Post Thoracic Spinal Fusion Pain
Jamie

Spring, TX

#61 Jun 20, 2013
Hi, I hurt my back 10 years ago on a home weight machine that was defective. I was doing squats with weiggts and received a bulging disc t7 t8. It hurt but not excructiating until I got pregnant with my first and only child 5 years ago and began liftibg car seats, baby, baby got bigger over time of course. My surgeon said I needed a thoracic fusion and microdiscectomy t 7 8. I gor that in 2009. I had to start lifting baby very soon after and it never fused just a big hole. So I suffered until she turned five this year and had another thoracic fusion. I had to have a chest tube and got a small hole in my lungs during surgery causing my stay in the hospital to be excruciating not to mention that my back pain right out of the gate was horrible. My mother said when they wheeled me into my room after surgery I came in sobbing. Well I'm six months out and in worse pain than what I went in with. I've had two hardware blocks and started to get some minimal relief onky lasting two weeks at a time. So now my doctor wants to remove my hardware in three months after I am fully fused. I really think he doesn't know where my pain is coming from. Anyone who still had pain after thoracic fusion and had to have hardware removed I would love to hear your experience and if you felt better. My dream is to have another child but the odds are slim if I continue to be in pain.
Joy

Goodlettsville, TN

#62 Jun 21, 2013
I crushed L1 from a horse back riding accident in Dec 09, in March 10 I had T11- L3 fused. Today I continue to run, of course not as easy as before and I work out in gym 4-5x aweek. Yes I have my bad & good days and I can certainly tell you when its going to rain. I have learned it is mind over matter. I am not at all saying there is not pain involved but staying active sure has helped instead of the normal gaining weight which just puts more stress on your back. I know its a tough road but don't give up, push through it and be the victor of this.
cmc13

Tucson, AZ

#63 Jun 21, 2013
curious who was wrote:
<quoted text>
I am curious who your surgeon is. I am thinking about surgery option T11-12
I just wanted to share my sons (25 yrs old) experience with his T11/T12 fusion. It was the worse experience he went through due to the doctor. His injury was mainly due to his athletic sports he played all his life and recent work from his twisting, etc. However since his 02/16/12 Fusion he has had other back issues and just went through 2 more back surgeries in the past 2 weeks but in his lower back. I think it was probably due to waiting to get the first surgery and compensating when walking, sitting etc. What I wanted to say is that the surgeon and location that just did his last 2 surgeries (becuz I would not allow his 1st doctor to touch him again) was with the Laser Spine Institute in Scottsdale. They have 5 locations, az, tx, pa, ok. and florida. They are "awesome" they are very organized and excellent in all departments from walking in the door to walking out 2 hours after surgery. They did both my sons surgeries orthoscopically compared to the 1st surgery. From what I understand they have a surgeon in the florida office that does the thoracic surgeries. My son's Dr. here in Scottsdale said depending on what needs to be done on the thoracic section they maybe able to do it cuz they due fusions also. You can go to the website and send an email to speak with them and they will contact you within 24 hours. While we were there, there were people that came from all over the U.S. and even a couple from Canada who had been there 5 years prior and fixed what the husband needed and came back to fix another area. I can't say enough about Laser Spine Institute. I wish I had known about them to do my son's T11/T12 section even if it meant flying to Tampa, Florida. We went through SO many doctors before his 1st surgery to find what we thought was the right one and now I know where we will go if (hopefully not) needs to go back again even if he needs to go back in to fix the T11/T12 area. I hope this helps some...
mary

Traverse City, MI

#65 Jun 28, 2013
[Would you mind telling me what hospital a and physician did you use. Also, what levels are you fused at. And how long ago?
Thank you
mary
mary

Traverse City, MI

#66 Jun 28, 2013
Hello,
Would you mind telling me what hospital and what physician did your surgery?
Also, what levels did you have fused?
Thank you,
Mary
Tony

