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Have multi level spinal fusion next week! Help!!!!
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Have multi level spinal fusion next week! Help!!!!

Hi,  I'm new to this forum, but not to back problems. Sorry about some of the spelling before I start. I've been suffering with a bad back for 7 years. I'm so looking forward to this surgery. I can't take the pain much longer. Last year it hit the worst. I think that's when my L4,L5 disk went.  The L5,S1 disk went in 2000. I have besides herniated disks, sevior curving of my lower spin, where it's pulling away from my pelvic bone, arthritis in my L4,L5,and S1, caused from stress fractures, degenerative spine disorder, spondylios(sp), and last but not least spinal bifita occulata(sp).  So it's a mess.
  I have had every possible back test thought up by man, and trust me some of them where killers.  Did the epideral injections, brought on diabetes, did physical therapy, tried a chyropractor(sp), he admitted he couldn't help, also recevied a tez unit . I don't for see any other treatments left for me.  Right now I take enough oxycodone, and other type drugs, that it's effecting my personality,bouts of depression, anxiety, paramoid, and making me act like a teenager(I'm 37) also, and after surgery, they have to ween me off them.  It also effecting my job.  They think I'm drunk, NOT! I almost lost my job too!  My friends are really wondering about me, along with my family! I was never like this, before last year and the drugs.
  My question is has anyone else gone through all this h__l?  Has anyone else had this kind of surgery, and did it help?  I don't think I can take much more of this.  Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
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helllo,
I have had one spinal fusion at the L5-S1 one area about 17 years ago, when I was 21. The doctor did this fusion from the back and used my own bone to fuse it. Well, it lasted about 15 years and I only had to take medication in the winter. It worked out wonderful. But now 17 years later it is no longer fused and I have to go back in on March 27th, to have it fused with screws and rods(now I am 37). The doctor will be going in from the front and the back. I too have been on medication now for 2 years straight and I understand what you are saying, YOU ARE NOT CRAZY! The medication is not helping and I don't want to kill my kidneys or liver. So I too am going in. All I know is the first one worked for some time and I hope the second will work as well. The first surgery was done and it was not done with all the technology they have now. So I think you will do just fine. I will be thinking about you and wishing you well. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP AND YOUR HEART STRONG (that is what I keep telling myself). Good Luck and let me know how it goes.
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So sorry to hear what you are going through.  I had spinal fusion in 2004, with titanium rods/screws and bone graft including partial cadaver bone.  It was my L4 and L5 as well.  Diagnosed with DDD too!  I went through H--- for almost 15 years.  Told it was in my head by many and no amount of medication helped!  I know how helpless you feel.  Finally 2 months before my surgery my back "went" again and I couldn't get up off the floor this time.  It was searing pain as I know you've had.  I found an amazing doctor by the name of Dr. Kime in Harrisonburg, VA a DUKE grad and then some.  He sent me for a discogram or as I call it "what should be done to OSAMA BIN LADEN".  This re-created my pain to pinpoint the exact problem areas.  It was horrible but necessary, shortly thereafter I had the surgery.  

It was worth it.  I haven't had any pain in my back at all.  I even have full flexibility, but I don't push it, I'm still very protective!  I feel a little weak in the back sometimes, but no pain.   I sometimes have a quick sharp pain where my bone graft was done from my hip, but I can handle that!!!!  It's been 2 years and I feel great.  I was 31 at the time of surgery. It did take me almost a full year to recover to full health.  I am a bit of a wimp though!!!!  I was a surgical challenge since at the time of surgery I was 5 foot 5 inches and 95 pounds.  I was loosing weight from the pain, medication and overall misery related to my back.  There was barely enough room for the hardware!!!!

It was a tough recovery as I am the mother of 3 and at the time my youngest was 6 months old.  I hope that you are as lucky as I am and that you have a full recovery.  I would highly recommend the surgery especially by my doctor.  I was up and walking the next morning!!!!  It's going to be a tough road but I know you can do it!  I will  be thinking of you, good luck!
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Hi,
  Thank you for all the replies!  They been most helpful, and encouraging.  I can't wait to get rid of the pain.
Bobbi-Jo
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Hi, I have serious lower back problems, too, and my doctor wants to do a discogram, but I'm just scared to death of that test.  I've had myelograms before, but the discogram just sounds so barbaric that I don't know if I'll ever have surgery.  I'm on fentanyl, oxycodone and Indocin for pain and it's a fact that all these meds do change a person's personality.  Another reason I am dreading surgery is I had spine fusion at S1-L5 level in 1986 and even though the surgery was successful, I contracted (osteomyelitis) a staph infection in the bone (starting at the bone graph site in my right upper hip that migrated down through the hip joint and into my femur).  I was deathly ill and in severe pain.  I had a Hickman catheter in my chest for 1 year so I could administer I.V. antibiotics 3 times a day and still had to take oral antibiotics for months after that.  Unfortunately, infection is always a possibility, but, fortunately, it's rare.  Good luck to you, bjferge!  I'm sure you will do well and I wish you a speedy recovery.
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Hi vriss,
  Thanks for the words of support!!  If I was you I won't be afraid of the discogram.  No it's not a easy test, but it'll be worth it if it shows what's going on.  Mine did, and before that they really had no clue what was going on.
  I can understand you fear of going through this, but the relief from pain far out ways some bad side effects.  Right now, I have numbness in parts of my legs, but that's due to the long compression on the nerves, and how much the nerves had to be moved around.  As of right now, I would do it all over again.  My pains basically gone, at least the pain my back caused, and my mind, attitude are getting back to normal, which haven't been for over a year.
  i hope this helps.  If you have anyother questions just ask!
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HELP,  Need advice...  I received a herniated disc about three years ago due to a work injury.  About two and 1/2 years ago I had "MICROSCOPIC SURGERY" done to the herniated disk.  this is where they go in and shave off part of the disk to give the Siatic (sciatic) Nerve more room to move.  After that proceedure I have had absolutly no pain in the infected area I have been doing very well for the past two years or so.  Just last week my Siatic (sciatic) nerve started acting up again and the pain is unbearable i can't walk, work, sleep, laydown, sitdown, Nothing I have to be constantly hobbling around in order to deal with the pain.  Just yesterday I went to see the surgeon who performed the "Microscopic" Proceedure.  He has recommended a Fusion.  i am scared.  I have heard horror stories relating to this and I have also heard good stuff as well.  I don't know what to do I have two small children that I (At this point) can't handle because of pain.  Any advice would be highly Appreciated please E-Mail me at ***@**** with any information or exaperiences you may have had or if you know someone who is or who has gone through this please send any and all info My way.  Thanks for reading and I hope all works out well for you.
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I too have been having severe back pain in for a little over a year.  After a discogram, they discovered that L4-5 and L5-S1 were torn.  They recommended disk replacement surgery, but my insurance company refused to pay for it, said it wasn't medically necessary and experimental.  The only other alternative they say is fusion.  I have been through injections, etc.  

