Disk replacement & spinal fusion (L4-L5): Post-op concerns

Posted by user_chf56161a @user_chf56161a, Nov 22, 2018

My surgery was done at Mayo, Rochester. It was 8.5 hours long. I can’t remember minute to minute.
The pain is horrible. They only gave me pain meds for 10 days and I have 2 left. Everyone said the first 30 days are the worst. The best things I bought before was the grabber, I drop anyway, toilet riser,
Slippery pajamas. Any suggestions this is rough.

@suerc

I don't know if any of you remember me. I broke my back last year in a boating accident. Crushed and shattered L4. They wanted to do a 4 level fusion but I would not let them. I found a Dr. That would help me recover with Pt. I go to the Y now swim, walk s mile and can ride the bike. I still have a lot of pain and get tired by the e d of the day. But I think it's better than a fusion. Some day down the line I may need it. Here is my new problem. In February we were on vacation in Texas I fell flat on my face didn't hurt my back, however I had cervical spinal stenosis a out 6 yrs ago. My neck is killing me. I do ha e a fusion in my neck. I got a concussion from this fall. My pain dr. Xrayed for anything wrong they did t see any thing going g. How e er to ct or MRI. She ordered a esi injection. And occipital injection for headache. Got better now back with a vegengace. I don't want more surgery. What would you do

Jump to this post

@suerc It sure sounds like you have had a time of it. If I read your post correctly, you do have a prior fusion of your neck is that correct?
I would press the doctor for a MRI. The injections she ordered were just temporary fixes to give you pain relief. Yes, sometimes the ESI reduces the swelling enough to provide long term pain relief. My husband had fusions done on c spine and t spine. If this was happening to him, I'd be taking him to the ER (based on his pain level) get a MRI and see his surgeon right away. It's possible that you may now need a fusion at the next level. Or perhaps you need another round of injections. @suerc Like I tell my husband.."we need to wrap you in bubble wrap to walk around the house!"

REPLY

I am sorry to hear you are hurting so much. I guess if I were you I would get current imaging of my back to see what is going on and talk to my surgeon. I don't blame you for not wanting a fusion. However, I just had one 8 weeks ago and I am doing better. I am able to go on walks, shop, coach my kids soccer team. Pain is no fun and it wears you down. The big question I would would want answered is will the fusion help me with my pain? If it will I would do it. As we get older I realize some pain is inevitable, but if the pain is really affecting your quality of life, something should be done to help you out. Good luck to you, I hope you find relief for your pain soon.

REPLY
@salsa

I am sorry to hear you are hurting so much. I guess if I were you I would get current imaging of my back to see what is going on and talk to my surgeon. I don't blame you for not wanting a fusion. However, I just had one 8 weeks ago and I am doing better. I am able to go on walks, shop, coach my kids soccer team. Pain is no fun and it wears you down. The big question I would would want answered is will the fusion help me with my pain? If it will I would do it. As we get older I realize some pain is inevitable, but if the pain is really affecting your quality of life, something should be done to help you out. Good luck to you, I hope you find relief for your pain soon.

Jump to this post

@salsa
I am 100% in line with your suggestions.
I had cervical surgery to REPLACE C5/6, followed by lumbar surgery, less than 6 months later.
I had an X-LIFT FUSION on L3/4.
I had been taking shots for years and they were no longer helping for any period of time.
I had no quality of life!
Just as you said, the pain 24/7 wore me down!
I decided it was time to have surgery.
****On the side, I have no medical proof, but I think that the issues I am currently having with severe nerve damage came from waiting too long for surgery. As you know, the shots do not cure anything, they just hide the pain.
The cervical surgery was a breeze.
I was on pain meds just a couple of days and I felt like myself within a week.
Of course, I was far from being healed.
Now, the lumbar surgery is a very different surgery.
The pain was HORRENDOUS!!!!
For 3 months I suffered day in and day out.
Then one day, I woke up and the pain was gone!!!
I found out that when they work on the lumbar, muscles are moved and possibly cut, which causes the pain.
That happens in the thigh/groin area.
It has been 9 months since my surgery and I am PAIN FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@sandytoes14

@suerc It sure sounds like you have had a time of it. If I read your post correctly, you do have a prior fusion of your neck is that correct?
I would press the doctor for a MRI. The injections she ordered were just temporary fixes to give you pain relief. Yes, sometimes the ESI reduces the swelling enough to provide long term pain relief. My husband had fusions done on c spine and t spine. If this was happening to him, I'd be taking him to the ER (based on his pain level) get a MRI and see his surgeon right away. It's possible that you may now need a fusion at the next level. Or perhaps you need another round of injections. @suerc Like I tell my husband.."we need to wrap you in bubble wrap to walk around the house!"

