Spinal Fusion of L1-L4: Managing pain, what works for you?
I had spinal fusion of L1-4 about 15 months ago. Lately, I’ve had chronic coccyx pain if I stand or sit too long. It becomes unbearable if I don’t use my TENS unit. I’m afraid to exercise since twisting really starts the pain cycle. I wake up every night with pain and use ice packs and Tylenol (and cross my fingers) hoping I can fall back to sleep. My back surgeon isn’t really interested in my aftercare. Where do I go from here?!
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Spine Health Support Group.
Wow I’m really sorry you have had such a bad experience. Was it neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon doing your surgery? Was it the same surgeon doing all 3 surgeries? It’s sounds to that there is nerve damage. Try getting another opinion from a different kind of surgeon? Then there are non surgical products that might help with stimulating the nerves that no long fire correctly at Hanger. Have you tried that? I have had good luck with these products. Acupuncture is also something that helps with nerve pain. Good luck. Please contact me if you need any information on Hanger.
ladidyt thank you for the reply, the surgeon was orthopedic.I was referred to another orthopedic surgeon.and I was also referred to a neurologist to test my leg, all in this same group of professionals. As I reflect back on all of this, there is no money being made for the cure, only for the treatment. I am still paying for the treatment,physically, mentally and out of pocket. I should not have had the first surgery to (correct) the herniated disc.
I had low back surgery (Jan. 22nd) and a laminectomy and foramen was widened (L4 & L5) since the nerve was impinged. The first three weeks afterwards was great them I hit a wall and the pain returned. I started PT two weeks ago to strengthen my core and still have a few fingers of inflammation . I am told to just be patient and it will improve but there are days I can hardly walk because of the pain. Anyone have experiences with this like I have and what did you do? I am desperate for advise.
@martishka and @tom1942, I moved your messages to this thread “Spinal fusion of L1-4 and managing pain. What works for you?” https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/i-had-spinal-fusion-of-l1-4-about-15-months-ago-lately-ive/ so that you can connect with other members talking about the similar issues.
Here is the link to sign-up for Mayo Clinic’s Pain Management Adviser e-newsletter that @riverqueen1305 mentions https://newslettersignup.mayoclinic.com/?fn=211 for anyone interested. It’s free.
Thank you for your advice. I tend to lean the way you do – being an advocate for myself and searching out solutions that require me to make changes that can help. I have started aquafit and pool walking and they do help. I had an initial back injury at work and herniated L4, L5 and S1 nerve was compressed resulting in loss of feeling in my right foot and significiant pain. At the acute stage of the injury I was on morphine. Since then (10 years later) I have found out that I have a compression fracture in L2 that was described as acute. This pain is different than the herniation. It is quite severe (at times during the day, not all the time) and wraps around my hip and involves the lower right abdomen. MY dr tried about 3 different pain killers and none worked. The next “tier” of drugs were opiates or narcotics and I opted to avoid them. I asked for something to help me sleep instead since the pain kept me up at night. This is working and I am much more able to deal with the pain during the day when I’ve had a good night’s sleep. Not being able to lift anything over 20 pounds was what I was told. And my beautiful grandsons are 25 pounds and 35 pounds! I get the one year old to crawl to me and shimmy up as I lift from a seated position. The older one (3) follows me to a chair and gets into my lap. I cannot give that up! I will look at the website you recommended. Thank you for your advice! Martishka
Yes, I have definitely had this experience. I ruptured a disk at L5-S1 in
2012 as well as a fracture of the L-5 vertebra. I underwent a
vertebraplasty for the fracture and couldn’t be happier. The procedure
takes about 30 minutes performed by an Interventional Radiologist. I was
lucky in that I actually worked as a RN in this area and knew the doctors
well. He did a great job and I have experienced no pain since. I would
highly recommend going ahead with it.
Thank you for your response. I would like to do something that could help restore a better quality of life. I have two grandchildren (1 and 3) and I care for them 1 day a week and it is proving to be very difficult. I had heard some negative feedback about the procedure and was a bit nervous about the possibility of leakage. I was also told that the vertebrae above and below the one being treated had a greater chance of fracture after the procedure. But it is good to hear that you had a positive result.
I can’t even imagine how you’re caring for a 1 and 3 y.o. with that
vertebral fracture. It must be excruciating. I’m glad my response helped
you somewhat. Truthfully, having practiced in this field as a RN, I must
tell you I never saw any of our patients return with a leak or another
fracture. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Thank you Sasaka,
The day after I have the kids (with the support of my husband, we do it together) I pay for it. The alternative of not having the children just isn’t an option for me. I am going to have to stop picking up Tavio, (one) from the ground. But he is hard to resist with his arms up asking to be lifted! Your experience is very encouraging to me. I do hesitate though since I seem to have poor luck with my health in terms of a track record. I was born with some heart rhythm problems including SVT (a type of tachycardia) and I had 4 unsuccessful ablations and the fifth worked. I have two friends who needed ablations on their heart, they both went in, and came out cured! I feel that with my back I have fewer chances- going into the spine does make me nervous. I am googling studies about the procedure and still haven’t found any reliable ones. The study that an endocrinologist told me about was not encouraging. IT reported that the two groups (one group had the procedure, and the other group had a placebo) were about equal in rating their pain or lack of it 6 months post “procedure”. Those results don’t seem like good odds. Any thoughts?