spinal fusion complications
angela kirton

Manchester, UK

#456 Sep 24, 2010
Hi having read more comments i cannot beleive how many people are still suffering from fusion operations. I just wondered if anyone could give me advice. I had a fusion 1 year ago, i am 43 years old. It has not worked as i am still suffering terrible pain. I use Fentanyl patches also various pain killing drugs which i take like sweets!! It is hours before i can get mobile on a morning and the only comfort i get is from lying down. I am due to go for a second opinion in London next month and wondered if anyone has advice as to what i should ask for. My surgeon who performed the surgery has told me he cannot do anymore for me. I feel at my age i am too young to be written off. I would be so grateful for any advice . Regards Angela
Jeff

Annandale, NJ

#457 Sep 24, 2010
angela kirton wrote:
Hi having read more comments i cannot beleive how many people are still suffering from fusion operations. I just wondered if anyone could give me advice. I had a fusion 1 year ago, i am 43 years old. It has not worked as i am still suffering terrible pain. I use Fentanyl patches also various pain killing drugs which i take like sweets!! It is hours before i can get mobile on a morning and the only comfort i get is from lying down. I am due to go for a second opinion in London next month and wondered if anyone has advice as to what i should ask for. My surgeon who performed the surgery has told me he cannot do anymore for me. I feel at my age i am too young to be written off. I would be so grateful for any advice . Regards Angela
Angela, I definitely know what your going through. My surgeon has finally written me off as well and told me he can do no and I'm only 25 years old so you can really imagine what it is like to be young and be told this. Only advice I would give you that others have given me is to keep seeing doctors until you find one that is willing to not only listen to your problems but go above and beyond in trying to get to the bottom of why your still having problems and what to do about it.

I understand there comes a point when only pain management is an option left, I've been told this myself, but the field is so expansive and finding the right pain management option is the key. I do not recommend injections. I was through a total of 6 a few years ago and they did nothing to help me. In fact, it made certain sensations in my leg/foot worse.
Jessica

Minneapolis, MN

#458 Sep 28, 2010
I am 30 years old and had a fracture at L4-L5 when I was 22. They did not do the fusion until 4 months later and I worked a full time job driving. When they opened up my back they saw I was also fractured at L4-L3. They put 4 steel rods and 6 screws, with a fusion at L4-L5 and a bone graft at L4-L3. I have had 3 children since the surgery the last two pregnancys were so horrible at the end I had to be induced because of the pain. My last child was born 2 years ago and I feel like my hips have not gone back into place. I have been told know mt fusion never took and dics are slipping below my fusion area and above. I have had doctors look at my reports and will not even see me. I am in so much pain everyday I feel like nothing and no one can help. Has anybody had this happen or and sugestions on what I should do??? Please help!
NickC - Dorset UK

UK

#459 Oct 2, 2010
Hi Everyone!
I've been reading through all 400-odd posts with increasing levels of fascination and trepidation.
I've suffered from continual lower back and leg pain since suffering a major L5/S1 prolapse in 1990. I had a micro-discetomy that year which sorted the problem. However, 2 years later I had a secondary prolapse which left me with a permanently dropped left foot, and over the following years, left calf muscle wastage - as the consultants at that time had refused to perform forther surgery to sort out the disc damage.
Over the course of the next 16 years I had countless lumbar epidiral injections for pain - until finally, I was referred to a wonderful surgeon at The Dorset County Hospital here in the UK. He performed a Revisionary Disctemomy in April 2009 - where he found that previous injuries and spinal manipulations had left my sciatic nerve twisted and glued to my bottom vertibrae by old disc material. He freed the nerve, and things went perfectly up until September 2009 - when I suffered another minor prolapse on BOTH the left and right sides at L5/S1 level.
So he is currently looking at performing another Revisionary Discetomy.
However - the main points that I wanted to make were -
a) I feel ALL of your pain - especially Angela here in the UK. I have been on painkillers for years and years - morphine, codeine,diamorphine, tramadol etc etc.
More to the point though -
b) My surgeon REFUSES TO CONSIDER SPINAL FUSION - because of the huge risks of permanent damage to nerves etc that are involved.
My suggestions to you guys and girls seeking relief from your pain - is to keep on until you find a Consultant who is prepared to listen to, and to UNDERSTAND your suffering - and who will be able to offer a sensible surgical or orthopeadic solution.
Daniel

