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WandaB

Riverside, CA

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#64
Jun 14, 2007
 
I had anterior/posterior spinal fusion L4-5 S1 a year and a half ago, titanium cages, screws, rods, etc. Bottom line: looking at having the hardware removed this December due to continuing pain in lumbar area, sciatica still on left side and down left leg. Particularly one spot off to the left side of my tail bone....OMG! When you push on that one spot, it has remained continuously painful. Have tried injections, including nerve root treatment...one injection worked for a few days...I am concerned about the recovery time necessary for the removal of hardware. Doctor says to plan on a month off work. I work as a graphic designer and sit in front of a computer for hours...gets very painful. Anyone have hardware removed that can tell me how theirs went? Appreciate any info. thanks.
misty kosta

Austin, TX

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#65
Jun 28, 2007
 
petlovers100 wrote:
Darren and Misty,
Have you tried spinal cord stimulator?
Acupuncture is another option also.
pet
No, I haven't tried that. I did start physical therapy about 2 weeks ago and it really seems to be helping. I still have good days and bad days. Did you try the stimulator?
Patricia

United States

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#66
Jun 28, 2007
 
I just had fusion surgery (L5-S1) for spodylolisthesis (Grade III). I had horrible pain, numbness and tingling in both legs. The surgery was only 10 days ago and originally I was pain free. Now I'm starting so get some numbness and tingling down one leg, but it's not nearly as bad as what I had before. Is this normal???
jim age 37

Rochester, NY

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#67
Jun 30, 2007
 
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 had an car accident in Jan of 2004 and just last year I had a cervical spinal fusion surgery in my neck,and it helped alot. but in Jan of 2006 I had another MRI which takes forever to get showed me having a herniated disc in L5 S1 and the pain has been so bad, it stays in the left side of the back,low back and in the waist and going down to the legs. Here is what I will say with sensitivity knowing what you and everyone else on thisite is going through. every surgery is a risk ,but that does not mean it wont help. As my doctor told me that the cervical spinal fusion surgery might not help. I am greatful that it did help.but He also told me that i need a surgery for L5 S1 , my situation is very serious and of course you guys on this page as well. but heres something i need to post on here,today i went to bend down to pick something up,and all of a sudden pain shot right through my back,low back then my waste and then to my left leg shot through like lighting and i fell down on the floor paralyzed with pain. i was on the floor crying my eyes out cause the pain is so bad. Let me speak about a herniated disc.If you do nothing about it,it gets worse. unless some Miracle happens,which i belive in,but until that happens it gets worse and its nothing to play with, so when i read what people say about herniated disc and how they ignore it. sorry to say. your not helping the situation out at all. You are making it worse. If an MRI showed that its herniated. and you have all the symptons,then you are making things worse for your self. If you trust your doctor let him do the surgery but dont just say cause you had surgery and it did not help you it wont help anyone else. Im just saying you and everyone else on here has to get different opionions,but find a doctor you trust. I trust my doctor 100 percent. and to let you know why the disc is herniated and causing pain , im pretty sure the disc are sitting on a spinal nerve and that hurts like hell. When my doctor did the first surgery for cervical spinal fusion last year. He saw 2 disc sitting on the spinal nerver and then he removed it and placed a bone in place of the discs then he screwed it together.,yeah i been through hell like every9one else on this site. I just got back from my night time walk,and it was so bad,i had to stop walking cause the pain in my left foot,which is linked to a herniated disc. hurt so bad,then i came onlien .well hope this helps you ..
Cara

AOL

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#68
Jul 1, 2007
 
I feel for everyone who has submitted comments to this page. From the letters you all have posted I really have no reason to complain. However, I too have had spinal surgery at L4/5 and while the problem I had surgery for (synovial cyst) was resolved I ended up with a different problem. The doctor felt the discs were unstable in that area and fused them using bone marrow, etc. Unfortunately, the fusion hasn't taken (it has been 10 months) and now I am looking at another surgery. I have been using a bone stimulator 4 hours every day and a muscle stimulator at night to counter the brace I have been wearing. I am also seeing an acupuncturist. The upshot of all of this is I do not want to go through another surgery and after reading everything that has been posted here I think my decision has been made. If anyone has anything else they would like to add to this I would be most welcome to hear from you. Again I can imagine some of what most of y ou are feeling and my heart goes out to you.
Cara

