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Spinal Fusion Issues
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Spinal Fusion Issues

Feb 14, 2007 I had a spinal fusion between my L4/L5, according to my surgeon there was also one needed at L5/S1 due to Degenerative Disk. What he told me after that surgery was he only did the fusion at the L4/L5 because he didn't want to move/stretch the spine that much. I have two rods and six screws in place in addition to the fusion.
Prior to the surgery, I had NO issues with sciatic pain in my legs, thighs, or feet. The only real issue was terrible lower back pain when strained. I work in a job where that was going to be an issue often so I elected the surgery. I had tried all other NON-surgical remedies but the relief was short lived at best.
When I came out of the surgery I immediately knew something was wrong with my legs and feet. I thought that it was due to the surgical hose they require you to wear to prevent blood clots. My feet where always ice cold, extremely sensitive to even the slightest touch. After removing the hose, the sensations did not get better. They got worse.
My lower calves on the outside and front were so sensitve that the slightest wind made them feel like they were burning. My feet felt like they swelled to the point they would explode. I was put on diabetic nerve pain medicine. It helped but after a month I had an allergic reaction and was taken off of it. The pain was tolerable but ALWAYS present. My family could not even brush against me without causing searing pain. My feet seemed to have no balance. I could not wear shoes, it felt as if a million needles were being shoved into my feet. I had to keep them on a heating pad to keep them warm. They were literally ice cold to the touch.
My surgeon assured me that this was normal and in time it would improve. I wore the brace as required. The fusion itself took. When I continued complaining about the nerve issues, the test was done with the needles to the nerves to see if there were issues. There were issues stemming from the area of the fusion. All the surgeon keeps telling me is that it will get better. It has been a almost a year. I still have the same issues. I have to wear a size larger shoe. There are still areas on my feet that are numb and yet still stimulated to pain by light touch. As for the fusion it took, but I have pain MORE now than before. It hurts to get up, it hurts to lean over. I can't really do anything without being in pain. Up until now I was taking 10mg lortab about 8-10 a day just to function. I am not happy with this arrangement.
My questions are these.
1. Have you ever heard of a case with similar issues?
2. Is there something that can be done about the constant pain with out narcotics?
3. Does it sound like something is wrong with my fusion that I should maybe consult a different surgeon?
4. HELP??
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6 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
I would very much like to chat with you as I am experiencing the same sensations as you have described, to a tee!  I am also feeling frustation and helpless as far as what can remedy the nerve pain.  Please write back.  I would like to follow up with this with you. How do we do this?


muffi503
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358486_tn?1294779988
HI, no I do notk now of any other cases like yours! But I do know that is awful sounding!And a year later I do not believe that u shouldn't be better unless something was wrong or caused by the fushion, or surgey i9n general! I had a cervical fushion ( metal plate 4 screws) Just a couple of months ago, & my neurosurgeon says it will take 3 mo. 4 the fushion to take! I realize that it is probably awhile longer for lumbar due to all the pressure & strain, it is the base of your back! I would go visit another neurosurgeon if I was u! Best Of Luck To U, Brandy
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Avatar_f_tn
I am new to the site but just caught your comment today.  I met someone in November whose wife had the same surgery in June and the fusion was said to have taken by MRI result in October.  Due to her similar symptoms, her specialist decided she was having a reaction to the hardware in her spine and since the fusion took, he planned surgery for December to remove the hardware to give her relief, (hopefully).  I asked her husband to please call me and let me know if she did get relief but I did not hear back rom him.  It sounds like you and muffi503 may have similar problems and it would be safe to do some research and get back with your specialist and opt to have the hardware removed.

I had an L4-5 L5-S1 autologous disk replacement and fusion with screws only.  I woke up to abd.pain only d/t an anterior approach.  After 4 years I was finally out of back and right leg and foot pain!  I have been in a hard brace since October 2, 2007 with a bone stimulator.  No physical therapy yet.  My next appt. is 2/6/2008.  My problem is that I do too much by sitting at the computer for my online classes or housework and create pain in my back. Now I have ridiculopathy again and my surgeon has to do xrays to make sure the screws have not moved because I have not taken better care of myself.  I now have numb toes and pain in the right leg and back, requiring more pain meds than before.  So I have really caused my own pain this time, I am researching to see if I have possibly herniated the new disk or another disk, which is possible.  

God Bless  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello all,
Just read all of your posts. I, too, have a 3 level fusion in my lower back with double laminectomies. I don't have some of the problems you all have, but I do have my own. I would suggest going to www.raceagainstpain.com and reading up on SCS (spinal cord stimulators)...It really seems to help people that have nerve pain. I tried it, but it didn't work for me, but that doesn't mean it might not work for you.It's worth investigating and you can post messages and talk to people that have actually had success with it on raceagainstpain. My next step is going to be the pain pump, but I am kind of scared of it, but it may be my last chance at some pain relief. Best of luck to you all,
Lisa
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Avatar_m_tn
Hanf in there, Lisa. I tried the spinal cord stimulator and  it made my pain worse.
How long ago was your fusion?
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Avatar_n_tn
Just now joining the forum and just as all of you I had the fusion in Dec of 06..I since then have been having problems with both legs..the right leg in particular..My back surgeon performed several MRI's and determined that it was nothing that had to do with my back..I then got referred to a Pain Specialist that recommended the spinal cord stimulator...Well the thing that I liked was that I was able to try it out first...but it wasn't for me...the constant tingle was annoying..the best way I could describe the feeling was the feeling of your foot going to sleep and then when you try to bring it back to life..that was the feeling and if the device was turned up higher I felt as if I had put my finger in a socket...It didn't mask or take away the pain...

Now something very interesting what the pain specialist told me was that he didn't understand why my back surgeon was telling me that the pain was not coming from my back when in fact it is...(needless to say I will be following up with the back surgeon)..He said (pain specialist) that I had some scarring in my back and that the nerve was pressing down on the scarring and causing the pain in my legs...He also said I had something called Post Lactenomy (probably not the correct spelling)...so thats where I'm at now with this...

Just wanted to share
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