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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


con't from pervious post-------------

I think one or two of you mentioned wearing your back brace all the time after your fusion due to the pain you were in. I would appreciate it if you would share more of your story with me. Did you have continued pain from the fusion on, or did you have a period of time it stopped and then came back. Was it the same pain as before your surgery or different?

After my double fusion in Jan. I went two entire months with zero pain. I never even had to take pain meds and I had anterior and posterior lumbar fusion's, and didn't wear a brace. Yes, the abdoman incision was sore when I moved for a few weeks, but that as all. Then in March, out of the blue, I had severe back pain return. I had followed my doctors instructions to the tee and when I told him this time the pain was in my back and left buttock and leg with a numb thigh, (it had been on the right side the previous three surgeries) he said my symptoms were classic of a non-fusion. I had the standard tests done, MRI, CT Scan, and tons of X-rays trying to get me into every position possible to detect a shift, but nothing. All these test indicated that I was fusing on both levels. He was so surprised and he even took my films to come other back surgeons for their opinion because it just didn't make sense. They all agreed I was fusing just fine.

Then he ordered a Hardware block, which is done the same way an epidural steroid injection is done, but they inject novacain all around the rods and screws, it lasts 6 hours and if your pain stops during that time, that indicates the hardware is causing the pain. My hardware block was positive and so surgery was schedule again, thinking the hardware would have to come out. But he was still worried I wasn't fusing so I had to wait until the hardware had been in 6 months, July, before he could operate again, just incase I was fusing OK, he wanted to leave the hardware in at least the first 6 months. I was in the worst pain I had ever been in and had to be on strong narcotics while I waited to have the surgery.

When he further back surgery, not exactly sure what he would find or be doing, when he opened me up he could wiggle the top of the rods back and forth with his fingers. It was reported as a gross loosening. And the reason why??? A NONFUSION on the upper level. Absolutely no fusing had taken place and this caused the rods to be loose. He refused the nonfusion and put the rods and screws back in. It has been 5 1/2 months since that surgery and I have been completely pain free ever since. Knock on wood. In fact, when I woke up from the surgery, the numbness in my thigh was already gone.

I have heard horror stories about people who had pain after their fusion's and their surgeons wrote them off, telling them they had done a fusion and there was nothing else they could do for them. Well, now we all know that isn't always true. Thank God I had the surgeon I did and he wasn't going to give up on me until he figured out what was causing my pain and fixed it.

Well, I got a bit off the subject, but for this reason. After this second refusion surgery, he wanted a back brace made for me this time, but only as a precaution, I didn't have to wear it when I was home, which is most of the time, only when I went out. It seems some surgeons may advise bracing to remind the patient to avoid certain activities following surgery. If you have instrumentation, this doesn't seem to really be necessary. My surgeon wanted something to protect my back from any possible new injury, he said I had already been through enough. Two braces were made for me while I was still in the hospital and neither were right. I had to have two more braces made after I came home before they got it right. When they finally did, I knew it the second I put it on. It was so comfortable and I felt so supported in it. Even though I don't have to wear it at home, I do whenever I sit at the computer because I am usually on for hours at one time and I want to make sure I am sitting up straight and supported. I just don't want to take any chances. Good posture, which comes from correct body mechanics, can help minimize the risk of injury to your spine.

If you have a back brace, make sure your surgeon inspects it first hand to see that is fits properly. When mine saw the one they made me in the hospital he had a fit. I was so over formed that it wasn't supporting anything and he sent me back to have a new one made. This is a good compromise for me after such a surgery and I only have two more weeks he wants me to wear it when I go out, but I doubt I will stop wearing it when I am riding in the car for a full year, until I know for sure I am fully fused.

The only thing I would suggest is if your doctor has you in a back brace and you are still having pain, have your brace checked to make sure it isn't causing your pain, as mine did, and if the pain continues till your 6 week check up, make sure you doctor knows and does something to find out why.

Casey





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