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Lumbar Spinal Fusion
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Lumbar Spinal Fusion

Hey ya'll,
         So I been searching the net looking for any information on Lumbar Spinal Fusion surgery..... and I was just wondering if anyone can give me some  kind of information that makes sense lol. I guess I should explain my situation..

I'm 24yrs old ... July 2009 I had my accident at work. I have been a auto technician for 8 yrs now, and had my share of injuries over the yrs but none like this. I fell from the alignment rack onto concrete.. went to ER blah blah got to my visit with neuro to go over my MRI. I can't remember the exact details of my MRI report ( I cant find it at the moment just moved ) But I herniated 3 discs. L3-L4...L4-L5...L5-S1.  The middle one wasnt that bad, so I was told. Aug 2009 I had a lumbar laminectomy on L3-L4...L5-S1. At the time it was the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life! Well October came and went and the pain remained the same. The leg pain got worse and worse. So I had a Myelogram ( Dr hit a nerve or something I was screaming and passed out dr's nurses rushing in sticking morphine needles in my legs, worse pain ever to date!) .... Long story short the two discs are pushed out further than before. L5-S1 is slam up on the nerves causing my sciatica. Dr tells me I need a Lumbar Spinal Fusion... due to my age he only suggested i do the worse one L5-S1 .. he did not want me to have a 3 level fusion being so young. Had my surgery Jan 11th 2010. So it has been about 3 months now.. my back pain has not improved at all! yes the initial soreness of surgery is gone but not the pain. I mean I was taking 12-14 percocet a day, then i got dilaudid,neurontin and like 5-6 other meds. None of them work. My right leg is the worse of the two legs. I have like no strength in my leg. My thigh,knee,and calf hurt constantly i still have tingles in my feet. My Dr was a complete A** the last visit cuz i was still using my cane. My ability to walk has improved but not the pain. Im back in therapy 3x a week for 4weeks. I've had 7 visits so far and I hurt the entire time. My dr seems to think Im fixed. His exact words " your backs fixed son, you need to man up and get on with it.. if i see you with that cane again imma shove it up your a** "  Has anyone had this surgery ? What is the avg recovery time? My pain has not improved at all, I still cant lay on my stomach,sit a long time,walk a long time, and get out of bed without doing my annoying " logroll".. the pain is the worse when im laying in bed.  And in the back of my mind im thinking could it be that other disc L4-L5 that wasnt fused hurting??? I know a few people who had this surgery but they all some how had instant relief... Any wisdom would be great. thankyou. sorry so long.

JW
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Avatar_f_tn
Aww hun I'm so sorry u have such an azz for a dr!!!! *hugs* how unprofessional!! Id get 2nd and 3rd opinions if u can!!! I underwent open back fusion surgery with instrumentation ast l5/s1 feb 22nd of this year. It was a 6 hr operation, 3 day stay in the hospital and 6 inch incision on my lower back. It appears to have corrected the neurological issues aNd pain in my legs however I still log roll outta bed snd when I walk long distances, I use either a cart if I'm in a store doing lapse around the outside isles (sp), or my walker if its a long walk outside. I'm bout 5 weeks post op. My back where fusion was done and all around that area still gives me much pain. I take one percocet at bedtime to help me sleep. Do u have a good pain management dr?
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Avatar_m_tn
thankyou for your reply,

