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.

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@grandmar

Good Morning,
Just thought I would fill you in on my progress since my fusion surgeon 2 1/2 weeks ago.
I had my first post-op x-ray of my L3/4 fusion.
I am healing very well.
I will take another x-ray before my next appointment in 4 weeks.

As far as my abilities.
I still need to walk with assistance because of the pain, I am not steady on my feet.
As per my doctor's instructions, I walk (with the walker) at least 3 times a day, 15-20 minutes each walk.
When I am not 'exercising', I use the cane.
I still can't bend, reach, stretch or twist.
I also can't go into my swimming pool.
I'm still on pain medication so I can't drive.

As far as pain is concerned:
I am still in bad pain.
I take my pain pill regularly throughout the day (every 5 hrs.).
The morning, getting our of bed, is a BIG issue.
The pain is horrible!!
I need my husband with me for fear that I will get a spasm and fall.
Throughout the day, the pain and spasms subside.
I cannot sleep in my bed because the mattress is too firm.
Luckily, I have a softer mattress in my guest room, that is
perfect……
How was it in the 3 BEARS? 1 was too soft, 1 was too hard, but 1 was just right! 🙂
The pain goes from my lower back and down my legs.
This is surgical pain and nerve inflamation.
Thankfully, I feel a big difference in my right leg.
I go back to the doctor in 4 weeks.
Hopefully, I won't need assistive devices to walk, I'll be off pain med. so I can drive and do all the things I can't do now.
Was this surgery worth it?
Depending on when I am asked that question, depends on my answer.
Truth is, I really had no choice.
If I continued on the road I was on, I probably would have wound up in a wheelchair and in constant pain. I had not alternatives left.
I am hoping this surgery will be the answer to my chroic pain.
The pain, along with the spasms, I very painful!
Deciding to have this surgery is something not to be taken lightly.
I would make sure I've exhausted every option, including thinking out of the box.
I know that over time, I will feel better.
My only worry now is to make sure I don't become dependent on the pain med.
My doc is overseeing that I don't.
Hopefully, by next week, I'll be able to take my pain med less frequently and even more less frequently the following week, etc.
Thanks for letting me share!
If you are thinking of having fusion surgery or you already had it and you have questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Have a pain-free day……
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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God bless you real good! I’d like to say I can’t imagine – but actually I can – two friends of mine have had fusions. One stayed at home afterwards, but the other opted to go into a nursing home because she didn’t want her hubby having to do “personal” care. I want to tell you that both women are success stories for their fusions. They had them done in Hartford, Ct. . I have needed one for years (I’m 69)but can’t because of other disease processes and low weight. Don’t worry about pain meds. If you need them – take them. Thank you for your honest posting of this. I wish you all the best. I believe in “the big picture” you will be happy you had the fusion. I will pray for your continued healing.

REPLY
@irene5

God bless you real good! I’d like to say I can’t imagine – but actually I can – two friends of mine have had fusions. One stayed at home afterwards, but the other opted to go into a nursing home because she didn’t want her hubby having to do “personal” care. I want to tell you that both women are success stories for their fusions. They had them done in Hartford, Ct. . I have needed one for years (I’m 69)but can’t because of other disease processes and low weight. Don’t worry about pain meds. If you need them – take them. Thank you for your honest posting of this. I wish you all the best. I believe in “the big picture” you will be happy you had the fusion. I will pray for your continued healing.

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@irene5
Thank you for your kind words and thoughts.
I've needed it for some time, too.
However, I was not mentally ready to do anything.
When I moved to Central Florida, from Southern New Jersey, I actually found a pain doctor who was able to help me manage my pain with injections.
When in NJ, I saw 5 different pain docs with NO success.
In addition, I went for accupuncture, chiropractics, PT,and method called cupping.
Not 1 gave me relief
Once I know we were moving, surgery was certainly not on my list of things to do.
I am glad I waited because I found a FANTASTIC pain doc who got me comfortable for 4-12 weeks with injections.
Sadly, the last 2 injections he gave me, no longer worked.
It was at this time I realized surgery was the next step.
I am very lucky to have the hubby I have.
There was NO question in his mind that he would be the one to care for me!
And he has. He does a FANTASTIC job!!!!!!!!!
I didn't take my pills at the beginning, on a regular basis, but after talking with the neurogurgical nurse practitioner and the doctor, I need not worry.
My doctor helped me to develp the basis for a pill taking surgery that I can modify to meet my needs.
I've already changed the schedule.
As soon as my pain is no longer constant, I will start to wean off the pain pill.
I am no longer worried about that.

