. I can get temp relief if I barely walk in cool water. Heat makes it worse.

    I had selective endoscopic disectomy at L4-5 & L5-S1 but did not help. My MRIs with contrast showed I had degenerative disc disease, spondlothesis Grade I, spinal stenosis, and EMG showed chronic lumbar radicluopathy.

    Later on had anterior lumbar interbody fusion at L5-S1 as this surgeon said my L5-S1 was now bone on bone. He thought the Endoscopic surgery made it worse. Based on my MRI he did not think the L4-5 needed fusion at this point. I went to rehab for 6 months and did not feel any better. I saw a surgeon from the Texas Back Institute at their Phoenix office. He ordered another discogram test and showed L4-5 was positive. It actually showed the DDD was worse on the dicogram test than the MRI did. He said the MRI showed I had it but was not doing anything. He did a TLIF with pedicle screws, rods, & cages at L4-5 with a redo fusion at L5-S1.

    He said if I had not had the endoscopic and L5-S1 fusion I would have been a candidate for artificial disc replacement. Since I had the L4-5/redo fusion in Jan 10, 2005, about 6 months into the fusion I started having a different kind of pain (not the same pain). My surgeon thinks it is a lumbar strain and left SI joint dysfunction. I have exhausted pain management. I got disability back in July so I have Medicare, Medicare Supplement (Plan F) but I pay for Plan F, and Medicaid.

    I went to the Mayo Clinic Jan 12-16-2009 in Scottsdale, AZ.
    Based on my diagnoses, I had to see a Rheumoglist. He ruled out on the first day I did not have sacroliits because my SI joints look normal on x-ray & MRI. He order a sleep monitor that I had to use at my hotel the first night to check my oxygen levels..to make sure I was getting oxygen to my body.

    I also have pain in my knees, and hands. I have numbness in my hands and feet when I wake up. I cannot hold anything until the numbness goes away. If I turn a doorknob I have electric shock so I have to be careful when turning the doorknob. My knees hurt too. I have numbness in the back of my thighs/legs as before they were to the outside of my knee caps. I had an EMG test on Wed. 1-14 and showed old lumar radiclupathy but nothing new. If I sit on the toilet too long my left leg goes completely numb where I have to limp.

    Also, I saw a Physical Med doctor and his impression was chronic low back pain, Myofacial pain, and lumbar strain. He suggested manual thepary, breaking the pain cycle, tension unit, and going to a pain center where there are variety of doctors to help me cope with my pain.

    Friday I saw a Neurosurgeon and he thought I had failed back surgery syndrome. I said why do I have this if my pain is different. He then said he thought it was Myaliga. He suggested doing epidurals since I have not had them since 2003. I went back to the Rheumoglist to discuss what the other specialist said and plan of action. He said it was Fibromyaliga. It was not the structure of my back..it was more in the soft tissues.

    I got back and went to my pain doctor. She said all these are symptoms and not diagnoses. This past Tuesday I had facet joint blocks at three levels and made my lower back hurt worse. I had ended up going to the E.R. last night. The E.R. doctor thought it was in the L4-5 & L5-S1 and not Firbomyaliga. He gave me a shot with steriods and it really calmed it down so I could sleep.

    I had been in the pool that day and using heat & ice..nothing was touching it. He suggested stronger pain medication for when I have E.R. type of pain. He said that way my medications will work. I had lost my job right before my last surgery and my mom moved me back to New Mexico. My friend lives out in Phoenix, AZ and she goes to a neuromusclaor specialist/therapist. I misspelled it but you can research it.

    I feeling in my lower back that is a bee sting/ant bed down there if I sit too long. I can barely stand for 1-2 minutes. If I bend I have severe pinching in my skin near my scar on my back. It is hard showering and getting dressed for the day. My hardware looks great but I wonder if the hardware can still cause pain because the way the pedicle screws are placed is where the severe pinching is taking place. I have pain over the pedical screws places in my sacrum/buttocks.

    Massages are unbearable for me. In therapy they do electric stem with heat 15 min, ultrasound over the painful areas 15 min, and a light massage with biofreeze. All of this helps for temp relief. If I get in warmer water/hot tub, I feel worse when I get out. I have to do double duty of therapy. If I walk in cooler water I can get temp relief. I take Lorcet 10/650 4x a day, Soma 350 mg 3x a day, Neurontin 800 mg 4x a day, and Relfean 500 mg 2x a day. I bought me z-coil shoes and found out I had flat feet. So I have to have inserts as well.

    Also, the Mayo Clinic read my MRI that I had last year. It said at the mid L4 vertebral dody, the cauda equina do appear to the periphery of the dura down to the upper sacral spinal canal is widened, which is Arachnoiditis.

    I have made appointment with the Laser Spine Inst. in Scottsdale, AZ Their main campus is in FL. I am going for an evaluation of my back.

    I don't think they had found the right diagnoses as everything they tried has not worked. I know the surgeries worked as I do not need a walker anymore. I cannot work, now I cannot bend, severe pinching, side pains, buttocks now really bad, etc. I am thinking of going back to my surgeon as thinks are not right. I live in a small town and the doctors around here are not helping. I did see my surgeon in May 2008 in Plano, TX and he still thinks it is a lumbar strain. But everyone else says I would have gotten over this lumbar strain??

  • Hi Amy,

    Even if your hardware looks great, it can still cause pain- spasms, SI-like pain, pain right where the hardware is, and so on. Definitely do a search on hardware pain and talk to your doctor about this. It's worth bringing up to your doctors as well. A block where the area where the painful hardware is can help determine if it's causing the pain you have. I was told it's about 10 in 100 who need their hardware removed. HTH and welcome :D
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  • I also have had a fusion 14 years ago and I still have a lot of pain.(low back).

    I go to a pain manager and I have been through all of their procedures....the latest was a permanent Spinal Column Stimulator which worked wonderful for the first 4 months or so....but the past few months it has not worked that well.

    I was wondering what things help you? Do you work?
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