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.

@grandmar read about yoir MRI with contrast I missed yoir reply so glad to read it here since you have a cyst in the spinal canal is anything being done about it ? Or is it to risky? Im assuming it is but what did Dr say?

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Yes let us know. I had shots in my neck today. Back to do lower back again next week. I guess they can only do treatments for three tiles. They are starting to help.

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@grandmar Hello Ronnie:

I am sure you were glad to at least know about the cyst in the spinal column. Like @lioness said, I too am wondering what the doctor can do about the cyst in the spine. Do you have any treatment plans for that?

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@hopeful33250

@grandmar Hello Ronnie:

I am sure you were glad to at least know about the cyst in the spinal column. Like @lioness said, I too am wondering what the doctor can do about the cyst in the spine. Do you have any treatment plans for that?

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@hopeful33250
Hi!
Yes, I am very happy that the cyst was found.
The cyst can be surgically removed or nothing can be done and the doc can just watch it.
We haven't made a plan yet.
My guess is that the surgeon will make a decision when he actually sees the disc, which I have and will bring with me at my pre op appt.
Once he sees it, I am sure we will make some sort of plan.
He might decide to wait and see how big it is once he gets inside.
We discussed, before the MRI that if there was a cyst, it could be a big culprit in many of my symptoms.
To be continued…..
Here's to a pain free rest of the day!!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@oregongirl

Yes let us know. I had shots in my neck today. Back to do lower back again next week. I guess they can only do treatments for three tiles. They are starting to help.

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@oregongirl
Hi!
So happy the shot is starting to work.
It can take 7 to 10 days before you get the full affect.
As far as I have been told, you can have a steroid injection (epidural), 3 to 4 times a year in each area.
I was also told that waiting 3 weeks before getting another shot is the rule of thumb.
Although we can't feel it, all the shots are systemic.
However, it does not feel the same all over because of the location of the shot.
I pray that not only the shot works but it lasts.
Here's to a pain free rest of the day….
Ronnie (GRANDMA r)

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@hillyard

Greetings fellow chronic pain people. My chronic pain issues really started in 1975 with a football injury to the c-spine. Managed to cope for years until 1997 when I developed pain and weakness in my left arm. Long story short is that my 1975 injury was misdiagnosed and I had in fact broken my neck back then. Starting in 1997, I had a fusion c5-c7. 1999 ruptured disc C4-C5. and another fusion surgery. In this time period started having the most painful headaches I can describe. 2001, it was discovered the 1st fusion had failed and disc ruptured C-7-T1. Two extensive C-spine surgeries in 2001. Very lttile improvement in pain level from my neck and continued having bad cervical headaches. 2003, three different C-spine surgeries to have bone spurs removed from C-4 to T-1. Loss of motor function in left hand and severe sleep disruption from headaches and neck pain. Forced to retire at age 47. After seeing 6 different doctors ranging from surgeons to rehab Drs to pain management doctors the conclusion was that there were no surgical options and to begin to focus on chronic pain management. Starting in 2003, I began a pain management regiment using opioids. In 2013 had my 1st lumbar spine surgery to repair two ruptured discs. Currently, still have constant c-spine pain, headaches, left hand weakness, lumbar spine pain and positional numbness in my left leg. I have managed tolerance issues with opioids with high does ibuprofen and Tylenol, which I know is unsafe,.a couple of days per month. All of the federal attention to the opioid abuse problems will affect how I've managed to cope with chronic pain for the past 15 years. I only see one doctor, never refill early, and never take more than prescribed. I have been at the same prescribed amount for over 10 years. I am sure, like others on this board, we will be impacted because of other people abusing the very drugs that make life livable for people like us. I don't have any answers to the issue of drug abuse or overdoses. I only know with out opioids, I will not live long if forced to only take ibuprofen and Tylenol to manage my condition. There is nothing in my situation that says I'm at risk of an overdose, have had zero issues managing my own prescriptions, have never shared or used other peoples drugs. I really hope there is some common sense interjected in the current opioid "crisis" that make provisions for people like myself.

