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Still having pan 10 months post op lumbar fusion

I am so confused. I have a lumbar fusion on September 30th 2013. It was from L3-L5 with a laminectomy from L2-L5 and was a posterior fusion. The problem I am having it has been 10 months since the fusion however, I am having pain and tenderness in my lower back and it goes down my right leg and pain in front part of my right thigh. The pain causes me problems when I walk. I have to stop because of the pain. I use a cane when I am outside my home when I go for my daily walks because I am afraid to be without it. I told my Surgeon about it but he says it will get better. I am now going to a pain management doctor for help and he want to give me an injection on my right side where the tenderness is, Can someone explain to me what is going on. I am on Gabapentin and now Cymbalta.


  • LC84LLC84 Posts: 599
    edited 07/28/2014 - 6:21 PM
    Have you had a MRI since the surgery? Nerves can take a long time to heal. An EMG is useful in detecting nerve damage, that may be something to ask about as well. Hopefully you will get some relief from the injection.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • edited 08/25/2014 - 3:35 AM
    I too, am 10 mos post ALIF of the L5 S1 and am in a lot of pain. My surgeon referred me to EDITED, back in Jan. for another "injection" in the S/I joint, it did nothing at all. Since then, I have had 2 more injections and am still in pain. I just had another MRI and the spine dr has referred me back to the surgeon.
    I can definitely sympathize with you!! I have read about others who have had a complete recovery after the surgery, and I envy them. I'm sure you are like me, and thought the surgery would be the answer. I hope you can figure out what is going on too.
    My surgeon called yesterday and now wants to do another surgery to insert the rods in my back that he Didn't do at the first one. He said I was healthy and "fit" and that I didn't need the rods. Now he said he feels like I have "movement" in the fusion that is causing all my pain. Not what I wanted to hear. I agree that you should try to get another MRI, I was glad after 10 mos he finally ordered one for me. I still have a ways to go before the next surgery, he is a busy dr. and can't get me in right away. Fortunately, I can walk, and that is actually what feels the best for me. Please keep us posted and I hope you can get some relief soon.

    Post edited by Sandi. Posting of specific medical facility or physician names is not permitted .
    5.10 You agree not to post specific physician names or health care facilities names on Spine-Health.com.
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  • That's how long they told me to wait before the full benefit would be realized....or not, after fusion. Nerves take that long but in my case the L5 nerve was just damaged and its permanent. Unfortunately, this is our fate and pain mgmt is the best that we can hope for in the long run. There's still hope for yours since you're only halfway there. Godspeed.
  • I had only the decompression laminectomy from L2-L5 and not the fusion. I still have some lower back pain and stiffness. I take Advil and live with the pain. I had so much pain prior to the surgery, this seems like nothing.

    What does bother me is my continued leg weakness and sometimes one of my legs still give all a little, not enough that I have fallen yet. I know nerves can take awhile to heal so I am hoping that is my problem. I am walking better than I was prior to the surgery and that is good. I was barely walking at all prior to the surgery. What concerns me is that I was able to get to my current level of walking about 3 months post-op. I have not changed much in my ability since that time. In fact, I think I may be growing weaker again.

    Since I did not have the fusion, I have no experience with that process. My thought is to wait the year and if I am still having significant leg weakness to see the doctor again. If the weakness worsens, I may go sooner rather than later. I went to an orthopedic surgeon for the surgery. I think the surgery went well. However, if I have nerve damage from my prior condition, I may think of going to a neurologist this time. If there is permanent nerve damage, there is probably not much that can be done, but it would be nice to know.
    The pain only hinders my standing for long periods of time or sitting in a car for awhile. Also, if I drive for a number of hours, I find it difficult to get started out of the car. After a few minutes, things start to mostly work again.
    I guess worse things can happen in life.
  • I understand what you are going through. I had same fusion and still have alot of back pain...I played softball and pickleball and now I cant. I feel as thou I should not have had this fusion done. I do take pain meds but now I have gained weight. This is so upsetting to me...I want to work out and get back to playing sports and feeling good....its very tough...I am just starting to work out in water....but would like to get off pain meds...too...I guess we are not the only ones that still have problems...hope you can get some releif soon...dont give up....I WILL NOT..... :)
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  • not for pain relief. If there is nerve related pain, it can take up to two years or in some cases longer before it resolves if it is going to.
    Nerves that were compressed prior to surgery, if left too long before the compression is relieved, can be damaged permanently, and in others, depending on whether they are nerve roots or nerves in the canal , may or may not improve over time.
    Unfortunately, there may not be a way to know until enough time has passed and we see what happens.
    Muscular pain is common post fusion, and it may improve over time, with the use of muscle relaxants and excercises such as swimming or yoga once your surgeon clears you for those.
  • I am glad to hear from you all.....Yes I still have pain but I have started to play pickleball again....slowly. ....and body hurts. But I feel because I have not done much for a year that is to be expected....i am 67 and very active....I did have a shot in my hip which did help....dont know how long it will last...so I guess I will have to stay on pain meds and muscle relaxers....I have to remember I have had back problems for 30 years and yes nerves have to be bad.... so god speed to all of you and hope you also get some releif for your pain....I see other people that have it worse then me guess I have to remember that...
  • I had my fusion/discectomy on 10/13/14 and after surgery had severe nerve pain and numbness in my left leg. When my doctor made his rounds in the hospital to check on me I was literally crying for relief. I am happy to say that I am feeling much better than I did.
    The doctor explained that when he inserted the pedicle screws he did some type of test with electrodes or something? That test indicated that one of the screws was impinging on a nerve so he removed and relocated it. The nerve was damaged as a result but is healing! He said many doctors don't do this test. Have you had an MRI to make sure your nerves are not being compressed by the screws and did he do this nerve test with the screws during your surgery?

    I wish you the very best and just wanted to give my thoughts.
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