Anyway, I am so sorry you have pain and you are unable to have the surgery.
For me, in my opinion, it is sooo painful and unless you are able to tolerate the pain pill, accept the help you need and have to time to recouperate, surgery is not the answer.

Good luck to you!
Hope you have a pain free day!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@grandmar

Good Morning,
Just thought I would fill you in on my progress since my fusion surgeon 2 1/2 weeks ago.
I had my first post-op x-ray of my L3/4 fusion.
I am healing very well.
I will take another x-ray before my next appointment in 4 weeks.

As far as my abilities.
I still need to walk with assistance because of the pain, I am not steady on my feet.
As per my doctor's instructions, I walk (with the walker) at least 3 times a day, 15-20 minutes each walk.
When I am not 'exercising', I use the cane.
I still can't bend, reach, stretch or twist.
I also can't go into my swimming pool.
I'm still on pain medication so I can't drive.

As far as pain is concerned:
I am still in bad pain.
I take my pain pill regularly throughout the day (every 5 hrs.).
The morning, getting our of bed, is a BIG issue.
The pain is horrible!!
I need my husband with me for fear that I will get a spasm and fall.
Throughout the day, the pain and spasms subside.
I cannot sleep in my bed because the mattress is too firm.
Luckily, I have a softer mattress in my guest room, that is
perfect……
How was it in the 3 BEARS? 1 was too soft, 1 was too hard, but 1 was just right! 🙂
The pain goes from my lower back and down my legs.
This is surgical pain and nerve inflamation.
Thankfully, I feel a big difference in my right leg.
I go back to the doctor in 4 weeks.
Hopefully, I won't need assistive devices to walk, I'll be off pain med. so I can drive and do all the things I can't do now.
Was this surgery worth it?
Depending on when I am asked that question, depends on my answer.
Truth is, I really had no choice.
If I continued on the road I was on, I probably would have wound up in a wheelchair and in constant pain. I had not alternatives left.
I am hoping this surgery will be the answer to my chroic pain.
The pain, along with the spasms, I very painful!
Deciding to have this surgery is something not to be taken lightly.
I would make sure I've exhausted every option, including thinking out of the box.
I know that over time, I will feel better.
My only worry now is to make sure I don't become dependent on the pain med.
My doc is overseeing that I don't.
Hopefully, by next week, I'll be able to take my pain med less frequently and even more less frequently the following week, etc.
Thanks for letting me share!
If you are thinking of having fusion surgery or you already had it and you have questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Have a pain-free day……
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

@grandmar Ronnie you are a trooper physical problems are tough but you have a great sense of humor the 3bears .funny dont lose that I love it I have some suggestions that help me Im probably repeating ,forgive me For inflammation which causes pain either ice it or buy ginger-Tumeric tea ,Trader Joe's, for the nerves My painaway from Topricin ,CVS these both work for me just suggesting.Glad your doing so well.hugs .Linda

REPLY

@lioness I followed your advice, and got some Topricin. Love it! It helped tremendously with cramps in the calves of both legs, and my right knee. Like the old commercial "just a dab will do ya!"
Ginger

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@gingerw

@lioness I followed your advice, and got some Topricin. Love it! It helped tremendously with cramps in the calves of both legs, and my right knee. Like the old commercial "just a dab will do ya!"
Ginger

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@gingerw Wonderful glad it helped

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@hopeful33250 My bio is done Theresa just click on my picture I loved your bio.

REPLY
@lioness

@hopeful33250 My bio is done Theresa just click on my picture I loved your bio.