AOL

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#69
Jul 1, 2007
 
Carol wrote:
I was signed up to have a spianl fusion, L4-L5, but went back to doing some exercises to stretch and strengthen the lower back/abdominal muscles. I got almost immediate relief! I did go to physical therapy about a year ago, it did give relief, but quit due to an insurance issue. I did have a home program, which I gradually stopped doing. I just started the home program again, and can't believe the relief I've obtained in just a few days!
I'm cancelling the surgery for now. As long as I get relief, who needs it? Well, ok, its not total relief. Right now I'm feeling it somewhat as I sit here and type. However, its less than usual. And I haven't needed as much pain meds. I'm concerned about the spinal fusion as being a "last resort" surgery. It can't be undone! Also, from what I've read, it can create problems with stress and loading on other parts of the spine. My gait is off, my muscles weak and I walk with an uneven gait. My feeling is, even with a fusion, if I continue to walk like I am I would just stress and perhaps break or comprimise the fusion, or create new stresses somewhere else along the spinal column, creating the need for more surgery. From what I've read here a spinal fusion is no walk in the park! And it doesn't seem to provide total relief. Perhaps the relief I'm getting from therapy is about what I could hope for from a fusion!
I'll try the BioFreeze, thanks for the suggestion!
Hi Carol....I too was contemplating a second surgery for fusion at L4/5, but after finding this sight I have decided this is not something I want to do right not. I think I will live with what I've got and continue to see an acupuncturist, and massage therapist, plus using this bone growth stimulator I have.
Cara

AOL

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#70
Jul 1, 2007
 
Patricia wrote:
I just had fusion surgery (L5-S1) for spodylolisthesis (Grade III). I had horrible pain, numbness and tingling in both legs. The surgery was only 10 days ago and originally I was pain free. Now I'm starting so get some numbness and tingling down one leg, but it's not nearly as bad as what I had before. Is this normal???
I also have been diagnosed with spondolythesis...this was not my original diagnosis as I had a synovial cyst at L4/5. After that surgery the pain I have now, developed. I have been everywhere and the only way this is probably going to resolve itself is surgically. However, I have seen 3 surgeons and the first one I saw probably told me like it is....my husband asked him if I were a family member or relative what would he tell them to do and he said"live with it". Frankly, until things get worse I will live with it. The thoughts of rods and screws and pins make me nervous. I would love to speak to one person who has had successful fusion surgery.
back pain ruined life

Wilmington, DE

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#71
Jul 3, 2007
 
f all of u. kill urself. i am going to cuz of back taking my life away!!!!!!!!!!
back pain ruined life

Wilmington, DE

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#72
Jul 3, 2007
 
drs. are PIGS who take advantage of back pain patients. WE R ALL SCREWED SO BAD!!!!!! I HAD 27 GOOD YEARS AND THAN 4 NIGHTMARE BACK YEARS. THE CYCLE NEVER ENDS!!!!! DEATH IS PAIN FREE
Kim

Marquette, MI

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#73
Jul 5, 2007
 
Wow I am pretty shocked at what you are saying "back pain ruined my life". Even if you are just some person that likes to come on these boards to cause trouble, writing something like that is sick and psychotic. I can't speak for everyone on this board, but to suggest death or killing themselves is something I will not tolerate. I am only 24 years old and I have been in pain since I was 17. I will be in pain the rest of my life, and I have accepted that fact. Sometimes the pain has been so bad I can't get out of bed for days at a time. The doctors even say my back is so bad, I probably will never be able to carry a child. There have been times when I am lying in bed in so much pain thinking "why am I letting myself suffer?" "there is no way I am going to be able to live my life in so much pain" and thoughts of ending my life have crossed my mind, but for you to come on here and promote it is just sick. If you do have back problems and are feeling this way I seriously suggest that you get medical attention or talk to someone right away. If you are here to just start shit, think about if someone came on here and read what you wrote and actually did kill themselves because of it. I might not know the people personally on this board, but it has given me hope and different options to try. I am so glad I didn't let my neurosurgeon in my home town do the 3 level fusion he wanted to do last year. Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN has been amazing and I will not let any doctor but them touch me from now on But please, we on this board are suffering daily with the pain and are trying to get advice and support to LIVE THROUGH the pain.
Lynne

