Hi everyone...my name is Chris. I have been suffering from lower back pain for the past 12 years. I was diagnosed as having degenerative disc disease (spondylolysthesis) which also resulted in severe sciatica. I have tried many different remedies to help relieve me of this pain, including back braces, tens units, hot/cold packs, physical therapy, massages, different types of narcotics (which offer a little relief) and most recently, a spinal fusion.
I had the surgery (laminectomy and L-5/S-1 fusion) in November of 2011 and thought everything had gone as it was supposed to. About 5 months after the surgery I began experiencing the same pain as I had before the surgery, and recently I have been in more pain than I have ever been in. The "geniuses" that have been treating me all along (for the past year) said (as a result of numerous x-rays and even a CT scan) that everything was fine, and they didn't know what was wrong. Sooo...
I decided to go to a different pain management clinic and they confirmed I had a broken screw and my spine never fused. I didn't know what to think...all this time I had believed the doctors I was seeing before (that everything was fine). None of them believed me, and just kept dismissing my claims. Needless to say, it was frustrating to say the least. Anyways...
After talking to the "new" doctor, he said I ultimately have 3 choices:
-Stay on (possibly increase/change) narcotics (which I really don't prefer to do).
-Go forward and try the SCS and see if it offers any type of relief. Or...
-Have another surgery to try to attempt the fusion. This requires going in and removing all the original hardware, and replacing it with (possibly different) hardware. However, the surgeon explained to me if I elected to have a second surgery, my career (as a corrections officer) would most likely be over.
I'm only 32, and never been in a life altering decision like this before. My wife has been supportive, and pretty much convinced me to at least try the SCS... but if I eventually have to have the surgery ( to add stability to my spine) wouldn't I be better off to get it now???
I'm new to the forums, but would like to get some advice from those who actually experienced issues such as this and could possibly offer a different perspective. Thank you all very much for reading my post, and thanks in advance for any advice you can offer. God bless!!!View Thread
Apparently my phone no longer notifies me of any posts to this forum. I appologize for not replying to any posts, but I honestly thought nobody was replying to this particular forum. Anyways...
One day (while at an appointment with my PM doc to schedule the SCS trial) he pulled out his iphone (mid-appointment) and contacted the Ortho doc I was seeing (whom he is apparently friends with)to discuss the best course of action for my particular case. (I felt this was going above and beyond patient care, and cemented my trust in both of these Drs.) After several minutes, he returned to the room and said my best approach would be to re-attempt the fusion. So...
On the 13th, I underwent an anterior/posterior fusion, which involved an anterior approach, then harvesting some bone from my illiac crest, removing the old, broken hardware (which was also in the wrong spot on my S1 vertebrae) and replacing it with "better/stronger' hardware to fuse my spine. I was released from the hospital after 5 days (Monday) and am currently healing from that.
Unlike the first fusion attempt, I have a "feeling" this attempt will work. I have complete trust in the abilities of my Ortho surgeon, and am optimistic this attempt will, at the very least, repair the feeling of instability in my spine (and hopefully offer a bit of pain relief).
Lastly, I can't express how much all of your prayers and support is appreciated (especially CTBeth). Having others that share their knowledge and experiences help tremendously, and know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers as well.
If anyone would like to contact me, my email address is: HighOct4ne@Comcast.net.
Again, thank you all very much for your posts. I'll keep everyone updated as to the status of my healing/rehab progresses. Take care, and God bless...View Thread
I have to say your story is exactly like mine...and I mean EXACTLY. I recently had a "revision" surgery (done outside of the VA), and they used all 3...allograft, autograft (also from my hip), and rBMP-2. I feel BMP has a "bad rap"...it has no evidence of CAUSING cancer, and it is only a theory it ADVANCES cancer growth. I feel the future of pain management lies with the advancements of biologics (such as BMP). Every new product that is released has it's opponents, which is what I feel the negative publicity is credited to. As long as it isn't abused, I feel BMP will be of much more benefit than harm. If you'd like to contact me, my email address is HighOct4ne@Comcast.net. Take care, and I seriously hope you can have a positive outcome regarding the legal aspect of your situation.View Thread
First off, Beth is awesome. She has been such a help in "calming my nerves" for this second surgery, and just overall, a great friend to talk to. Im one of the guys that have questions about everything, and shes always there to answer them, which is greatly appreciated... Anyways...while in the middle of getting ready for the SCS trial (I even had a date), I went to an (awesome) orthopedic surgeon who found on of the pedicle screws in my spine broke, and that my spine had never fused. It was determined I would be better off fixing the instability in my spine before anything else was attempted. I had the "revision" surgery done on the 13th, and am now healing from that. I like this surgeon much more than the first, and am confidently optimistic this attempt will have a better outcome than the previous one. Time will tell... If you'd ever like to contact me, my email is HighOct4ne@Comcast.net. I truly hope you start feeling better after your SCS experience and your pain gets better. Take care...View Thread
I would like to thank you all very much for your responses, they have been very helpful in helping me decide what to do concerning the SCS...
After reading the posts, I think CTBeth is the most knowledgable on this particular subject. She is a registered nurse, has had multiple fusions, and also the only member (that replied) with a (permanant) spinal stimulator...I only hope my experience with the SCS turns out as well as hers. If I meet anyone else in the same situation I'm in, (as far as wondering about getting a fusion/SCS) I'll be sure to send them her way.
I have recently met with the orthopedic surgeon concerning the device, and have an appointment on Tuesday (11/13) to set up an appointment for the required "trial" unit. I am anxious yet optimistic to see how well the SCS works for me. I am hopeful it will offer me a chance at a more active life, and give me the ability to get back to some of the things i miss most.
I will keep you all posted on what happens...God Bless.View Thread
Thank you all for your comments and feedback. i am most likely going to try the spinal stimulator. I have already completed the required psych eval, along with getting a second opinion from another surgeon. I was told that if i attempted a "re-fusion", even if it worked, my career (as a corrections officer) would most likely be over. Hopefully the spinal stimulator works, and i can get back to a (somewhat) normal life. I'll keep you all posted on what happens...Again, thanks for sharing your knowledge. Right now, I need all the info i can get.View Thread
Hi. My name is Chris, and I am new to the forums. I've been reading about the SCS for the past week or so, and have learned alot (mostly from you, Beth). I have had chronic back pain since 2000, and have tried everything from injections to physical therapy to narcotics and even special made insoles, but nothing helped. I had a fusion of my L-5/S-1 last year, and if anything, it made things worse. I recently went to a different pain management doctor, and he suggested looking into a spinal stimulator. After doing a lot of "google-ing, I have decided to go for the trial. I am very optimistic about it, and feel as though it is something that could actually work. I use my tens unit alot, but it also comes with many restrictions...and i feel if something is actually implanted in my spine, it would be that much more beneficial. However, a dark cloud rained on my parade today when I read (in several different locations) that it may not be possible to get the procedure done if you had the "hardware" (screws and rods) from a fusion still inserted. In your opinion, is it likely that this will pose a problem, or is it common with those having their "hardware" still intact to still go ahead with the SCS??? I don't have my appointment with the surgeon until next monday, and would like to know to sort of "ease my mind". I don't want to have my hopes up (that something might actually work), only to find out it isn't possible. Lastly, I want to thank everyone for their posts...I have learned alot from this site especially, and alot of my questions have been answered simply by reading the posts. I hope you may all one day "feel better".View Thread