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AS found after spinal fusion


For years I have been dealing with severe pain.  After years of fighting I finally got a spinal fusion  of the L5- S1.  Everything went EXTREMELY well.  I'm finally walking and my pain has been tremendously reduced.  Today I just found out my surgeon diagnosed me with AS of the lumbar spine and I wasn't even informed.  Now I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to feel.  I've had so many symptoms that everyone assumed was not related.  Swelling in my pinky, heart issues, waking up at night in severe pain and really stiff every morning as well as bowel and kidney issues.  My mom has a huge hump and swelling and pain in her spine but everyone assumed it was RA.  

I'm not mad at finding this out just trying to absorb this.  I'm worried that I'm only going to have relief for a small window of time before I'm back to being miserable.  No one can tell me how this will or will not progress.  To make matters worse I found all this out by checking my info on the surgeons website then I called to confirm.  

I'm really worried my wife and son are going to end up down another "rabbit hole".  I don't want to drag them down again.

Ankylosing spondylitis, moderate lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylolthesis L5- S1, 5mm disc protrusions T6- 9 with minimal cord compression, cerebral palsy of the right side

PLIF fusion L5- S1 with decompression and hardware Dec 7th 2016


  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971
    edited 01/24/2017 - 5:59 AM


    By "AS of the lumbar" you mean what..??  Since you posted in the Arthritis section of the forum I assume you mean some form of arthritis.  If so don't despair... it's not a death sentence... many people suffer from different forms of arthritis including myself and in many cases the disease is quite manageable.  If you haven't already I would suggest you contact a good rheumatologist and discuss your case to see what treatments he/she might recommend.  My arthritis struck a few months after my second lumbar fusion surgery and when I spoke to my orthopedic doctor he didn't really seem to have a clue... but I managed to see a good rheumatologist some time later and it only took him 5 minutes to understand what was really going on.  He put me on regular Enbrel injections which worked miracles on relieving my joint and lumbar pain.  I haven't look back since...   I also swim everyday which I find is a great daily exercise that doesn't stress my spine or other joints and helps avoid too much stiffness.  In the evenings while relaxing in my easy chair I also sit on an electric heating pad which helps keep my whole body warm... and helps maintain good blood flow.

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Ankylosing spondylolsis.  It's a form of arthritis that can cause the spine to fuse itself.  It also can cause heart, eye, bowel and other joint problems.  I hear biologics are a miracle but I have so many active infections that no one will put me on them.  My hope was to get off these opioids.  According to my neurologist and PCP  and surgeon I will never fully get off them.  It has so much to do with other genetic issues with meds.
    Ankylosing spondylitis, moderate lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylolthesis L5- S1, 5mm disc protrusions T6- 9 with minimal cord compression, cerebral palsy of the right side

    PLIF fusion L5- S1 with decompression and hardware Dec 7th 2016
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,527
    as= ankylosing spondylitis

    arthritis , specifically osteoarthritis can quickly start to degenerative joints and when it hits the spine, it continues there.
    i recently had a laminectomy l1-l5.  prior to surgery, the surgeon was planning on fusion and rods for stabilization.
    he took some xrays and noticed that my lower spine was 'fused' but arthritis, not by surgery.   but the results were
    the same, i was stable in my lower back.  painful yes, but helpful in this case

    here are two articles you should take a look at.  this one on spine-health,  as

    and from vertias-healths arthritis site (which you should look at   (  www.arthritis-heatlh.com/forums )

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  •  Ron, were you diagnosed with AS after MRI showed autofusion? Several years after a TLIF I found out arthritis had autofused the adjacent level above the fusion.

     Neurochallenged..Sometimes we're not informed of everything wrong with us. I wasn't told of my post op disc reherniation til months later when consulting with a neurosurgeon. Or of the instability of of the same level. My OS just said he couldn't help me anymore and sent me to pain management. I was confused but grateful to have my pain treated elsewhere. Had no clue I embarked on a long arduous journey of chronic pain. 

     I totally understand chronic pain not easy on our spouses and families. My marriage crumbled because of my incapacity. Perhaps a pain psychologist and family counseling may be of some help. Involve them at doctor's appointments so they get a better grasp of things, and hopefully gain understanding of what chronic pain does.

     The good news is that AS progression can be managed if caught early. Take care 
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
  • AS is a systemic inflammatory process. I have been Managing it for 20 years without mess. The book anti inflammation diet was helpful. Recent research implicates all night shades vegetables in inflammatory diseases. Avoiding those is getting more important as I age. Magnesium supplementation is also helpful.

    High hopes for you!

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