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.

Hey grandmaR, you are so right on taking it slow, I am glad you are finally feeling better. One purchase I would recommend for all after any back surgery, especially a fusion are grippers to pick up items off the floor, I have two and I use them constantly. Bending over is a big no no for me. As for PT, I start it at the 12 week mark, I hope it goes well. Hang in there, I hope your recovery continues to head in the right direction.

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@salsa

Hey grandmaR, you are so right on taking it slow, I am glad you are finally feeling better. One purchase I would recommend for all after any back surgery, especially a fusion are grippers to pick up items off the floor, I have two and I use them constantly. Bending over is a big no no for me. As for PT, I start it at the 12 week mark, I hope it goes well. Hang in there, I hope your recovery continues to head in the right direction.

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@salsa
I did get the grip. It was a suggestion of the OT on the hospital.
That's about the time I started PT.
I hope you continue to do well!!
Ronnie

Liked by lioness

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Hi Beckyann, if you have a fusion, I would ask your doctor about your specific questions, taking trash out etc. I would say from my experience, do as little as possible so you can heal, at times I think I should be doing more, but then I realize I have metal rods in my back and a fake bone that are all trying to grow together to make me strong again. I realize that I must not push it, I would not overdue it at home after your surgery, your back will not be happy. I highly recommend buying some grippers to pick stuff up off the floor, they are lifesavers. A walker, or cane might help too, I used a walker for the first few weeks because it hurt a lot and I needed something to balance on. thats all i can think of for now, good luck to you.

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@salsa

Hi Beckyann, if you have a fusion, I would ask your doctor about your specific questions, taking trash out etc. I would say from my experience, do as little as possible so you can heal, at times I think I should be doing more, but then I realize I have metal rods in my back and a fake bone that are all trying to grow together to make me strong again. I realize that I must not push it, I would not overdue it at home after your surgery, your back will not be happy. I highly recommend buying some grippers to pick stuff up off the floor, they are lifesavers. A walker, or cane might help too, I used a walker for the first few weeks because it hurt a lot and I needed something to balance on. thats all i can think of for now, good luck to you.

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Good advice,
I actually went home with a walker. I used it for the first couple of post-op visits then switched to a cane. I wore a back brace for a few months.
Yes, grippers are a great idea! Also have some ice packs and heading pads available. I don't want to scare you, but the first couple of months can be difficult.
As far as what you can and can't do, don't rush anything. As a matter of fact, do NOT do any of the things you know can reinjure your back. I believe that the reason some back surgeries are NOT successful is NOT because of the type of procedure or even the surgeon. I believe it is because people do too much, too soon.
I was told that even though the surgical area can look good, it can take a full year for a cervical surgery to be healed and 18-24 months for a lumbar to be completely healed.
I fell several months after my lumbar surgery.
I was 'healed' according to my f/u xrays.
Because of issues I am having, an MRI was taken.
Although I don't have pain, they can see that the spine moved at the fusion site.
Things are just so delicate and the older you are, the longer it takes.
I was 63 yo.
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@grandmar

Good advice,
I actually went home with a walker. I used it for the first couple of post-op visits then switched to a cane. I wore a back brace for a few months.
Yes, grippers are a great idea! Also have some ice packs and heading pads available. I don't want to scare you, but the first couple of months can be difficult.
As far as what you can and can't do, don't rush anything. As a matter of fact, do NOT do any of the things you know can reinjure your back. I believe that the reason some back surgeries are NOT successful is NOT because of the type of procedure or even the surgeon. I believe it is because people do too much, too soon.
I was told that even though the surgical area can look good, it can take a full year for a cervical surgery to be healed and 18-24 months for a lumbar to be completely healed.
I fell several months after my lumbar surgery.
I was 'healed' according to my f/u xrays.
Because of issues I am having, an MRI was taken.
Although I don't have pain, they can see that the spine moved at the fusion site.
Things are just so delicate and the older you are, the longer it takes.
I was 63 yo.
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

@grandmar You are so right about the older you get the order it gets

REPLY
@grandmar

Good advice,
I actually went home with a walker. I used it for the first couple of post-op visits then switched to a cane. I wore a back brace for a few months.
Yes, grippers are a great idea! Also have some ice packs and heading pads available. I don't want to scare you, but the first couple of months can be difficult.
As far as what you can and can't do, don't rush anything. As a matter of fact, do NOT do any of the things you know can reinjure your back. I believe that the reason some back surgeries are NOT successful is NOT because of the type of procedure or even the surgeon. I believe it is because people do too much, too soon.
I was told that even though the surgical area can look good, it can take a full year for a cervical surgery to be healed and 18-24 months for a lumbar to be completely healed.
I fell several months after my lumbar surgery.
I was 'healed' according to my f/u xrays.
Because of issues I am having, an MRI was taken.
Although I don't have pain, they can see that the spine moved at the fusion site.
Things are just so delicate and the older you are, the longer it takes.
I was 63 yo.
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

Thank you Ronnie, very helpful information. I do have Pinchers and am hoping they will give me a brace. You make a lot of sense, I'm 68 so guess total recovery will take over a year. It will be a challenge living alone. But I have friend and neighbors to call on and will hire housekeeper.