Los Angeles, CA

#67 Jul 4, 2013
I had spinal fusion 2 years ago--t5 - t10 I have been fairly pain free for the last 2 years I never even take aspirin but all of a sudden I am getting tiny stinging sensations and some dull aches. I stared taking high blood pressure meds recently and see some reference on line that some meds cause back pain? So wonder if the meds are causing the aches. My surgeon was good--LA Dr. Cedars Sinai etc. and the surgery was emergency, but he never recommended any follow up just said call me if you have a problem. Though I feel he did a good job I don't think he he should be monitoring patients. He just seems to focused on doing surgeries and seems to think they are the solution to everything and I can't help feeling that I should be in a long term Physical therapy situation where my back is regularly evaluated and I am exercising with close supervision. I have heard that even if the fusion is successful that the nature of having fused vertebrae puts a strain on other vertebrae eventually possibly leading to more damage that will require surgery. I feel I should be doing something proactive but need a Dr.s guidance and haven't found it yet. Considering seeing a chiro maybe to just get some massages...he would have to see my xrays or mri I feel before he touches me
VGS

Elgin, IL

#68 Jul 17, 2013
THE MAIN REASON DRS DO MYLOGRAMS IS BECAUSE OF THE INSURANCE CO S IF YOU VE HAD CT SCANS AND MRI S MYLOGRAMS ARE NOT NECESSARY AND I UNDERSTAND CAN BE PAINFUL ALSO SURGERY SHOULD BE PERFORMED BY A COMPETENT NEUROSURGEON NOT AN ORTHO SURGEON
Chris

Camden, NY

#69 Aug 5, 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.
So great to read this! I just had T2--T9 done 6days ago and thought its done a rough week so far I am getting much better by the day and looked forward to getting off pain pills after 4 years. Though rehab I'm sure will be a challenge. I need my life back! My concern at this point was regaining flexibility as my back now feels like a cement block. But all an all I can tell im healing as when I cough or such it is much better day. Great positive post!
grace

Philippines

#71 Aug 24, 2013
Mick wrote:
I was fused t5/6 and like Cynthia, because of a mis-diagnosis, I had the surgery much later than I should have, so it looked very likely I would not regain all my motor functions.
Well that was in 2003 and I am happy to say that gradually over the years everything has returned to nearly normal.
It's been long and slow and life changing and the feeling is of things getting a little better every day rather than a little worse as used to be the case before surgery.
Mick
Hi..i had the same spinal fusion as yours. been suffering in fact walking with the aid of a cane for 2 yrs before i decided to have the surgery five months ago. until now i still cant walk or even stand. i do agree that each month passes by with a little improvement. how slow was ur recovery? thank you . woukd appreciate ur response as itt would bring hope for me. God bless!
Areasontostare

Cincinnati, OH

#72 Aug 29, 2013
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Drofamps

Bensalem, PA

#73 Sep 1, 2013
Andrew wrote:
Hi guys
I fell from a wall about 7 weeks ago and really hurt my back worst pain ever but I left it a few days. I eventually went to a chiro thinking they could sort me out and they sent me for x rays which showed three small wedge fractures in my t11 and t12 vertebrae. So I got a CT scan and an MRI and saw a spinal surgeon. He says I need to get spinal fusion from t11 to L1 I'm freaking out and reading alot of peoples comments on various sites I really don't want to get it done. Can anyone help? I work as an electrician and continued to work for about 5 weeks after the injury and just put up with the pain. They tell me recovery will be about 6 weeks and I should be able to start working after that.
How did you make out
Back to work?
Michelle

Easley, SC

#74 Oct 15, 2013
I would like to ask, please, what were the issues at hand causing such a large fusion!?
Chelsee wrote:
<quoted text> Thank you...thank you for giving positive remarks on your fusion. I have only read negative posts and those are scary to read a week before my own surgery. I am optimistic and confident in the surgeon doing my fusion. I do dread the long recovery time though.
Jim D

Minneapolis, MN

#75 Nov 5, 2013
jack H wrote:
<quoted text>
I had T2 to T7 fusion in Jan. 2011. I fractured T4, T5, and T9. T9 was left to heal on its own. I have two rods and 12 screws from T2 to T7. My spine could not support my body weight causing pain in my spine after standing more the 5 minutes. I had no nerve damage. Six months later my pain is gone from my spine but I still fill pain from the muscles rebuilding after the surgery. I exercise 2 to 3 times a day to work the muscles back; at the end of the day I am real stiff and sore. Doctor says I should go live life normal but avoid dropping down in a vertical direction. Jumping out of planes; jumping fences.
Jack
I had T3 to T8 fused in May 2013 due to a racing accident. I would be very interested in how long it took for the muscle paid to subside. After 3 months I was released to start light rehab. I also started hitting a few golf balls on the weekends.
Now after 5 months I am working out with my old trainer with full body (but lighter weights) program.
Massages and stretching three times a week with a therapist and daily stretching on my own.
Any input you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
I hope you somehow get this message.
Thanks
Jim
Claudia