Has anyone here had a fusion of L4-5 and L5-S1?  Can you tell me your experience?  Everyone I talk to says not to do a fusion, but the pain is debilatating and I can't find another alternative.  
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I have talked to several people who have had spinal fusion, not all L4-S1, they are doing just fine.  I just had a spinal fusion from the L4-S1, and I'm 1 week out.  It was the best thing I could of done.  Granted I'm not up doing a jig, but the back pain, and the leg pain is gone.  Before I had my surgery, my Doc told me the risks, and what I could expect to happen, both the good and the bad.  I made the dessision to go through with it.  I couldn't continue the way I was going.  I had to go for it.  As of right now, it was the right thing to do.  I do have a complication, and that's numbness in my feet.  I talked to my Doc, and he said with time it will come back.  He also said some of the numbness may never go away.  But I can get around, and it's only been a week.  Just need some time to heal.
  I hope this helps,
Bobbi-Jo
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hey i was not sure how to post on here but I have had three level anterior/postior fusion and prepare to have my last two remaining lumbar disc taken out in the next few days has anyone ever heard of 5 level fusion? L1-L2-L3 L3-L4 L4-L5 L5-S1 then i need both shoulders done and I have three disc bad in my neck
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im alinpain on this forum,i also have had 4 surgurys in the last year,2 neck and 2 lower back,thank you for all who have wrote into the forum,it sure helps to hear about people who are going thru the same thing.......
if anyone knows of more l4-l5 fusion that went well i would love to hear them.im also facing that after two failed clean outs in lower back.....all i hear is bad things......please help in R.I.
thank you
al
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My brother had the spinal fusion, lower back 30 years ago, with all the hardware that they used back then and it was downhill from there.  Eventually, had ,HAD ,to have the hardware removed.  Then the bone grafts which remained, began growing into the spinal nerve areas and now he has to take valium to calm the severe spasms that would otherwise dominate his life.  It has been a nightmare from then to now.  Anybody else would be in a wheelchair, but he is stubborn and so persists with a cane.  Someday, I will probably have to be his live in help.....   Maybe it was just because that was the bad ole days of spinal fusion, or a bad doctor.....  Anyone else experience this?
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I posted this in another spot, never heard from anyone.  Below is my story.  BJFERGE, How did you make out ?

I was diagnosed as having a schmorls node L5-S1.  (some other minor buldges L3, L4) It was found last Feb.  I have had back issues for a lot of years, but the pain from this is like no other.  I had an MRI from 2002, that that they compared to on from 2007. The pain radiates out to the outside of my hip, making it tough to walk and bend, but the pain never radiates down.  I'm 43 and an avid ice hockey player.  I ended my season early last year, and  did all the therapy thru the summer, and now I have played 1 game this fall and I'm a wreck.   Everything I read is about controlling inflammation.  Has anyone tried any herbals.  I looking at a pill that contain glucosamine, boswellia, devils claw, turmeric, and ginger.  I'm also reading about Mona-vie Active, a power juice also with glucosamine.  has anyone gone down this path?  Really want to keep skating.
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I had a level 3 fusion with a cage of L4-L5-S1 in May 2007. I too had a Discogram (pure hell) before surgery. The discogram only gave me more pain. My doctor said that was good because it let him know where my pain was so he wouldn't be blind at surgery time. I was in surgery for 7 1/2 hours (so if your doctor say surgery will only be a couple of hours, be (your family) prepared for longer) I had the surgery and I  now have a great deal of pressure in my lower back (it's like a foot is inplanted in my lower back now). My legs hurt went I walk, I now get this sharp pain in my butt cheeks. When the weather changes I want to just die.. I hurt so bad....

