Pain Concern
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Lower back pain

Im on my second L5 S1 back surgery. This second surgery they opened me up and said that they were kallsafied so bad that there not sure how long it's been that way. Iv done acupuncture physical therapy and swimming and a few more things. Iv been on painkillers and a few different nerve meds and other meds to. Now restarting physical therapy agin. I guess im asking if any one has gone through this what can i do now to help myself more. Im 33 and i don't want to live in pain for the reast of my life. But my surgent said it might not change ever.

13 Replies

What was the original diagnosis? And what kind of survey were the two? Were they fusions? Laminectomy?

I am 4 weeks post-op of spinal fusion of L5-S1. I had 4 screws, 3 rods, a cage and some bone shaved off in the surgery.

I had very unstable vertabrae with an extremely herniated disc that caused me extreme nerve pain. Before the surgery I was in constant pain of 8-10 with nerve pain raidating down my legs with my right foot going almost completely numb. I was on lots of pain meds and nerve medication for months before my surgery. I couldn't function day to day without meds due to the level of constant pain. I was taking either norco or tramadol daily (depending on what I had to accomplish on that day). I was put on nortriptyline for nerve pain which got my nerve pain down by 40% and flexiril for any spasms I had. For me I hated how many meds I was on and the foggy state they out me In. I was also frustrated that even with these meds I was still living in daily pain so I opted for surgery so hopefully one day I can be med free.

So far at 4 weeks post-op the fusion and laminectomy on my L5-S1 has helped tremendously. The nerve pain is 90% better and the numbness is gone in my foot. Since I am only a month out of invasive back surgery I am still on pain meds due to normal surgery pain since it takes a while to heal. I will say the amount I take is a lot less and the pain is easing up week to week.

I am sorry to hear that your on you second surgery and still in so much pain. I am also 31 so I know how frustrating it can be to be dealing with this stuff at such a young age.

Have you seen a pain management Dr yet? A Pain management Dr might be able to recommend some other forms of interventions such as nerve ablation or epidurals that could help ease the pain. Try different pain shots or different forms of nerve meds as one might work while the other might not.

Be your own advacate!!!!

I had to be for myself if I didn't I'd probably still be living in day to day in pain barely able to stand up straight with a numb right foot.

I would say do some hard core research on what your dealing with and the Dr's you are seeing.

For me I saw many Dr's and read a lot about what I was diagnosed with so I was fully knowledgeable on what I was dealing with. It also helped that I have a few Dr's in my family.

As someone who is dealing with similar problems I can say have faith and believe there will be an end to this and you will one day live a pain free life as I tell myself the same thing daily.

I hope you are able to find a way to help your pain and get on a path to recovery

As I said before in my opinion the best way to fight these debilitating back problems is do lots of research and educate yourself on what your dealing with so you can find the right Dr to help you. And advocate from yourself!!!

Don't settle for a Dr telling you that you will live the rest of your life in pain.

Good luck 😀

(Again this is just my opinion from my experience thus far with back surgery)


I fell and hurt my back at 14 I had trouble all through my teens it then seemed to ease of quite a bit only to come back at 41 they said to operate would make so little difference that it was best to leave well alone. . I was sent to a pain clinic and then to aqua therapy where they found I couldn't even walk in water without severe pain they would not let me try any kind of exercises at all I had injections and physio and about 4 years later I stopped going to anything nothing helped I just found ways to do things differently I sit to do whatever I can and do everything else in small doses five minutes working ten resting and I just get through as best I can I take paracetamol on my worst days but am allergic to morphine and other pain killers. I had an MRI about six years ago and was just given different pain killers to try there was nothing else they could do. Last year it started to get even worse but MRI showed I now have secondary breast cancer in my sacrum they say it always seeks out the weakest part. I am still doing as much as I can and I do enjoy my life I could wish for it to be better but it's not so, its just get on with it I am not ready for the alternative yet. I met each day as it comes and get the best I can from it I am 74 now. I know that coping with what life throws at you is different for everyone and I wish I could share my zest for life with but I can only say enjoy what you can try to find a way round it. Stay cheerfull as much as possible. I have just bought a small mobility scooter so I can go along the sea front with my husband it's too far for me to walk so I have found another way I am not going to sit at home while he walks by himself. I do lose myself in books too for me they are great therapy. I do wish you luck and hope they can find a way to help you. Try to stay positive and most of all keep smiling( even if it's a grimace of pain) let the world see a smile. Rosabeth.


Dear Rosabeth, I have similar experience to yours I will write and tell all one day but I just wanted to say thankyou for your positive thoughts and lovely words I feel for all those whose pain and medication has led to their negative feelings towards themselves and I am going to make a concerted effort to pray every day for everyone one in pain.God bless Catherine


Dear Catherine, thanks for your reply it's nice to feel appreciated, life can be very hard and I feel very deeply for people who find it hard to cope. It's hard for all of us but some of us find it so much harder my heart goes out to the young with small children that must be unbearable. I look forward to hearing your story one day. Stay as well as you can. God bless Rosabeth.


I had exactly the same L5 S1 before Christmas. After years of pain in the leg, foot etc., pain killers and some vey dark thoughts, then a few months of not even being able to sit down at all, I had surgery.

