spinal fusion after effects

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Since: Mar 08

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#1
Mar 1, 2008
 
I had my L5 S1 fusion nearly 4 years ago and I have never been the same since. I am unable to hold my children. I cannot walk throughout the mall without severe pain and numbness in my toes. I was wondering if anyone else has had these same side effects or any others. I am starting to think it was a botched surgery but I would like feedback to see if this is actually "normal". Thank you
shell

AOL

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#2
Mar 6, 2008
 
backpain4life wrote:
I had my L5 S1 fusion nearly 4 years ago and I have never been the same since. I am unable to hold my children. I cannot walk throughout the mall without severe pain and numbness in my toes. I was wondering if anyone else has had these same side effects or any others. I am starting to think it was a botched surgery but I would like feedback to see if this is actually "normal". Thank you
It is not normal you should seek another opinion.
I am in the process of deciding about another surgery. I had the same surgery a year ago. I have developed complex regional pain syndrome in my right foot. but my back hurts so much i am having a myelogram next week. When I find out what happens I will reply again
Katerina

Greece

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#3
Mar 6, 2008
 
I had my fusion a year and a half ago after a car accident (L3-T11). A year after my whole right side started feeling numb. I feel numb for a week and then I feel better. I went to the doctor and he basically told me that it is all in my mind. My life has changed a lot after the accident. I also find it difficult not to be able to play with my younger child like I used to.
Ash

Poughkeepsie, NY

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#4
Mar 20, 2008
 
I had a spinal fusion and ever since have had headaches. Now, I am having a feeling like bubbles in my head, sometimes on the sides, and other times on the top of my head. I had a MRI on my head a while ago, and there isn't anything wrong there. I wonder if it is related to my back, because I am really starting to get nervous at this feeling. Does anyone experience the same thing or have any idea what could be going on?
Katerina

Athens, Greece

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#5
Mar 26, 2008
 

Judged:

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Ash wrote:
I had a spinal fusion and ever since have had headaches. Now, I am having a feeling like bubbles in my head, sometimes on the sides, and other times on the top of my head. I had a MRI on my head a while ago, and there isn't anything wrong there. I wonder if it is related to my back, because I am really starting to get nervous at this feeling. Does anyone experience the same thing or have any idea what could be going on?
One year after the surgery the back of my neck started hurting a lot two weeks after that I started having really bad headaches. I think I felt the pain traveling up my spine to my neck and my head. The headaches were so bad that nothing made me feel better. After a few weeks the headaches stopped but the back of my neck was still hurting. At this point I started pilates and this really helped me. The pain at the back my neck was much better and I didn't have headaches again. I also think I wasn't sleeping very well at the time I had the headaches.
failed back surgery

Woodbury, NJ

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#6
Apr 18, 2008
 
i had a spinal fusion and discectomy at L3 just over a year ago. i no longer have the severe pain down my left leg but my lower back muscles are killing me 24/7. the pains shoots in my butt as if i'm being jabbed with a knife. i was an extremely advid weight lifter but now i'm limited to doing the meakest workouts (if any). when i push on my lower back muscles i see stars. it almost feels as if there is fluid on both sides of my lower back muscles. i refuse to take meds so i'm dealing with it naturally. my moods are always changing with the pain. I can't stand much, have a horrible time driving, can't bend much, can't get out of bed normally and have to throw my feet up to put socks/shoes on. my life has gotten so much worse since my surgery. depression because i use to be pretty active. can't really hold my newborn or play sports with my older son. the sad thing is my doctor said there's nothing else he can do. i was also told it was "failed back syndrome". i'm looking for a new doctor to try and find the problem and fix it (without meds). good to hear i'm not alone. it sucks!
kay

UK

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#7
Apr 21, 2008
 
i am 21 years old and i had spinal fusion 13 months ago in L5 S1 and since it had become alot worse i feel my doctors think i am putting it on. the pain rips through my back every time i move wheras beofre it was more of an ache. does anyone else have the same problem
jessie

Saint Louis, MO

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#8
Apr 23, 2008
 
i'm 20, and i had an endoscopic fusion about 4 years ago. SHOULD I HAVE MORE PAIN NOW THAN BEFORE SURGERY? i would really appreciate any of your opinions!!

i finally got in to see a specialist, but he barely spent 10min in the room & didn't even listen to my concerns. my back rarely hurt before surgery, but now i can't even sit for long periods of time. i'm studying abroad next year, and am really nervous not knowing if this is a real problem.
shell