Anyone having the same problem or any input to how long this will last.... I'm so tried of the people I work with saying you should be better now.... and my spouse thinking I can cook and clean and run a mile..................

I know this will sound funny but, the surgery was Great! I no longer have blue/cold toes. It was heaven to feel my toes and feet again.... I just wish I could find someone who understands my pain NOW!!!!(post surgery)

I'm not sure where you are located but I would be glad to refer my dr. (Jeffery Phelps in North Richland Hills, TX )
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I had a three level fusion in 1998. L4 L5 L5S1 (seems to be most common). They went in front and back with cages and pedicle screws finished with bone graft from my hip. It took a good 2 yrs before I really felt better and after that I had about 3 1/2 yrs of no pain at all - it was the best years of my life! Now it's going downhill again. for the past 6 months I have been getting progressivly worse and have constant pain in my lower left back, down the left leg to the knee with stabbing and burning sensations that never end. I can't walk or sit or stand for long at all and am now back on pain meds which do no good, I did the epidural injectiosn, no help. What is happening is that the level above my fusion is degenerated and collapsing - the vertebrae is actually shifted down and forward - the xrays are pretty scary to see - ah the consequences they never told us about. This is a very common occurance after multi leve fusions and I found that fusions above 2 levels are rarely done any  more due to the failure rate at levels above fusion. I am now facing having a FOURTH level fused which scares me to death but what else can be done? I am in so much pain all the time 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
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Good luck on the glucosamine and other herbal remedies.  If you find something that works, let us know.  I tried the glucosamine for years, thinking it was doing something.  Finally wised up and determined it did not do anything.  You are right when you say that the 'cure' is to keep the inflamation (inflammation) down.  I do Naproxen, prescription aleve.  It is not great, but I want to believe it helps some.  Someone had mentioned that ice is better than heat, I have to agree there.  I will be trying the shots soon.  I am scared to death!  My choice of relief is to afford physical therapy three times a week for the rest of my life, if I was a millionaire.
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This all takes our own research.  After 6 years of pain and bad posture, and inability to walk more than a block, I had successful stenosis surgery 1-1/2 years ago (a double laminectomy).  One pain free year.  Since then, my other problems have recently  resurfaced (diagnosed as degenerative disk disease, facet osteoarthritis, spondylolesthesis, and possibly stenosis in one area).   Now I can barely tolerate sitting (which is better than the reverse), and the sciatic pain is worse in the morning
and evenings.  I have seen 2 neurosurgeons (both suggested multi-level fusion, 4 levels in my case), an anesthesiologist (2 spinal injections - worked for 3 weeks), my old chiropractor (knows my back the best - the stage 1 spondylolesthesis is degenerative - the "better" kind), a physical therapist (great exercises to strengthen the core, but the tens unit is not helping the pain), and my general doctor who prescribed the Celebrex I requested for possible osteoarthritis.  Anyway, my
research has only shown me that 4 level fusions are rare.  I have a disc that is as
flat as a business card, so I am waiting until there is less barbaric surgery than
4-level fusion.  2 Questions: 1) what inflammation drugs have been successful for you and 2) has anybody had any 4-level fusions? (if there are no responses there, I figure
either those people are cured and don't read these sites, or the surgery killed them).
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WOW! My DR. (or ex Dr.) recomended i get a 4 level fusion, I could not find a soul who had this done. So I went somewhere else. This new Dr. is recomending a 4 level IDET and 3 level nucleoplasty, I dont know what to do!! What I do know is that the pain is unbearable and I will be rolling the dice soon, gettin a few opinions from other Dr.s first. Maybe this is something you can look into.
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What meds are you on?

Will270
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What meds are you on?

Will270
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Thank you so much for the advice regarding IDET and nuceolplasty.  I'm researching it now, and it sounds promising.  
Fusion doesn't make sense to me, as it is a highly unnatural structure within the body.
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In response to your question: "has anybody had any 4-level fusions? (if there are no responses there, I figure either those people are cured and don't read these sites, or the surgery killed them."
I had a 5 level fusion almost 2 months ago and am still here ... (10 pedicle screws and rods T12-8) I refer to it as a 5 level as it involves connecting 5 vertebrae)
I am perusing these sites in search of good exercise tips as I have not recevied any physio. Any suggestions for good www sites ? Thanks in advance.

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I have done everything-epidurals did'nt work-finally found the right surgeon-I'm in so much pain-have to sleep by taking kadian(morphine)and freezing my neck with ice.I have a very heavy job-I/m scared of the surgery-because they cut your throat-I cry all the time-I can hardly eat now I'm loosing weight-please if you have had the surgery please respond and tell me about it.I have to have C6 and C7 replaced with bone plastic and titanium.Thank -you--
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I had a 3-level cervical disc fusion about 7 years ago. It is the BEST think I ever did. Today, I can't even tell that there was ever anything wrong. I had suffered an injury and didn't realize the extent of it. Three years later, I was in agony and by the time they looked at it, my neck was a mess. The surgery was done with bone plugs (cadaver) and a titanium plate. Full recovery was probably 6 months, but after a couple of months I was at 85%. After the surgery your mobility is limited, sure, but that goes away too -- at least it did for me.

