Spinal Fusion at L5-S1

Alright so I have reached my breaking point in back pain I have done everything in my power to avoid surgery but I can't take the pain anymore!!!

I've done epidurals, pain meds, nerve block meds, chiropractic, physical therapy, and I've even tried my own strengthening routine (after lots of research). Ive tried it all and I am still living with chronic pain that reaches a level of 7-8 daily. I have days where standing up straight is almost non achieveable. I am just done and at my wits end I CAN NOT live in pain anymore. I pop pain pills daily and I am super scared of getting addicted to them. This is not a life I want to live anymore. I know this can't be my life I am only 30.

So my surgeon is going to do a laminectomy and spinal fusion of my L5-S1. I am confident this will help me live a better life and relieve a big portion of the pain.

My question to all of my fellow back pain sufferers is what is the recovery like? How long did it take those who have had this done to be able to workout again? are there many restrictions to movement after this?

My anxiety and nerves are at an all time high with my surgery being 4 weeks away but I know this is the right choice for me.

10 Replies

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  • Hi there ashmorgan77,

    I feel for you, it's a tough decision but have been there over and over.

    As you are young I'm wondering what the condition of the surrounding discs is like? Also, if you have considered artificial disc surgery? The reason I ask is that fusion creates rigidity which in turn puts extra force through the surrounding discs and at your age this isn't ideal.

    I wasn't a candidate for fusion due to the poor condition of surrounding discs and I had a Spinal Kinetics M6 artificial disc at L5/S1 in 2011. It helped considerably with the ferocious leg and groin pain I had previously. I've since had 2 further prolapses and microdiscectomies. I'm left with severe lumbar, pelvis and groin pain and I'm due to have a spinal cord stimulator in the next couple of months.

    I'm just offering this info as you are young and obviously keen to get back to working out - an artificial disc, particularly the spinal kinetics preserves the motion in the disc.

    Wishing you all the very best,

    Shirley

  • Sadly the main problem I have isn't discs. I have very very unstable veterbrae which is causing the disc to bugle. Just fixing my disc won't solve the problem or help with the pain. I have to have the veterbrae put back into place to relieve any of the symptoms I have. Sucks wish there was a better surgery for me with a less invasive technique. I will say the Dr said due to my age I should be able to work out again and return to my normal activties. I was a very active person who just graduated with my kinesiology degree so my main concern is being able to move again and help others.

  • Your age is a really positive factor and that you were previously fit. I really wish you well. I have had 2 cervical fusions with titanium cages and the recovery was surprisingly quick - of course lumbar surgeries take longer to recover from due to the greater load. Both fusions were successful - I do still have pain in my neck tho it's not awful ( compared to my back!!) I think the main thing is to follow the Physio advice and keep the Physio up to build the core strength.

    Good luck, keep us posted please

    Very best wishes

    Shirley

  • As you are so young I would have one question. What will you be like in 5 years after this op?

    x

  • I have asked and my Dr says if I strengthen my back and keep active (which I was before this pain started) I should get back to my old self and be ok. He said I have age on my side and my recovery should be easier and faster than those who have this at an older age.

  • I have seen 3 spinal surgeons with two being ortho-neuro and all said the same sadly.

  • I am seeing a pain management Dr and he to says surgery is my best option. I was diagnosed when unstable vertebrae. No matter what meds they put me on or any non surgical option I've tired that I'm a canadate for hast worked. The reason they say surgery (which has been a last option) is because my problem is purely a bone one. I have a herniated disc but that isn't the main issue. My vertebrae sit so off that I sometimes can't stand up. Surgery has been something I do not want to do but I can not go on living in pain and taking meds (opioid or not) I know I'll be on them after surgery but my hope is to get off then once surgery pain subsides.

    Yes I do live in CA and yes most Dr's push surgery but that's why I went to many different Dr's and also saw pain management Dr's.

    I appreciate your input. I hope that if your dealing with anything like I am you have you the means and support to get through it.

  • They have just wondering for those who have had this surgery what their experience was. Eveyone is different in recovery so just wanted insight into someone who's been through it.

  • I was born with Scoliosis at the top of my Spine along with Osteoarthritis in my Spine. On my sickness certificates when I was off work it stated Ankolysing Spondylosis Three years ago I developed Scoliosis in my lower Spine, so now I have an S shape sideways with bulging Discs,the osteoarthritis has spread to the rest of my joints. I have had just about every physio over the years from Heat , Traction, Manipulations with Anesthetic and without, therapy pool, Tens Machine, Epidurals for years in my neck and lower Spine, as well as Fassett injections which have had to be stopped as my skin broke out and will not clear up. Pain management classes, Many pain killers and now taking Oxycodene 20mg one or two four times a day plus Parasetamol when needed I use two Crutches to get about, and have been leaning heavy on my Crutches which is now upsetting my Shoulders which were both replaced some years ago,I was coping reasonably well until last year when I got slammed into the wall surrounding the receptionists desk while on a Porters Buggy, at a hospital,it trapped my knee under the overlap and appears to have done something to my back as I cannot lie flat in bed anymore as it makes it so agonizing to get on my feet in a morning I have actually been sick from the pain trying to move my legs, my feet burn terrible and ankles ache shocking non stop, the balls of my feet are numb and my toes, I have exercised since 1980 after being in a wheel chair for a while and got out of it, and so far have managed without it except for walking distance, but since this accident I cannot cope anymore and often feel like giving up it has ruined what life I had The hospital offered to Scan my back and knee three months after it happened after by telling me to come home and ask my GP if he agreed, he refused, I have changed to another GP but he says a Scan is only done if I can have Surgery and I cannot which I think is because I have Chronic Heart failure and COPD and Raynauds yet I had both shoulders replaced like this by numbing from the neck and another by Epidural. When I got hit by lightening last year The heart consultant said it got my Heat going again, so I do not see the problem.I have even said I will go private for a Scan and pay for it but the GP refused to refer me. I have had Physio as the GP said my Disc was out leaning on my Sciatic nerve, but she could not get it back I do not exercise any more as without a Scan I do not know what is wrong and may do the wrong ones and make it worse. I get three to four hours sleep sitting up . I am now waiting on an electric chair as I cannot stay on my feet Has anyone got any ideas what my next move is please. Sorry this is so long I am desperate

  • I forgot to mention on the above I have just turned 79 yrs of age and try to keep active but it is hard

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