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Thread: surgical revision

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    windsor, ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2

    surgical revision

    Hi, new here too.. I am glad to see people in my age group with similar back pain post surgery (30 years!)
    I had my surgery in Toronto Sick Kids, 1973. I'm not too good on the technical terms, but other than my neck and bottom two discs,I was fused, harrington rod, stryker bed the works. I was in hospital for 2 1/2 weeks, sent home in cast for three months, and the plastic ninja brace too fo three months. Life was okay for quite some time after surgery, no pain. Little bit of problems in my twenties, but put that down to those 5 inch heels that were the style then....
    I am now 44, and for the last couple of years dealing with lower back pain when I stand, numbness in my feet, and now pain in my hip. I also walk leaning forward. I just got back from the neurosurgeon with some answers. I have Degenerative Disc Disease now, which is causing the pain. Laura, you stated you had this also, did they say what they could do about it? He wants to try shots in my back, and physiotherapy, including aquatic therapy. Last resort is fusion of my last two vertebrae into my pelvis. Has anyone else had any experience with either?
    Thanks for any info, and best of luck to everyone.. Cindy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,793
    Hi Cindy...

    These articles might be of interest to you:

    http://www.spineuniverse.com/display...rticle308.html
    http://www.scoliosismd.com/articles/flatback.htm

    Regards,
    Linda

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Cambridge, Canada
    Posts
    15
    Hey there Cindy!

    I know some of what you're going through. I had my fusion done in 1990 (I was 13, 27 now) at McMaster in Hamilton and 14 years post-op I'm having a whole lot of pain. I've also been recommended aquatic therapy and shots. I've been doing the aquatic therapy and that does seem to help, but it takes time. I go to see if shots are an option in a month. I have ostearthritis and chronic pain due to the original surgeries (mine was done in 2 steps 2 weeks apart) and I'm sure with time I will have degenerative disc as I know some of my neck is already worn since it's the only part of the spine used. I too just have my neck and 2 vertebrae at the bottom (so I could grow). They will not do more fusion due to my age, maybe when I'm older. I've actually been off work for 6 months to figure out why I'm having pain and now they're just medicating me so that I can go back to work. I would try the aquatic therapy. Just make sure it is a warm pool (84 degrees and up, one of pools is 94 - I go to 2 since there are not many in Cambridge) and an arthritic class. The normal aquafit stuff may be too vigorous. And go 2 times a week. It takes time, but it does help. I would check again with physiotherapy, because most of the time it is very NOT useful for people like us. I find physiotherapists have no idea what to do, because they have no experience with fusions that are this extensive. I hope this helps, email me if you want to talk! This forum is really helpful for information and support.

    Lisa

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    255
    Hi Cindy,

    I _think_ I'm the Laura you're talking about

    From what I understand, there isn't a standard conventional "treatment" for degenerative disk disease. I was first advised to do physio and tried spinal injections, which in my case had barely any effect. (This is unusual, and I'm now wondering after reading more about it whether this lack of response could have been because of my scoliosis. I read somewhere that people with scoliosis sometimes don't have great results with epidurals.)

    When I consulted with a well-respected surgeon in Philadelphia about my pain (his name is Richard Balderston) he said that the main courses of action are fusion surgery, if it grew to the point I couldn't live with it at all, or possibly getting into one of the new trial programs for Total Disk Replacement (TDR). You can read about the trials by searching this term online. There are a number of places--mostly university research hospitals--involved in trials for TDR. Dr. Balderston told me that the greatest success has been in females between around 20 and 35 years of age with degenerative disk at one level, usually L5-S1. In Dr. B's office, the prerequisite for considering either procedure is a discogram, which apparently simulates increase of pressure on the disk, ensures that the disk is what is causing the pain you're experiencing, and indicates that the pain will continue in most cases under everyday pressure.

    I opted not to go ahead with these procedures at the current time as I experienced some relief of my pain (and I wasn't too keen on the idea of being a guinea pig for surgical procedures).

    Things I found really helped me have been very low dose anti-depressants for the pain (amitryptilene / Elavil), and also I tried something called Rolfing, which really seems to have helped too. This works with correcting musculo-skeletal imbalances, and the woman I see has worked with scoliosis patients with and without rods.

    I would be glad to "talk" over email if you like, my address is lrmb24@hotmail.com

    Good luck! ~Laura

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    windsor, ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2
    Lisa and Laura thanks for your replies.

    I just started the physio, so no idea yet what it will bring. I am looking forward to the aquatherapy but there is only one hospital in Windsor that does it, and I am on a waiting list (6 - 8 weeks)
    I've never heard about the TDR program here in Canada, but I will check the internet about it, Thanks Laura..I understand the guineau pig thought, the pain is not that bad yet, I'd rather wait I guess to see longer term results. I am now getting the idea that it is pain management they are working on. I have to wait on the shots too, our health system is really slow right now. I am feeling hopeful about the physio, as the therapist I am seeing now, used to work with scoliosis kids back in the seventies. I am fortunate that I have a desk job, up and down, but when I sit the pain is not there as much, it is mostly when I stand or walk.
    I am really glad I found this forum to find others, because you think your the only one experiencing these side effects, and maybe it's not to do with the surgery. I'll keep you posted if anything works well, and share with you. Again, thanks, and best of luck to you both. Cindy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    75
    Hi Cinlu,

    I'm a little older then you but your challenges sounds very similiar to my own, I have all of my spine fused except two lower verts and my neck also. (NO ROD, NO METAL SUPPORT)
    After fifty years they have had enough and major surgery is required to TRY and POSSIBLY release some of the pain, of course their is no quarentee in surgery. All information, medically and enough opinions from specialists to write a book on, indicates maybe a 40% or less chance of success. So presently I have been prescribed stronger pain medication and increased work restrictions as such that I can no longer work longer then 4 hours per day, on a good day.
    It is necessary for me to lay down if possible in the morning and afternoon, if I can get comfortable. Also I change sitting position continously, avoid walking any distance or standing for any length of time. The fatigue and discomfort as you know is sometimes very unbearable.
    I'm very greatful and blessed to have lived this long with this scoliosis, and able to do many of my goals and objectives in life. I hope to continue to work part-time again as soon as my battles with the insurance companies and SSDI is won.
    Good Bless....
    Live long and prosper!

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