They don't cut your throat! They make an incision in your neck where one of the folds is. You can barely see my scar. Don't be afraid. I don't know your situation, obviously, but these doctors do this surgery all the time.
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Now about my new situation -- I wrote about cervical fusion above. I have been told that I will need a fusion in the lumbar part of my spine - L2 - L5. It has been recommended that I try epidural first, but that is only for pain management and will not "cure" the problem. I have decided to just go ahead with the surgery as I see the epidural as a band-aid for the underlying cause. Any comments on that?

Now about after the surgery. Assuming all goes well and my pain is diminished, what about mobility? Will I be affected as far as daily activities? I'm thinking about activities as simple as emptying the dishwasher where there is bending and twisting and reaching. Will I be able to dance? (That would be a bonus because I'm not much of a dancer now.)

Anyway, if anyone has comments on that, I will be back to check them out.

Thanks,
kc
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I had a 3 level fussionL3 to S1 two years ago,for sciatica ,an MRI showed 2 dics had broken and fragments were in the spinal canal and pressing on nerves leaving the sacrum,i had very bad leg pains.the operation was 7 hours in total.
due to very strong medication before the op,my metabolic state was very low ,consequently i really felt the op and here in Greece they wont give morphine in hospitals.recovery has been a long process,and i stiil have problems from scar tissue that has enclosed the nerves,and pain in the sacrum,
No physio here,swimming was painfull at first,but i think the best execise is the eliptical cycle,it frees up all the lower muscles yet puts no strain on the fussion,tis even better than walking as there is no shock to the spine,
Good luck to everyone going through this procedure.
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All multi level fusions will increase the stress on the joint above the fusion,all we can do is try to keep as mobile as possible after the op. Backs like movement! reduce pressure on the spine by not lifting heavy objects,as i cant bend from the waist i am always tempted to squat to do tasks, but this will only put more pressure on the lower back muscles,and ligaments that ajoin the pelvis and sacrum,use a "grabber"when possible.
Try swimming,this will help to stretch the musles and nerves,{painfull at first}in the back and buttocks, or lie in the water and just kick.I go to a Gym and pull down on overhead weights,this helps to stretch and open up the joints and  above the fusion thereby relieving pressure.for me the best exercise is the  elipticle cycle,this gives movement to all the back,without any stress on the spine.
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I had my four level fusion almost 12 weeks ago. I had been in pain for about 7 years and doctors brushed it off as arthritis and I took diclofenac (an inflammatory med) which controlled the pain for a long time. As it got worse in the past year, I became my own advocate and made an appointment with a doctor who specializes in spinal surgery.

I recommend surgery. Yes, it is painful. Yes, it keeps you down for a few weeks and full recovery is long. But I KNOW that I will feel better. In fact, if it weren't for the lingering pain, I would be at about the same level of discomfort that I was before. Things can only get better!

You hear so many horrors about back surgery. It is good to see success stories and I want to add mine to that seemingly short list.
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P.S. Walking is my friend!
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I would love to hear any story's about successful spinal fusion on the lumbar area. I am awaiting surgery for the spinal fusion on the Lumbar, only one level and am very very scared . I am in severe pain from my mid back all the way to my lumbar and my butt and hip area and feeling lots of leg pain from my knee to my toes. The pain is mostly in my lumbar and butt hip area if is wasnt for meds ( im taking hydrocodine 7.5 about 8 a day) i would not be able to get out of bed . I just would love to hear some success story's to help with this whole mental process.
Thanks to all
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Having terrible pain.  DDD at L5 S1, spinal stenosis in the same area, L4, L3 not as bad, and  cannot sit at all.  Posterior disc bulging seen.  PT want me to do back extension to open up the back of the spine.  Have you heard of this.  All the Dr's say I don't need surgery, but going down hill fast.  Any suggestions?? Can't sleep, muscle spasms, and burning in arms. Something seems to be going on in my T8, or around that area, and MRI showed no problems in the T's.  Also have SI joint issues.  I am A MESS!  Any thoughts on exercises?
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I had my first work related injury in 05. herniation of the disc. I went through the epideral injections and they worked. Had no major back problems until this past summer july of 08. I was doing my job, lifted a box and got instant pain to the same area.... I knew right away that I injured it again..... went through chiro, and eventually had the shots again. they helped but not like the first time. I just had a discogram this past friday and was told that I need multi level fusion. I'm scared but can't live with this low back and leg pain. Anyone recently have fusion with all the new techology
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I recently had a level 2 fusion on Aug 27 2009. L4,L5,S1. So far so good. I was in the hospital 4 days. They had me up and walking the next day. I will admit its been painful but Im happy I did it. I actually think the second week post op was the worst. I'm actually going in today for my first follow up appointment and to have the staples taken out. They went throught the front for my sugery. Its about a 5-6" incision. I definitly recommend the fusion. Even though its only been a couple weeks. The pain is much better than what I went through before. Before this surgery, I had 3 epidurals and a discectomy in aug 2006. I felt this was my only option to help with the pain. Good luck. Hope you find the help you need.
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I am 34 and I had a fusion at l4-l5 October 15, 2009.  It has been 4 1/2 weeks and I am doing great.  Haven't even started therapy yet.  I start it the 16th of this month.  I walk as much as I can and pretty much do what I want just don't pick up nothing heavy.  I haven't worn my brace today.  First time since surgery..  Like I read in one of the post; technology is more advanced than it was years ago and although the discogram  hurts like poo, and even made my back worse, with the right doctor and surgery you'll survive..  Good luck..
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Hi! I had a 5 level fusion of the L-2,3,4,5,andS-1,in May of 08.Since then  I now can walk and move about but I have a lot of lower back pain. It is tolerable with 7.5 vicodin,about 3 a day. I also had left knee replaced in 07 and had to retire from construction. I am currently 54 ye
ars old
                        Thanks,
                                       Joe
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I injured my back an neck many years ago. Through 5 surgeries and countles injections I have my L2-3-4-5-S1 and C5-6-7 fused. Two plates, 4 rods, 6 cages, 4 bone transplants from my hips and two cadaver transplants, 5 bone plugs and 16 screws! I now need my C3-4 fused badly but I know that will eventually mean my C4-5 will fail as well. The two disks above my L2 are in really bad shape as well.  Although I am in constant pain I take nothing stronger than Aleve 95% of the time but I am about at the end of that rope. Clearly I could get a lot more meds but I can't think well when on pain meds and don' t like to feel "stoned". There has got to be a better way. There seems to be nothing between anti-inflamatories (NSAIDS) and hydrocodone!;or between fusions and just constant pain. I am even willing to try something experimental before going back on hydrocordone or opium, or getting cut open again. At 52 I am not ready to give up on life! Ihave a Ph.D. and still can't find any reasonable research. I was hoping that people such as your selves who alolive wih this problrm may be of help.

