Spinal Fusion Story

I am a 64 year old male. In 1991, I had a fusion (L4/L5/S1) which was a complete success. In 1998, I started working as an over the road truck driver. I had occasional stiffness in my lower back especially in cold/damp weather.

In 2007, as I bent over to lift a roll up door on my trailer, I felt a popping sensation in my lower back. As the day progressed the pain worsened to the point in was unbearable to stand. Long story short, I had another fusion (L3-L4) May of 2008 because L3 was slipping out and to the right.

I had a minor complication in that there were a couple of pieces of vertebra which had broken off and 1 stuck to the nerve that goes to my right leg/foot (My right foot is numb). The other was stuck to my Dura and when the surgeon removed it, it tore, so he attempted to patch it.

About 3 weeks post surgery I began to have severe pain in my right leg and after a test, it was discovered I had about 250 cc's of spinal fluid in my lower back which came from the Dural Leak, but no headache.

I was immediately readmitted to the hospital for a 2nd surgery to remove the fluid, when the Doc closed me up he put a tube in to drain any residual fluid, but the next day decided I needed a smaller tube so he had a colleague attempt to insert a smaller tube in the opposite side of my spine and in doing so he inadvertently put the end of it directly over the existing tube, which my surgeon discovered the next day. So he removed both tubes and had me lay flat for 72 hrs this time, instead of 36, and had the nurses raise my bed a little at a time to be sure the pain in my leg and or the usual head ache did not ensue.

Ever since the 2nd surgery, I have had coccyx pain and I have been taking oxycodone for the pain which only lessens it, but does not eliminate it. Typically, standing, walking and sitting intensifies the pain, but lying down helps alleviate it and after a nights sleep, I awake pain-free.

I have had numerous X-rays, and a couple of weeks ago, I had an MRI, which all show that the fusion was a complete success, at least physically.

I have been to 2 different pain management doctors who administered the usual injections in an attempt to pin point the nerve(s) that are causing the pain, to no avail. I have also had a few sessions with a chiropractor which seemed to make the pain worse.

I have read that in some cases the pain will go away on its own, so have somewhat resigned myself to that possibility. At least until I found your website, so I am hoping that by posting my story, someone might have had a similar experience, but with a solution.

Thank you for sharing your story and the website. - Wes.

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