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nerve pain after spine fusion

4 months after level 2 spine fusion surgery with 4 screws and 2 bars, still in a lot of discomfort , most pain is nerve pain in right leg, have tried increasing activity to staying in bed. was told to try a part time job , now i have to sit on ice when I`m not working , the job is easy sitting and standing as i need , but its an 8 hr shift . i take 1500 mg of Gabapentin a day and 5 mg of oxycodone 3 times a day, and not sure if pain doc is refilling oxycodone , i was pushing to get off of them before i went to work.
My question is does the nerve pain ever go away??? And if there`s more i need to do or something more Doc can do??? I had worked 2 days off 1 day & worked 1 1/2 days when went to surgeon last week and the right side of my butt hurt to the point i did`nt even want to sit down but standing was`nt comfortable either, the surgeon just smiled and said graph is healing nicely come back in 2 months
I loved both my DOC , pain doc & surgeon before my surgery , was`nt sure i was well informed because most my questions where answered with everyone is different and depends on how i heal, but since surgery i feel im being dismissed. Pain doc asked last month if i was ready to do next surgery on my neck ( they want to put a plate with 2 screws, same as my back) I told him i wanted this surgery to heal 1st and be off pain meds for awhile. He as also talked about putting some kinda leads down my legs with a battery pack in my back that releases a pulse or meds , AT THIS POINT I`M NOT COOL WITH THEM MESSING WITH MY BODY ANYMORE . from the shots into my nerves to radio what ever of burning nerves to surgery , the pain just changes , granted theres some improvements and its been going on 2 years is all , i know compared to some people thats not as long nor as much pain that they have dealed with , I KNOW I`M BLESSED AND IT COULD BE WORSE but will the pain ever go away??
Lena Johnson


  • Hi LenaA, I'm afraid I can't answer positively your question at this stage based on my experience because I too continue to suffer with leg nerve pain through to my foot, and had my fusion of L4/S1 in Feb-13 so will soon be 2 years. I have today had a second round of injections (facet joint, nerve root block and caudal epidural) in the hope this will allow the nerves to settle further. I'm currently on Gabapentin 3,600 per day along with prescription Co-codomol as needed, and even after all this time I too struggle to work and am still on a phased return to work and struggling to get up to 4 short days. However, the positive is that like you I too can look back and see what I improvement there has been compared to before the op, and that my surgeons remain with me and are trying to find options. Out of interest, do you find walking to be a relief but sitting to be a problem when working, as that's the case with me and it's frustrating for my employers I'm sure that I can walk for hours around the golf course but yet can't manage my commute and office stints!
  • Had 3 level fusion lower lumbar October 13 with 8 screws 2 rods. Suffering from nerve pain in right leg as well, from groin to knee, in the thigh area. I have read a lot, probably too much, on this subject. It seems depends on many factors, but reports of good outcomes in the end. I did not have this type of pain prior my surgery. It is numb, burning, sometimes stinging like. Sure is a test of will. Only taking Oxycodone 5mg 3X day and clobenzaprine HCL 5mg 3X day. Good luck!
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  • the entire recovery from fusion surgery is at least 12 months and most find 18 months or so before their body's have recovered for the most part. you are just now coming out of the acute post op phase, and the body and your spine still has a long way to go before you know what the extent of your healing and pain relief will be post op. nerve pain can flare up for a few weeks to several months, up to two years post op, depending on the extent of the damage prior to surgery, the movement of the structures of the spine and nerves to make room for the surgery, and the trauma of the surgery itself.
    if you are only taking 1500 mg of gabapentin, there is a lot more room to adjust the dosage upward to see if it helps you ease the nerve pain more. the dosage range is up to 3600 mg per day of gabapentin when treating nerve related pain.

  • I'm sorry to hear about your discomfort. Many of us know how debilitating it can be. Remember, dosage is key with anything. Perhaps you need a higher dose? There are many nerve pain meds to choose from. Being 4 months in, perhaps this isn't the medication for you? Have you thought about trying something else? I am on Lyrica (300 MG twice a day) and it works wonders for me on a nerve pain level. With respect to "will the pain ever go away?" I'm afraid the only answer anyone can give you is to manage the pain in the meantime and hope it goes away eventually. Unfortunately for me, I have some residual pain that has remained and will probably have to be on some kind of pain meds for the rest of my life.
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
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