I am recovering from an Anterior Caged Fusion at L3-L4; it was done April 30, 2014. My back issues got really bad about 3 years ago. I would have occasional pain-about once or twice a month my lower back would flare up-it wasn't anything a hot bath couldn't cure. 3 years ago, it changed. The pain was more frequent, I couldn't get it to go away like before. My first appointment with an orthopedist was disappointing. He looked at the xray, said he knew I was just there for pain medicine (at this point I'd never taken anything stronger than ibuprofen for it), gave me some vicodin,and sent me on my way. I was so upset-I decided to try and wait it out and made it another six months. I went back to my PCP and she sent me to a pain clinic after my MRI showed DDD and a herniated disc.
This began a year and a half of pain management, physical therapy, doctor appointments, and running around in circles. I had an epidural steroid shot about six months in, and had a severe reaction. I ended up with peripheral neuropathy resulting in severe spasms, paresthesia and foot drop in my left leg. The spinal surgeon that was overseeing my care told me he didn't see enough damage to warrant surgery and that I would learn to live with it. I was bad enough at this point that my husband had to take leave from work to stay home with me-he had to carry me to the bathroom, I was bed-ridden. I was devastated that this surgeon told me he wouldn't help me. I went for a second opinion, and after a discogram confirmed the trouble area, the new surgeon said surgery was the only option left.
I had my surgery, and they found that when my disc ruptured, it had wrapped around the perineal nerve. That was not seen in the MRI. Because of my foot drop and nerve issues, I went to rehab for a month. I have 4 kids, and it was awful to be away from them for so long. After I got home, I worked hard to get better. I have a MAFO brace for my left foot and use a walker to get around (wheelchair when we go out anywhere).
Things were picking up until about 6 weeks ago. I started having awful pain right above my left buttock that radiates down to my left knee, sometimes to the ankle. They think its now related to my SI joint. There was fluid present prior to my fusion, but we hoped that was temporary. An hour of physical therapy leads to half a day in bed. I can't stand for more than a couple of minutes without it flaring up. I'm starting to fall again, and I am so scared. My surgeon sent me to the hip specialist in the practice yesterday, so that we could rule out my hip. I see my surgeon on Tuesday the 25th.
My options are so limited...I'm allergic to steroids, so a shot is out of the question. I've been in physical therapy and still am. My surgeon had me try meloxicam and Voltaren gel with no luck. I am really hoping I'm not looking at another fusion, but I am afraid that is where I am head.