Well see I got hurt at work... so its workmans comp. Which has its pro's and con's . I've got a check every 6 days for 8 months now, but when it comes to Dr I gotta do what they say. I've explained all of my problems with my workmans comp case manager and she actually has mentioned a pain management Dr, but that's all that was said. So my options are only limited to what they will allow me. I have a pretty large incision on my back too. Used to be 2 small ones from first surgery now its one long one. Is yours swollen? My PT tells me its filled with fluid.  I had a walker and cane , took me 9 weeks to start walking without either. My walking has improved but not the pain. I try not to take any pain meds anymore they don't work... like u said a pain management Dr would be helpful. I've been taking pills for 8 months so i have built up a very high tolerance. It's pretty sad and unhealthy that I could take 12 percoet 10mg not to mention and function like a normal person. I have ambien ( sleeping pills) they just give me a huge headache, not sleepy.  So did you have leg pain prior? Did your legs hurt at all after surgery?  I keep hearing from people like instant leg relief wish I was one of those people. Can you sit or sleep without discomfort? thank you for your story.. its nice to know im not alone. My family has no idea ya know? They just hear me complain lol
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Avatar_f_tn
Omg what a nightmare...a workmans comp case...no wonder ur care sucked sweetie!!!! *hugs* I am so sorry!!!! My neurological journey began a yr ago altho ive had back pain for years. A year ago, I began to feel a heavy, sluggish feeling in my legs right b4 they would go weak and I would waLk like sumone with a bad case of cerebral palsy. Then the unbearable pain came. Was so way worse tghan any pain in my back...couldn't stand for anything to touch my legs and it hurt to walk on them. For the first four weeks after surgery or so, my pain in my legs was just a faded memory. Now I have some pain in my feet and my caLves are tight. Dr saYs that's normal to expect. When my brace is off, it is uncomfortable and hurts to sleep. I toss and turn cuz my back and flanks hurt. I can't sit too long cuz my tailbone starts to ache. Do u wear a back brace when moving around? I'm a single mum of 3, my two boys havnt been as understanding as my 16 yr old daUghter. She has been heaven scent to selflessly help me thru this. Let's keep in touch, I'll help be ur support system!!!!:)
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Avatar_f_tn
How ironic lol...my pain to is worse as well when I am laying down, but much better if I'm up movin, its one of the reasons I take a percocet at nite b4 bed, otherwise I'm off all meds. I'm into alternative healing and work to control my pain thru essential oils and energy tapping.
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Avatar_f_tn
My lower back was swollen at the bottom of my incision for the first week or two, then it went down. That whol area still feels weird and I become cold easily now. B4 my surgery, I couldn't stand anything over 65 degrees. Now I'm cold/hot all the time. I've had my heat up more after my surgery than I have this whole winter lol. Talked to dr bout it and assistant says she has heard many a story of ppl with metal hardware in them getting colder easier now. Do u get colder easier now?
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Avatar_f_tn
U can appeal and get a second opinion by a different dr...its ur right!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I havent really noticed getting colder easier.... never thought about it lol.  My back gets swollen every now and then just on its own. Im pretty much off my meds too, they dont help relieve the pain. I still take a dilaudid and flexiril before bed but they don't help really. It takes me about 2hrs of laying in bed trying to get comfy to actually fall asleep. I put a pillow between me and my girl ( she likes to kick lol ) and that has seemed to help alot with the morning pain. Hot showers are like holy water fo my back! And I am lucky enough to have my own personal TENS unit ( the electrodes) Have you had any of that? I would really suggest asking the Dr for a TENS unit , it has helped alot. They use it at therapy when i go along with heat... deff nice to have my own at home tho. I rotate between heat and ice and that helps alot. Once you start therapy they may do the ultrasound on your back. Not with a tv screen like with a baby lol just the actual tool. It breaks down the tissue under the scar to reduce swelling. I dont feel or see a difference with it but they do it anyways. Therapy is very intense so be prepared to be in pain when you go. My right leg is so weak I struggle to push 20lbs on the leg press. I feel like a fool when some 70yr old guy who had knee surgery is next to mee pushing 100lbs like its nothing. I might seriously ask for a second opinion if needed. The Dr has told me I will never work on cars again and to look into a new career.. Very stresful for me to think about. I made very good money working on cars and now i will have to start over...
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Avatar_m_tn
I no longer wear my brace to be honest, I'm suppose to but I find it very uncomfy.... I never wore it in the house cuz it seemed pointless. I was told to take off when I sit down or shower or sleep. But I have to constantly get up and move around then sit back down. Taking it on and off 30 times a day becomes a pain and annoying so I dont wear it. As long as you dont twist or bend over your fine. I just kneel when i have to get something off the floor. Getting dressed still hurts, I've been dressing myself since about 2 months after. Before that my gf had to dress me which became annoying lol. It hurts to put socks or shoes on but i just do it and deal with the pain. Guess pride comes into play and I dont want to feel like I need help.
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Avatar_f_tn
You kinda scared me with ur experience of how painful pt is lol. I have my 7 or 8 week post op appt april 9th. Can't wait for physical therapy to commence besides just walking lol. My daughter still helps with my shoes and socks. I've heard bout the tens unit...maybe I'll talk to my dr about it on the 9th. Hope ur feeling better *hugs*
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh, and I'm very dedicated with my brace...the pain from walking without it would be too unbearable lol
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Avatar_m_tn
well since PT i feel like my pain has got worse.. the past few nights my pain has brought me to tears. And I like to think I have a very high pain tolerance... maybe not. I think something is still wrong. Maybe that other disc L3-L4 that was not fused is causing the pain :( I remember it was narrowing from the myleogram report.... im just frustrated at the moment!
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Avatar_m_tn
Do you have any sciatica? if so any meds that seem to work? I've taken gabentin and neurontin both without any improvement or positive affects. Side effects from both were to much and I had to stop taking them. :(
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Avatar_f_tn
As we age, we can expect our discs to slowly deteriate...sorry it hurts u. Before my surgery, I had tried chiro care, alternative healing, essential oils, energy tapping, spinal injections, pt, pain management (lyrica)...but I am one of the few who really needed a surgery. I still get pain in my feet and my calves are tight, but nerve regrowth is very slow.
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