Stillwater, MN

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#74
Jul 6, 2007
 
I'm having anterior lumbar fusion (ALIF) on one level (L5-S1) in 10 days. I am a bit worried about the complications, but only because this surgery involves my lower back and will limit my mobility and will involve a long recovery. I've already had one fusion surgery in my cervical spine (C5-C6). Both levels prematurely degenerated and eventually deteriorated causing herniated disks. I put off the lumbar surgery for 5 years because I knew that the recovery period would be dreadful. After saying all of this, I will say that I have experienced a 100% recovery from the cervical fusion--it took 18 months to finally get to that day where I could wake up and say, "Ya know what? My neck feels great!" And even better--it wasn't a situation where it was a "good day" followed by a "bad day". The lumbar surgery will be performed the same spine surgeon at the top Orthopaedic hospital in Minnesota (Kudos to the Mayo Clinic that ranks right up there!)--Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, MN.
For those experiencing continued pain and complications--hang in there! As my doctor says, "Recovery is a cooperative effort--please do your part!" I know too many people who push themselves too hard after surgery. Don't be afraid to ask for help and keep pushing for answers when you don't get any relief.
Kathi

Los Angeles, CA

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#75
Jul 6, 2007
 
Lynne...I had a 2-level (L4-5/L5-S1) anterior fusion in February. Three days in the hospital and then home. No brace or other appliance. I was driving 3 weeks later. I still have some discomfort and stiffness, but altogether not too bad. The worst problen after was that my lymph system went wacky. It seems to happen often with the anterior approach, but at least I don't have rods and screws. Good luck to you.
Patricia

United States

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#76
Jul 12, 2007
 
I had my surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on June 18. I had an ALIF and then I was turned over and had rods and screws placed. My problem was that I had a slipped vertebrae that was pressing on the sciatic nerves. I'm 3 1/2 weeks out and so far I'm doing pretty good. After having had a doctor tell me to live with it, I'm so glad I went to the Cleveland Clinic. I was in the hospital 2 days and came home. I don't have a brace. I have some pain at the incision sites, there's 7 of them, but six are small. Occasionally, I get a twinge of pain now and then, but considering where I was before the surgery, this has been a lifesaver for me. I'm even off the pain meds! So far, my surgery appears to have been successful. I hope it continues to go well. Maybe the outcome depends on what the original problem was. My insurance company sent me a great book, "I've Got Your Back" by Dr. Nathaniel Tindel. It really allayed my fears and gave me a lot of information. I'd suggest it to anyone with back problems.

Since: May 07

kansas city

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#77
Jul 16, 2007
 
jim age 37 wrote:
<quoted text>
I had an car accident in Jan of 2004 and just last year I had a cervical spinal fusion surgery in my neck,and it helped alot. but in Jan of 2006 I had another MRI which takes forever to get showed me having a herniated disc in L5 S1 and the pain has been so bad, it stays in the left side of the back,low back and in the waist and going down to the legs. Here is what I will say with sensitivity knowing what you and everyone else on thisite is going through. every surgery is a risk ,but that does not mean it wont help. As my doctor told me that the cervical spinal fusion surgery might not help. I am greatful that it did help.but He also told me that i need a surgery for L5 S1 , my situation is very serious and of course you guys on this page as well. but heres something i need to post on here,today i went to bend down to pick something up,and all of a sudden pain shot right through my back,low back then my waste and then to my left leg shot through like lighting and i fell down on the floor paralyzed with pain. i was on the floor crying my eyes out cause the pain is so bad. Let me speak about a herniated disc.If you do nothing about it,it gets worse. unless some Miracle happens,which i belive in,but until that happens it gets worse and its nothing to play with, so when i read what people say about herniated disc and how they ignore it. sorry to say. your not helping the situation out at all. You are making it worse. If an MRI showed that its herniated. and you have all the symptons,then you are making things worse for your self. If you trust your doctor let him do the surgery but dont just say cause you had surgery and it did not help you it wont help anyone else. Im just saying you and everyone else on here has to get different opionions,but find a doctor you trust. I trust my doctor 100 percent. and to let you know why the disc is herniated and causing pain , im pretty sure the disc are sitting on a spinal nerve and that hurts like hell. When my doctor did the first surgery for cervical spinal fusion last year. He saw 2 disc sitting on the spinal nerver and then he removed it and placed a bone in place of the discs then he screwed it together.,yeah i been through hell like every9one else on this site. I just got back from my night time walk,and it was so bad,i had to stop walking cause the pain in my left foot,which is linked to a herniated disc. hurt so bad,then i came onlien .well hope this helps you ..
Jim, please help, did you have cervical spine stenosis? I've just been diagnosed and really need to talk to someone. I'm only 28, been going through this for 3 years. email me kanamartin@aol.com
misty kosta