Ardrossan, UK

#460 Oct 6, 2010
Kim wrote:
I understand what you are going through! The thing that scares me the most is my pain is so bad, I am popping pain pills like candy on top of wearing a 75 mcg fentenal patch. I have pain every minute of everyday. I just can't imagine living with this pain the rest of my life. I try to stay as active as possible with walking, but I can't get that far with having to sit down and take a break. And what drives me even more crazy is the fact that the pain pills don't make me sleepy, they make me stay WIDE awake, so I never can take them after 7pm if I want to sleep that night. My DR just gives me prescriptions for sleeping pills on top of that. After reading the things I have read, I am really not looking forward to making the decsion of having the fusion or not.
I know this is old but i have had back problems for 3yrs now and i went for my pre op for spinal fusion on the 05-10-2010 i was told i will be in for the op next week but i had a phone call this morning wile i was out telling me it will be next month now....
I have content pain i get shakes in my left leg also i get pin and needles in both legs i take oramorph 10mg/5ml 10ml up to 6 times a day i also have 150mg fenynal paches on all the time....
I have spondylitiosis with multiple digenretive changes all across my spine with thinned disks i also have 3 fractured vertibra in the middle of spine

Since: Oct 10

Ardrossan, UK

#461 Oct 6, 2010
angela kirton wrote:
Hi having read more comments i cannot beleive how many people are still suffering from fusion operations. I just wondered if anyone could give me advice. I had a fusion 1 year ago, i am 43 years old. It has not worked as i am still suffering terrible pain. I use Fentanyl patches also various pain killing drugs which i take like sweets!! It is hours before i can get mobile on a morning and the only comfort i get is from lying down. I am due to go for a second opinion in London next month and wondered if anyone has advice as to what i should ask for. My surgeon who performed the surgery has told me he cannot do anymore for me. I feel at my age i am too young to be written off. I would be so grateful for any advice . Regards Angela
Yor lucky b4 i saw my new surgen he told me there was nothing anybody could do for me and i was only 23
melissa

Schertz, TX

#462 Oct 16, 2010
Hello everyone. Just wanted to add some comments. My husband is currently 6 months post op from L4/L5 spinal fusion. I must say a turning point for him was me learning trigger point therapy. It is instant relief! He doesn't grab for the percocet nearly as much as he use to. Stretching afterwards is much easier and the trigger point therapy. However, when the nerves get irritated due to walking, for i.e. nothing helps. Any suggestions on how to get back to comfortably walking again. It doesn't take long for the pain to kick in when he walks.
danny

El Paso, TX

#463 Oct 26, 2010
kev-jan wrote:
My name is Kevin and I had spinal fusion on my L5-S1 last January and my symptoms are 10x worse now. The pressure in my back is unbelievable, and my legs and feet twitch 24/7, it feels that there is electricity in my legs..Help does anyone else have these symptoms?


Try acupuncture is great a have a spinal fusion and it didn't help any. Still have severe back pain and my left leg is always numb. The only thing that helps is acupuncture
Terry

Queensbury, NY

#464 Oct 31, 2010
My wife just had L-5,S-1 fuion done. The problem is now that we are home she is in bed ,when she sits up or tries to walk her body becomes very hot inside and she feels like getting sick.Please help if anybody has answers or ideas
Kim

Dallas, TX

#465 Nov 1, 2010
Have had 7 back surgeries and last one lasted 12 hours ending with with complete fusion all the way up to T-2. Surgery was one year ago and it has been pure misery. Will not go into detail about my life except for the fact that I refuse to let the pain control me and it isn't easy!!!! Anyone considering back surgery please get 2nd or 3rd opinion!!!!!
Jahn

Louisville, KY

#466 Nov 2, 2010
I had spinal fusion 40+ years ago. Harrington Rods are still in place. However, as I am aging, the pain becomes increasingly worse -- neck pain which makes it difficult to hold my head erect; upper back and low back pain along with a sensation of a "knot" in the middle of my spine where the rods are located; tingling sensation in hands and feet and daily it gets worse. Doc suggested I do water aerobics -- I did but it is just a "temporary fix." I think I should really have the rods removed and start over.
jeadriver

United States

#467 Nov 2, 2010
kev-jan wrote:
My name is Kevin and I had spinal fusion on my L5-S1 last January and my symptoms are 10x worse now. The pressure in my back is unbelievable, and my legs and feet twitch 24/7, it feels that there is electricity in my legs..Help does anyone else have these symptoms?
I feel your pain feels like 100 lbs attached to my back pulling it down and the muscle spasms in my legs and feet are so much worse now
mrsyanni

San Antonio, TX

#468 Nov 2, 2010
Terry wrote:
My wife just had L-5,S-1 fuion done. The problem is now that we are home she is in bed ,when she sits up or tries to walk her body becomes very hot inside and she feels like getting sick.Please help if anybody has answers or ideas
How far post op is she? My husband has a L4/L5 spinal fusion done. It was very little baby steps every day to get better. Is she getting a fever? My husband has a rising/falling body temperature. Maybe it was due to the body adjusting to a foreign object (the titanium rods) in his body, not sure. He didn't eat much at all and did lose some weight. We were told to pay special attention to the scar to make sure there was no infection. It is going to be red and even a little swollen. But, like I said, how long has she been home? Because, the first month or so, is a lot of resting to allow the fusion to take place. It is was very painful to watch my husband go through it, but everyday is better. I would monitor to for signs of infection. That is very important right after surgery. I hope your wife has a speedy recovery. My husband is around 8 months post op and were are doing some nice, slow walks.
MissLindsay

