Pain 10 years after a spinal fusion L5/S1 - Pain Concern

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Pain 10 years after a spinal fusion L5/S1

RedfoxMorse profile image

Hi All,

Has anyone suffered an overwhelming increase in back pain following a spinal fusion?

I had mine 10 years ago now and although not 100%....had been doing alright in my retirement. I had been a nurse for 40 years and although I tried couldn’t return to work comfortably, so decided to take early retirement and took a low dose of Tramadol and pregabalin and was able to do most activities.

Right now my pain is not very well controlled on fentanyl patches and pregabalin and when I get a flare up...about every 5 days....I take diazepam 2mgs three times a day.

My GP feels it is either wear and tear on the surrounding joints, but also feels it could be my SI joints.

So I’ve been left in this ‘the less I physically do....the less pain I have’....whilst if I walk more than a mile on the flat, sit down for long, bend forward, drive a car, do a bit of gardening, or even empty the dishwasher my back pain starts. I can point to the exact spot with a finger and it is where the dimple in your back is ,on the right side.As well as back pain I get radiating pain to my hip, down my leg and in my pelvic bone all on the same side.The only thing that stops the pain is lying down, flat in my back! It’s all very frustrating.

Has anyone had treatment following a successful diagnosis of SI joint pain, and had either one or both pinned? I would love to know if it was successful.

17 Replies

The way you move could be causing the pain problem. There is a belief among many people that all movement is the same and does not change. In fact movement on an activity is a very variable quantity.

When you do an activity you need to release the hips and not hunch in with your shoulders when bending.

Many people hunch the shoulders and bend the back. This movement activity is potentially damaging to the back.

Where the dimple is and the other factors you mention would indicate SI joint pain. I had similar pain there and got an SI injection which helped a bit and then a nerve denervation. (Had 3 spinal ops and apparently this makes it harder on the SI joint or so). Denervation did wonders.

RedfoxMorse profile image
RedfoxMorse in reply to Emma2017

Thank u I am seeing myGP on Thursday...we’ll have a chat!

I know how you feel, I myself am taking diazepam 13mg daily, 8 paracetamol, fentanyl patch, morphine capsules and oramorph life is a bitch started 14 years ago with disc replacement and titanium rods, etc, what ever you do do not have a spinal stimulator I have had three they do not work and once you have one you are a leper no one will help. Injections did not help for me but speaking to others they swear by them. I found a electric heat pad works and a pregnancy straight body pillow allows your spine to a line when sleeping onside, another godsend was hydrotherapy. Good luck

RedfoxMorse profile image
RedfoxMorse in reply to Mertal

Thank u for your suggestions.

Your complaint is practically the same as mine, had a car accident on 1985 (not my fault), had to change jobs as my trade job was to demanding.

I Got stonewalled for treatment for years untill I changed house and GP and was then taken more seriously.

Where I then received numerous streriod injections & meds untill I had a discectomy in 2010 which was unsuccessful eventually got referred to orthopaedic dept on 2016 who changed me to stronger medication.

2018 received 4 root nerve injections, an MRI at lower back & left hip area, now have damage at the L4/S1area and autheritisis.

walking short distances, standing, sitting, all types of exercise cause pain at L4/L5 to S1, seaticia pain left side from lower back, hip to ankle.

And yes I completely agree with what you say, the more you do causes more pain and flair ups.

Sorry to read you are in such pain, i’ve experienced pain after spine fusions but unfortunately or fortunately not in SI joint? Think it would be useful to talk to someone who has had their joint pinned as operations aren’t always the answer & you might end up in more pain.

Good luck x

RedfoxMorse profile image
RedfoxMorse in reply to Truffs

Thank you.

Hi there, I had acdf c4c5 2013 didn't benefit one bit and got worse at c,3 and c,6,7. Have had scan and waiting to be seen by neurologist at the Walton center , but I must stress that I had it undetected till was to late .

RedfoxMorse profile image
RedfoxMorse in reply to

Thank you.

johnadams profile image
johnadams in reply to

this couldn't be further from SI joint.

Sounds like SI joint pain. Before fusion. Injections and radiofrequency denervation are treatmt

Thank you.

Did you check Arachnoiditis? It does sound like it to


RedfoxMorse profile image
RedfoxMorse in reply to Dina77

My GP didn’t think so. But has referred me to the pain clinic.

Dina77 profile image
Dina77 in reply to RedfoxMorse

Many GP s might not recognise it it is mainly neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists who need to rule it out..

RedfoxMorse profile image
RedfoxMorse in reply to Dina77

Ok...but I haven’t had an MRI a since 2010 if they can diagnose it from there!?

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