AOL

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#9
Apr 24, 2008
 
jessie wrote:
i'm 20, and i had an endoscopic fusion about 4 years ago. SHOULD I HAVE MORE PAIN NOW THAN BEFORE SURGERY? i would really appreciate any of your opinions!!
i finally got in to see a specialist, but he barely spent 10min in the room & didn't even listen to my concerns. my back rarely hurt before surgery, but now i can't even sit for long periods of time. i'm studying abroad next year, and am really nervous not knowing if this is a real problem.
Hi Jessie,
You should get a second opinion and if you don't get an answer get another and so on. The more I talk to people I find out there are doctors who know something the other one didn't. After my surgery I didn't get better I got worse. I see pain specialist. But I am still in pain. My surgeon admitted my surgery failed to help the pain. Yes my spine is fused. But I have said before I have complex regional pain syndrome. It is a nuerological disorder and very painful. Besides that my back still hurts and the answer they keep coming up with involves surgery. Iam not satisfied with that so Iam going to keep plugging along till something better comees along. I feel for you and hope you get some answers before you go on your journey.
Good Luck
terri

Youngstown, OH

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#10
Apr 24, 2008
 
I had a laminotomy and nerve decompression 1 yr ago. Since then I have tremendous pain in my thigh and leg and lower back. It is so much worse since the surgery. There is NO quality of life anymore. Having surgery is the biggest regret that I have. It has changed my life, I cant walk far, cant sit, cant even cuddle in bed. I can barely work 3 hours a day. I could go on and on. Can doctors be sued for this?
failed back surgery

Woodbury, NJ

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#11
Apr 26, 2008
 
We are all disappointed with the outcome of our surgery. We all had high hopes going into surgery thinking we could lead a pain-free life but we ended up being the small percentage of failed surgeries (whatever they want to call it). In my case they fixed the break and xray/mri show it has healed accordingly. however, you can't see pain on an mri! my surgeon was supposed to be "the best guy in jersey!" i think everybody i speak to knows the best guy though. everybody is different with regards to back surgery. everybodies anatomy is somewhat different and we all heal differently. if anybody could drop a doctor's name that they have had any relief please post it. i'm going to try pain management but refuse to take the narcotics and/or habit forming meds. i refuse to live a life on pills. i was hoping surgery would fix the pain ... just made it much worse. please let us know if there are any doctors out there that actually care and try to fix the problem and not treat the pain.
RAE

AOL

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#12
Apr 28, 2008
 
backpain4life wrote:
I had my L5 S1 fusion nearly 4 years ago and I have never been the same since. I am unable to hold my children. I cannot walk throughout the mall without severe pain and numbness in my toes. I was wondering if anyone else has had these same side effects or any others. I am starting to think it was a botched surgery but I would like feedback to see if this is actually "normal". Thank you
i HAD A L5 S1 FUSION 2 YEARS AGO AND HAVE BEEN COMPLAINING OF PAIN SINCE NOTHING CHANGED, cOME TO FIND OUT THE DISC AT THAT LEVEL WAS NEVER EVEN REMOVED. If you still have pain something is not right get it checked out. best of luck
JANE

Los Angeles, CA

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#13
May 1, 2008
 
Ash wrote:
I had a spinal fusion and ever since have had headaches. Now, I am having a feeling like bubbles in my head, sometimes on the sides, and other times on the top of my head. I had a MRI on my head a while ago, and there isn't anything wrong there. I wonder if it is related to my back, because I am really starting to get nervous at this feeling. Does anyone experience the same thing or have any idea what could be going on?
YES, HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED. If the docs had you on your stomach during fusion surgery they prbably had your neck in a comprimising position. They probabaly hernaited your neck disc. When my neck disc herniated it felt like tiny bubbles in my head . IT was weird. Also it woould explain the headaches.
CrippledLongTime

Brooklyn, NY

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#14
May 3, 2008
 
Sad to say nothing has changed in the field of back pain since my Lami in 1991. In fact it has gotten worse with the war on pain Drs and their patients waged by the DEA. These doctors are being railroaded into not helping their patients for fear of being sent to jail for over 20 years. Your pain is not in your mind, the doctors use this as excuse to under-treatment of your pain.
Gimmebrake

Ashland, OR

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#15
May 12, 2008
 
I had L5-S1 fusion( spondylolisthesis) three weeks ago today (12 May 2008). I had instrumentation(rods/screws) and that new bone stimulating synthetic hormone instead of iliac crest bone graft. My left leg sciatica is 70% better, but now, my lower back and both "glutes" ['cheeks'] burn /stab/sharp pain 24/7.I actually hurt WORSE now, than I did before the surgery. I use a brace and a cane when I walk. The cane helps a lot, I shift from left hand to right had just to "even" things out. I can't sit for long periods. I can't walk for more than a couple of blocks, but that was better than right after operation, when 200 feet had me seeing stars. I need to get back to work; I've used up what little time off I had. I'm a Maintenance Supervisor at a School District; I NEED to be able to move around, climb ladders to get up to air-handling units to re-wire motors, actuators, pneumatic controllers. I have to monitor a LOT of construction work going on; I need to "keep after" some of my workers (union-protected entitlement). In short: I NEED to be able to get around. I can't do this with being in agony. I personally know of friend of mine who just so happened to have the same surgery as I, and he's two years POST operative, and he's on SERIOUS pain meds. He works under me, and I can tell just exactly what he's going through. He's in pain all the time. His doctors give him Oxcy,norco and a tens unit. My neurosurgeon tried to send me home with a less-strong med (vicodin 5/500) than what I came to him on, pre-surgery (Norco 10/350's) for intense sciatica. Needless to say, I had to make a fuss about that, and he did make "good" on the med change. I've tried to "bite the bullet" and "go without" the pain meds. That sucks, I was miserable. I was depressed and couldn't bend in the least..( I'm not talking about touching my toes, or being a human pretzel..I'm talking "within reason"-bending..like trying to get your socks on)
I'm going to see the NeuroSurgeon today. I'm REALLY NERVOUS about:(1) asking for more pain meds,(re-fill, or a different/stronger med) and:(2) being labeled "drug-seeking". I've read post after post, and it seems that the experiences people have are ALL OVER the dartboard. I've seen people on Oxcycontin for knee replacements, and I've seen people on Oxcycontin for 2 year old spinal fusions, and I've seen people on tylenol days after major fusion. I know we're all different, but dang-it..I do NOT want to suffer any more than I absolutely have to, it affects my family, my/our finances and my/our quality of life. It's affecting the "good" guys at work who are left pulling my load, while the "problem children" slack off to new lows, letting others pull more load while they slack off and hide. This is not good. I need to get back to work. I need to get this pain under control so I can get back to work. What pain meds are you guys being prescribed? What should I reasonably expect from my neurosurgeon? I do NOT want to "blow it" and get that "scarlet letter" of "drug seeker". I do NOT want to get muddle-minded on a litany of narcotics either, but dang-it, I need to find an "even keel" somewhere. I feel like somebody has broken a baseball bat across my lower spine and I need to get my rear back to work ASAP!! I can't be wracked in pain at work, but I can't be potato-head on the couch, either. I need to be able to move,climb in and out of the van, sit at my desk, correspond with contractors/vendors and nagging/whining principals that blame the vagaries of 100 year old antique heating systems on my and my understaffed department. I have to come back to work ready for a battle. I have to get back and put out fires that have lit in my absence. I need to do so without being wracked in pain. How do I do this and how do I approach that Dr.?
BARBS

Centereach, NY

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#16
May 14, 2008
 
my hubby just had spinal fusion, stenosis .....april 17 he says he is is in moe pain now he is very weak in his legs and lost alot of weight had a blood clot ......he is now saying his left leg is numb going down to his toes ....h eis full of anxiety because he says all he wants to know is this normal ..we see surgeon tomarrow any advice ?
C rippledLongTime

Brooklyn, NY

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#17
May 14, 2008
 
Gimme this may help, good luck!
Gimmie, here's some info on how Drs "flag" hope this helps and good luck!
Jan 1, 2003
Author Unknown
Painreliefnetwork.org
How to Get Red Flagged:
* Complain to your doctor when your medications don’t seem to ease your pain
* Have a preoccupation with getting your medication
* Report effects like increased energy, raised mood, or euphoria since you started taking pain medication
* Primarily find oxycontin, percocet, dilaudid, or lortab to be the most effective drug that helps your pain symptoms
* Express anxiety or depression about your pain when it doesn’t go away
* Look “unkempt”
* Have piercings and/or tattoos
* Talk to your doctor specifically about your medication during more than three visits
* Don’t tolerate many medications well
* Don’t get any relief from anything other than opioid medication
* Fill prescriptions of a similar kind by another doctor
* Have had problems in work, family, or other important family roles where people have said you have failed in your responsibilities
* Have problems with close relationships in your life
* Have a psychiatric history (Done therapy in the past)
* Have legal problems
* Have family who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse
* Have family members who suspect that your drugs may make you an addict
* Have family members who believe you are addicted
* Use more than 180mgs of opioids per day
* Prefer one type of medication administration than another (Prefer slow-acting pills instead of daily injections at the ER, or expressing an aversion to having a morphine pump installed in your body, for example)
* Become angry when your physician refuses to treat your pain
* Use other drugs at the same time as your pain meds (Including alcohol)
* Get medication from someone, not a doctor, for your pain
* Taken someone else’s pain medication
* Switch doctors until you find one who will treat your pain
* Call or visit your doctor often
* Have used more than one pharmacy to get your medication filled
* Ever miss appointments with your doctor
* Ever loose your medication or your prescriptions
* Only see a doctor a few times before you switched to a doctor who would treat your pain and reported that to your doctor
* Have a previous doctor who believed you are or were addicted to your medications
* Request specific medication for your pain
* Request your medication by name
* Request more medication
* Report no effects of other medications
* Have bad reactions to your medications
* Go to the ER a lot to get your pain treated
* Believe you might become addicted to medication
* Have contact with “street culture” or other “subcultures”
* Raise your dose once or twice before you see your doctor again because of increased pain
* Use your medication to treat another symptom that you have not previously mentioned to your doctor
* Save your medications even if you do not need them anymore
* Refuse some treatments or tests suggested by your doctor
Complete article at Painreliefnetwork.org
erin

Kansas City, MO

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#18
May 19, 2008
 
backpain4life wrote:
I had my L5 S1 fusion nearly 4 years ago and I have never been the same since. I am unable to hold my children. I cannot walk throughout the mall without severe pain and numbness in my toes. I was wondering if anyone else has had these same side effects or any others. I am starting to think it was a botched surgery but I would like feedback to see if this is actually "normal". Thank you


I am 22 years old and I had an anterior/posterior l5 s1 spinal fusion in november. I have been having a lot of trouble in my hip when i sit down for too long. I had a 5 month post op visit and my doctor said that i have too much bone growth posteriorly and it is crowding all of the nerves. I think that what is happening is that the foramen ( which is the space in which your spine and mininges are) is being compromised from the growth. I have 4 screws and 2 rods which they are taking out in july along with some bone. I work in the OR and i think a common problem after these surgeries is nerve damage/irritation. This can take months to years to go away. This is why you get numbness and tingling after the surgery. I think you should go and have a CT scan with contrast to look at the nerves and wether they are being compromised. That is how they decided that i needed a second surgery. The recovery time on a surgery to correct this problem is dramatically less (i was told a couple days in the hospital, no physical therapy and you dont have to wear a back brace). Hope this helps!!
erin

Kansas City, MO

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#19
May 19, 2008
 
Ash wrote:
I had a spinal fusion and ever since have had headaches. Now, I am having a feeling like bubbles in my head, sometimes on the sides, and other times on the top of my head. I had a MRI on my head a while ago, and there isn't anything wrong there. I wonder if it is related to my back, because I am really starting to get nervous at this feeling. Does anyone experience the same thing or have any idea what could be going on?
ASH,
I had a dural tear during my surgery (the covering of your brain and spinal cord holds cerebral spinal fluid) If these arent fixed you develop a csf leak which causes a headache. Usually these are fixed with a glue type substance during surgery or a blood patch then 2 days of bed rest. I know that usually these are identified early on because of the severity of the headaches or just from the surgeon identifying it perioperatively. Im not sure how long ago your surgery was or if this could be something to ask about but its worth a shot right?
William

San Marcos, TX

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#20
May 20, 2008
 

Judged:

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...but now, my lower back and both "glutes" ['cheeks'] burn /stab/sharp pain 24/7.I actually hurt WORSE now, than I did before the surgery...

I had the same surgery on April 22. I am experiencing the same pain as you have listed, with the exception of the ciatic nerve in the left leg being worse. The PT folks tell me the lower back pain and the glute pain will lessen the more exercise it gets, and I do notice a difference after doing the exercises.

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