Jump to this post

Hello @lioness
Thanks for completing your bio. I really enjoyed getting to know you better. What a wonderful and interesting career you had. You must feel pleased of all of your accomplishments. Thank you for the many ways you contribute to Connect.

REPLY

Happy Friday….
I know many of us have had fusion surgery and many have failed.
I'd appreciate it if you think back to when you had the surgery (before it failed).
I had my surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago.
It has been one of the hardest surgeries from which I have had to recover.
My pain got really bad after I left the hospital.
Of course, the hospital gives you your pain meds 24/7 through the IV.

I was given Hydrocodone-Acetamin 10-325 mg.
It didn't give me much relief.
When I went for my 2 week post-op check up, I was given Cyclobenzaprine 5mg for the spasms.
Helps somewhat, but I am able to take 2 at a time when I need it.
The first week, I took 1 pill at a time when I needed it.
By the end of the 2nd week, I was taking 1 pill throughout the night.
I was hoping it would help.

Now I am worried about becoming addicted to the pain killers.
Actually, I've been worried addiction all along, which is why I didn't take it as presc ribed.
My doctor assured me that she would keep an eye on me.
Any how, she gave me a tentative schedule, assuming it works and said I could change it up, if I needed to.
Well, I do!!!!!!!!
I went to taking the pain medicine every 5 hours. Today I am going to every 6 hours (I've done 4 hr, 5 hr and 4 1/2 hrs throughout the night. I was also taking the Cycobenazprine (5 mg) every 4 hours. As of today, I upped it to every 4 1/2 hrs without getting up during the night. BTW…I take 2 Cycobenzapine just before bedtime (suggested by doctor). My problem is I am still in lots of pain. My hubby and I are so scared of me becoming addicted.

Those who have gone through this, what was your experience? What did you take for the pain? What did you take for the spasms? How long and how much did you take for the pain.

Thank you for sharing!
Have a TERRIFIC weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY

@grandmar it is good to hear you are on the mend, albeit slowly. And very good you are monitoring your prescription use and avoiding addiction. I recall recently a conversation about staying ahead of the pain to allow the body to heal. Is guided meditation/visualization something that would help you, or hypnotherapy?
Ginger

REPLY
@grandmar

Happy Friday….
I know many of us have had fusion surgery and many have failed.
I'd appreciate it if you think back to when you had the surgery (before it failed).
I had my surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago.
It has been one of the hardest surgeries from which I have had to recover.
My pain got really bad after I left the hospital.
Of course, the hospital gives you your pain meds 24/7 through the IV.

I was given Hydrocodone-Acetamin 10-325 mg.
It didn't give me much relief.
When I went for my 2 week post-op check up, I was given Cyclobenzaprine 5mg for the spasms.
Helps somewhat, but I am able to take 2 at a time when I need it.
The first week, I took 1 pill at a time when I needed it.
By the end of the 2nd week, I was taking 1 pill throughout the night.
I was hoping it would help.

Now I am worried about becoming addicted to the pain killers.
Actually, I've been worried addiction all along, which is why I didn't take it as presc ribed.
My doctor assured me that she would keep an eye on me.
Any how, she gave me a tentative schedule, assuming it works and said I could change it up, if I needed to.
Well, I do!!!!!!!!
I went to taking the pain medicine every 5 hours. Today I am going to every 6 hours (I've done 4 hr, 5 hr and 4 1/2 hrs throughout the night. I was also taking the Cycobenazprine (5 mg) every 4 hours. As of today, I upped it to every 4 1/2 hrs without getting up during the night. BTW…I take 2 Cycobenzapine just before bedtime (suggested by doctor). My problem is I am still in lots of pain. My hubby and I are so scared of me becoming addicted.

Those who have gone through this, what was your experience? What did you take for the pain? What did you take for the spasms? How long and how much did you take for the pain.

