I am having a spinal fusion in 8 days of L4-S1. I've had ongoing back pain for several years now. I found out in 2006 that I have degenerative disc disease and had 3 herniated discs in my lower back and 2 in my neck. After cortizone shots and PT my neck was fine and has been ever since. Unfortunately the same did not happen with my back. Back in 2006 I had gone through taking steroids, pain meds and bed rest, onto PT then did a series of 3 epidural injections. I started going to a chiropractor for a while also. My pain was ok after that for a while although I still had to be careful and still had episodes of "throwing my back out". I would go for Tuina therapy aka acupressure ~ it's been a lifesaver to me many times. So anyway, I got married this past June of 2012 and between dancing in heels several different nights, long car rides, horseback riding, biking and hiking all within a few weeks I was back to square one. This time the Tuina couldn't "fix" me. So I once again went through everything I did 6 years ago..."everything under the kitchen sink" as my doctor referred to it as, and bed rest...onto PT which started making me worse. My back had gotten worse in the past 6 years as per my MRI. This was an orthopedic doctor I was seeing and he now referred me to a spine specialist. I went through another series of epidurals but they didn't work this time. Then I went for a discogram to pinpoint exactly where the pain was coming from. It turns out it's coming from 2 of my 3 herniated discs...one of them is torn and the other is not too far behind. So the doctor gives me 2 options...one of them would be a minimally invasive procedure where they would go in and clean up the bad disc and hope that it would relieve the pain and hope that the disc would regenerate healthy tissue but there was only a 60-70% chance of helping. My other option would be the spinal fusion. He said the procedure will take about an hour and a half. They will go through my abdomen so they have a clear view of the spine to remove the bad discs, then they will replace them with a bone like material and close up the abdomen. Then they will go through 2 very small incisions in my back to put the hardware (titanium screws) in. This procedure is much more effective and I would probably need it anyway in the future if I went with option 1. I am 30 years old with no other health problems so I figured I should just do it now while I am young and strong and should do very well with recovery. I am scared and I know it's not going to be easy. I have a lot of faith in my doctor though and feel that this is the right decision and I hope to be back to normal in 6 months! If anyone has had this done and has any questions or feedback or pointers please let me know. Thanks.View Thread
Hi Joy. It has been 3 months now since my surgery. You were so right about the first few weeks being the worst. When I first actually woke up from surgery they were supposed to have me on a pain pump immediately but they didn't have one available, I was in the worst pain I have every felt in my life and I was scared to death. Over the next few days in the hospital I was dealing with nausea and vomiting and even still when I went home the pain meds were not agreeing with my stomach. I have not really needed the pain meds lately so that is now under control. I started pysical therapy at first on April 1st but then I started developing a burning sensation in my foot. I have had this pulling/ cramping feeling in my foot since the sugery but they said this is a nerve thing and the nerves could take a while to heal and this is normal. I have also been getting a cold wet feeling on the back of my leg/ lower buttock area and recently started feeling a hot feeling on the front of the same leg. Once i got the burning though they stopped PT and put me on steroids. That helped clear it up and they started me again about 2-1/2 weeks later. I am back at PT but still experiencing this foot pain. Of course the less I do the better it is and I know I have to have patience but I haven't been able to go back to work yet because I can't drive too far or sit too long because it triggers the foot pain even more and I am bored out of my mind. I have also been trying to lose weight which is not an easy thing to do when you can't excercise. I go to the doctor this week for my 3rd follow up since surgey and I will see what they have to say about all these feelings I'm getting. I am feeling better than I was before my surgery and I'm hoping to ust continue getting better as the days go on. How are you doing?View Thread
Hi Joy, thanks for the feedback. Luckily my husband is a landscaper and this is his slow season so he will be right by my side helping me with anything I need. My mother also lives 10 minutes away and she will be at my house every day checking up on me. I already do actually have one of those grabbers ~ i had it at work and brought it home because I figured it would help me.
I'm still very nervous but I am hopeful for things to go well and get my life back!View Thread
aprilrose9 responded:It must be a sign, since I see this was just posted. I hate it when people send out bad news to others, when their mind is already made up. If this statement is true then you hate what you just did to me. My surgery is one week away and I have one of the top spine surgeons in my area. He was the first one in my state 15 years ago to perform artificial disk replacement and has been named Top Doctor 4 years in a row. The hospital that I am having it done in is a teaching hospital but I already know to make sure MY doctor is the one performing the entire surgery, aside from the vascular surgeon which will also be there for the front incision and moving my organs out of the way. I already had a bad experience with a resident doing an epidural once that caused a spinal migraine and I will not let anything close to that happen again. I am very confidant in my doctor and have a good feeling about him as well as hearing success stories from people he has operated on. I am aware of the seriousness of this surgery. This is my last resort. I certainly cannot live with the current pain I have now. I have been out of work and had to cancel my honeymoon which I was supposed to be coming home from today. I wouldn't have cancelled 2 weeks in Hawaii if my back wasn't in serious pain. I can't sit for anymore than 20 minutes without being in horrible pain. Also it sounds like you had your surgery a long time ago...things have advanced a lot in the medical fields in the last 25 years. Sorry you had such a bad experience.View Thread