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Does back get better after L5-S1 surgery with cages, screws and rods?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:28 AM in Lower Back Pain
lower back


  • Hi Roberta,

    I beleive I responded to one of your other replies a couple days back. Can you gives us a bit more info on your condition? Most of us put it in our signature to make it easier.

    I wish I had a straight forward yes or no answer to your question, however it all depends on your condition, your health before surgery and your care after surgery.

    I was doing great up to 3mos post L5/S1 ALIF with screws, plate and cage. I however pushed myself too hard and was weeding the garden, push mowing the yard and raking leaves starting at 2 wks post op. This was not good at all. Since 3 mos post op, I've been in the same and at times worse pain than before surgery. I blame myself and the lack of support I had when I returned home from surgery. I have 2 kids and you can count my husband as another 2 kids cuz he doesn't help out too much and felt the need to push me to do more. I was constantly criticized for being lazy if I was taking time to rest (which you must do after surgery) so I would do more than I was supposed to.

    I hope I didn't scare you. I am only giving you my experienced and I am not in any way a medical professional or by any means to I have the background to give you the answer. I am only going by personal experience and/or opinions. I am over 6 months post fusion now and I am still having problems, however let me repeat, I chalk this up to my OWN stupidity.

    You really need to be sure you do all your research and talk to your surgeon about any questions or concerns you have. If you are still uncomfortable, I suggest you get a second opinion. I really think that if you are making this big of a decision you should get a second opinion. I did not do this and I regret it a lot.

    Please feel free to PM me with any questions or concerns you have.
  • I had L4-L5 fusion and laminectomy with screws, cage and endplate 6 weeks ago. I had my first set of x-rays today with fusion showing. My nerve pain and muscle spasms are gone, but I do have muscle related pains...I imagine due to not exercising in 9 years and now re-adjusting everything. I would do my surgery again in a heartbeat
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  • Everybody's circumstance is different, even if they have the same surgery. I had a 2 level fusion with titanium rods, screws, and cage but I am left with chronic back pain and nerve damage in my leg. When are you having surgery, or have you had it already?
  • Hi Ming, Thanks for your responses. Sorry I hadn't responded sooner. It's hard for me to sit or stand to long. I've been having alot of pain in my back and right leg. I just haven't been on the computer for awhile. I'm so sorry to hear about your circumstances. I also love to work in my garden and mow ect...We have 3 acres and I've always been able to do these things. I'm afraid after the surgery to do anything. Mine was a workmans comp. accident and dealing with them was a nightmare. I saw my doctor one time in the hospital after the surgery. On 3 followup visits I saw his assistant. I've been to physical therapy 10 times and it never seemed to help. I quit going. I've not been back to my doctor since he doesn't seem to have the time to see me. Don't get me wrong his assistant was great but it would have been nice to see the doctor just once. I'm just wondering what is a plate in your back? Is it the same as rods? I feel like I have a hugh weight in my back and I feel it sleeping, walking ect...Do you feel this also? Sometimes I get really sharp pains in my back, legs and feet. I really worry after some of the surgeries I've read about. Sorry I've gone on for so long. My husband has been very patient through all of this. He won't let me do anything when he's home. It just takes it's toll on you. Hang in there and I pray you get better. Roberta
  • Hi thanks for your response. My surgery was 7 months ago. They went through my back. It was the L5-S1 and they put 2 cages,screws and rods. What is the endplate? I still have alot of spasms along with sharp pains in my back and right leg. I'm glad your surgery worked out for you. Take care Roberta
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  • Hi thanks for your response. My surgery was 7 months ago. They went through my back. It was the L5-S1 and they put 2 cages,screws and rods. What is the endplate? I still have alot of spasms along with sharp pains in my back and right leg. I'm glad your surgery worked out for you. Take care Roberta
  • Hi Meydey, Thanks for your message. I had surgery 7 months ago. I feel like I'm carrying a heavy weight in my back. I feel it when I'm walking, sleeping ect... I get alot of sharp pains in my back and right leg. I also have muscle spasms in my back. They bring you to your knees. I have medications for this but I get really sick when I take them. I'm trying to get away from the meds. I only take the oxy. when the pain is really bad. I take alot of Ibuprofin and don't know if this will ever get better. I've heard it can take upto two years for the bone graft to fuse. I wish you well and thanks again for responding. Roberta
  • I'm sorry to hear you had an accident/injury on the job. I've heard worker's comp can be a nightmare. I can't sit or stand long either. My most confortable position is a reclined position surrounded by pillows. Do you find relief when you sit reclined.

    I'm trying to find a picture of the plate to post on here but my internet is going really slow. They put a plate over the disc that was fused and put 2 screws in L5 vertabrae and 2 in S1 to keep the cage from slipping out. I don't have any rods in my back. I don't know what the difference is between the rods and plate. I would think the rod would be fore multiple levels or for stability but that's just my opinion. I am slowly learning about the lower back a little here and there by doing research. If I find a pic of the plate I will send it to you.

    I'm glad to hear that you husband is so helpful. That really takes a lot of stress and pressure off from you. What date was your surgery? Mine was 7/1/08 so I think we must've been close. I know how discouraging it is to be this far along post op and still being in pain. Keep seeking answers. Do your research and also request another doc to see you. If you went to an ortho to do surgery then try go to neuro for another opinion. That's where I am at now. It may just need time to heal. I heard a fusion can take up to 1-2 years to heal.

    Please keep in touch and I hope you are having a good night.

  • My surgery was also 7 months ago. No plate but rods, screws and cage. The pain for which I had surgery is gone - however, I do have left hip, groin and pelvic pain that has not gone away after surgery - it is actually worse. However, I have started some stretches that seem to be helping.

    Like you, I have been afraid to do many things since surgery - afraid I would mess something up. My PT says those unused muscles create more problems - makes sense to me - and new pains crop up here and there. Initially I was very sore after doing the stretches but I reduced the number of reps and am beginning to see some results, I think.

    The heavy feeling that you describe is something I feel only occasionally. However, I have a friend who had lumbar surgery and said it felt like she had a bowling ball hanging off her spine. She had an injection that gave her tremendous relief. Have you talked to a pain management doc? Sometimes I think they are more helpful than surgeons in finding pain relief.

  • Hi Megb, thanks for responding. I had 2 pain blocks the same day 2 weeks before my surgery. It was a terrible experience. I assumed I was going to be put asleep. But that was an out patient procedure and I wasn't scheduled for that.It was very painfull since I can't lay flat without pain. It did numb my left leg which wasn't giving me any pain and made my right leg and back worse. After that I had surgery within in a week. I did go to physical therapy 10 times but it really wasn't making the pain better. I do the stretches at home and try to walk when I can. I used to be very active and now I'm afraid to do anything. I hope your pain gets better. Take care Roberta
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