Pain worse following L4/5 posterior decompression/fusion

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I had an L4/L5 posterior decompression and fusion with instrumentation procedure on Friday and am now home. The problem I have is that the pain I had previously - which the surgery is meant to cure - is now much worse.

I told the surgeon about this and he arranged for a swift CT scan which he told me showed that everything is fine and all the bits are where they are meant to be! I have little or no pain from the site of the operation - I am on a cocktail of drugs (paracetamol, codeine, diazepam and gabapentin) - but the original nerve pain itself is bad. All is well when I am sitting or lying down but when I stand and walk it is excruciating at first and then lessens as I move about more.

I know from reading elsewhere that this can occur, but I still find it very worrying, annoying and upsetting. I have an appointment to see the surgeon in two weeks, so let's hope things have eased off by then. I'd love to know if anyone else has had this issue and how it resolved. Many thanks in advance for your help and comments.

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  • Posted

    I certainly wish you well and success in your surgery. But beings you asked I will tell you that for me none of my back surgeries relieved any of my pain. L4 L5 (twice) and L3 L4 have been fused and the pain remains. I have tried countless remedies , therapies etc and my only relief is terrible , controled pain medications. Now I have plans for an implanted pain device this month. The one thing I can say is that mechanically the fusion needed to happen. Good luck to you and I pray that you are not on the path that I have been on for many many years. Kilee
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  • Posted

    Hi Ian

    Sorry to hear you are in worse pain than before, did you say you had your surgery 1 week ago. ??

    I had a double level spinal fusion, l4 l5/s1 and decompression in September 14, I felt fairly good after surgery and for the days after but looking back I am sure this was more to doing with the cocktail of opiates I was put on, I came home after 4 days, like you I had no pain around the scar except for every now and then catching my staples on something, I think I had about 60 staples in each side the surgeon said the scars where longer than normal as they had problems inserting the last bolts. About 2 weeks after my operation I started getting large amounts of pain on both legs it was hard to describe as I had feeling in either feet and legs from knee down and had like a a numbness from waist down, but I had massive pain on standing up straight, my surgeon described the back pain was just a healing process and that I probably had swelling which was causing the pain and also part of the leg pain. It was at this stage where he told me where they had left the original pain for over 4 yrs ( typicall of the NHS) that it had I fact caused major damage to the nerves and I was unlikely to get my feeling back. I am now 18 months post op and sadly for me nothing got better, I have been diagnosed with failed back surgery, they have told me that I have 2 large bulges under the metal work and they have said unless it compresses the spinal cord further then they won't do operation as it will de stabilise the frame work, I have also for major pain in legs still and next week I am going to have a spinal cord stimulator inserted.

    My journey has been traumatic but I have met a lot of people while in and out of hoapital that the surgery has worked for, you do have to let things settle down for at least 6 months to get better but it might take up to 2 years. Please have faith in the operation, you might benefit from seeing a pain team. They helped me massively and gave me a lot of different pain medication that took a lot of the edge of things.

    Please keep us updated on how things go.

    Regards

    George

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    • Posted

      Hi Kilee

      Sounds like you and I are very similar,!i on massive amounts of a drug called targinact it's an amazing drug but has lots of side effect, re the scs that's a very good question and I haven't asked as they just said a lot of medical terms which I didn't understand,! I have a last appointment next Tuesday so I can have any questions answered and they run some last tests, so will find out. Where are you having yours done?? I do hope it works for you / us even if it just talks some of the pain.

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    • Posted

      Hi kilee

      I am in London, where are you then??

      Thanks for website details I will be sure to get Info on types and do my study, I have told that good results have been met and about 70% get better 20 % feel no difference and 10% get worse.

      When you having your one??

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    • Posted

      I am in northern California.

      I get the nevro hf10 the 25th of this month. Unless I discover some information that causes me to change my mind.

      I have been doing my research and think I have made a good choice. :-) Kilee

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    • Posted

      How I would love to be there I love California :-)

      I have done lots of research and have found some of it helpful and some ( quiet a bit ) unhelpful, however they have told me this is my last option of relieving some ( not all )

      Of my pain, I will still have other problems not sure if I told you about those??

      How old are you if you don't mind me asking ??

