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Still in pain

nursedina001nnursedina001 Posts: 234
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well, I am still in pain almost 4 months post L4/L5 lumbar fusion.

I went for a second opinion and saw another NS and he seems to think it is from a failed fusion or the fact that my L5/S1 is now bulging.

Tomorrow I have a CT scan and xrays to determine if fusion is taking place - if not, then I have to decide if I want to go thru with a second fusion and this time he will do L4/L5 - L5/S1.

I am not sure if I want to go thru with another surgery and be worse than I am now. I am already worse than I was pre-surgery and now I am scared on what to do...

Please, send your prayers my way if you have any extras :)


  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 1,014
    hey dina,
    sorry to hear about your discomfort but if it will make you feel any better it
    was a little more than a year before I really started to feel good about my fusion surgery. Although mine was a cervical fusion remember there is more stress on the lumbar area due to it having to support your body above. My fusion did not start to really show up well till about 6 to 8 months post-op and that was after viewing it with a CT scan, the x-ray prior was inconclusive.
    I understand your being apprehensive to go back into surgery yet, maybe you won't need to after further investigation. My thoughts are with you and I wish you the best.
    Take care,
  • Wishing and praying that you will be pain free. I have not had fusion, but what Ranger sounds like a good explanation.
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  • as I am preparing for the same surgery just add a replacement at level L3/L4 on top. Makes me nervous seeing all of these issues.
  • You should give it at least a year before judging the outcome of your surgery. Otherwise, you may be having another surgery prematurely, or unnecessarily. Ask your doc what he thinks about that possibility and also get a 2nd opinion. About half of fusion patients seem to take 6 to 12 months before they start feeling better. Though, it is also a real possibility that the bulging adjacent level you mentioned may have been part of the pain center to begin with. Tests such as discograms should be able to verify if this is the case.
  • Sorry about your lumbar issues. I am a "neckie," so my issues are a little different. However, as you probably know, fusions put tons of pressure on adjacent segments of the spine. If you are prone to ddd, then other levels are vulnerable to herniations, bulges, etc. I have been told that my recent fusion may cause a cascade of surgeries because I do indeed have ddd, bulges and a herniation at a different level (s). So, you are not alone Dina. There are tons of us out there experiencing similar issues. I am saying a prayer for you as I write this....hang in there.

    PS are you walking? Exercising? Physical therapy?

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  • Thank you to all that responded.

    I know it is really early to tell if a fusion failed. I am worried about the disc below where I had the fusion and the disc above. I will see what the CT scan and xrays look like. I have them but I do not see the doc till the end of the month.

    This NS that I am seeing now is the second opinion. My original NS has said that I need to apply for SSD because she will not release me back to work. I'm a single mom with three teenage boys to support and SSD is not a good option if I can avoid it. So I went to this doc for a second opinion and see if there is a way around it or a way to "fix" me so I could go back to work.

    My pain has been getting steadily worse over the past week. It is going up into my thoracic region and is increasing. Since the surgery my pain has not been more than a 3 or 4 out of 10. This past week it has been more like a 7 or 8 out of 10. I was only taking pain meds here and there and now in this past week, I am having to take them every 4 hours.

    I did call my NS and told them and they told me to take it easy for the weekend and call them on Monday to let them know how I am feeling.

    Now I am nervous that there is a herniation above the fusion. This pain is the worst pain I felt since post op.

    Thanks for all your replies...

  • I'm sorry the first surgery didn't work out for you. I'm a month out with an ACDF and I'm also in worse pain the pre surgery. I will pray that they will be able to fix you and you'll be able to get back to work.
  • surgery to settle down ,i have lost most of the leg pain {although its still there in the morning and my calf an foot are permanently painful} and my lower back is worse than before the operation .i have just been told that i now have facet joint hypertrophy and 2 more bulging disc ,i have been left with a weak back and painful leg .and i need a lot of strong pain killers to get me through the day and night ..not what i thought i would be like post operation ..i thought that i would be pain free and back to work lol lol ..no chance ,,i have just registered as disabled .lets hope that you fair better than me! good luck
  • I'm sorry you're still in pain and I totally understand how miserable it is to feel this way. I have been down this road before with 2 surgeries- the first was a micro-d with recurrent herniation a month later, and the last a TLIF/laminectomy on L4-S1. It will soon be a year since the fusion, and my nerve damage is now permanent and I have newly found scar tissue to deal with. It is left sided and moderately impinging on the nerve root.

    I have had pain and spasms in the L3 area due to the fusion and so far there isn't anything going on at that level. There are so many things going on and it's hard to pinpoint what is acting up.

    If your pain continues to go up, you should call your surgeon and/or go to the hospital. Make sure you stay on your medication schedule because it's easier to stay ahead of the pain than letting it spiral out of control. Let us know how you are and I hope you get to feeling better soon. Take care
  • I know we have talked about being at the same place this past week. Yesterday I recieved the report of my mri and xrays. I was so nervous cause I knew that the pain was different and I was sure I had done something to the disc above my fusion. The disc already has tears, just not as bad as the other two.
    Just to try to make you feel a little better, my pain was a one point as bad as immediately post op. Well, they couldnt find anything other than inflammation and edema. The disc above now however has a bulge. My ortho was gone until Tues, and so this was done by my personal Dr. So I am still gonna have him read MRI.

    I am hoping that this is the case for you as well. That this is just another one of those take two forward on ste[ back. I know it is scarey. I am still not completely secure with what my local radiologist read. I know I should, just will feel better when my ortho looks at them.

    My personal Dr gave me nerve pain pills. Not really liking them. Make me sleepy and unsteady.

    Take it easy and try not to worry. I will be praying for you as well. Hoping things settle down for both of us Dec spineys. Heres a big hug!
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