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Back Problems Message Board

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My name is Jennifer, I'm newly married (2 months) a few days short of 31 years old and 5 months post surgical with a L4/5 L5/S1 two level fusion in February 2007. Prior to the fusion I had several epidural/facet injections, radiofrequency ablation and two hemilamenectomy's (one in September 2006 and the other in November 2006). I ended up re-herniating both discs after the hemi's therefore proceeded to the fusion. I've had NO pain relief from the fusion and have been told by my neurosurgeon as well as my husband who is a physical therapist, that I'm still recovering from the fusion as well as the back to back surgeries prior. I had an extension/flexion xray last week and the results are nonremarkable. The majority of my pain is centralized to my left hip and buttock area - my spine, the area that should really hurt really doesn't bother me all that much...

What I've I said my husband is a physical therapist and orthopedic clinical specialist...I'm therapied out...I get stretched and moved and cranio-sacraled all the time to no avail. I've recently started a massage regimen per recommendation from my neurosurgeon and am trying to be more active walking nightly besides my PT regime, however, it's really too soon to tell if it's helping. I've also reduced my work hours to 20/week per my surgeon as the pain was controllable when I was not working...I was back for 2 weeks of part time, got married, and then back 50+ from there on out. Looking to see if two weeks of not sitting the entire day makes a difference in my pain level as I have a sedentary position.

My biggest concern, pain relief yes...but...HOW WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO GET PREGNANT WITH THIS PAIN?

I've read some of the past posts on pregnancy post fusion, however, they were quite old so I thought I'd look to those who asked the questions way back when and maybe have had their own experience since, as well as anyone who will contribute with any advice.

I'm currently on a Fentanyl 25mcg Duragesic Patch changing every 72 hours. I've been sporadically taking Celebrex 100mg once per day and sometimes I think it helps, other times it just hurts my stomach...I'm also concernend that I'm diminishing the 'inflammatory environment' that my lovely bone stimulator has created to help my spine fuse. I've been doing everything in my power to not take Vicodin as it really doesn't do a whole lot to help with my pain...I understand the ramifications of these types of medication and pregnancy - my primary concern with reducing the pain and getting off of everything completely, however, I'm looking for some anecdotal experience in getting better and GETTING PREGNANT.

I'm sorry if this comes off as rambling, but I'm so antsy to start a family and the thought that I may have to wait a few more years when time is of the essence is so frustrating. I'm also concerned that my life without medication for pain intervention and management will never be possible, therefore, leading to the possiblity of never being able to even think of getting pregnant.

Any thoughts, advice, knowledge, resources are greatly appreciated.


Have I told you all how cathartic this experience has been for me!

ONE THING I WANT TO WARN EVERYONE WHO IS TAKING THE FOLLOWING DRUGS ABOUT...ULTRAM/ULTRACET/TRAMADOL, IF TAKEN WITH AN SSRI (Antidepressant, ie: Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, etc) CAN CAUSE 'SEROTONIN SYNDROME' even if it's been taking before with the SSRI. It's a very serious drug reaction that can cause symptoms of mania because too much serotonin is being released in your system...I had this drug interaction and it scares me so much that I wanted you all to know! It was prescribed and my doctor knew I was on an SSRI! Point very careful if you take this combination as I know alot of us could probably use an antidepressant with the situations we are in. If you get all your Rx's at the same pharmacy hopefully they will catch it...but just in case!

Zinnias, you raise such good points! My husband actually worked with a patient today that had a Lidoderm patch and thinks it's helping her a bit...granted she's older but it's definately something to look forward too! I'm certain that alot of the pain that I have is referred pain...most times my left hip/upper buttock area/left thigh just burn and ache...maybe it would help in that area. Definately something I'm going to look in to. I'm pretty sure the TENS unit he brought home for me was one of the better ones...had quite a high level of stimulation...what it would be if connected to the stim machine...perhaps if I tried it now it would make a difference because the underlying problem has been corrected...problem is he no longer works at that clinic to be able to bring it home. I'm sure I could try one out or get an Rx for it from my Pain MD.

I've noticed too that even pushing a shopping cart is helpful because it does support you...even pushing my Mom's wheelchair (she has severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, had a double knee replacement and then a CVA that has really only affected her speech), yet the woman worked up until the day of her stroke! It's funny when I was little I would think I hope my life doesn't end up like that...I used to watch her change into her pj's as soon as she got home and lay down on the couch and cry because she hurt so bad...sometimes I feel like I'm looking back through a mirror in my life. At least I know how to deal with it and what not to do...take it out on your family which is so much easier than just shutting up and dealing with the pain!