Saint Louis, MO

#469 Nov 9, 2010
I had an anterior spinal fusion L11-L2 7 years ago, in 2002, when I was 12. My surgeon was and is one of the most prominent in the field, with several innovations and inventions in the field currently to his credit.

I never experienced pain before the surgery. I had a primary curve of 43*(and nearly completely ossified bone plates) and a compensatory curve of around 20*.

The spine was fused in the primary curve. The reasoning is still unclear to me, as I experienced no pain pre-surgery. Now I experience constant pain in my shoulders and through any portion of my back past my lower thoracic spine.

Before my surgery, both of my feet had equal sensation. Immediately following surgery, an extreme difference in skin temperature was noted between my left and right feet. The left foot was a normal temperature. The right foot was noted to be very cold to the touch.

Eight years later, the right foot is still very cold in room-temperature conditions. It also sweats profusely, while the left foot stays dry and warm.

Within the past two years, I have noticed a definite loss of sensation in my right toes after bicycle riding, extended walking, busy days at work or any other activity that involves standing on my feet for extended periods of time. After these events occur, I can not feel the third, fourth, and fifth toes on my right foot, and they are completely void of color. My first and second toes, which retain feeling, also have a pink tinge at this time.

I am firmly convinced that I have nerve damage from the surgery (we won't even discuss the lack of feeling on my left torso, which I expected due to the incision's proximity.) The lack of feeling that has recently developed in my toes is especially worrying.

I brought this to my doctor's attention, and he blew it off, as well as dismissed my back pain to psychological issues because "no one in pain can bend down and touch her toes."

Good luck. I frankly would not recommend scoliotic fusions unless you are already experiencing problems.
Toni

Ware, MA

#470 Nov 12, 2010
kev-jan wrote:
My name is Kevin and I had spinal fusion on my L5-S1 last January and my symptoms are 10x worse now. The pressure in my back is unbelievable, and my legs and feet twitch 24/7, it feels that there is electricity in my legs..Help does anyone else have these symptoms?
Hi Ihad fusion done 9/17/10 L5 l3, I am still having leg cramps and having rouble walking more than a block. PT is not helping. I hope I will be able to walk more than block again without pain.
Mike

Wilmington, DE

#471 Nov 15, 2010
I had spinal fusion 4 weeks ago today on the L5,S1. They took out the disc which had completely calcified, put a 'spacer' in its place, enclosed it in a cage, put two rods and 4 screws in to hold everything together.
I was doing quite well for the first 3 weeks, and can say that the old pain that I was experiencing in my lower back has disappeared. I was walking the same day as the surgery, and driving 3 weeks later. However, for the past week my left leg no longer feels the same as my right in terms of general sensations. Am having some sciatic pain going down the back of the left leg as well as an aching in the knee, and some pain in the left glute. I'm not sure if I overdid it or if something else is at work here. Am a little scared to be honest.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Melissa

San Antonio, TX

#472 Nov 15, 2010
Hello. My husband is about 8 months post opt from a L4/L5 spinal fusion. He had a bone filler placed in that area. his feelings did changed and I believe that to be from the bone filler settling and hardening. After his first surgery he was having an "feet on fire" feeling and the doctor found bone filler pushed out a little and was pressing on his sciatic nerve. So, he had to go back for a second surgery.

Even so far out, he is still having bad leg spasms, but it is my nonmedical opinion it is because his issues were blown off while in the military and he is now suffering from permanent nerve damage. You are only 4 weeks post opt, so I would be careful. My husband's doctor stressed not to do anything to allow the bone graft to harden and allow the body to heal. He started building himself up to small walks. The pain you are describing is very similiar. My husband still has an overall numbness in his leg. We have a 9 month post opt appointment to discuss his options. Not sure what kind of spacer you had in, but our doctor wanted to wait for the bone graft to harden, before addressing and possible nerve issues. He was also told not to drive for at least 4 weeks after surgery. Basically he was told to not be in anything that vibrated.