If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate hearing them. Please respond with any sugestions, doctors or clinics, preferably in Louiiana but I am not choosy at this point!. I wouled even go back to pain pills at this point if I have no other choice! Anyhting has got to help. Thank you in advance for your support.

Dr. Bobby Savoie, Ph.D.
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First off I am so sorry for your pain. It hurts me to think of it.  I hope you all do better and find relief.

I'm 33 yrs old. At 27 my back just gave out & since I've got a discogram, disc decompression, nerve blocks, injections, PT, etc. I worked for my job -2 times w/6mo off.  The work docs of course said I was too young and just need to stretch :|  12/18/08 my back gave out for good started pt w/more injection but now it was my low back and my hip/butt/leg/whole leg nerve.  I got better in May I could not only touch my toes but the floor.  I was ecstatic I won the fight.  

Then in June I movd the wrong way & flared up until now.  I thought going  back to PT last week I'd be ok.  (wishful thinking cuz I am terrified of the fusion).  Plus I had been addicted to the stupid norco (I was on 12 a day for a few years) so I was running out it wasnt helping.  So I started suboxone after w/drawl after w/drawal.  I wasnt myself on them and now I have to get off the sub (which now my body has a block to getting full pain relief from meds) and I fought all that time getting off to have to get back on now :(

Now this is what are the facts.  I have to go back in a couple weeks to set up my appt for a fusion for my L4 L5/L5 S1.  I have DDD so there is nothing left to the above, and below herniation, slipped disc, stenosis, fractures, etc.  I'm getting it done by a surgeon from Northwestern in Chicago.  (the other surgeon was only going to do one level didnt even see the fractures - scary!)

I am scared to death.  Of waking up paralized. W/nerve damage.  With the PAIN.  The getting back to being able to walk and go somewhere.  This has taken so much of my youth already.  I want to get married and have a child.  I hear so many horror and then some good stories.  My surgeon says each person is different and I have to do it now when its a choice and not my only option as I'm getting worse :( :( :( I dont have a specific accident but may not remember there were times I was hurt just dont remember the back but you never know.

My questions for anyone that has had the L4 L5 S1 done or any lumbar etc done.  Or anything I guess for that matter.

When you wake up in the hospital is the pain unbearable?  For how long?
I dont think I can go home as I wont be able to walk up/down stairs will I?
How hard was it to walk the next day when they get you up?
How long until you were able to actually walk up and down stairs or to go to a restaurant and sit down and eat?

I am just terrified.  Shock is still there but a little more subdued now I'm in a mode where I feel the need to start going through everything I own and cleaning it out and making lists of what to do and so on in case things dont work out and I cant move around normally again or for a very long time.