Oh, also nice walking jogger/stroller would probably be helpful and alot less stressful on my back than carrying a little one constantly. You know how this all started...a business collegue that I asked back in January if she ever wanted to get rid of her Leather Eddie Bauer car seat I'd take her up on it...well $25 later and it's sitting in my sitting room...uugh...I want to be able to use it. Plus, my sister-in-law who is married to my husbands twin has been talking about jealous I am...but instead of brooding over it I'm going to be proactive and see what we can do to be in the same place soon! Twins run in my family as well (Grandma miscarried, Grandfather had twin siblings) so I'm praying like hell that I can get it all taken care of in one fabulous would that be?

Katina, well pseudo-congratulations on possible #3! Isn't it fabulous that so many times it seems to happen when other things need to happen! BTW, I had my gallbladder out laparscopically a few years back...peice of cake compared to back surgery! You'll do great. If you have to postpone it, I'm sure your doctor can offer a diet that will help you to manage the gallbladder problems and keep baby healthy. I didn't have stones, just a really poor ejection fraction...basically my gallbladder was the equivalent of a dead goldfish! I'm lucky that I do have a wonderful OB and OBNP who have helped with other issues they could have passed me off for in the past...I'm actually very excited for my appointment this fall and discussing what my possibilites are. In addition, all my doctors are with the same clinic, Aurora. Thank you for the 'you'd be a good mother' comment...I think when we are dealing with such complicated problems you wonder if your doing well...I hope to be a great mother who can have an active life with my children if I'm so blessed.

I know that staying active is part of recovery, but sometimes you hit that body fatigue wall, you know, the one that can't get you from laying flat on your back just so it can relax and lenghten...uugh! Prior to my back problems I was big into Yoga and although I'm sure I can't get in all the positions now I should start trying again. Yoga really did help me to relax, ground myself, and feel less stressed - which is directly correlated to pain for me. I walked both Monday and Tuesday nights...about 1.5 miles give or take each's a start...ended up having company tonight and wanted to go but it didn't work it was extremely humid so maybe it's better I took it easy tonight. Tomorrow I have my 2nd massage with a wonderful therapist my girflriend referred me to...$30/'s out of her home and a beautiful little drive up there on the bay...well worth the gas money! Last week Thursday she really got into the spots I needed her to be and worked me hard...I was sore after but I'm hoping to notice a progression of loosening up in my hip flexors and maybe this will help. Oh yeah, the PT husband is wonderful...he'll stretch muscle energy things with me...we've tried cranio-sacral therapy but the dogs wouldn't let me relax...he's so wonderful for that it's just sometimes it's so hard to work time in for far as back rubs, when I need him to help me out he will but I don't think it's his most favorite thing. Sometimes I honestly feel bad that he does this all day and then has to come home and deal with me...he does have a new appreciation for back pain however as his was bothering him about 3 weeks ago for the really humbled him to know what I was going through...


We are very much in the same pseudo children are 2 Vizslas named Fischer who is 5 and Tobias (our little Humane Society Rescue - was abused and now flourishes with us) who is about a year and a half. We also have a 6 year old cat named Rummele. They are really my life...I can't imagine having more love for a little baby but hopefully I will be blessed to find out in the future! We sound very similar in our love for heating pads...I actually have mine strapped around a memory foam pillow that has indents in for the cervical area...well the little bumps fit perfectly in my lumbar area and make my barcalounger MY CHAIR! You should pick one up...the pillow...and well the barcalounger too LOL. We got the pillow from Linens N Things and it was about $30...a great investment in my just snuggles your back where you need the support the most.

Thinking back to my last Neurosurgeon appointment, my doctor didn't have concern about me getting pregnant from a spine standpoint...I had xrays taken at my appointment last week and everything is looking ok - not sure if I'm fused fully but I'm sure I'm well on my way. My neurosurgeon doesn't manage my pain so I am going to give a call to that office tomorrow and set an appointment to discuss different options for now ad what we can do when we start trying to conceive, and yes Zinnias, getting pregnant isn't the hardest part I'm sure...getting in the position to make the baby is!

I really think that I would try laboring...who knows...I could be the lucky one that it just falls out right? Oh should anything be that easy? Like I said before if I end up having a C-Section it's no big deal...yes I would love to say I too experienced vaginal childbirth but it's not worth ruining your health because of it...either way you still come out as a mother! I'm not the only one who gets the 'my back is worse than yours' scenario? My coworker had a sore back from putting her child in the car seat for two days and the support given to her by my workgroup was 10am I'm pulling my *** out of my chair using my one could care! Funny isn't it! Having had many experiences like this I guess I just think that only I know my pain and being that prior to the start of my back problems I walked 5 miles a day with the dog...never sat down...cleaned like a crazy woman and tried all of Real Simples 'fake it' I'm lucky if I cook twice a it changes life! hour later and I'm still up...better get my little happy *** back to up for a drink of water and to let the boys outside to to you all tomorrow, which is actually today!


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