Thank you for sharing!
Have a TERRIFIC weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

Ronnie I wrote to you earlier this week. I am mainly on the MAC forum but have had horrid back issues since 1976 after my second child. (Spondylolithesis) Now I have several other issues that developed over time. I want to address your addiction concerns. Do you have addiction in your genes? Do you have an addictive personality? My PHD brother had 17 years of serious drug abuse! Yet, I can have a drink or take a pill without becoming addicted. I even have a card to use marijuana but haven’t tried it. And I don’t drink. I do use tramadol for chronic pain which at least takes the edge off. I think because you are so worried about addiction you won’t become addicted. From my friends who have had a fusion I have learned that it can take up to a year for a full recovery! Rest in that thought and tread lightly. Be patient with yourself. Take whatever pills are necessary to help ease the pain. Rule of thumb is to take a pain pill before the pain is too much. Your doctor has probably told you that. I think many people have addictive personalities. That coupled with a genetic propensity for addiction makes for a precarious situation. I think because your doctor is keeping an eye on you is very comforting. I think you are finding that the beginning of your recovery is very “bumpy.” It will get better. Take the pain meds! My motto has always been, “I don’t mind pain – as long as it doesn’t hurt!” Wishing you peace of mind and less pain. (Irene)

REPLY
@irene5

Ronnie I wrote to you earlier this week. I am mainly on the MAC forum but have had horrid back issues since 1976 after my second child. (Spondylolithesis) Now I have several other issues that developed over time. I want to address your addiction concerns. Do you have addiction in your genes? Do you have an addictive personality? My PHD brother had 17 years of serious drug abuse! Yet, I can have a drink or take a pill without becoming addicted. I even have a card to use marijuana but haven’t tried it. And I don’t drink. I do use tramadol for chronic pain which at least takes the edge off. I think because you are so worried about addiction you won’t become addicted. From my friends who have had a fusion I have learned that it can take up to a year for a full recovery! Rest in that thought and tread lightly. Be patient with yourself. Take whatever pills are necessary to help ease the pain. Rule of thumb is to take a pain pill before the pain is too much. Your doctor has probably told you that. I think many people have addictive personalities. That coupled with a genetic propensity for addiction makes for a precarious situation. I think because your doctor is keeping an eye on you is very comforting. I think you are finding that the beginning of your recovery is very “bumpy.” It will get better. Take the pain meds! My motto has always been, “I don’t mind pain – as long as it doesn’t hurt!” Wishing you peace of mind and less pain. (Irene)

Jump to this post

@irene5
Irene,
Thank you very much for your reply!
I am sorry but I did not receive your first message.
I do have an addictive personality.
For me, the addicition is food.
I know you are shaking your head and thinking that it is not an addiction, but it is!
For me, I overate to the point of develping pre-diseases like diabetes and heart.
I went for weight loss surgery almost 2 years ago.
I lost between 80-90 pounds.
Since I have been in so much pain and wasn't really up to walking, I sat around the house all day and snacked more and ate larger portions.
I know the dangers in doing this, but I can't see to help myself.
Isn't that an addiction?
Doing things over and over again doing things I know will harm me.
Then there is my dad, he was addicted to sleeping pills.
So that is my background.
I know I shouldbe taking the pain pills.
Members of this group as well as my surgeons said the samething, but I hubby keeps bugging me about my pill schedule.
I will try to take them less often.
I planned my pills, for today, with the time I am taking them spead out for a longer period of time.
If it doesn't work, I will take less again.
I do agree with you about pain not hurting.
I have NEVER been one to take pain meds on a set 'schdule' as long as it was within the time permitted.
That is why I am so nervouse about taking them.
I hope I'm not blabbering, I took my pain med not too long ago.

Enjoy your day and weekend…
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@gingerw

@grandmar it is good to hear you are on the mend, albeit slowly. And very good you are monitoring your prescription use and avoiding addiction. I recall recently a conversation about staying ahead of the pain to allow the body to heal. Is guided meditation/visualization something that would help you, or hypnotherapy?
Ginger

Jump to this post

@gingerw
Thank you for replay. Yes, we did get similar replies before.
I now think I know and understand what I need to do.

Have a great day and weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
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