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Sorry to hear of your condition. Really glad you do not have the bad headaches. The sleep thing is something which has been constant with me for a long time. Somehow we manage to adapt. I too have a cyst mid cord at the site of my initial injury. The initial diagnosis of my 1975 injury was a separated shoulder. Odd as that sounds, I did have a slight shoulder separation but there was no further follow-up regarding the c-spine. Scary as that was, I was cleared to return to football weeks later and played several more games, now I know was with a fracture at C-6. Times have sure changed. Thank you for your response, Hillyard

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@grandmar Thanks for the update. You'll update after your next appointment?

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@hopeful33250

@grandmar Thanks for the update. You'll update after your next appointment?

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@hopeful33250
I will be happy to update you after my next appointment, which will be a day or two before the surgery.
Thank you for the concern.
Ronnie

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@hopeful33250

@grandmar Hello Ronnie:

I am sure you were glad to at least know about the cyst in the spinal column. Like @lioness said, I too am wondering what the doctor can do about the cyst in the spine. Do you have any treatment plans for that?

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@grandmar thanks for update wishing you the best let me know what your decision is Linda

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@oregongirl

Yes let us know. I had shots in my neck today. Back to do lower back again next week. I guess they can only do treatments for three tiles. They are starting to help.

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@grandmar Im so glad the shots work for you mine do too but not right away TheDr here told me every 2months as it is a steriod Hard on kidneys just like Prednisone ,steriod also

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@lioness
Good Morning!
So happy for you that the shots work.
It took me 5 doctors before I actually found someone who was able to help me!
So for about 4 years I took shots that did not give me relief.
Now, 4 1/2 years later, since I found a doctor to help me, the shots no longer work, that is why I have opted for surgery.
For me, it is a good thing I did since there are spinal issues my pain doc did not know about.
I don't blame him for that, if I didn't have all the pain I have, my neurosurgeon would not have taken all the tests he did.

Here's to a pain-free day….
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@lioness

@grandmar thanks for update wishing you the best let me know what your decision is Linda

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@lioness
Linda,
Thank you for the good wishes!
I am definitely having surgery Sept. 17th.
The only thing I do not know is how the doc is planning on dealing with the cyst in my spinal canal.

Have a pain-free day!
Ronnie

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I think it is critically important to research arachnoiditis. This is an incurable inflammation of the spine. My husband had spinal fusion in the lumbar spine area and two hip replacements and has had chronic pain in his spine, radiating down his legs. Several months ago he began feeling unusual sensations and frequent muscle spasms. He was diagnosed with arachnoiditis which has several causes, the main one being idiopathic (created by a procedure administered by a physician) My husband has had numerous steroid injections to his spine over the past 15 years and one of them precipitated an infection. Please look up Dr. Forest Tennant on the web. Though this condition has been known about for 100 years it has only recently been introduced to the general public. Though the shots may help for a bit they can lead to a condition that makes the situation even worse. Other conditions that can cause it are, spinal stenosis, back surgery, curvature of the spine etc. My husband has all three of those conditions but the injections seem to be the main culprit. We don't do a good enough job managing pain. You can print off Dr. Tennants booklet that introduces other medications, including opiates, to make fit through each day with as much relief as possible. Hope this has been helpful.

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@grandmar

@lioness
Linda,
Thank you for the good wishes!
I am definitely having surgery Sept. 17th.
The only thing I do not know is how the doc is planning on dealing with the cyst in my spinal canal.

Have a pain-free day!
Ronnie

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Grandmar hi I see neurosurgeon on Sept 14 Im anxiois to talk with him I went to rheumatologist and she refused to

inject my thumb I ha ve bone on bone in both thumbs funny about 2yrs ago she injected my right thumb so am going to talk to him about this or find another Dr.

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@lioness
Good for you. If you can't get your doc to give you the shot, find one who can. ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE!

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