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Pain after surgery
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Pain after surgery

Thanks for taking the time to answer this question.  I had 2 fusion surgeries done - double fusion on C4/5 and C5/6 and lumbar surgery on 4/5 within the last year.I am 7 months past the last surgery. I am still in alot of pain that is keeping me from living a fullfilling life.I have been taking alot of pain meds to get through the day and not sleeping more than 2 hours a night. My problem is I keep getting so many differant opinions that I have no idea what is right. One doctor says I won't get better and just accept this the best I can.He says no more surgery--it won't help. The neurosugeon says he will take the screws out of the lumbar area and that may help with the leg pain. He says the problem with my neck is another level has herniated below the fusion but he is taking it slowly as to how to help this. My PT therapist is saying he does not want to do much as far as the neck goes so he doesn't mess up the two fused areas. He suggests pain management-- whatever that means. My primary doctor says try accupunture which I am afraid to do because of the needles. What do you think of all this? Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Without reviewing your studies and examining you I cannot provide an opinion. What I can recommend is that you have a second opinion at a large academic spine center. If you are in the area we have a wonderful center. The doctors there will review your case and make the best recommendations, either medical or surgical. Good luck.
13 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello, I'm sorry to hear you are still having pain after your surgery. I am having the same problem. I had a spinal fusion done at the L5-S1 level in Feb of 2003. My pain level is worse now that the surgery is done also. I take 2 different types of pain medicine daily and a prescribed sleeping pill so I can get a full nights sleep. I am currently going to pain management. They started with spinal epidurals for 2 months, they gave me no relief of pain so on the third visit they gave me two facet joint injections on both sides of my spine. They gave me a very slight relief of pain for about two weeks then the pain level came right back. I had my second set of facet joint injections a month ago and they did nothing for me this time. Now they are going to sedate me and go in and burn off the nerves in my back. They are hoping this gives me some relief. My surgeon prescribed physical therapy for me to help with flexibility and movement and after four weeks of therapy my health insurance provider would not allow any more treatments. The denial letter they sent me stated that I have a chronic condition that they feel there is little chance of me getting better so they feel therapy is a waste of time and money. I wish they were in the pain I am in and maybe they would feel a little different. My doctors have pretty much told me top get used to the pain and as of right now there isn't anything they can do surgery wise to help me. They told me to apply for Social Security Disability which I did do and that is a long process. I hope your pain management treatments help you out better that they have me. Every patient is different, alot of people it really helps. Good Luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I know what you are going through and wish you had a better out come. The doctors say the same thing to me-just deal with the pain . I cannot sleep more than 2 hours so I am exahusted most of the time. I am getting so many differant opinions that I wish just one doctor would say "this is the course to take and don't worry about it." I am wondering why, with the problems I have, there is no cut and dry solution.The injuries are seen on MRI so I would think there would be a way to help with relieving the pain. Thanks for your comments. I will pray you get some relief.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm going through the same too after fusion at L5S1.
I would have the surgery again as I got so much relief, but I am still in pain.
I have been 'everywhere', spent my money, none left.
Cant turn over in bed, but I can run and jump and go to the gym.
I cant stoop to put something in the bin, but I can do all types of stretching excersises??!
I can touch my toes, no pain, but put me on the floor or in bed and ask me to turn over and sometimes I just cant move  - other times I can "lift' myself over.
HOWEVER - it was suggested that I visit a MYOFACIAL Dr.
(this is to do with soft tissue - connective tissue and injections into spasms and trigger points) My pain was soo severe that I did not hold much faith  - however I am slowly getting there.  The spasms that this Dr has found in my muscles -has astounded me.  
One type of pain that I had before the surgery and after (the Surgeon did say to me that he had no idea what this 'red hot sword type pain' in my left side was) - was still there after the surgery (Most of my pain was on the right side)
5 visits for MYOFACIAL injections and IT HAS GONE!
See if there is someone around who does it - its worth a try.
I am 2 years after the surgery now and a number of MYF visits and I am sooo much better.  Good luck to you all - it sucks living with chronic pain!
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Avatar_n_tn
I just had an ACDF of C5&6 following an airbag injury from a vehicle collission three weeks ago.  (The air bag, when deployed, caught me under the chin and turned my head into a pez dispenser.) I had my post-op check-up yesterday and the neurosurgeon said everything appears fine, but he didn't have time to answer my specific questions.

Basicaly, all he said was not to lift more than 10 pounds, take my pain medication as needed, and see him again for a three-month follow-up.  That's about it as far as he's concerned.

I understand that most patients spring right back after surgery and feel great, but mine has been the opposite.  The pain is unbearable in my neck and between my shoulder blades.  I also have some weakness in my arms.  I seem to have lost some coordination when it comes to typing and I'm always dropping things as they just seem to slip from my hands.  I guess the neurosurgeon is having a wait-and-see approach to it and doesn't seem to be concerned about it. I guess that's easy when you're the surgeon and you see this all the time.