Any input would be appreciated.  I've read everything but still curious about the stairs, pain, etc.  Thanks so much in advance.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey Jen my name is Steve and I had a fusion done 3 weeks ago. It was a 2 level fusion of L5-S1. Iv'e been dealing with back pain for about 7 years now and thought it was time to do something about it. When I woke up from surgery I was hooked up to a morphine pump and was given Oxycontin 40mg twice a day. You wont feel any pain because of the meds you will be on. You will just feel a little uncomfortable being in a hospital bed. I was released from the hospital in 4 days and I am currently weening my way off of the oxycontin. This has been the hardest thing for me to do. I don't know why people perscribe this stuff because you get hooked immediately. I tried quitting cold turkey but that didn't work as I"ve been having the chill's cold sweats and didn't know what to do with myself anymore. Now I'm on 10mg once a day and it's getting a little better. As far as the pain I would say on a scale of 1 to 10 I would say it's a 2 right now. The only problem I'm having now is I have tingling and numbness in my feet and Im going to see the neurosurgeon today about this. If you have any other questions you can e-mail me at ***@****.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey man let me tell u I am 38 and had a L5 S1 spinal fusion done dec of 2008 and had the cage and rod and screws and Im a full time firefighter full time and was terrified to be cut but had no choice and the operation went great and I was out for 4 months and 4 months later ram my first half ironman 70.3 miles so hang in there it works i promise.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just got done feb 22nd with a l5/s1 fusion. I have severe bilateral spondylolisthesis with severe bilateral foraminal stenosis due to having the disc degenerate a this level causing signigicant bilateraly root nerve compression. Went to a chiro for 15 months, did physical therapy, spinal injections, alternative healing methods, but it came down to my quality of life and me needing the surgery. I have a metal cage with cadaver bone, titanium rods, and screws. It was a 5 hr surgery. I'm walking 4-5 times a week, losing weight like crazy. Pain meds make my appetite disappear. My whole diethas changed since my surgery. I feel like a vegetetarian, all I want is fresh fruits and veggies. I drink a boost or two a day for the protein. I'm on 4 pain meds of which 2 are break thru meds. I'm 23 days out of surgery and my leg pain began a week ago at nite. That's a horrid pain in and of itself. Thought I had finally goten rid od that pain. My incision is 5-6 inches long. I was only fused at the l5/s1 area but where it hurts the most is up higher at the top of my incision. Feels like the rods and screws are there instead of lower. That happen to anyone? Still have pain levels of 7 or higher everyday. I still force myself to walk cuz I know I need to. This is my story of my first fusion. I was in the hospital 3 days.
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Avatar_f_tn
Correction: was a 6 hour surgery got out of recovery at ten pm so it was the next day the physical therapists came in to get me up to walk. Thought I was going to puke. Felt like ****, pain was horrible, legs shook like an earthquake but I know I needed to get up to walk. So I forced myself. The 3 days in the hospital is foggy but I remember at least twice thr physical therapists comming in to get me up and walking. I forced myself to go as long as I possibly could. To this day, the 4-5 times a week I walk I walk for 45 minutes. I'm always sore later. Had my post op appt last week, everything looked good. Got another appt in 3 weeks and I'm going to bring up the pain in my legs and my upper part of my incision. I give positive thoughts and energy to u all!!! *hugs*
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1267561_tn?1270271936
This coming April 12, 2010 I will be having an ANTERIOR LUMBAR DISCECTOMY AND INTERBODY FUSION AND PARTIAL DISCECTOMY.  In other words, the surgeon will make an 8"incision on my abdomen and enter through the front, moving all my insides to the side then spreading the lower vertebraes apart to put in spacers along with screws(fusing 3 vertebraes)  Then a mesh will be applied and a bone fusion liquid will be injected.  I will then be turned over for a series of micro incisions along my spine for microc surgery to clean bone spurs and partial discectomy.  Has any body had this experience so that I might have something to reflect upon.  I feel very comfortable with both of the surgeons required to do this procedure.
Mrs. H.
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Avatar_m_tn
Although it isn't urgent yet & I'll be going back for exams every 3 months, I will be needing multi-level Cervical Fusion of C2 through C7 some time in the next few years.  Timing depends on how it progresses, but I have basically no discs left in those 4 spaces as well as some movement which is causing compression of the spinal column.  My Dr intends to build a full strut for the anterior side, as well as fusing the posterior side, all 5 vert.  He's telling me anywhere between 6-12 weeks with hard collar, and loss of approximately 25-30% mobility.

Anyone out there done this many Cervical?
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Avatar_m_tn
Oops - mistyped.  My fusion will be C3 - C7.  Four levels.  Typed C2.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi I had my third back surgery almost two months ago and I am still in the healing process for this one so I am not sure of the over all outcome yet.

I have had lower back pain since 1998 and I have been through everything that you can possibly imagine to try and fix the problem and some things I have done more than once due to moving. I did pt at least four times, I have been though pain managment twice and then the three surgeries. I have also had more needles stuck in my than I could have ever imagined in a life time ( and I have four kids).

My first surgery was done in Texas in Dec 2008 and I thought it was going ok till I lost all feeling in my pelvic area and all the way down my left leg. When I went to see my Dr he told me that one of the bone fragments was missing and that they couldnt find it so I was sent for a milagram. The day after the milagram I went back to the Dr and he said that I had to have surgery again on in the morning, so April 2009. After this surgery I was extra careful and tried to watch what I was doing because I was lead to believe that the second surgery was my fault, but I found out about six months later when I got my hospital records that it was the dr that messed up. The surgical records stated that there was a plastic clip removed from my nerve during the second surgery that had been left in during the first surgery.

After moving from Texas I was still having a lot of back pain and I have trouble getting out of bed so I started seeing a new Dr. After my first MRI came back the surgain called me in and told me that there was no choice I had to have a third surgery. At this news I broke down crying and had to get myself under control so that I could go get in the car with my kids. This being my third surgery I knew that there was going to be a lot of pain, but I was not really sure what all was going to happen and neither was the Dr. I came out fine, but I am still in pain and on pain meds and they told me that I probl. will be for the rest of my life.

I am 34 years old and I have a nine inch scar on my back, fusions at L3-L4 L4-L5 L5-S1, 8 screws, 6 pins, and scar tissue that has to be scrapped periodically off my nerve in my back. I also have had some issues with depression because everyday I find new things that I will no longer be able to do with my kids, my family.

I know that this all sounds like the bad side of fusion surgery, but I can walk still and I am alive to be with my family so I guess there are the good things to look at too. I am also a person that believe you should know every side of what you are walking into and with surgery there is danger.