Jump to this post

This is what my husband says. They need to just wrap me in bubble wrap

REPLY
@grandmar

@salsa
I am 100% in line with your suggestions.
I had cervical surgery to REPLACE C5/6, followed by lumbar surgery, less than 6 months later.
I had an X-LIFT FUSION on L3/4.
I had been taking shots for years and they were no longer helping for any period of time.
I had no quality of life!
Just as you said, the pain 24/7 wore me down!
I decided it was time to have surgery.
****On the side, I have no medical proof, but I think that the issues I am currently having with severe nerve damage came from waiting too long for surgery. As you know, the shots do not cure anything, they just hide the pain.
The cervical surgery was a breeze.
I was on pain meds just a couple of days and I felt like myself within a week.
Of course, I was far from being healed.
Now, the lumbar surgery is a very different surgery.
The pain was HORRENDOUS!!!!
For 3 months I suffered day in and day out.
Then one day, I woke up and the pain was gone!!!
I found out that when they work on the lumbar, muscles are moved and possibly cut, which causes the pain.
That happens in the thigh/groin area.
It has been 9 months since my surgery and I am PAIN FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

Thank you all

REPLY

My BFF in Yuma AZ also says that about me!!

REPLY

Hi, I am MikeBR a 68 year old male, who was in a bad car wreck well really 2 bad ones about 2 yr’s apart. My cervical was messed up but in the 70’s & up till now, I have been told about 50% chance of being wheelchair bound, so I just put up with the headaches, dizziness. Then when Fibromyalgia hit me after right shoulder surgery in 1992 the company I worked for was truly helpful. The company Doc had me on Eli it 2mg for 3 years and that kept the trigger and tender points at bay but that came to a end and I saw all kinds of Doctors, specialist, VA Doc’s just way to many to say and so many epidermal injections and also trigger and tender point injections. Anyway after about 5 years trying to stay working but I think I was on family medical leave act than I was at work. Finally they being the company I was employed with said it was time to get on disability so I did. Then Mom who was in Florida with Dad, well she fell and broke her hip, she was just about 80 and so was Dad and he couldn’t pick her up anymore. So me my wife and son all came from Indiana to help. At that time all I could do is do a little yard work, wife did almost everything except pick her up and our son did that. Well we were here when Hurricane Charlie hit I was in yard trying to pick up limbs, this was 8/13/2004 (Friday) anyway I had one of my dizzy spells fell and broke my right for arm and broke a congenital bone fuse at the bottom of lumbar and after the first few weeks the lower back pain eased up, so I thought all would be OK except the neck trouble. Anyway in 2018 the pain in the lumbar area, especially the sciatica in the right but cheek, then down the right leg, so I started getting more epidural shots with no help and just made Fibro madder. After a 1 1/2 of trying to find a Doctor that could kill the sciatica nerve. I though I had heard that could be done and again Doctor after Doctor, no help with pain except some pain pills. Finally I found a pain Doc who was referred by my primary and he started telling me where the pain was and what helped, like pushing a grocery cart and what helped the most was my Father’s 4 wheel walker with seat and hand breaks, now that thing helps the most. The pain Doctor told me that before I told him what helped and what didn’t, now he did go by MRI’s. He started by doing facet join injection, never had a Dr even mention that before, so I thought he was the one. The relief helped for about 5 to 10 days then came right back. After a few nerve blocks that only lasted a few days he said he thought a spacer between L4 & L5 would fix the extramarital pain in butt check and the burning in shin also the burning in toes on both feet(not all way burning toes) right toes go numb often not to uncomfortable except for the sheet on bed bothers it But the pain in the right shine burns like fire. Well I am a USAF vet and was talking with her and she mentioned that some people loved the response and others said it made worse. I know this was way to long in getting to the point as to ask has anybody had this done or know of somebody that had had a spacer between two disk. The only reason that this surgery hasn’t already happened is the supplemental insurance with Medicare. Also this virus has stopped surgeries here in the southwest part of Florida. Aetna insurance is being real hard to work with this year even trying to get prescriptions, that is new ones, just same problem just different name or Pharmaceutical company. We have been using this supplement for a few years now but boy did things take a turn for the worst. Anyway if anybody has knowledge about this kind of surgery. After the surgery of right shoulder and then the Fibromyalgia showed it’s ugly face, I swore no more surgery but this pain and especially shin area. I can’t put my right foot on gas or break peddle for very long, cruise control helps a lot but in town you don’t get to use that very often. I love to drive and our dream is to travel across and see more of this beautifully country We even bought a RV last fall and that was when the pain in shin got so much worse, use to be ot the right side of shin now right center shin.