I have had more than my share of medical problems in the past and several operations for various things especially over the past seven years, including a lamenectomy of L5,S-1 without fusion 7 years ago, which I bounced right back from with no problems at all.

I guess being on pain medications often over the past seven  years are why they aren't working as well as they should.  I am currently taking Percocet 10/650MG.  Depending on the severity, I have to take two tablets every 4-6 hours to get a little bit of relief.  Otherwise, I take the pain as best I can and try to relax on a recliner with a heating pad pinned to it. The recliner is also designed so if I sit in it just right, the upper part of the recliner offers a little bit of traction, which offers some help, along with the heating pad.

I'm scheduled to see a pain specialist at the end of the month and just have to wait to see him and make do with what I have to deal with the pain until then.  I realize the amount of Percocet should be enough to put a horse to sleep, and I understand the neurosurgeon's reluctance to prescribe anything stronger.  

I can only sit at my computer for about 1/2 hour before I have to go lay down to rest my neck due to the pain.  One of the most painful things is simply riding in the car!  The vibrations really aggrivate the pain.  Just a short ride to the doctor's office and back home will put me in mysery the rest of the evening.  So, I don't do very much at all.  

I can't help but think I may be one of the few people who just doesn't do well after an operation like this.  I hate to think that, but can't avoid thinking it knowing how so many people bounce right back a few days after surgery.  

Any words of wisdom will certianly be appreciated.





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Avatar_n_tn
I certainly can relate to everyone here about this chronic pain after surgery.  My first injury and surgery was in 1988 for a ruptured disk.  I spent one month in the hospital on steroids and muscle relaxors trying to get it to heal or settle down to keep from having surgery but no luck.  I could not walk, also had spinal headaches from a slip of a needle during an epidural.  ALWAYS MAKE SURE THEY USE An x-ray imaging camera while they are perfoming the procedure. Anyway since then I have had nerves frozen so the mylan sheath would freeze and die causing them to be unable to process the pain signal to my brain.  So they said.  Although it did help some for awhile with the burning pain down my leg.  I have had just about every procedure it seems they could come up with.  PAIN CLINICS, at least 3 of them, which they did teach me alot about pain.  I also got alot out of going to a chronic pain support group.  I even did medications that we won't discuss the sources of, just to kill pain.  My life was falling apart.  I can tell you this....KEEP TRYING TO FIND THE RIGHT DOCTOR THAT YOU TRUST AND BELIEVES IN YOU.  I had so much trouble with doubting myself, was this all in my head, was the pain real or was I a hypochondriac ???  Why did I fall suddenly without cause when the pain was so bad.  It was my body shutting down I found out.  I finally found a really good spinal surgeon 50 miles from my house in a bigger city but worth the trip, he also had a pain doctor.  They worked with me and put me on pain patches which helped a lot.  He did not rush into surgery.  ONLY after I ruptured another disk did he decide to operate and then again after that one failed.  I call it my tower of Pisa in my back.  It is rods, screws and pins and crushed up bone but it is solid.  Now the pressure is off that nerve going down my leg and rarely do I have pain in my leg, usually only if I overdo it or the leftover permanent damage acts up.  I have a little weakness and some numb areas.  But it is nothing like what I lived with for years before that.

I know how badly I suffered before and it was horrible.  Now I am on the Duragesic Patches and it is a high dosage but most of the time I could do what I wanted as I got stronger and stronger.  It was amazing how much more I was able to do.  After years in bed having the ability to raise my grandson from birth these last 3 years has been such a blessing.  I just found out I have been diagnosed with another ruptured disk though this time it way up high T-3, so that and some other medical issues have curtailed a lot of my activities but I want to encourage you.

THANK GOD EACH DAY FOR WAKING UP.  KEEP ON LOOKING FOR HELP TILL YOU FIND IT, DON'T GIVE UP.  SEEK OUT OTHERS IN THE SAME BOAT TO TALK TO.  STAY IN TOUCH WITH THEM.  BUT DON'T LET IT GET THE BEST OF YOU.  YOUR ATTITUDE IS AT LEAST 1/4 to 1/3 of the pain.  You have the remembered pain, anticipated pain and the real pain to deal with.  The real pain there is only 1/3 of all that can hit you.  I have been there and done it.  I have a good friend who kicks me in the butt on a regular basis but also knows how it feels.  She has suffered much more than I have.