As far as the pain is concerned yes there is going to be pain and it will be bad when you first wake up, but it can be overcome and the pain is different for everyone. The recovery is different for everyone and from what I have seen it also varies by Dr.

I wish everyone good luck and you will all be in my prays I know what you are going through.
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Avatar_n_tn
How much pain were you in after the surgery? Did they go front and back? And who was your doctor?
Thanks
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1629578_tn?1299818494
My quick story to share about my fusion, I know most of you may not have scoliosis but I had a fusion also.

I had harrington rod/fusion surgery for scoliosis almost 23 years ago. In the last 10-15 + years, I have had terrible complications from the surgery, neurosurgeon calls it flatback syndrome. My 2 rods start at T3 and end at L2, they took bone off my left hip at the time of surgery to fuse the spine.

I have been in and out of doctor's offices, counselors, physical therapy, seen many massage therapists, chiropractors, multiple prescription use, and also have used many modalities of alternative medicine. Because I suffer from chronic pain all the time, fibromyalgia symptoms, myofascial pain (tons of knots in the muscles...everywhere), pinching and burning of nerves and especially around the rods/fusion and my legs, extreme dizziness/vertigo, migraines that last for weeks, TMJ disorder, bulged disks, abnormal forward curvature (at least 30%) of the cervical spine, degenerating disks, pre osteoarthritis, arthritis, bursitis, sciatica, numbness , burning, and tingling of extremities, muscle fatigue and weakness/atrophy, edema, shortness of breath, thyroid issues, gall bladder issues, hypoglycemia, poor concentration, memory problems, moodiness and depression, sleep issues... I think that just about covers it all :(  I never had any pain or any issues before my surgery, even though I was only eleven.   Many other scoliosis friends that have had fusions are suffering with the same things as well because of the long term outcomes.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,
I am new here and reading your stories makes me feel like I am a wuss.

I was in an accident last October and have been suffering from lower back pain ever since due to a 10 mm disk extrusion with a 5 mm fragmant separated on my L4-5 and a lesser bulge on L3-4. I should mention that I am a Fitness/Yoga instructor and doing my job is next to impossible. I have been in so much pain (after having never ever had any back pain before) that teaching my classes is getting harder and harder every day. I mean, I hit level 9 on a daily basis, not counting the recent shooting pains in my back, butt, legs, and heels. When teaching, I now mostly talk my people thru the moves. Both disks are leaking.

I did PT, use the tense unit, did all (10) injections, had my discogram and need a 2-level fusion on my L3-4 & L4-5, and will get 2 bars and 6 screws. He will go in from the side.  
Anyway, I am planning to have this surgery done this summer. It will be a big change for me (as I am not used to NOT working), but I feel that it will give me some relief at the least.

I heard that I need to make a list of things I need prior to surgery...like grabbers, silk pj's, etc. ect. So, any help there is greatly appreciated.
What should I expect from this surgery? How long is the recovery? I hear from 3 months to one year? What is the real deal? When can I walk up and down the stairs, etc.? I know that I will be out of work for a long time, but when can I do normal chores at home, such as cooking?