Austin, TX

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#78
Aug 16, 2007
 
I had my fusion at L5S1 and Laminectomy on April 11, 2007. I am still not able to drive. I still feel like I have a hard ball on my spine or coming out of my spine. When I lay on my back it feels like I am laying on Metal and a crow bar. I made my surgeon do x-rays and ct scans because I thought something was really wrong, because I thought I should be doing better by now. I have done 19 pt's and just started massages. My doctor wants me to do aqua therapy also. He said the x-rays and ct scan were ok, but that my L4 was not good but he did not think that is what is causing these issues. I don't know. It has been 4 months and I still cannot drive. He said everyone heals differently and I should be ok in 6 months. Has anyone ever had these weird symptoms? I just thought I would be ok in a few months, but it is taking such a long time. I miss driving and going out to see my clients. I am in the personnel business and usually drive 6 hours a day, so now you see why I miss driving so much. If anyone has experienced these types of pain please let me know.
Kim

Marquette, MI

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#79
Aug 17, 2007
 
I haven't written on this board in awhile, but on my most recent trip back to Mayo Clinic in July, it turns out I am dealing with an entire different issue. I was scheduled to get a steroid injection into my L5-S1. But there has been an ongoing problem since I had my last surgery, that every other doctor just kinda blew off. My incesion every 3-4 months becomes almost infected, and kinda blisters over, bleeds and pus comes out. This usually lasts about 3 weeks and then goes away. All 3 other doctors always said its from laying on the heating pad. Well as I get on the table to get the injection, they say they will not do the injection because I have an open wound and make an appointment with Infectious disease. After more MRI's and all sorts of tests they are still not sure what it is. There is this pocket of something that is sitting right next to my disk and there is a path from that to my back skin which is a sign of an infection. They think it might be a bone infection, spinal fluid that has been leaking since my surgery 3 years ago, or something really small left from surgery trying to work its way out. Has anyone else every had any of the symptoms I have or had a bone injection or leaking spinal fluid. I am going in a month for a surgery.
Randy D

Camarillo, CA

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#80
Aug 20, 2007
 
misty kosta wrote:
I had my fusion at L5S1 and Laminectomy on April 11, 2007. I am still not able to drive. I still feel like I have a hard ball on my spine or coming out of my spine. When I lay on my back it feels like I am laying on Metal and a crow bar. I made my surgeon do x-rays and ct scans because I thought something was really wrong, because I thought I should be doing better by now. I have done 19 pt's and just started massages. My doctor wants me to do aqua therapy also. He said the x-rays and ct scan were ok, but that my L4 was not good but he did not think that is what is causing these issues. I don't know. It has been 4 months and I still cannot drive. He said everyone heals differently and I should be ok in 6 months. Has anyone ever had these weird symptoms? I just thought I would be ok in a few months, but it is taking such a long time. I miss driving and going out to see my clients. I am in the personnel business and usually drive 6 hours a day, so now you see why I miss driving so much. If anyone has experienced these types of pain please let me know.
Hi Misty Kosta,

I'm so sorry you are not doing better at 4 months. I had hope for you to have a quick recovery. Yes, I had the same type of hardball/crowbar sensations. Is your pain on one side or both? Does the sensation seem to be high on the hip area? If it is like mine, I had right-sided grainy crowbar pressure like sensations with muscle tightness related to the graft site. The physical therapy people tell me itís a hardware related problem. Although my dr. believes it is more likely a ligament to bone issue. Whatever it is the treatment that has seemed to help me the most lately is an aspirin/menthol ointment rubbed right where it hurts a couple times a day.