God be with you and don't give up.  Good Luck and let me know if you want to be in touch.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a L4-L5 spinal fusion 3 months ago for continued leg pain and worsening numbness in both my feet and rt leg. The numbness was still there and a new lower leg pain came arrived after 12 weeks post op the doctor said that may be a good thing  and that scar tissue is may be breaking loose. I had posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery with insrumentation.  He keps assuring me 6-12 months full recovery... Anybody out there have this surgery and have my symptoms and recover fully by a year post-op?

thanks in advance
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Avatar_n_tn
6 weeks ago I had an L4/L5 spinal fusion with a bone graft from my hip.  I left hospital with very little help or information.  About 2 weeks after the surgery I began to get bad sciatic pains down both legs, but because the back is still numb I cannot tell whether my "old pain" is still there. My leg pain is worse when I am laid down.  I am worried that this might indocate that the surgery hasn't been successful.  Some days are worse than ever, but I would just like to know whether this is normal and whether anyone has suffered the same and whether or not their surgery was a success or a failure.  I live in England by the way but I would appreciate any response from people who have experienced the same.  I am able to walk, but not allowed to "sit " at the moment I have a "perching stool"

My spine still feeld sore, though I guess this is to be expected as the surgery was only 6 weeks ago.

Please can anyone help me out here.  Thanks.
Sarah
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Avatar_n_tn
I had disk surgery, L4-L5, May 2003 but continued to have back pain and pain in my right leg. The surgeon who did my surgery seemed frustrated that I was still having problems and his attitude toward me changed after my second MRI showed nothing abnormal. After 2 epidural nerve blocks I got relief for several months. About 6 weeks ago I started having severe pain and sought treatment from the same neurosurgeon. He examined me for about 30 seconds and ordered another MRI. He didn't ask about my level of pain or whether I could work or not. I felt like he pretty much just blew me off. I made an appointment with another neurosurgeon in the same group after having the MRI performed. The 2nd doctor all but called me a liar. He said that the only thing he could see was scar tissue and my MRI showed him nothing that would indicate the level of pain "I claimed to have". As I talk to more people and read more comments from others it seems as if I'm not alone in being made to feel like the pain is in my head by the doctors who are supposed to helping. I felt like crying when I left the Dr's office the other day. He made me feel like I was completely wasting his time. Why are these doctors treating us like that? What should I do? I can't continue to hurt like this.
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Avatar_n_tn
To Heratio:
I also had ACDF at c5-6. The pain was terrible after surgery for at least 6 months. I am now 1 year post op and bone has still not fused completly, still in pain and searching for answers. I am now taking neurotin which does help some with the pain. I also had lamenectomy at l5-s1 8 months ago and still in pain from that also. I too am begining to feel I am just one of those people who do not heal well. Have been told by sevearal doctors that pain is permanent and to learn to deal with it. I am only 41 and use to be very active so I will not accept that advice. Do not give up searching. There has to be an answer.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a Spinal Fusion from L3-S1 with BAK cage and pedical screws (6) along with laminectomies@ L4, L5 and diskectomy at L5.  The original pain that I went to the Physician for is gone, but I have other terrible pain.  I can not sit for more than 1/2 hour or so at a time and sometimes not even that long.  I limp because I have hip and leg pain.  I am still taking Pain medication and not working.  I had this surgery in Feb 2004.  I am now seeing a pain management specialist and he did an epidural caudal injection last week, he just made things worse.  I don't think that my surgeon gave me correct information as to how horrible I would feel this far out.  He keeps saying that my fusion is healing fine.  I don't feel fine at all.

I am not reading positive things on this site from other people who have had similar surgeries.  I can't do physical therapy yet because when I tried it caused severe hip pain (bursitis of hip)  My sacriliac joint is apparently inflamed and I have numbness on my right calf and two toes on my right foot.  I don't think that will ever go away.

I would not recommend this surgery to anyone..
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Avatar_n_tn
I had surgery @l4/l5 May 2003 and then @l5/S1 Dec 2003. Since the last surgery I am in pain daily. My last doctor told me that I will have to live with the pain because there is not anything they can do. I have been to many doctors trying to find out what went wrong. I had this pain from the time I came out of the operation room. Yes they do think that you are lying. Some time I can not move from one spot to another. then some time , like you, I can not turn over in the bed. Sometime I kneel beside my sofa to sleep because I can not lie down in the bed because my butt hurt so badly. Now they are sending me to pain management. I have been to aqua therapy and regular therapy but neither helped.I signe up for disability but have been approved yet. I am 52 years old and live in a small towns where professional doctors are few. I must travel a distant to get to one. I just pray and ask the Lord to keep me in his hand, I know that everything will be alright. I will keep you in my prayers.

plezhelp
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Avatar_n_tn
I had surgery @l4/l5 May 2003 and then @l5/S1 Dec 2003. Since the last surgery I am in pain daily. My last doctor told me that I will have to live with the pain because there is not anything they can do. I have been to many doctors trying to find out what went wrong. I had this pain from the time I came out of the operation room. Yes they do think that you are lying. Some time I can not move from one spot to another. then some time , like you, I can not turn over in the bed. Sometime I kneel beside my sofa to sleep because I can not lie down in the bed because my butt hurt so badly. Now they are sending me to pain management. I have been to aqua therapy and regular therapy but neither helped.I signe up for disability but have been approved yet. I am 52 years old and live in a small towns where professional doctors are few. I must travel a distant to get to one. I just pray and ask the Lord to keep me in his hand, I know that everything will be alright. I will keep you in my prayers.

plezhelp
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