I had both a XLIF and PLIF on L4-L5, and L5-S1 on 30 September 2008, and I am still in excruciating pain, and get spasms that are so bad they drop me to my knees. The hardware fixation on L4-L5, is a long lag screw in L4 and L5, with a small plate on the right side. I am wondering if there should have been fixation on the left as well, due to standard human movement. I am a disabled Veteran of the U.S. Army as a Medic, and this level of non activity is driving me nuts, but the pain I feel is disabling. I am also on some very strong pain medications. My doctor seemed to have difficulty listening to me post op, and he even requested and EMG on my right leg, and an MRI, and nothing else. I also have signs of sciatic pain. First, should there be more hardware for L4-L5, and second, any ideas on the pain? I am also thinking that there is DDD, or a bulging disc between L2-L3 or L3-L4.
First Thank You for serving! You are probably right about what you think is going on with your back. Click on my name and look at the hardware in my neck. I think you should of had it on both sides. Sometimes the hardware needs to be removed after the bones fuse. I would get another MRI and make sure everything healed OK, then I would ask if the hardware can come out if the rest of your back is OK. But then again like you said it could be another level that is causing the problem. Let us know if you have a MRI and what the finding are.
I would love to get an MRI, however the Army screwed up documenting my line of duty injuries, and screwed up my final paperwork, so I have zilch in the way of coverage anymore... Fighting it tooth and nail right now
Just a suggestion about the MRI, rather than having to wait for the "screw up" to be fixed, could you call some private MRI places in your area and see if they ever offer free MRI's to people who are uninsured. I live in NY and there is a large MRI place out here with many offices that offer once a month free MRI's to people who are uninsured. You must have a script and tell them you have no insurance etc. You have to sign up way ahead of time as you can imagine how fast this fills up.
I dont know where you live but just suggesting this, because u never know. I did not know about this until I was getting an MRI there. I fortunately have insurance but I never would have known about this service otherwise.
Also you could tell them you are a vet and see if they have this service or can offer you a discount, they can do this too for people paying cash. I paid for one of my MRI's once as i got tired of waiting for workers comp to pay and I got reimbursed, your health is the most important thing.
I spoke with the PA at my Orthopedic Surgeon's office. He is talking to their radiology people to do two xrays at bare minimum cost, Anterior and Lateral views, so that is a small start. I will check around about the free MRI's. I am also waiting for the Army to fix documentation errors with my discharge, which included them not listing my line of duty injuries, which included my right shoulder (ended up with two major surgeries) PTSD ( I ended up admitting myself into the hospital last year) and of course my back. I tried to save the life of one of my soldiers, and no matter how much medical skill and background I have had, I couldn't save him. I have a psychiatric service dog that goes everywhere with me.
In the meantime, for pain, my father has taken me to my pain management clinic, and paid for me to see the doctor, who has me on Methadone, 20mg 2x day, and Zanaflex (muscle relaxer) 4mg(strong at 4mg) 2x day, and Lyrica 2x day. I spend my days pretty much like a zombie, in the midst of major back spasms, and sharp pain, as well as the nagging pain every single day. .
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