I'm actually scheduled on 8/23 to have my Spinal Instrumentation removed. I'm concerned because I don't know if this will give me some relief or just add to my grief. If it resolves the ball/crowbar sensations, I will let you know.
Willo

Riverton, WY

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#81
Aug 24, 2007
 
I've been searching for forums with people just like yourselves. I have my first spinal fusion in the thoracic region at the age of 12. I was told my life would not be resticted and that the Herrington Rod would never have to come out. Wrong. At age 22 the rod was removed in my second surgery because the hardware had "come lose," and was pinching nerves, causing a great deal of pain. After the rod was removed the collapsing of my lumbar spine progressed at a much more rapid rate, until at the age of 32 I had two 65-degree curves in my spine. It looked just like the letter "S." i had also developed arthritis in my spine from the continuin disc degeneration. When I was 33, I accidentally fell from the second story of a house, and landed on my feet, jarring my spine something fierce. The pain was excruciating. I live in a rural area where the is not much access to health care. Many of the local sawbones thought I was making up the story just to get painkillers. I had to become suicidal before anyone listened and sent me to a pain specialist 120 miles from my hometown. He helped me get through the six-month period between the fall and my surgery - a complete spinal fusion. My pain was so bad just before the operation that I was mostly bedridden and would only lie there, sweating and crying and screaming from the pain (and that was with pain medication) and was delirious at times.

I highly recommend Dr. Joseph Perra at the Twin Cities Spine Center in Minneapolis, Minn. He practices at Abbott Northwestern Hospital nearby the TCSC. Dr. Perra is a genius, as far as I am concerned. He doesn't tell you lies. He said he does about 25 full spinal fusions per year, and that his research of his own patients showed that 80 percent of the patients who underwent the complete fusion thought that it was "worth going through the operation." This, of course, means that 2 out of 10 did not. In my case, I did not see any other option. A human being cannot withstand such a high level of pain for extended periods of time. I hurt so badly that I seriously thought that the amputation of the entire right half of my body was a perfectly good solution.

Following my surgery, I also had some of the strange symptoms you mentioned, except mine wasn't a burning sensation, it was that my left foot was asleep for almost three months following the operation. The pain specialist said it was normal, to have some nerve damage after such a procedure, and that it would most likely go away - and it did.

My advise, which was Dr. Perra's advice, is that you have to decide for yourself if you can live with the pain as it is. Also, take into consideration that it will likely worsen with age, as he mentioned he had several patients in their 50's who put it off, and it's much harder to recuperate at that age. I began my recuperation with just walking, very short distances at first, and then further and so on. Then I started physical therapy, which helped with trunk strengthening even more.

I still have similar pain in the same areas as before the operation, but now on a manageable level that can be successfully treated with pain medication. I was is such horrific pain, though, from the fall that I'm not a typical case. I was hoping to find others on the forum who have had the full fusion to swap stories with.

I hope any part of my experience helps any of you on your journey.
Willow

Riverton, WY

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#82
Aug 27, 2007
 
Kim, I can so much relate with your experience. Laying in bed for days at a time, unable to walk and carry yourself around, much less a baby. The loss of the ability to bear a child is like the coup de grace for women. "Back pain ruined my life" is a coward. I'm not going to sit here and say I've never tried to commit suicide because my back pain was so bad because I have. I've had scoliosis diagnosed since age 11, and have had pain on one level or another for the past five or six years.

It's one thing to say "my back pain is so bad, I feel like I can't go on," or to express a very common fear amongst back pain patients that if it's this bad now, how am I going to feel in five years, or ten years, and to come on a forum of people who are suffering and say f all of you. Well, f you "my back pain is so bad"! No one said anything against you. Find the right doctor who will help you in the right way, even if it's a lifetime of therapy and pain pills. Who do you think you are telling everyone here f you, death is pain free? And more importantly, how do you know that it is? For all you know, taking your own life might condem you to an eternity of your pain that you're in on Earth, so you might just want to think about changing your attitude!
Susan

AOL

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#83
Sep 3, 2007
 
Is there anyone out there that had had a sucess with surgery. I personally know 2 people.( they had the same neurosurgeon.) Also know several people that had terrible experiences.( different doctors.) Maybe it has alot to do with the expertise of the surgeon.
What do you think?

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