Things that are working for him?
Sciatgon (or any homeopathic sciatia product)
heat and ice therapy.
If the leg starts to spasm, something is angry and rests is the best you can do, because it is more than likely the nerves that are irritates.
I started to learn trigger point therapy. There is a self treatment book and I asked my husband to just let me try! He would say that afterwards his pain level would dial down 50%. Of course this can't really help with the nerves, however, but can calm the surrounding muscle tension. Walks are still a little painful. I just started getting him to the gym and one piece of equipment that really likes is the machine where you are sitting down (like a bike), and your arms are spinning instead of your legs. he say that he likes it because it really loosens his back up. he is just now starting to get motivated to start strengthen his body back up. Also, we did do a little bit of racket ball and he said he felt like his leg was trying to come back to life. Do not push it, because when those nerves get irritated, boy do they get mad!

Sounds like your body is adjusting to the foreign object and it might be inflammed. When my husband is in bad pain, I will put ice on his back for 20 minutes, then a heat pad for 20 minutes and do like 2 rotations.(I place it on the back because that is more than likely where the tension in the leg is coming from). The other day his leg spasms were really bad that I wrapped a heating blanket around his calf for 20 minutes and he said it calmed it down.

Calming tea like Chamomille or Lemon Balm also great.

Sorry for the novel, lol. Just trying to spread what is working for him and after seeing my husband go through this painful ordeal, I am very sensitive to those going through the same thing.

I wish a speeding and smooth recovery.

Sincerely,

Melissa
kevinr

Washington, DC

#473 Nov 27, 2010
Kev,(as well as all other readers) you may want to consider what we all may or may not have heard or paid any attention to before our surgeries... TRY YOGA AND STICK WITH IT! After recovering from a spinal fusion some 9 years ago, what I'm learning in my ripe young age of 48 is that we are a perfect being. We heal ourselves! Our backs and the bones that protect our spinal cord is a very big deal! Think about for a minute, we all are dealing with one of the major systems of our being here. Our CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM! I doing fine with some slight complications today, but my 3 cents worth of advice to you is to search, I mean really search for a very good yoga master (someone who teaches eastern yoga) and just allow him/her to assist you with this issue. I'm sure you won't regret it.

From what I understand through this practice and discipline is that for me, it about relieving pressure. Pressure on our spine. Our backs are just a bit larger than a finger, hand, arm or leg and it just takes a longer time heal and adjust our back because when you really think about it, there are a lot of bones and wires to work with regarding our backs, but make no mistake about it, the body will, and I repeat, the body will find a way to naturally heal itself, dude! It is truly amazing!

If I would've just listened to myself and my body earlier, I wouldn't be having this comment at all. Search out and find someone to talk you against destroying something as pure as YOU. Listen to someone (not necessarily me) who talks about alternative solutions before invading something so personal and perfect, because one slice on you immediately makes you imperfect, along with whatever surgeons may or may not put in you to help your situation... I know now and I wished that I had gone that extra mile in terms of finding and sticking with a yoga master regardless of whatever discomfort I had 9 years ago. The beauty is that as long as you're alive, it's never too late...

This isn't a holy-roller message, this is a spiritual one.
kev-jan wrote:
My name is Kevin and I had spinal fusion on my L5-S1 last January and my symptoms are 10x worse now. The pressure in my back is unbelievable, and my legs and feet twitch 24/7, it feels that there is electricity in my legs..Help does anyone else have these symptoms?
Jeff

Annandale, NJ

#474 Nov 27, 2010
^ I'm all for homeopathic remedies for physical aliments but just be careful if you do decide to do Yoga that you really do your research and get a Yoga instructor that really knows the spine and about spinal fusion.

I know from personal experience at the gym since having a spinal fusion, you have to be extremely careful what physical stretches and exercises you do to your back. My spinal fusion is lumbar-sacral and I find many things that cause you to bend or turn at the core/low back and hips cause me pain. From everything I've read about spinal fusions, there are many things you can not and should not do for exercises and stretching once having a spinal fusion. That is why it is so very important to find a experienced instructor. Maybe even some of them specialize in the back!

Remember, we have had surgeries that have physically changed the mechanics of the spine and how it moves and so we can not do the same things, in regards to stretches and exercises, that people with normal spine(no spinal fusions) can do.

Best of Luck to You All!
screwed up back

Covington, GA

#475 Dec 5, 2010
Ive allready did the fusion thing L5 S1 back in July 8 ( the only reason I didn't the doc told me I would be back to work in 6 weeks) and now I'm 100 % disabled can't pick up more than 7 lbs fusion in a bad answer in my opinion I have talked to alot of people that has hD it and if you get it you won't stop going back and having tomget it done again.
patricia scully wrote:
I had a metal plate inserted in January or 2010 this year to seperate the rubbing discs, but since then a week later I started having severe leg pain and still have it and it is June now and had shots and spintal shots, uperderal and nothing. Now the doctor said he can remove the metal and fuse the discs, but I am scared, do you think this is the way to go. I live in Arkansas and there aren't too many specialists here.

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