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Why am I still in so much pain after a spinal fusion?
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Why am I still in so much pain after a spinal fusion?

Hey out there, my name is Joe and I collapsed my lowest disk, L5-S1 in late 2006. I had spinal fusion surgery done in August of 2008 for the pain. I am 4 months out of my surgery and am still experiencing extreme aching, stabbing and shooting pains in my lower back, buttocks and right leg. My condition has not changed in the past 2 months. I underwent 6 weeks of physical rehab which helped a little bit but did not take care of the problem. My doctors think that I am doing fine, its just going to take more time to heal, and that my Vicodin use is just making the problem worse. I had been taking Vicodin for months before my surgery, and I can tell you that my pain is way worse now than before the surgery. The only way I am able to function and get up in the morning is by taking 5mg Vicodin, a Valium, and Tramadol for the pain. I have to repeat that cycle 2 more times just to get through my day. I am a college graduate, and the only work I can do is subject to my pain, I work for my dads company part time picking up blueprints and some light office work, but sometimes it hurts so bad that I can't even go in for the day. I can feel my screws and hardware digging into my body everytime I twist, and I feel that maybe the surgeons missed something, like there might be a nerve that is still getting pinched, or maybe the synthetic plastic piece they put in there isn't big enough??... I think that now I will never be able to start my career as a commercial pilot (which I went to college for), or any other kind of work because its impossible to stay mobile for more than a few hours a day... I feel like my life has already been taken from me at 23 years old.  I was wondering if anyone out there who has had the spinal fusion surgery could offer me advice about my situation? Should I get a second opinion at this point, and what should I do if the surgery has failed? Please help, any replies are greatly appreciated :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey, I have not had spinal fusion, but I do have severe neck problems, and am on oxycodone, 10 mgs 4 times a day. I know what pain feels like, and I am only 20 years old. I have had 15 or so doctors tell me that "I don't know what pain is" and that "the pain is all in my head", before they had ever done an MRI or X-Ray. Now they know that I wasn't just looking for drugs. Anyway, my point is that doctors love to tell you that your pain isn't real, especially if you are young. You definitely need a second, maybe 3rd opinion. My suggestion would be to find a pain management office, where they believe in drug therapy, because that is the only option you have left at this point. I do know that a lot of times they will not do surgery until it is very bad, so it seems as though your back is extremely bad. Don't let them tell you you aren't in pain, the amount of drugs that you are on right now is really not much, but taking all the tylenol you are taking is VERY bad for your liver. You need to be on oxycodone, which is much safer and only a little stronger. You need to go to a new doctor and tell them what you need, instead of letting them tell you. You might even end up on oxycontin, which is just oxycodone but controlled release (do not chew oxycontin pills, you might feel better for 15 minutes but will become addicted very soon.) From personal experience, oxycontin will make you feel like a slug, so just plain oxycodone without controlled release is the best, even though you have to take more a day. Anyway, good luck, you are going to need it! Don't let doctors bully you and tell you something you know isn't true. There are too many out there that are weary of people because there are a lot of "doctor shoppers" out there. Make sure they know you are in real pain, and tell them exactly what you posted here. It took me almost 7 years and a move to another state just to find a doctor who would listen to me, apparently even 14 year olds who know what pain feels like "don't know what they are talking about".. sorry don't mean to ***** lol. Good luck, again, I really hope I helped. :)
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Avatar_m_tn
I had lower back surgery in Oct 2007. Didn't have fusion but a microdiscectomy. I was off work for 16 weeks post op and not allowed to sit, lift, bend or carry anything for the first 8 weeks. Only walking or lying was allowed. Seems you might be doing things a little too quickly and maybe aggrivating your surgeical area. I was only on tramodal for 2 weeks after surgery. My pain has come back after a year but i think it is from my second problem disc. 20 years of high level Volleyball to blame!!! Hope you seek another opinion and i would advise you to rest, don't sit and don't carry anything. Limit your driving, i was not allowed to drive for 10 weeks!! All the best. Scott
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