Pain Concern
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Lower Back Pain a year after l5 s1 surgery

I had a back surgery almost a year ago and am still have pain that is making it hard for me to do day to day activites.It hurts when sitting for prolonged periods, walking to much, can not lift heavy objects. I am being treated by a pain management doctor who i keep asking to do another MRI on me to make sure that nothing is wrong again and he wont do it. He just keeps telling me that this is something that i am going to have to live with for the rest of my life. I also see a rhuematoid doctor but i dont know if he would do the mri, i have asked. He did do an xray of my si joints and that showed that there was nothing wrong with them and that is what the pain management doctor has been treating me for. I have had si joint injections that only last a week and then the pain comes back, i am going through dry needling and it does help to a certain extent and that is it. I am lost and dont know where to go from here. It feels like my back is inflammed and i can feel it when i am sitting down. Do i need a steroid to try to get rid of the inflammation or would trigger point injections work?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


6 Replies

I had exactly the same op 20 years ago after going numb all below the waist. I am in just as much pain as I was before and my neurosurgeon explained that it'd scar tissue now causing the pain. So, no amount of MRI scans is going to change that sadly.

Ask to be referred to a pain clinic, not pain management it's completely different. At a clinic there are lots of treatments.

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You don't say exactly what surgery you have had to your back, but having had two spinal fusions and one laminectomy, I do appreciate how debilitating back pain can be. Persuading any doctor to get you another MRI scan is difficult. They all seem to be more worried about budgets than the health of their patients. My own experience is that following the surgery I had, after a year, the pain should have significantly diminished . In your case that hasn't happened, which does suggest that they need to be investigating further. However, at the same time, you have to accept that post surgery, depending on which part of the back has been operated on, there is a period of adjustment. Did you have any physio after your operation ? I ask simply because following surgery, there is a natural tendency to take up a posture which might make the pain worse. A physiotherapist should be able to advise on this. I certainly found swimming helped enormously, because you can exercise without putting any strain on your back. There is separately the issue of pain relief. I had tramador after my op which helped quite a bit, along with Gabapentin. Steroid injections help with some back pain, as does acupuncture. A Chiropractor might also be another source of help. I found that badgering my GP eventually led to another MRI scan, but only after seeing another specialist. I really wish you well. All forms of pain are miserable to live with, but back pain is especially so.

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Hi there , sorry I can't help but just wanted to say you are not alone. I had spinal surgery in January of this year but am still in pain and suffering sciatic like symptoms and everyday pain all over , I feel I have got worse instead of better. It's so hard when you feel that nobody is taking you seriously and the doctor doesn't reslsie how much the pain is affecting your every day life. I hope you get some sort of relief soon, love and hugs to you xx

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Much the same for me too. Disc replaced at L5-S1 with considerable success, then spinal fusion at the two higher discs at L3-L4. last December and there in lies the problem. The operation was a success as far as bone graft taking well, cage in place screws nuts and bolts in good position, but I have formed scar tissue at the nerve root tethering it, and that is where my pain is coming from, I have had several steroid injections into the nerve root with no joy and I am about to have some pulse treatment down the nerve to see if the scar tissue can be softened,and the pain will ease. I was warned right from the start how it could turn out,but you never think you are going to be one of the 50% of people who are left with pain and sciatica. The only way to see what is going on is to have an other MRI if there is anything "mechanical" going on, but it does not show where the pain comes from, my only real advice is to do everything the pain clinic asks you to and if you still can't get any relief then ask them if another MRI would help, but I'm afraid that if they say no, you are stuck with their assessment, private MRI's are expensive at around £750 -£1000, and you will need someone to read it for you at about another £200-£300. But don't despair too much everyone's back is different and for a lot of people a nerve root injection is all they need to get over it. I wish you all the luck in the world getting rid of your pain.


Hi ya I to have had 4spine ops that left me with pins and needles down my legs now they too are saying that it is scar tissue causing the pain so they tried a spinal cord stimulator implant that makes my legs vibrat that did a little to help but what really helped was 240 mg twice a day mst slow release I'm now pain free it's a long slow process. I wish you all the best


Sorry to hear of your situation when in pain and limited mobility is horrible you seem to be overwhelmed with everything ,

I have found that when life is like this I need to sit and think what is happening how can I help myself then think if someone had asked for some guidence what would I say, then your able to focus a bit better, then sometimes our goals or expectations have to be adjusted as we cannot achieve what we once could do, also a huge thing is to ask for help from people around you

its amazing how people react and help as they would like to think that people would also help them in difficult times

kind regards



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