Minneapolis, MN

#76 Nov 23, 2013
I had a triple thoracic fusion over ten yrs ago- due to deteriorating discs- and every year, despite swimming and walking every day AND taking massive amounts of
opiates, the pain increases geometrically, every year.
I do not want to spend the remaining years of my life as I have spent the last ten years,
Because of the controversy @ narcotics I fear that soon I will not only be in constant pain, but the pain will be unendurable because the only meds that make even a dent
in the amount of pain I feel will no longer be available to me.
I regret that I ever had the surgery and would advise anyone considering to do the same to get many, many second opinions before allowing anyone to cut into an area of the body which contains more nerve endings than any other part of their body.
Dana

Moultrie, GA

#77 Nov 25, 2013
Hi, I had a thoracotomy, corpectomy, and fusion with cage and BMP at T-12- L-1 6 weeks ago this Wednesday. Surgery was excruciatingly painful due thoracotomy and to chest tube. But after the chest tube came out and I began to move around more I had no pain to my area where the fusion was done, my legs had stopped aching and burning. Suddenly Sat night, while riding home in van, my legs started to hurt. Today my back is aching in the exact spot I had pain for 10 years. I'm about to panic. Of course I have had really bad pain from thoracotomy but not back or leg pain since surgery. This is new. I'm very upset and concerned. Has anyone else experienced complete relief from back pain after surgery only to have to come back? I am so terrified of living in that pain again. My husband keeps telling me to calm down that it is is just a part of the healing process but it came back so suddenly. I see my surgeon tomorrow morning. Just wondering if anyone else experienced this, and if it went away. Thanks
cba

Keyser, WV

#78 Nov 25, 2013
Dana wrote:
Hi, I had a thoracotomy, corpectomy, and fusion with cage and BMP at T-12- L-1 6 weeks ago this Wednesday. Surgery was excruciatingly painful due thoracotomy and to chest tube. But after the chest tube came out and I began to move around more I had no pain to my area where the fusion was done, my legs had stopped aching and burning. Suddenly Sat night, while riding home in van, my legs started to hurt. Today my back is aching in the exact spot I had pain for 10 years. I'm about to panic. Of course I have had really bad pain from thoracotomy but not back or leg pain since surgery. This is new. I'm very upset and concerned. Has anyone else experienced complete relief from back pain after surgery only to have to come back? I am so terrified of living in that pain again. My husband keeps telling me to calm down that it is is just a part of the healing process but it came back so suddenly. I see my surgeon tomorrow morning. Just wondering if anyone else experienced this, and if it went away. Thanks
Hi Dana ...
Sorry to hear about your recurrence of pain as I know how disheartening & scary that can be ... I had complete relief with cervical fusion only to have a couple of horrible flare-ups post-op. It was horrible and depressing to think that I had relief and then possibly going to back to the same situation I was in before surgery BUT it all resolved. I don't want to give you false hope and I know it can be so so horrible but you are still early in your recovery. Just keep doing only what the doctor says to do & take care of your body while it heals. I too have thoracic issues that are affecting my legs. Mine are at t10 t11, degeneration & stenosis. If you don't mind me asking, what caused yours? Did you have a herniaton?(I have small herniations that cause a lot of problems--apparently the thoracic canal is more narrow & smaller issues can cause bigger symptoms if they give you problems). Where did you have your surgery & was your surgeon an ortho or neurosurgeon? What treatment did you have prior to surgery, if any? Thanks for sharing & I empathize with you. My legs have gone out completely several times & the chest banding & burning are soooo horrible (my bladder was affected the last time but it came back). I am concerned about the discs blowing completely out and my legs not coming back. My one leg remains very weak.
Dana