I was told it had calcified and that no amount of physio or orther therapies would have helped. It was shaved off and I have not looked back. Very little recovery time, I am just careful. Brilliant, no pain there at all now. I still have to be careful with other back twinges but would recommend surgery every time now. I had to push for it in the end. Medics kept saying it would resolve itself but of course it wouldn't have. I was told that it might take time for the nerves that had been affected to calm down but luckily for me it didn't.


I have the same thing same palace in my back water therapy helped most now I live on antinflamotory pills and nerve meds other than that I live with the pain hope you get relief


Hi Ssliauk,

Sorry for your ordeal, I have had one surgery on L5 S1 they opened me up following a car crash.

The operation helped for two years but now back in constant pain.

They will not touch me any longer, nor will I want them to, I am done with meds and surgery.

I too now swim and do hydrotherapy three times a week best thing I ever did,I also use the Jacuzzi,Sauna and steam room.

The pain is still thee but I feel a bit better and swimming backwards has helped.

You are on the right track.

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Hi, I too have had major surgery on L5 S1 spine from an accident. I had bone grafts ,pins, screws and 2 metal rods in and a full disc removal as it was shattered beyond repair. This was 3 years ago now. I am having pain in my back, pins and needles and numbness in both my legs and groin when sitting or bending. My specialist just keeps saying i have made a remarkable recovery from the surgery, but i am worried about currebt symptoms and no one is listening to me. I do pilates, swim and light gym workout to keep as mobile as possible, but still need to use one or sometimes two crutches. Pain relief wise i have buprenorphine patches, paracetamol, oramorph and occasionally naproxen. I have tried having a couple of 1 hour massages to see if it helps. It does relax the muscles a little, but i am still in pain. I also sometimes use a foam roller over my back to release tension.

What type of surgery did you have, and what was the second surgery?


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It's such early days yet from the surgery. The best thing that worked for me was hydrotherapy. I did this 3 months after surgery. Healing time from this can be up to 2 years, especially with nerve involvement.

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I do so hope that the treatment and meds you are all getting will improve ot even cure your respective problems. Nearly 40 years ago when I was told that the calcification and double scholiosis would not improve with an operation and the pain clinic didn't really help much I just had to get on the best I could. We moved to Spain where I had my own pool and things did improve a little for a while but had it been today they may have been able to help me more. I had an MRI in Spain and I will never forget my doctor in his broken English looking at the results and saying " Oh my dear you do need a new back" I didn't know if I should laugh or cry, I chose to laugh and asked if he knew where I could buy one, he didn't know quite what to make of me. More useless pain killers and memories of my very kind old Doctor looking at me very bemused and as if he were going to cry for me. Now the cancer in my back and my allergy to morphine it just gets worse. I do have a blue badge which is a godsend as every step I take counts and once I have a trolley to lean on I can still manage to shop, John always packs and lifts but at least I can still get around the shop but a few weeks ago as I walked towards the shop, John was getting some bags from the boot, a young woman sitting in her car opened the door and shouted at me that people like me should not park in disabled spaces I should be thankful I could walk and leave the designated spaces for people who need them. I gave her a withering look and walked on. I could have explained that I didn't even apply for my badge the hospital did as they thought I needed it. It has no photo I have to provide picture i D if needed. Pity it wasn't the day when halfway to the shop ( before I got my badge) the pain was so bad I could not take one more step and John had to go get a supermarket wheelchair to get me back to the car, she may have kept her opinions to herself. I do occasionally use a supermarket wheelchair but I try not to if I can manage without.


Yes i have Spondylolisthesis and had my first L5/S1 radical fusion at 26 yrs age....broke fusion & sheared all heads off screws on Pedicals....then had Radical Anterior/posterior fusion to remove floating Metalwear & refuse through stomach.....groundbreaking at the scans made into slides for Symposium in USA I'm in WA. Anyway myriad of damage pain, Nerve damage headless screw still in Situ....(to dangerous to remove) Sacroiliac Joint severely compromised and very painful after to bone grafts off same site......many Neuromas now that thank got after Menopause firing reduced to not so bad but as you can imagine Hormone Replacement not an option for me even tho Menopause was sudden and complete at 45 😪 Pain mangagement mainly trying to keep as low as possible but on Slow release Morphine now after 20 hrs of Panadeine Forte.....+ Gabapentin 300 3 x day.....very successful and better than anti inflammatory I have found is Indocid 100 rectal Suppository.....avoids all the organs and oesophagus + Valium for worst spasms.....had a spasm this morning that dropped me to the floor of my bath while taking a shower....took me 30 mins to stand get out of tub and get to meds which I had not been taking due to recent diagnosis of Temporal Arteritis and biopsy few days ago....let my pain meds run out of body......oops won't do that again in hurry.....but the more we take in way of meds seems to cause onset of many other issue.....first my Thyroid failed then diagnosed five years after with Osteo & Rheumatoid and now suspected GCA...... SHEESH ....anyway hope this helps you not feel alone and isolated.....such a bad side effect of having an invisible but serious disability....hugs & good luck



I'm awaiting confirmation of a date for a fusion of L5/s1. I have a Grade 2 slip and severe stenosis which causes leg pain and numbness. My foot feels like it's in icy water. I am having it through the front which surprised me. It's called Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion. Anyone have experience of this? I was encouraged to read that some of you improved after back fusion . I'm in awe of those on this thread coping with so many additional problems. I wish you well.


i snezzed and i joled up real fast and it made my back hurt and it everytime i walk the pain worse shoot down my legs i cant even sit without the pain hurting i cant lay down without hurting and cant stant along time without hurting


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