Liked by grandmaR, brendakaye

REPLY
@salsa

Hi Beckyann, if you have a fusion, I would ask your doctor about your specific questions, taking trash out etc. I would say from my experience, do as little as possible so you can heal, at times I think I should be doing more, but then I realize I have metal rods in my back and a fake bone that are all trying to grow together to make me strong again. I realize that I must not push it, I would not overdue it at home after your surgery, your back will not be happy. I highly recommend buying some grippers to pick stuff up off the floor, they are lifesavers. A walker, or cane might help too, I used a walker for the first few weeks because it hurt a lot and I needed something to balance on. thats all i can think of for now, good luck to you.

Jump to this post

Thank you Salsa. You provided good tips. I will be sure to get a walker. Have been using grabbers for awhile now trying to not bend or twist. Am hoping I'm not weak for too long.

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@beckyann

Thank you Salsa. You provided good tips. I will be sure to get a walker. Have been using grabbers for awhile now trying to not bend or twist. Am hoping I'm not weak for too long.

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Do you walk much? My friend was told to walk so many steps daily and not to sit too long.

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Yes I was told sitting was bad too, but alot will depend on how you are feeling, I just walked around the house at first, and then tried an outdoor walk, I walked too far and was hurting afterword. Unfortunately, during my recovery, i sprained my ankle on my sons toy so I am just know getting back to walking without pain in my ankle. In summary, I would walk as much as you can without overdoing it, your body will tell you when you have done too much. Also, I have found when I lay or sit too long, my back and hips feel tight so I need to get up and walk. hope that helped.

Liked by lioness

REPLY
@grandmar

@salsa
I did get the grip. It was a suggestion of the OT on the hospital.
That's about the time I started PT.
I hope you continue to do well!!
Ronnie

Jump to this post

Did you start PT directly after surgery?

REPLY
@salsa

Yes I was told sitting was bad too, but alot will depend on how you are feeling, I just walked around the house at first, and then tried an outdoor walk, I walked too far and was hurting afterword. Unfortunately, during my recovery, i sprained my ankle on my sons toy so I am just know getting back to walking without pain in my ankle. In summary, I would walk as much as you can without overdoing it, your body will tell you when you have done too much. Also, I have found when I lay or sit too long, my back and hips feel tight so I need to get up and walk. hope that helped.

Jump to this post

Thank you, good advice to listen to one's body. So sorry you sprained your ankle on top of the recovery, double whammy! I feel quite stiff and pain now when I sit too long, more so on the right side. But then, I'm tight all the time. I am so hopeful surgery will give me the ability to enjoy life again. I did something really stupid yesterday, took the wrong envelope to surgeon appt. so didn't have most recent MRI. He wouldn't see me without the MRI, really no point. I live 30 minutes away so he could not accommodate that timing. I don't blame him, was my fault. Now I have another month to wait to see him. He is so busy and only one in town. So guess I wasn't meant to see him yet.

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I would like help with contacts on Spinal Decompression surgery. I realize this is not Spinal Fusion but this is the first discussion that comes even close that I have seen. Any contact information about Spinal Decompression is much appreciated. My surgery went well but my problem is with my stamina, pain after extended standing and walking ( I still have to depend on a walker more than I would like ).

Liked by grandmaR

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@tom2017

I would like help with contacts on Spinal Decompression surgery. I realize this is not Spinal Fusion but this is the first discussion that comes even close that I have seen. Any contact information about Spinal Decompression is much appreciated. My surgery went well but my problem is with my stamina, pain after extended standing and walking ( I still have to depend on a walker more than I would like ).

Jump to this post

@tom2017
I had spinal fusionon my lumbar.
As far as what I had, I used a walker about 8 weeks then switched to a cane.
As far as pain, I had 4 months of pure hell.
All that being said, I would check with your surgeon.
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Liked by brendakaye

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Any experiences with lumbar fusions?

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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?

Liked by grandmaR

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