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    • Posted

      Hey Kilee, just wanted to tell you that I  used to live in California in a su uf  of Oakhurst called Coarsegold and a suburb of Coarsegold called Yosemite Lakes Park - with about 100 homes. We were 30 miles south of Yosemite National Park.  It was beautiful, but didn't work out for us.  Turns out some really crazy and bad people live in remote areas like this, and unfortunately my daughter was the victim of a crime against her. We put the guy in prison for 5 years, and then moved here to Arizona. Where do you live in California?
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  • Posted

    Many thanks everyone. The surgery was only a week ago, so it's early days yet. I'm quite prepared for a lengthy recovery period but I guess I was hoping that things would have improved sooner. My surgery site is pretty much pain-free - it's the legs that are bad, worse than they were before. Still, I'll persevere with medication and hope things improve. I'm seeing my surgeon in just under two weeks anyway, so will report back then. Thanks again for your input.
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    • Posted

      Ian, we wish you the very best results.

      Do what your doctor has instructed and don't compromise your success by doing something stupid by picking up heavy things etc.

      Let us know how you are doing.

      Kilee

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    • Posted

      Hi Ian, just thinking out loud but part of your leg pain could be the anaesthesia wearing off, I didn't have it for mine but in the pain sessions I go to I have heard lots of people saying the same as your self and they all had a long term epidural like the give to women giving birth, but this one works for 7-14 days depending on your body. I would suggest that 1 you do lots of movement and don't stay in pace for too long and 2 try to eat healthy and eat lots of protein meals, I put on about 20 kg over the last 18 months because I made excuses I can't do that because of pain. Keep my fingers crossed.
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    • Posted

      I'll certainly try to do some walking and exercise. It's not easy when the pain is so bad, but I can push through it. I'm way overweight as I haven't been able to do any because of (as you say) pain, and also I had a hip replacement this time last year which made walking difficult. Thanks for the tips.
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    • Posted

      Hello to all of you,

      It breaks my heart to imagine the pain and suffering you all - patients carrying spinal problems are going through and for the long time it takes to get at least some of the positive results hoped for!!!

      I will keep your names in my thoughts and in my daily prayers, and this is not just an expression, this is what I started already doing!

      I will be following how everything evolves.

      Wish to you. Ian , and to all the very

      best.

      xxxxxx

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    • Posted

      Yes, Buggsy, as I told here quite sometime ago, we had a couple of friends and he had a non stop spinal problem and after several surgeries he was told he had to stop with them.

      He had to live with the pain and his spinal problems whatever it was- and he did.

      He survived his wife and got married a second time.

      I 've list the contact just know he still lives.

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    • Posted

      Hey, I am sorry to here that too.

      I ( without causing offense ) was very young to get my spinal problems, I was only 30, I had debilitating pain caused by a work injury, I live in the UK and the NHS isn't all it's cracked up to be, ( again my view ), I was seen by surgeons at 2 different hospitals and was told I had nothing wrong with my spine, I couldn't go private as this is mega money, I struggled on although the hospital put me on copias amounts of opiates and other drugs, this went on for a few years until one day I collapsed, I was taken to hospital and after examining me I had Caudia equina, the surgeon ( new young surgeon ) got my old scans and said that in 2010 I had a missed diagnosis of a annular tare and 2 prolapsed discs. I then had to have a double level discectomy, decompression, double level spinal fusion and titanium rods and cages and screws inserted, sadly where things got missed I turns out i have badly damaged nerves, to the point and this for me is hardest off all, I have become incontinace and also the same with bladder, at the age of now 37 I have had to have my prostate removed due to further nerve damage, I have to catheterise 3-6 times a day and put a 16 inch tube insert it in to my penis and empty my bladder. I have been told there is nothing the can do further and this is now my life, and I should consider using a wheel chair at some stage. Today my 3 year old boy who's just potty training came in to bathroom and saw what I was doing and screemed, and cried for the next 15 mins, I sat him down and explained to him daddy problems and he gave me a big hug and patted my shoulder and said sorry it scared him and he screamed but if said to me he didnt want to do it when he was a big boy!! Heart breaking

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    • Posted

      Yes, it sounds another case similar to the one happened to our long time friend I've talked about.

      There are cases without solution.

      You are blessed though for having such a sweet / understanding sweet angel close to you!

      Take care.

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