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Thread: post op low back pain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227

    post op low back pain

    how long does the throbbing lower back pain last? I'm really tired of taking medications but when I don't I'm in HORRENDOUS pain within hours. Still on gabapentin (high dose) and Tramadol or ibuprofen as needed but that is all. THe pain at night is so bad i hardly sleep anymore. Just wondered how long it was before people forgot about the pain.

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Hi always smilin',
    I was wondering the same thing. It's been a year and 7 months for me. I believe it is nerve pain and mine is slowly getting better. Mine seems to be worse when the barometric pressure is taking a downward turn and a storm is on its way. I am also on Neurontin but end up taking tylenol PM on those nights the I get the worse pain and it helps me to fall asleep. I hope your pain lets up fairly soon for you.
    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227
    I wondered what to do with nighttime - I just can't sleep. Maybe I'll try the Tylenol PM - today it has been storming both outside and with my back. That's scary that you are over 1 year post op and still in pain! I hope you feel better soon - that's too long to suffer. I had surgery to eliminate pain not to be in more pain!

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Quote Originally Posted by always smilin' View Post
    I wondered what to do with nighttime - I just can't sleep. Maybe I'll try the Tylenol PM - today it has been storming both outside and with my back. That's scary that you are over 1 year post op and still in pain! I hope you feel better soon - that's too long to suffer. I had surgery to eliminate pain not to be in more pain!
    The pain is no where near what it was before surgery. I couldn't walk or stand for five minutes before I couldn't stand the pain. I truly have my life back and am so glad I had my surgery. If it hadn't taken me so long to get to a scoliosis specialist, I might not have damaged my nerve roots so much. I didn't know about this forum and an arrogant Neurosurgeon told me not to have surgery until I was in a wheelchair. Not much help there. I hope the Tylenol PM helps you.
    Take care, Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
    Posts
    449
    When I have low back pain (which is quite often), I use a heating pad in the evening. It helps relax the tension and eases the pain in my low back. How old is your mattress? If it is several years old you might need a new one.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227
    I haven't used the heating pad in a while but it may be time to do so again. The dr. prescribed sleep medication for me to use AS NEEDED...I told him I didn't want an every night med...just a when I need med. My mattress isn't too old...we did buy a new and very comfortable (at least pre-surgery) quilted pad for the bed. I am just frustrated that I'm still in pain when I read so many posts of those who are off pain meds and life as normal in 3 months and I don't feel I'll get there...ever. I hope I did the right thing.

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,974
    Dear Always-- Three months isn't very long-- don't despair! Over the two years I've been on the forum I've noticed a lot of variance in how long it takes for people to get over that initial hump and start feeling better. The first 3 weeks are the hardest, but there are hurdles all along and sometimes it seems like nothing is happening. The best thing to do then is to look back and see how far you've come. You are able to do so much more now and feel so much better than right after surgery. People respond differently so try not to judge based on how others are doing. You ARE making progress. As far as meds go-- some of us took 5-6 months or longer -- and I know there are some who took even longer than that. You'll get there.
    Last edited by Susie*Bee; 07-28-2009 at 09:23 PM.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416

    Wink You Will Get There!!!

    Hi Always!
    I had to take pain meds for quite a while. At 3 months I was still on Oxycontin and Percocet. I had to eventually go to a pain mgmt doc to manage my pain after my surgeon discontinued writing for pain meds at the 3 mo mark. I was still having alot of pain. BUT, over the next 6 months I improved in that dept so much. Now I just take prn pain meds, depending on my activity. Sometimes nothing, sometimes one a day or two. I am not bothered at night. If you are still having pain bother you so much, maybe you still need to take a pain med at night before you go to bed? Don't think you need to be off of meds at a certain point in your recovery. Everyone's body heals differently. If you still need to be on pain medicine, you do. Good Luck in your recovery! It really does get better.
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227
    Thanks Susie and Kristy - I needed a reminder that we're all different. I keep comparing myself to those that are quick to heal. I am trying to wean myself off the drugs little by little because I HATE the feeling these drugs give me. You're right that I AM doing better every day...it's just really hard to remember where I've been. I've just been so frustrated with my body...and my mind...I've been really fearful that if my mind goes too I'll have nothing! OK - sounds dramatic...but that's how I've been feeling of late. Kristy...I'm sorry that your dr. quit you cold turkey. I've thought of going to a pain mgmt clinic but the closest one is 1 hour away and I really don't want to keep driving that distance. I just need to keep trying to wean myself during the day. I so appreciate you two giving me the pep talk I so need at this point! You have no idea!
    Most sincerely...most most sincerely!

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416

    Cool

    Colleen
    This is such a huge surgery and such an assault on the body and the mind. It is to be expected that it takes a long time to heal. I still have to keep reminding myself of that. Take your time and your body will tell you when it is time to wean off. Every week will get better!
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
    Posts
    449
    Another thing to try is to start exercising in a pool with warm (85 degrees or higher) water. That can help you strengthen your muscles without pressure on your back. I do leg lift to the front, side, and back in the water and it helps the low back. Swimming breaststroke helps the upper back. Another exercise in the pool that helps is riding a noodle like a bike. Do it with your legs along first, then your arms (using breaststroke motion), and then arms and legs together. It's fun, you move around and no one knows you are exercising!
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenfield, WI
    Posts
    414
    Colleen! How've you been feeling? Still having the lower back issues? I know you are sick of hearing it, but just as a reminder, it does take awhile. Ive been feeling awesome, not bragging, just sharing...lol...as of late...the lasy 3-4 weeks have been amazing. hang in there buddy! Im thinking about you!!!



    Lynn
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,535
    Coleen

    It might not be a bad idea to get some foam for the bed. I have a medium tempurpedic, and it wasn't soft enough. I went with a 2 inch thick piece of latex foam. 3 inches would have been better.

    I couldn't sleep either after my surgery, and the foam was a Godsend. So were the HOT baths. I turned my hot water heater up ALL the way. Drink quite a bit of water as you lose quite a bit soaking.

    The warm pool is a great idea, but if you don't feel good, do the tub at home.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    227
    I'm VERY tired all the time and HUGELY forgetful...my hubby can't believe how spacey I am...even more than before (he he). I'm also very nausous(sp?) - not sure if it's from pain meds or thyroid meds I was just put on. I have cut my gabapentin dose ALMOST in half and my tramadol in half. My ribs hurt more than ever...as does my lower back still but I am going to manage and get myself through this and off the drugs. My primary doc did prescribe something for sleep to use as I need...I've only used it twice so far I really am a stickler for not trying to use meds but I still can't get by completely without them. I forget that I'm only 3 months post op - I know I'll get there...just not as fast as Lynn

    One other question...I thought I was going to DIE about 2 days ago from back pain due to female cycle. Anyone else have this problem? I was ready to roll over and die from pain...quite literally. Just curious. I'm much better today - thank GOD!

    Always Smilin'
    Colleen

    1982 fused T2-L1
    pre op 45 - post op 33 (left thoracic)
    pre op 53 - post op 18 (right thoracic)

    recheck 2006
    right thoracic 57
    lower lumbar 34

    surgical revision April 28,2009
    revision T3-L1; new fusion L1-L4
    unsure of degrees at this point

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    It's still early days Colleen. Try not to fret and just go with the flow. Easier said than done, I know. One of the things I was told over and over pre-op was that it's often a matter of two steps forward, one back.

    I can't help with the menstrual cycle question. Thank goodness that's all in the past for me, one less thing to worry about.

    Anyway, I just wanted to wish you well.

    Jen
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

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