Moultrie, GA

#79 Nov 25, 2013
cba wrote:
<quoted text>
Hi Dana ...
Sorry to hear about your recurrence of pain as I know how disheartening & scary that can be ... I had complete relief with cervical fusion only to have a couple of horrible flare-ups post-op. It was horrible and depressing to think that I had relief and then possibly going to back to the same situation I was in before surgery BUT it all resolved. I don't want to give you false hope and I know it can be so so horrible but you are still early in your recovery. Just keep doing only what the doctor says to do & take care of your body while it heals. I too have thoracic issues that are affecting my legs. Mine are at t10 t11, degeneration & stenosis. If you don't mind me asking, what caused yours? Did you have a herniaton?(I have small herniations that cause a lot of problems--apparently the thoracic canal is more narrow & smaller issues can cause bigger symptoms if they give you problems). Where did you have your surgery & was your surgeon an ortho or neurosurgeon? What treatment did you have prior to surgery, if any? Thanks for sharing & I empathize with you. My legs have gone out completely several times & the chest banding & burning are soooo horrible (my bladder was affected the last time but it came back). I am concerned about the discs blowing completely out and my legs not coming back. My one leg remains very weak.
You have made me feel so much better, thank you! I have cried all day thinking I may have to live with this pain again. I was in a REALLY bad car accident 20 years ago, then I was a paramedic for level 1 trauma center for 7 years, then an ER nurse for 6 years. Plus, my father and sister has terrible spine issues too so a lot of factors contributed to mine. I tried nerve root blocks, epidurals, you name it nothing helped I Iived in constant pain. Had SO many Dr tell me I would just have to learn to "live with the pain". I found Dr john Heller at Emory University Spinal clinic in Atlanta, Ga who specializes in thoracic problems. He sent me for myelogram, and immediately said I needed surgery. The disc had calcified completely and was attaching to ligaments. Surgery was EXTREMELY painful but I'm almost 6 weeks post op. Dr Heller said it would take a year to heal completely. TONS of restrictions for at least 9 months. But for 5 weeks I had no back/leg pain. I was so proud, and Saturday night it came back SO bad. But I will tell you Dr Heller did my sister's surgery and she can't even tell she ever had surgery, she has no pain, lost NO range of motion (cervical). An my incision scare is almost invisible. I'm just so scared because I hurt just like I did before surgery. I see Dr Heller at 12:20 tomorrow. I thank you so much for your reply, and I wish you the best of luck with your thoracic problems. Please keep in touch so we can compare notes. Thanks again for your reply.
Valerie R

United States

#80 Jan 12, 2014
Hi everyone, here's my story. I was injured at work. I had a pallet of Cereal (nearly 2 thousand lbs) fall on my head from 20 feet above. I had compression injuries on my left side. The worst was all the broken pieces of my spine. I ended up having a T3-T10 fusion, with rods and screws. Bone graft in T7, and a blood transfusion which was aborted do to high fever if I remember right. I have had a lot of pain each day. The first 2 years I was on Oxycotin, and because of the withdrawals when the pharmacy didn't have it in stock, I went to Norco, which helps me with pain management. When I have to work, cleaning the house or running errands my pain level is no lower than a 5 out of 10 The only time I am pain free is in my recliner, I have put on 40lbs and still gaining. I continue to have muscle spasms and my left rod gives me additional pain, I was getting injections in the area of left rod but it wasn't helping. So I deal with it. I've always had migraines but now they are more frequent and intense. Exercise is painful, Walking a long distance is out of the question, but I still push it and end up taking a couple of days to recover. I work part time to get out of the house, the depression is just as bad. So there's my pity party, I want my life back! I would like pain free days again. Everyone has a different reaction, some work some don't, mine was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Kim

Hazleton, PA

#81 Feb 3, 2014
I am a week out of spinal fusion surgery. Initially I felt better than I had imagined but now I'm getting quick sudden sharp pains in my back. They only last for a few seconds but take my breath away. I go back in another week to have my staples removed. I am walking but somewhat hunched over to my one side & I'm not certain why. I'm hopeful things will improve
Tom Riffe

Portland, OR

#82 Mar 5, 2014
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 had a thoracic spine fusion 1 1/2 years ago from T-1 through T-12 and still have a good deal of pain. I too walk like Frankenstein and it seems to look like I have a stick up my ass. Many activities are painful and am struggling now to find a new occupation. Without opiates, I would veg out at home all day. Opiates allow me to function reasonably well in day to day activities but nothing strenuous at all. I am just now beginning to enjoy love making again. Ultimately I traded one set of pains for another. Posture wise, it seems to have helped, but only in standing and walking. It has made any type of bending, twisting, stooping, crouching or any other position that is not standing upright or laying flat more difficult.

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