Again, I do still feel silly to ask after reading how some of you have been suffering from back pain for all these years. So, I hope it's ok that I posted here...oh, and I am 45 years young...never had any back pain until 3 hours after the accident last October. Def. a life changing moment.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello I had bone fusion done about 1.5 years ago were they taken bone from my hip and fused it to my spine threw the front of my neck...Well i am one of those that had a very bad experience? 3 weeks after i had pain in my left arm tingling and felt like it was on fire so they done a CT Scan too see and 2 of the screws came out and are now floating there like in space wich is not good at all? Now i have pain in my top right leg so bad i can hardly walk on it.Im taking 2 tab's of oxy80mg 4 times a day for the pain & im still in serious pain? I have been waiting for over 1 year now too get that fixed and in the past year they found 2 more hurniated disks in my upper spine & 3 months ago they also found 2 more in my lower spine so if any1 ever asked me to get spine fusion my remarks would be DONT DO IT Unless you like to play the roll of the dice? But like i have been told by the surgion many have came out fine butwhy am i not hearing as many good storys as i am all this bad **** happening like as it did too me!!!!! Well good luck e-mail me anytime if any1 knows anything i can even do msg me here and let me know but im 32 and its not looking so good for me sorry about the spelling every1 not that good on these things lol good luck too all with the thing we call BAD-BACKS
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Avatar_f_tn
Where to begin.  I had 4 surgeries on my back and going in a few weeks for my 5th.  My first spinal fusion was done in 2002 by Dr. David Arndt. This was the beginning of my nightmare. This was to be a 1 level fusions at level L4/5. He ended up operating on the wrong level and 2 screws came out, one in my hip and one in my
stomach. I ended up having all the hardware removed by Dr. Tromanhauser. (Great doctor). In 2010 I had a four level fusion. I had a fall in may of 2011. I think because of this I need to go in for an eight level fusion. The screw At level L2 is not only coming out but protruding into the above disc.  I am scared to death. they are not even sure how they are going to go about doing this. I should find out by this coming thursday. Has anybody had an eight level fusion? I personally have never heard of anyone having one before. If so, can you tell me what, I should expect?  And as far as a discogram goes, not to scare you but to prepare you, it felt like somebody was crushing my back. Now the pain level may depend on how bad your back is and I am only telling you my experience.  I would appreciate any information anyone can provide me. Thanks!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Where to begin.  I had 4 surgeries on my back and going in a few weeks for my 5th.  My first spinal fusion was done in 2002 by Dr. David Arndt. This was the beginning of my nightmare. This was to be a 1 level fusions at level L4/5. He ended up operating on the wrong level and 2 screws came out, one in my hip and one in my
stomach. I ended up having all the hardware removed by Dr. Tromanhauser. (Great doctor). In 2010 I had a four level fusion. I had a fall in may of 2011. I think because of this I need to go in for an eight level fusion. The screw At level L2 is not only coming out but protruding into the above disc.  I am scared to death. they are not even sure how they are going to go about doing this. I should find out by this coming thursday. Has anybody had an eight level fusion? I personally have never heard of anyone having one before. If so, can you tell me what, I should expect?  And as far as a discogram goes, not to scare you but to prepare you, it felt like somebody was crushing my back. Now the pain level may depend on how bad your back is and I am only telling you my experience.  I would appreciate any information anyone can provide me. Thanks!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a 4 level fusion (S1-L2) with 10 screws and two rods.  Unfortunately I have two screws coming out at L2 and have to go in for emergency surgery to have either a 7 or 8 level fusion.  I have yet to find anyone that has had that many levels. Not only has the screws come out, but my pelvic is so tilted due to trying to compensate for the curve of my spine that they have to try and figure out how to make me straight.  It is causing so many other internal problems due to the tilt.   If anyone knows of anyone that has had an 8  level fusion after having a 2 or 4 level fusion, can you tell me if the recovery is much different.  Thank you!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I've had spinal l5 s1 lasicomy decompression n 5weeks into it I feel the same exact feeling I felt bfore the back surgery. Is this normal? I pray n beg lord everynight to heal n take away the pain. I can't sit or lay bc of pressure pains. It's horrible. Ne sugguestions?
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Avatar_f_tn
ZYFLAMEND
Many people have posted about the pain after cervical fusions. Though there are many causes and I see the doctors agree, muscle spasms, joint irritation above and below the fusion etc...
I have had terrible chronic pain from 2007 until 3 days ago. I tried ever imaginable way to get rid of it from massage, acupuncture, cupping, therapy massage, pain pills ( strong doses) steroid injection, Botox...the list goes on and on. But a few days ago my sister told me about an herb that Dr Oz talked about ( I know Dr Oz???, I was skeptical too) I tried it and the first ONE I took relieved the terrible tension in the muscles in my head, neck and shoulders by 80%. Now just days after I am 95% better. I still have some joint discomfort but the inflammation causing the horrible soreness it almost gone. Hopefully I will be able to find something that helps that so I can return to work. But please try this herb it was a miracle for me!!! ZYFLAMEND by NewChapter. I am NOT getting anything for writing this. I was so disappointed when I came on line to find help but found only others suffering like me. Just give it a try!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Many people have posted about the pain after cervical fusions. Though there are many causes and I see the doctors agree, muscle spasms, joint irritation above and below the fusion etc...
I have had terrible chronic pain from 2007 until 3 days ago. I tried ever imaginable way to get rid of it from massage, acupuncture, cupping, therapy massage, pain pills ( strong doses) steroid injection, Botox...the list goes on and on. But a few days ago my sister told me about an herb that Dr Oz talked about ( I know Dr Oz???, I was skeptical too) I tried it and the first ONE I took relieved the terrible tension in the muscles in my head, neck and shoulders by 80%. Now just days after I am 95% better. I still have some joint discomfort but the inflammation causing the horrible soreness it almost gone. Hopefully I will be able to find something that helps that so I can return to work. But please try this herb it was a miracle for me!!! ZYFLAMEND by NewChapter. I am NOT getting anything for writing this. I was so disappointed when I came on line to find help but found only others suffering like me. Just give it a try!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Many people have posted about the pain after cervical fusions. Though there are many causes and I see the doctors agree, muscle spasms, joint irritation above and below the fusion etc...
I have had terrible chronic pain from 2007 until 3 days ago. I tried ever imaginable way to get rid of it from massage, acupuncture, cupping, therapy massage, pain pills ( strong doses) steroid injection, Botox...the list goes on and on. But a few days ago my sister told me about an herb that Dr Oz talked about ( I know Dr Oz???, I was skeptical too) I tried it and the first ONE I took relieved the terrible tension in the muscles in my head, neck and shoulders by 80%. Now just days after I am 95% better. I still have some joint discomfort but the inflammation causing the horrible soreness it almost gone. Hopefully I will be able to find something that helps that so I can return to work. But please try this herb it was a miracle for me!!! ZYFLAMEND by NewChapter. I am NOT getting anything for writing this. I was so disappointed when I came on line to find help but found only others suffering like me. Just give it a try!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
ps theraphy doesn't work, walking and builing up muscle tone is the only wasy to get to the point you can have your life back. I tried it ALL!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow, Hope you are feeling better, and what did you do.  Wondering because I just came home from the Dr. and he recomended a four level fusion on my lower back.  And what I have found on the internet does not sound good.  So I saw your comment and was wondering what you decieded to do, and how it all went for you.  Please let me know and I hope all is well with you.
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