Chronic pain and spinal fusion

Posted by lynn12 @lynn12, Aug 16, 2018

Hi
I am wondering if there is anyone out there has experienced what I am dealing with? In 2006 I had a spinal fusion from T2 through L4. Actually the fusion failed and after one year had to be repeated, this time using a bone morphosizing protein that ensured fusion. Like most who have endured a surgery like this I am left with chronic pain. I have through the years also developed quite a dowagers hump. The surgeon explained that my problem went up so high that she actually bent the rod a bit forward during surgery otherwise noting that I may become off balance. As the years have gone by this hump is looking more and more pronounced. I absolutely hate it and feel so ugly, can anything safely be done or does it involve another dangerous surgical procedure? As you can imagine the thought of more surgery is frightening to me. What complicates matters is I am on Warfarin (blood thinner) due to aortic valve repelacement in 2001. Any surgery for me is always more complicated.

@brendakaye

Oh my goodness thank you so much for your input. I had the fusion done on L3-4 and 4-5. I have degenerated discs and spinal stenosis. Been in rehab 10 days now and going home tomorrow. Have to say the pain is excruciating at times. The pain meds help. I’m walking with a cane, inside, and a walker outside. Like you, my best advice is to take it slow. Listen to your doc and remember no BLT: bending lifting twisting. As I shared before, I’m diabetic and my bs #’s have gone through the roof, and bp dips. So I get tired real easy. As much pain as this has caused I’d do it again simply because the only other option was losing my ability to walk. Thanks again

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@brendakaye
Hi!
I am so happy that you are doing so well.
I had an X-Lift Fusion (I don't know if this is different) on L3-4 in October.
It took me 4 months to re-cooperate!
It was the worst pain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
However, now I am pain free for the first time in over a decade.
I, too, would do it all over again!

I am glad you reminded everyone about BLT!
So many people will go right back to doing everything the way they did before surgery and then complain that the surgery was not a success.
I MY experience (I also had C5-6 replaced 6 months earlier) that once you have any kind of spine surgery, you have to CONTINUE to follow BLT!!!!!
Once you have back surgery, it takes at least a year for it to completely heal and even then, it might not be as strong as it once was.

BTW…..I am sure you know that it is not unusual for your BS and BP to go haywire when you are in pain and taking all sorts of meds. I hope the rehab is taking all that into consideration when giving you your meds.

I wish you continued luck in your healing…..
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@grandmar

@brendakaye
Hi!
I am so happy that you are doing so well.
I had an X-Lift Fusion (I don't know if this is different) on L3-4 in October.
It took me 4 months to re-cooperate!
It was the worst pain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
However, now I am pain free for the first time in over a decade.
I, too, would do it all over again!

I am glad you reminded everyone about BLT!
So many people will go right back to doing everything the way they did before surgery and then complain that the surgery was not a success.
I MY experience (I also had C5-6 replaced 6 months earlier) that once you have any kind of spine surgery, you have to CONTINUE to follow BLT!!!!!
Once you have back surgery, it takes at least a year for it to completely heal and even then, it might not be as strong as it once was.

BTW…..I am sure you know that it is not unusual for your BS and BP to go haywire when you are in pain and taking all sorts of meds. I hope the rehab is taking all that into consideration when giving you your meds.

I wish you continued luck in your healing…..
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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Being home is sure nice but there are always challenges to overcome. I’ve set my goal to walk 15 minutes a day, with help from hubby and walker. I also have a list of exercises to do to build strength in my legs and back. I can do those with not too much pain. But the core exercises for around my middle are at the moment unbearable . My one advice is to take it easy and don’t get depressed when you have to step back. It’s all part of healing. And each day do Something that helps in healing process.

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@gingerw

@grandmar – What a good thing that Dr found the spot, and took the time with you. I will hold you in prayer until then and on surgery day, that you will get relief.

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Hi Ginger. I see your post was 2018. Did you have more back surgery? My husband had sever scoliosis, huge hump in upper back. His last rod would protrude out his back looking like it would come through his skin any moment

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@brendakaye

Being home is sure nice but there are always challenges to overcome. I’ve set my goal to walk 15 minutes a day, with help from hubby and walker. I also have a list of exercises to do to build strength in my legs and back. I can do those with not too much pain. But the core exercises for around my middle are at the moment unbearable . My one advice is to take it easy and don’t get depressed when you have to step back. It’s all part of healing. And each day do Something that helps in healing process.

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I e week ago dr Jeremy Fogelson fused his entire spine except for c1. He looks amazing

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@clogue8

I e week ago dr Jeremy Fogelson fused his entire spine except for c1. He looks amazing

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@clogue8 Dr. Jeremy Fogelson is my surgeon too. It sounds like your husband had a big surgery. Blessings to him for a good recovery. I was very impressed with Dr. Fogelson and what he did for me. You might enjoy this story.
https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/

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when i was young, the "dowager's hump" was quite common, and most people with it wore a scarf in summer and a fur or fox in the winter, with one end hanging down the front and the other down the back. for me, the look of my dowager's hump is not nearly as bad as the pain and uncertainty of surgery

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@ethanmcconkey

Hi @fjkphx you may have noticed I moved your post to this existing discussion on spinal fusions so that you can connect with others who have similar experiences. Simply click VIEW & REPLY in your email notification to get to your post.

I also wanted to tag fellow Connect members @grandmar @beckyann and @salsa have either had lumbar fusions or have had other spinal fusions and may be able to offer you support.

@fjkphx will you be undergoing a lumbar fusion? Or are you exploring your options?

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I had l4 through S1 spinal fusion surgery 5 months ago and still in pain. Is there anyone else who experience pain that long after surgery? Is it normal ?

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Rule of thumb – one year recovery!! Go slowly! I can’t have a needed fusion due to my having lung disease, but I have always been told the recovery is one year. A dear friend had a fusion and that’s how long it took her as well. She actually went into a nursing home for six months because she didn’t want her husband tending to her bodily functions. Patience is key! One day at a time. Tramadol is a good medication to ease pain if that is available for you. Good luck.

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@irene5

Rule of thumb – one year recovery!! Go slowly! I can’t have a needed fusion due to my having lung disease, but I have always been told the recovery is one year. A dear friend had a fusion and that’s how long it took her as well. She actually went into a nursing home for six months because she didn’t want her husband tending to her bodily functions. Patience is key! One day at a time. Tramadol is a good medication to ease pain if that is available for you. Good luck.

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Thanks for your reply. It is difficult to keep positive when living with pain every day. But if you need a fusion, than I don’t have tell you about that. I was wondering how long others were in pain after a fusion. Did your friend have a positive result after the year? Take care and I wish you well.

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Thank you. Yes I’ve had pain since 1976. I should have had the fusion when it was an option. My friend is awesome today! She actually tripped over her dog coming out of the shower and fell a few years after the fusion. She never even told her husband. Everything has held together very well, and she is free from pain. Hers was done at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut .

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@irene5

Thank you. Yes I’ve had pain since 1976. I should have had the fusion when it was an option. My friend is awesome today! She actually tripped over her dog coming out of the shower and fell a few years after the fusion. She never even told her husband. Everything has held together very well, and she is free from pain. Hers was done at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut .

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Thank you, that is so good to hear, it gives me hope. I had my fusion done at Mayo Clinic in AZ. I see my doctor next month, so I am hoping that everything will look good and I just need more time. I am in my 70's, so it may take a longer to recover. Take care.

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Oh good! I’m 70 so I get that! Everything takes longer at our ages especially with other medical issues. It’s still better than the alternative! Wishing you the best.

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