Notices
Like Tree5Likes

How have spinal fusions gotten?

Old 01-10-2019, 02:39 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Southeast Connecticut
Posts: 188
Default How have spinal fusions gotten?

So I'm approaching my mid 50's...and for the past >20 years my lower back has been shot. Severely degenerated disks l2/l3, l3/l4, l4/l5, and l5/s1. My l4/l5 and l5/s1 are super shot. Last MRI I had about 1 year ago, disks are like a potato chip, darn near bone on bone. Already did a discectomy l4/l5 right side because that bulge made my right leg nearly a dead leg. Helped right away...did that about 10 years ago.

At that time, fusions still seemed very primitive to me, and had a 50/50 chance of making things a little better, or much worse.

Getting to the point where each day is about a 7 or 8 out of 10 on the pain scale. Slowed down riding the Harleys a few years ago and sold my last favorite one a few months ago (had a sweet Evo Springer, was into Shovelheads before that). Miss my bikes but riding would have me bed ridden for days after.

Anyways, with daily pain getting up there...time to re think the fusion I think. I had already gone through a treatment at a chiro last spring that helped, but insurance didn't cover it, and was 200 bucks a shot 3x days a week. Some fancy new back stretching machine you'd climb into and get harnessed into...sorta like a super-traction thing. Helped for sure....but just can't swing that cost. Got an inversion table for home, just gotta get in the habit of using it more.

Anyways...back to modern versions of fusions....what we got for peoples experiences in new methods?
lyman24 likes this.
YeOldeStonecat is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 03:55 AM
  #2  
Admirals ClubCaptains Club Member Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,338
Default

Haven't had one although I am currently a candidate for L5/S1 fusion. But... I know Tiger Woods won a major after the surgery, so there's that.
nicecast is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 04:12 AM
  #3  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Sea Isle City, NJ / Lansdale pa
Posts: 363
Default

I’ve had 3 fusions. One cervical & 2 lower back. S1 to L3 is fused.. my last mri showed no cartilage in either hip. My surgeon says they were worn out because of the previous fusions. And will need to be replaced soon(when the injections stop working) This is a downside to fusions. The joints above and below it will eventually wear out.

i am still in similar pain as you. I’ll be 50 next year, but my body feels like a rough 70.
All of that being said, I have heard of people being fused and leading a normal life. But that’s not my story.
Reel E is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 04:27 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 613
Default

I haven't had a fusion but my last surgery they wanted to do a fusion (L2/L3)......but I would have missed my daughters wedding.
I have had 4 surgeries (Discectomies) I know exactly where you are at as I was in the awful place about 2 years ago. The first surgery was a dual discectomy L4/L5 & L5/S1. Felt great for about two weeks....the one morning on my walk with my dog I felt something go in my back.....I barely made it back to the house. 3 weeks later they went back in and did the same thing. After that I was "Ok" still had pain but nothing like it had been before. Then I had a discectomy on my neck...not sure which vertebrae. Right before my daughters wedding the pain came back with a vengeance it felt like I had a broken leg. But what they had found was that I had what was left in the L2/L3 disc rupture and I had Spinal Stenosis. So here we go again. I was in horrible pain after the surgery. There were time when I couldn't even walk. I thought I had really screwed up by agreeing to the last surgery. My doctor warned me though that the recovery would be painful because while clearing the nerve passages in my vertebrae he had to "manipulate" the nerves themselves. He told me that there would be a lot of pain until they find their happy place again. He was spot on. On night I went to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. I couldn't walk. My wife had to help me to the bathroom and back to bed. I was really scared. But lo and behold the very next day.......there was zero pain....nothing....nada!! and I have felt that way for the last 2 years. Zero back pain!! So have faith. I was about to give up. But I am so glad I didn't. If I were you I would ask the doctor if spinal stenosis could be part of the cause of your pain. It turned out for me that was the major cause. Right now I am taking every opportunity to fish and travel because I don't know how many pain free days I have left. I turn 56 this year and I have also had 2 hip replacements (Same Hip twice because of a recall), My doctor said a fusion is in my future for sure.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Oh and I happen to have a picture of one of my last MRI:




CzecheredPast is online now  
Old 01-10-2019, 04:30 AM
  #5  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Apopka, Fl
Posts: 79
Default

I had a L4-S1 fusion in 2009 and it certainly didn't seem primitive to me. I have since been able to lead a fairly normal life...just need to be careful on lifting heavy (25#+) objects, not that I can't but just need care in doing so. Also, I try to avoid repetitive bending. Had 2 rods inserted with that surgery but have no idea about what impact of the outcome would be vs without rods. Currently 70 yrs old. I've 3 back surgeries and I do know I would have an ortho back specialist perform it; a neurosurgeon did the second one and was totally unhelpful..the 3rd one by an ortho corrected that!
johnb48 is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 04:33 AM
  #6  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 461
Default

dont know about the fusion's had L4 and L5 fixed 6 weeks ago in Tampa at LSI. doing better just still healing up.
lyman24 likes this.
eddie102870 is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 04:57 AM
  #7  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Mechanicsville VA
Posts: 7,848
Default

I'm 47 and need an L5-S1 fusion that I have been putting it off. Everything else is in very good shape (Damage is from a college Rugby injury that started showing up in my 30's). My step mother had the same procedure 12-15 years ago and has said she doesn't know why she waited so long. Still going fine to this day.
t500hps is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 05:16 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Down the bayou, south Louisiana
Posts: 255
Default

October 2018, my 73 yo mom had her L2/L3 fused. Four days later she was able to attend my brothers wedding. No longer has back pain.
savedbygrace6868 is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 05:25 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 636
Default

All these posts make me thankful I've not needed one (yet).
Good luck to OP on making the right decision.
Bayou Dularge is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 05:35 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Southeast Connecticut
Posts: 188
Default

Good to hear some more positive experiences these days. I sure wish I didn't need one...but, when your disks have become super thin like potato chips..instead of like oreo cookie thickness, not much you can do. You cannot regenerate your disks...to the best of my knowledge. And from what I've read, artificial disk implants aren't quite matured yet as a technology.

I just have to figure out "when"..and try to hold out until then. We have a busy spring...moving, and then I have spring time where I'm preparing the boat..and summer..enjoying the boat every weekend. So might be next fall/winter.

Guessing the answer is different for each person, but wonder how long true "downtime" is for recovery..as in...how long out of work. I'm in IT and normally do quite a bit of onsites at clients, but can still work from desk. Guessing I'll need one of those standup desks.
lyman24 likes this.
YeOldeStonecat is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 05:49 AM
  #11  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Houston,Tx,U.S.A
Posts: 11,692
Default

Most lower spinal fusions the Doc does not like the patient sitting at 90 degrees for long periods. True recovery is 8 month to a year. I am on fusion #2 L4-L5, still very active, hunt fish, play golf and tennis, remodel and build all sorts of projects.

I was almost finished with my degree when I had my last one 2008, I was allowed to drive 2x's a week for first 4 month. I lived on Campus and walked everywhere, if I was working with my fellow students in a common area they knew I needed to lay flat for a while as I had been sitting for too long.

They are doing far more today with less invasion, however a fusion requires your muscles to be filleted off the spine,.....

John
jtburf is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 06:01 AM
  #12  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tampa Florida
Posts: 4,635
Default

fusions usually work decent, for the first 5-10 years, after that, the scar tissues start closing in on the foramens and encroaching down on the nerves. the fix for this is more back surgery to relieve pressure on the nerves.

i would avoid any spinal surgery until absolute last resort. pain management with the nerve blocks is a very reasonable route to attempt. worst case is the injections dont work. best case is they do work and you avoid surgery on your back.
Rolandt03 is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 06:06 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: richmond va usa
Posts: 748
Default

Fused s1L5L4 35 yrs ago life saver . But now need L3L2
donald/tri-again is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 07:45 AM
  #14  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,220
Default

My daughter rides horses. Our trainer was having a lot of back issues. He could barely get on a horse even using the mounting block. He was totally miserable. While in Oklahoma last December for our year end finals he went and saw a doc there that give a shot known to be called the “Oh Jesus” shot. You can look it up Dr. John Lonergan. He sees a lot of athletes and a lot of professional rodeo cowboys. The shot is $300. The is a lot of negative press about it. People saying there is no way it can work. I think because it’s not FDA approved. Unless I personally saw what it has done for our trainer I would be skeptical too.
He is a completely different person. His pain is gone. He is riding / training 5 or more horse a day again. Not using the mounting block to get up on the horse. The last couple weeks he and another person completely redressed his 14 stalls in his barn and added stall mats. FWI worth. The Drs.office number is 405-212-7720. I would be happy to give you my horse trainers contact info if you pm me. Good Luck.
Hasbeen is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 09:08 AM
  #15  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tampa Florida
Posts: 4,635
Default

Originally Posted by Hasbeen View Post
My daughter rides horses. Our trainer was having a lot of back issues. He could barely get on a horse even using the mounting block. He was totally miserable. While in Oklahoma last December for our year end finals he went and saw a doc there that give a shot known to be called the “Oh Jesus” shot. You can look it up Dr. John Lonergan. He sees a lot of athletes and a lot of professional rodeo cowboys. The shot is $300. The is a lot of negative press about it. People saying there is no way it can work. I think because it’s not FDA approved. Unless I personally saw what it has done for our trainer I would be skeptical too.
He is a completely different person. His pain is gone. He is riding / training 5 or more horse a day again. Not using the mounting block to get up on the horse. The last couple weeks he and another person completely redressed his 14 stalls in his barn and added stall mats. FWI worth. The Drs.office number is 405-212-7720. I would be happy to give you my horse trainers contact info if you pm me. Good Luck.
the problem is this shot is just a band aid, then he is back doing what killed his back to start with! kinda like a foot ball player getting a knee injury, going in the locker room, getting an injection, then going back in the game! fine now, but the long run is going to be hell!
Rolandt03 is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 09:47 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: On the water 30 miles south of New Orleans
Posts: 259
Default

According to Google, Dr. J. "Mike" Lornegan, The "Jesus Shot" doctor passed away in August of 2017. He did have a very interesting past.
https://splinternews.com/all-about-t...rug-1793855682
Myrtle Grove Bob is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 02:04 PM
  #17  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 7,113
Default

Avoid the laser spine centers. Scams.
Gary999 is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 02:21 PM
  #18  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Venice, FL
Posts: 610
Default

2 back surgeries. First was discetomy on l4 l5 15 years ago. Second was a no hardware fusion l4 l5 s1. My very good friend is a chiro and he could help but very short term. He recommended this dr. that does this. This was 3 years ago. Night and day difference. Tough recovery. I am stiff but very litte pain and only occasionally. Before surgery I was in very bad shape. I fish and boat and golf now. I honestly had no choice. When it gets bad enough you are out of options.
Windwood is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 05:22 PM
  #19  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Southeast Connecticut
Posts: 188
Default

For those that did the fusion in lower back, how long was the "must stay in bed" recovery? When were you able to get up for a short walk or do a few things? I'm trying to figure out how long I'll be useless for work. I can do a lot of remote work from home via laptop and phone. Either sitting on the couch...or probably not allowed to "sit" for a while so reclined or laying down or whatever. How long where you totally useless?
YeOldeStonecat is offline  
Old 01-10-2019, 05:34 PM
  #20  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Venice, FL
Posts: 610
Default

Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat View Post
For those that did the fusion in lower back, how long was the "must stay in bed" recovery? When were you able to get up for a short walk or do a few things? I'm trying to figure out how long I'll be useless for work. I can do a lot of remote work from home via laptop and phone. Either sitting on the couch...or probably not allowed to "sit" for a while so reclined or laying down or whatever. How long where you totally useless?
takes a few weeks to be moving around. First week was hell.
I feel pretty good now but am still useless
lyman24 likes this.
Windwood is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread