Post Thoracic Spinal Fusion Pain
Sandra Hardin

Ashland, KY

#41 Nov 11, 2012
Kalena wrote:
I am having a lot of pain, it is really difficult to try to explain that to your doctor who has no idea what it is like to go through this pain on a daily basis. Somedays are worse then others, today is horrible, but yesterday was tollerable. I wish that I could exercise, I had a T11- T12 compression that was less then a hair line away from paralyzing me, I also have 2 rods and 12 screws including a bridge like thing. I wish that Doctors could understand that the pain isnt going away. I was A certified Nursing assistant before my accident and the stupid nuro surg said that I could go back to doing my daily routies( I looked at him like he was crazzy) I cannot ever be a CNA again, it is too agonizing on my body and lifting people over 150LBS is out of the question. I just wish that the pain would go away, my surgery was February of 2011. when is it going to end, I am 23 years old and dont want to live my ife in pain.
I had surgery at T12 in Feb 2012, i am experincing so many problems sine the surgery, i have no life. If i am up walking very far, it seems I begin to feel very ill. My right leg upper thigh and groin I seem to have no control. My nero surgeon says he has done all he can do. I am giving it to Feb. if the nerves at T12 I feel it may be time for a pain pump. My quality of life is 0. Any other suggestions. Thanks Sandi
Alex

Hickory Hills, IL

#42 Nov 25, 2012
Thoracic Pain wrote:
Just wondering if anyone else has had Thoracic Spinal fusion and is still in alot of post-op pain?
I wanted to respond to your question. I am a 21 year old female who has had three spinal fusions that total to a fusion from T2 to T12. I also had rib deformities so they ended up removing some full ribs, pieces of ribs, and shaving down portions to avoid further internal deformities. I have been to every pain management clinic, physical therapist, chiropractor I could find, and I have even tried a variety of homeopathic treatments. The last surgery I had was when I was 19 and I am still not pain free, although I was never pain free to begin with so you should take that into consideration. I have been on hydrocodone-ibuprofen pain killers for most of my life due to the condition and the surgeries and due to the dependency the pain killers cause, I often go through bouts of taking myself off and entering withdrawal just to make sure that it doesn't control my life. The withdrawal from these medications can be hell, so if you can get by without taking them I would strongly urge you to do so because I take myself off when I know I will have a break but the pain often gets too bad again and I am forced to take them in order to function normally. Recently my dads boss got a fusion from L1-L2 and asked me on advice for what to do to make sure he is in as little pain as possible. Being someone who has had 3 of these surgeries, and being so young, and still being in this much pain, I'm not exactly the poster child for success... but I get by. My doctor, like most, was a dbag and didn't concern himself with post-op treatment so my mom and I were determined to figure out what we could do to make it better. I was just a little kid, so she didn't want me to be all messed up all because I had to get extremely painful surgeries to stand up straight and try to be pain free. From what I learned, I can say my best advice is to massage the area that is scarred as soon as you're allowed to touch it (usually when the tape/stitches fall off if you had dissolvable ones like me). This helps prevent scar tissue from forming. This area can be extremely tender so after my 2nd surgery I wouldn't let anyone touch it, but that caused the tissue to heal onto the muscle (which isn't normal since you can move your skin over your muscle normally) and that made it painful for me to do anything (in my 3rd surgery they had to reverse the damage and separate the skin from the muscle which hurt like hell too, so avoid it at all costs). Have someone massage the area around the scar to prevent the build up of scar tissue, and although it is uncomfortable shift the skin around over the tissue so that it doesn't heal together. Second piece of advice: see a physical therapist if you are out of shape, or if the recovery period for your particular fusion will be long enough to ruin the fact that you're currently in shape. It is important if you have T fusions to maintain your core because it significantly helps with pain since your core muscles support the implant and your body is forced to sit up straight if you had a fusion like mine, so it helps to keep that comfortable. If you have had an L fusion, flexibility is extremely important, it's important for any fusion, but the twisting movement is reduced with T fusions, while the bending movement is reduced with L fusions, so you want to maintain any range of motion you have left. I would suggest pool therapy. I found one by me and it's fantastic since the water takes away any gravitational pressure and stretches you out gradually. Lastly, I would just like to say dealing with this surgery isn't easy, it's been a long road and I still don't see the end, but it's easier if you take your health into your own hands, and do whatever you can to improve your situation and always find a positive! But yea feel free to ask any additional questions... hope this helps.
Alex

Hickory Hills, IL

#43 Nov 25, 2012
Sorry I'm a blabber mouth but I felt bad reading a lot of these and I would like to add for all of you that are told you need the surgery and what not, it is not a death sentence! I know that a lot of people here are still in a great deal of pain, myself included, but my curvature was past the surgery line when I was in 3rd grade so I had no other option. I was braced for a couple years but that didn't even slow it down. I was told going into the first surgery that there was a chance I would never stand straight or walk properly, I was also told I would never grow taller that 4'10. Although it's 3 major fusion surgeries, 13 years of my life, and a massive fusion later I have run in two marathons, and I'm 5'1 (which is still tiny but it's better than my original 4'10!). I am in a lot of pain, but these situations remind you what you can be thankful for and running now is so much more valuable to me because I knew that at one time I almost lost the ability to walk so running was definitely out of the question. There is no reason to give up hope, and until then take it one day at a time.
Jeff

Rochester, UK

#44 Nov 26, 2012
Have just left hospital after having T11/T12 disectomy with fixation, had a thoracotomy also ( Enter through the rib cage and remove part of the rib).

I am nearly three weeks post op now and still in a lot of pain mainly due to the thoracotomy, but pain is slowly decreasing.The operation it self went well and my consultant said he believes i will make a full recovery.

Reading the comments all over the web I was very worried before my op, what I will say is even though it is initially very painful,I am now seeing a daily decrease in the pain and I am starting to reduce the medication slowly, I am at the same time getting more mobile( walking round the house and do light stretches as instructed by physio).

It is important to do as your consultant and physiotherapist instruct, I would say to anyone worried per-op, stay positive and strong and get all the facts and information you can from your medical staff to prepare for post op recovery and rehabilitation.
dipu

Europe

#45 Dec 11, 2012
any medicine available for spinal injury help me ?
dipu behera

Europe

#46 Dec 11, 2012
any medicine availble for spinl injury plz infrm [email protected] my fb id
grizzly

United States

#47 Jan 11, 2013
Meghan wrote:
I'm reading all of your posts, because my doctor is recommending that I should have the surgery to fuse T7 with the spinal cord above and below. I was in a bad car accident three years ago that resulted in a compression fracture. They recommended surgery at the time, but I refused since I did not have health insurance at the time. Now three years later, I'm having pain everyday with normal activities. I say normal, but I have a one year old that I'm currently taking care of alone. My husband is deployed at the moment. Some days are better than others, but the bad days are what is tempting me to have the suurgery. I'm only 24, and I'm worried that if something goes wrong, I have a very long time to live with it. At the same time, my life is miserable with the pain. I'm really scared and I would love to talk to someone who has had the same surgery.
go for surgery your young and you don't want to wait till the nerves die and you loosemotorcontrol
Kat

Bergen, Norway

#48 Jan 24, 2013
Hi, I don't want to sound overly optimistic, but my story is a bright one so far!

I had my fusion T11-L1 after a bad crushed fracture of T12 which was extremely close to leaving me paralyzed. Maybe I am just lucky or have supernatural patience, but they stopped my morphine on day 2 after surgery because I hardly used it and a week after I stopped oral painkillers too (and I had other surgeries and few broken bones at the time). Trying to sit was the most painful part of the exerience (pain not just like a stitches pain in the operated back, but excruciating pain in muscles of thighs and buttocks and lower, seemingly unaffected, back), but in less than two weeks I was siting so well that I was able to fly 12 hours to get home (accident happened on vacations). It's been 9 weeks now and fingers crossed, I can't complain about my back at all. I can hardly feel any motion restrictions and only minor discomfort from muscles moving around the rods. It's not even disturbing, just a different, unusual sensation which I think I will get used to.
I still didn't start physiotherapy because I don't walk (both feet and ankle broken), but I don't feel like I lost much strength in my torso. I am able to take care of myself in a wheelchair (involves lifting on stretched hands out of comfort zone), cook, do all the housekeeping, pushing myself up to get to the toilet, etc. I still have numb buttocks and thighs, they told me that's from damaged nerves in the incident, but it's getting much better.

I'm very grateful to the surgeons and happy to be saved from paraplegia and happy that I had it done so well, touch the wood.
Of course, each case is different, and if you had an accident and not a chronic condition, you don't get any other options.
Wish you all the best!
Kat

Bergen, Norway

#49 Jan 24, 2013
Sorry, forgot to mention, night time was really bad, I couldn't sleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time, waking up in extreme discomfort, numbness, feeling of ants crawling. I can't call it pain though, it was just very disturbing, tossing and turning and crying, and I didn't know how to lay down to be relieved. With legs bandaged and bad blood circulation and numbness, and external fixators sticking out it was even more complicated to make myself comfortable. I tried different beds and no difference.
Because it wasn't real pain, no painkillers could help.
It just slowly got better with time. I'm still waking up twice per night, but just need to change position and then I fall asleep again almost instantly.

But again, I don't know if this is due to surgery or due to nerves damage caused by initial injury. All I know is, as my lower body numbness gets better, I sleep much better too.
Baeb

United States

#50 Feb 13, 2013
Short and sweet ,, had srews and rod from T4 to T10 on march 30 2012. My question is still a lot pain level 6-7. The surgery was needed I was bent over and I am happy to say I am almost straight up my question is there any good excersies a person can do? I have been laid up for about 5 yrs until a fine surgeon finnaliy solved my problem
Jackie

Livingston, LA

#51 Feb 14, 2013
I've posted earlier. Here's an update. I was about to get a spinal cord stimulator for continuing pain in my surgery area plus new pain in legs and feet. But it was progressing and I asked my pain management doctor to send me to someone to make sure I don't have something that needs to be addressed first. Good thing I did! Turns out I never fused at the bottom (T12) and I have a broken screw. I see the surgeon tomorrow to plan surgery. He also wants to look at the rest of my fusion, i'm guessing to make sure there are no more broken screws. The x-ray tech was overwhelmed that day. I got my ct-myelography report and it clearly says bony masses from t5-t11. So the surgeon i went to to make sure i was ok, kind of let me down. As long as this is the only problem, i'll let this ortho spine surgeon do the fix. If there's anything higher, i'll need to find a neurosurgeon.
Jeff

UK

#52 Feb 18, 2013
UPDATE.

Hi I posted back in Nov 12 just after my T11/T12 disectomy with fixation and thoracotomy. I am now back at work with almost no pain at all, I am cycling going on long walks ( 6/10 miles) swimming ect and have never felt better. I am off all medications.

Best thing I ever did was have my surgery, at the time I was really hesitant after reading all the horror story's on the net, all I can say is keep positive take your medication when you need it and once you are able to exercise work hard at it and it will pay.

Early on I found swimming and walking in the pool was good as it really built up your core muscles round the spine. Walking is also very good for you early on build it up every couple of days you will feel the benefits in a matter of weeks.

Good luck to everyone it is a long hard road but with the right motivation and hard work you can get your life back.

Best regards

Jeff

UK
Lisa

Manchester, UK

#53 Feb 20, 2013
My boyfriend is currently in hospital after having t8 - t11 fused with Rods. He is in a lot of pain at nights which is preventing him from sleeping. He had the surgery on Monday. Is this normal? Does anyone also have a rough idea of when he'll be able to go back to work? He's 30, does a lot of exercise on a daily basis and was walking less than 24 hours after surgery
Jeff

Saint Helens, UK

#54 Feb 21, 2013
Lisa wrote:
My boyfriend is currently in hospital after having t8 - t11 fused with Rods. He is in a lot of pain at nights which is preventing him from sleeping. He had the surgery on Monday. Is this normal? Does anyone also have a rough idea of when he'll be able to go back to work? He's 30, does a lot of exercise on a daily basis and was walking less than 24 hours after surgery
Hi Lisa,

I had T10 & T11 fused with rods and disk removed and bone graft. I was in a lot of pain first 2/3 weeks then pain slowly subsides. Sounds like your boyfriend is doing the right thing getting mobile as early as poss. I found that the quicker I got moving the better. I am now walking cycling and swimming 10 weeks after op, I am going back to work on the 4 March. Everybody is different and had different healing times ect, had my op at RVI Newcastle under Mr Gibson excellent consultant who has performed two ops now on my spine and hopefully the last. Tell your boyfriend to stay positive and so his physio and plenty of exercise when he is able and I'm sure he will be up and about in no time. Good luck.
ryan

Worthville, KY

#55 Mar 24, 2013
rab wrote:
Hi--this is my 1st experience w/ a chatroom, so I hope I'm doing this correctly. I had spinal stenosis w/fusion back in '06 (L3-S1), & this went very well. 2 yrs. later I had surgery (double rods, double screws/vertebra)to correct spondylolithesis (fusion T10-L3) in June '08. I told my dr. at my 2-mo follow-up I wasn't doing well, esp. trying to get comfortable sleeping, and "eliminating" (no one told me Dilaudid was so constipating--had to self-administer Fleets..) X-rays showed T10 shattered, screw came out and ribcage pitched forward. In Sept.'08, had 3rd surgery to correct broken back (T3-T9; so I'm fused T3-S1. So over a year later, I feel as if my back is completely encased in a brace, still 20% out of alignment, Frankenstein-walking as if I'm carrying a heavy door on my back and pain as if all the tissues in my back are being stretched. All I'm told is that the hardware "looks good." PT is a joke. And b/c I can't twist or bend, exercise is difficult; thus I've put on 15 or so lbs, and at 4'10" (lost a few along the way), this is not good. Massage hasn't helped, either. So yes, I'm in constant pain/discomfort over a year later. I'm also interested in feedback from others who have had thoracic fusion. I used to teach dance and aerobics--now I can't even walk or stand well. Pity party starts in 5 minutes ;/
I myself broke my back, and am fused through my t2-t10,the pain you have described is exactly what i feel aswell. i had the sugery in 2001 and let me be honest with now.. The pain that you are in does not get any better,in fact over time you will develope more arthritic pain and it is not fun, as you already know. I,m in constant discomfort,it is hard to live like this but what can you do.i have dealt with this for 12 years and i am now turning 35, the hard part is that you do not get to see the doc that did the sugery about a year after. so its hard to find a doc that completely understands what your feeling because lets face it, It is hard to describe what you are feeling right,there is so many different nerves firing back there you do not no what to say.And if you do they look at you like WHAT?
Flory

Saint Petersburg, FL

#56 Apr 4, 2013
Doing Well wrote:
I was fused T2-T12 9 months ago. I feel like a jerk replying, because it sounds like you are all having issues, but I also want to reply so that others reading this can hear something positive. Before I had my surgery, I only found terrifying stories online about how bad things were post-op, but honestly, it's been much better than expected. I still have to be careful and am not to lift more than 10lbs for the time being (since it hasn't been a year yet), but I don't have any pain. I was off of pain medication after 5 weeks, pregnant after 8 weeks, and taking tap dancing classes after 12 weeks. At this point I am 7 months pregnant, using an elliptical or treadmill 2-3 times per week, taking tap class 2 times per week, and taking a modern dance class 1 day a week. Again, I'm being careful and following the advice of my doctor, but things are much better now than they were prior to surgery. My pain is better. My posture is better. Life is better. A few changes had to happen and I'm not fully recovered yet as far as my activity level and flexibility, but I had (and am having) a very positive experience. I think getting off the meds, laying down when needed, and trying to be as active as possible have helped me recover so well.
.

Your post was very helpful for me. Thank you for sharing. It's been 9months since my surgery where I had T1-T12 fused to correct scoliosis. Can I ask the reason for your fusion?
Thank you hope things are going well!
MIKE R

United States

#57 Apr 30, 2013
I had back pain n my upper back and it was getting worse. After 2 years of x rays, mri's, and ct scans I had a discogram done. My discs t6,t7,t8,t9 were gone. After a appt I was told my options. After talking to my wife we decided that I would have the surgery. After an 8 hour surgery and 9 hours of recovery I had an infection. I felt like I got hit by a train. They put 2 rods and 8 screws as well as a battery with wires to stimulate my back. Pre op I averaged 4 to 5 hours of sleep due to pain in my upper back. My primary Dr prescribed me sleeping med. It didn't help much. A year after my surgery they took the battery and wires out of my back. I have more pain n my back now and still sleep 5 hours a night. I wanted to know if anybody has the same problem I do. The constant pain and 4 to 5 hours of sleep still remain. When I wake up I feel like the tin man. It sucks to know when I wake up i'm going to be stiff and in pain. I wanted to know if anyone has the similar problems I do.
Sharon

Traverse City, MI

#58 May 4, 2013
Christiane wrote:
I had a T10/T11 discotomy just 2 weeks ago. I had spent the last few months losing sensation in both legs and thought it might be MS.
In August I went to the ER because the sensations in my legs were disappearing so fast and my walking was awful. They did an MRI and saw I had severe spinal cord compression at T10/T11 in my thoracic spine and I needed emergency surgery.
They said since I was deteriorating so fast (in mere months) I would be in a wheelchair or lose control of bowel functions within another few weeks.
The cord compression was so bad that they had to cut in to me from my side/chest rather than the back I had to have a lung collapsed, luckily got to keep my ribs but had them cracked and then had the doctors remove have of my T10&t11 vertabrae and fuse it with a metal plate as well as a donor bone. I found the chest tube to be the worst pain of anything.
I was not in much pain after the surgery. They gave me great pain management in the hospital.
I was given a 50/50 chance of walking again and am walking better now than before the surgery.
They prescribed me oxcycotin once I went home. I was not impressed with the Oxycotin. I didn't find it was very effective for pain and it also caused constipation which is the last thing you want to deal with when you have other areas in pain.
I then asked the doctor if I can go to Extra Strength Tylenol as needed and they said I could try. It hurts a lot some times but I would rather not deal with narcotics and constipation pain/cramping.
I am having a hard time sleeping on my back because that is a little painful but yet it is the only option. You can't sleep any other way.
To anyone who needs to have the surgery - good luck. It is not all bad. It gets better every day and I am only 2 weeks out from my surgery. I am hoping that in the next 4 weeks I should be able to bend and move easier and with less pain. I have my check up with the surgeon Oct 10th.
I am scared about the future and whether I would ever have to do the surgery again but the plan is to be very careful with my body from now on. I am not sure why my disk herniated in the first place but I don't want it to happen every again.
How are you doing now?

I just had this exact surgery 7 weeks ago. The pain is getting better each day. I am starting to walk outside some and doing stretches. I am still on pain meds and napping a lot. I did have a section of rib removed and they ground it up and used it for the fusion. Most of my pain is in the rib area. My back gets fatigued feeling, but laying down helps that. I am still having burning in my leg, but it is better than before surgery. My spinal cord was almost completely collapsed in the area of T7. The Neuro surgeon couldn't believe I was walking. Not sure either what caused it. Took a fall on my bike 8 years before symptoms started..
curious who was

Minneapolis, MN

#59 May 12, 2013
Doing Well wrote:
I was fused T2-T12 9 months ago. I feel like a jerk replying, because it sounds like you are all having issues, but I also want to reply so that others reading this can hear something positive. Before I had my surgery, I only found terrifying stories online about how bad things were post-op, but honestly, it's been much better than expected. I still have to be careful and am not to lift more than 10lbs for the time being (since it hasn't been a year yet), but I don't have any pain. I was off of pain medication after 5 weeks, pregnant after 8 weeks, and taking tap dancing classes after 12 weeks. At this point I am 7 months pregnant, using an elliptical or treadmill 2-3 times per week, taking tap class 2 times per week, and taking a modern dance class 1 day a week. Again, I'm being careful and following the advice of my doctor, but things are much better now than they were prior to surgery. My pain is better. My posture is better. Life is better. A few changes had to happen and I'm not fully recovered yet as far as my activity level and flexibility, but I had (and am having) a very positive experience. I think getting off the meds, laying down when needed, and trying to be as active as possible have helped me recover so well.
I am curious who your surgeon is. I am thinking about surgery option T11-12
Sarah

Hays, KS

#60 Jun 8, 2013
Hey (: I just had my spinal fusion May 15th. It's been almost a month now since the surgery. I had the fusion from my T4 to L2. The surgery to help my scoliosis. While having surgery, my surgeon found out I was missing my T12. But any way, it's now June 9th, and I'm having this really bad muscle pain in my side. I can't do anything without it hurting: sitting, getting out of my car, standing. I'm 17, so maybe I'll heal fast, but it's bothering me so much. I guess since I'm still in my youth I'm doing things I shouldn't. I'm just hoping I can go back to my active life soon. I know I won't be able to play sports my Senior year though. I might push for softball in the Spring though. Have a great day guys (:

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