REPLY

Well sure am sorry for you and makes me wonder if I should have the spacer between L4 & L5. Hope you get better soon. You know it is such a shame that people need to have the edge taken off the pain but Doctors are too afraid to prescribe pain meds.

REPLY

Hi user_ chf from Georgia from Australia. Had spinal L4-5 and Sacroiliac pain 10/10–that means you are simply stopped and can't move. Medicos call it "excruciating pain". If it is that — ask your Nephrologist (kidney guy) "what is the upper level of pain meds (name) can I take per day , that will not mess with my kidneys" Most important !!
He will give you the meds and levels. How to taper on and taper off use also. Then you can "go for it". I was able to totally stop the 10/10 pain the entire day and night with his recommended meds — with confidence – for four months. Having now, Radio Frequency Ablation operation. RFA. Minimally invasive for the elderly. Yes.

REPLY
@australia

Hi user_ chf from Georgia from Australia. Had spinal L4-5 and Sacroiliac pain 10/10–that means you are simply stopped and can't move. Medicos call it "excruciating pain". If it is that — ask your Nephrologist (kidney guy) "what is the upper level of pain meds (name) can I take per day , that will not mess with my kidneys" Most important !!
He will give you the meds and levels. How to taper on and taper off use also. Then you can "go for it". I was able to totally stop the 10/10 pain the entire day and night with his recommended meds — with confidence – for four months. Having now, Radio Frequency Ablation operation. RFA. Minimally invasive for the elderly. Yes.

Jump to this post

Hi again user_chf from Georgia from Australia. Yes, dizzy. I was dizzy a lot on pain killers. Take care..when you stop it will go away!!

REPLY

Hello @efgh1020 – I thought I would reply to your private message in this discussion – Disk replacement & spinal fusion (L4-L5): Post-op concerns – so that you could meet @mikebr, @australia and other members with similar conditions. You mentioned in your private message that you had spinal fusion surgery of L3-L5 to relieve compression of the right femoral nerve caused by stenosis.

You may also find the following discussions helpful:
— What are people's experiences with spinal fusion surgery?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/spinal-fusion-2/
— Spondylolisthesis: Spinal Fusion at L-4-L5: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/spinal-fusion-at-l-4-l5-due-to-spondylolisthesis/
— Spinal Fusion: Upcoming surgery, what was your experience, any tips?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/new-2/
— Low Back Pain May Be Sacroiliac Joint Inflammation, Special Treatment: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/low-back-pain-may-be-sacroiliac-joint-inflammation-needing-special-treatment-the/

If I read correctly, you mentioned in your first post you were doing physical therapy exercises to maintain your mobility and were seeking information on a diagnosis so that your occupational therapists can provide a treatment plan. Is this correct?

REPLY
@johnbishop

Hello @efgh1020 – I thought I would reply to your private message in this discussion – Disk replacement & spinal fusion (L4-L5): Post-op concerns – so that you could meet @mikebr, @australia and other members with similar conditions. You mentioned in your private message that you had spinal fusion surgery of L3-L5 to relieve compression of the right femoral nerve caused by stenosis.

You may also find the following discussions helpful:
— What are people's experiences with spinal fusion surgery?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/spinal-fusion-2/
— Spondylolisthesis: Spinal Fusion at L-4-L5: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/spinal-fusion-at-l-4-l5-due-to-spondylolisthesis/
— Spinal Fusion: Upcoming surgery, what was your experience, any tips?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/new-2/
— Low Back Pain May Be Sacroiliac Joint Inflammation, Special Treatment: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/low-back-pain-may-be-sacroiliac-joint-inflammation-needing-special-treatment-the/

If I read correctly, you mentioned in your first post you were doing physical therapy exercises to maintain your mobility and were seeking information on a diagnosis so that your occupational therapists can provide a treatment plan. Is this correct?

Jump to this post

No, I'm already going on recommendations from my surgeon and occ.therapsts at hospital.

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment