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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/24/2010 9:39 PM (GMT -6)   
My daughter who is 29 had lumbar fusion on 2/17/10-  she has been doing well but her back muscles are so tight and she can not get them loose.  Her PT said she must have overdone it this week but she hasn;t done anything different and she is very uncomfortable.  Is this something that she should expect or should she be concerned that something is wrong?

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Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9250
   Posted 4/24/2010 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi vitalspring!

And welcome to the CP family! I'm sorry to hear of your daughters' misery. It is so hard when we see our kids in pain. You and I are likely about the same age.

I'm not that familiar with this type of surgery and what to expect but we have many here who have gone through just what your daughter had. Others will be along soon to help you and her with their experience. One person who had it most recently is a member named Screaming Eagle. He's just been cleared to go back to work. I'll email a couple of folks and see if they can get your some help more quickly. Also I believe PaLady has had back surgery but it's been much longer since many more. Some others to watch for are bsjaguar, Whitebeard, Snowbunny, and many others. These folks have been dealing with spine pain and fusions for a varied number of years.

Please invite your daughter to join us too if she would like. This is a very caring and supportive group who does understand what she and you are going through.

Warm hugs,
Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.
Albert Einstein

(> <) Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, PTSD, UC, Diabetic on insulin, collapsed disk, arthritis scattered around and a few other delights.

Post Edited (Chutz) : 4/24/2010 9:05:17 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/24/2010 10:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Vitalspring,
Welcome to the chronic pain forum of Healing Well. Chutz is right, I had a double lumbar fusion (L4-S1) about 2 1/2 years ago. My fusion was successful, but unfortunately it did not help my leg and foot pain. Definitions of "success" vary between patients and doctors with fusions, I think, in that if you successfully fuse - which can take up to a year to complete - the doctors consider it a success, but it may not have helped your symptoms.

As far as the back muscles, I'm not sure what kind of activity your daughter is doing, if she's using a brace, etc., but I know the muscles around my incision in my lower back are still somewhat tight. My PT worked for many weeks on the muscles around my incision, and like I said they still tighten up, especially the small muscles my PT called "paraspinal". But I wasn't permitted to start PT until 3 months after the surgery, so I wonder if your daughter might be doing too much at this stage? Now I'm not a doctor, and we don't give medical advice here, it's just something I'm sharing because of how long it took me to heal those muscles. And I had a minimally invasive procedure, so the least amount of muscle was cut.

What were your daughter's instructions from her doctor about activity, PT, etc.?

Like Chutz said, she's more than welcome to come on and post herself. You can both post!

Again, welcome, and I hope this helps a bit.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 4/25/2010 10:22 AM (GMT -6)   
I've not had a fusion yet, but others will come by with info, PALady and Chutz, had some great advise..
Screaming Eagle just had a double fusion and could offer up some advise...I just wanted to say welcome,
this is a geat site for lots of info and support, but maybe she should go and ask her doctor about this..'
A fusion is major surgery however it's done and need a good long healing time...
Have your daughter come and post here, there is a chat night Thursdays if she's up to it...
Good luck and well wishes and prayer to her...
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...


Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1037
   Posted 4/25/2010 3:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome sorry to hear that your daughter had fusion surgery....I had it done about 5 years ago and my back muscles are always tense and "firing"....can't do much about it.  They don't know why, but it makes my day so much harder.....  Why did she have the fusion?  I had and still have spinal stenosis....along with DDD, DJD, Post Lamenectomy Syndrome, and a host of other problems.....
You are at the right place....we all have our own issues and we aren't Doctors...but we know a great deal.

I have been a spectator for so long..Now it's time to participate.......
Post Lamenectomy Syndrome, Spinal Stenosis, DDD....
1999 Hemi Lamenectomy/2005 Spinal Fusion(L4-S1)
Methadone 120 mg. a day/  30 mg. Oxycodone as needed(up to 4 x a day)
High Blood Pressure: Lisinopril HCTZ 10 mg. daily
Type 2 Diabetes: (March 16, 2009)
Metformin HCL ER 1700 mg. at night..Glipizide 10mg. 2X in the morning and bedtime
Lantus 50 units at bedtime with Solostar Pen
Byetta 5 mcg. 2X daily                                                                   


Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 4/25/2010 7:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Vitalspring, As with others, I had multilevel fusion done and they call it sucsessful because the bones fused. It has not relieved the pain in my leg and foot and my back is tight. I get up in the morning and hoble to the shower to get some hot water on the back to loosen it up. The pain in the legs and feet is nerve pain from damaged nerves. Surgery will not fix that. Some people come through surgery and don't have many problems afterwards which is great for them. Most of us on this forum are the ones that surgery did not end up being the answer to a pain free life so our experiences are clouded by the constant pain. I hope and pray that your daughter is one of those that finds great relief.

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 4/26/2010 11:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Good morning Vitalspring! I'm so sorry for the late reply here, but I was off on vacation with the wifey for a few days. Like Chutz said, I will be reporting back to work here in about a week.

I guess I have some questions for you first here. What part of the spine did the fusion take place? Is it the L5-S1 area or higher? Did they have to cut through the muscle, or did they separate it?
How much sitting is she doing? Is she walking and if so how much? Is she using a back brace and only for long walks? How long is the scar? Is she using any kind of lotion on it as well. And is she still on any of the pain meds?
Is she sleeping on her side on on her back?

Sorry for all the questions, but it may help us suggest options for her, and it would really help us to know more about her.

My sister is getting ready to have L3-L4,L4-L5 fused, one higher than my own. My surgery was done on the 5th of March, and I too, am having issues with the incision area being hard as a rock in some areas and numbness in a large are as well.
The surgeon that is doing my sisters surgery said, that he will not cut through any muscle, and will be going in through the back, and that they will separate it. Mine was done Anterior, meaning done through the front. My surgeon also said he did not have to cut through any muscle.
I have the tugging feeling with mine as I stand up, and for that fact, my belly is off center now by 1/2 inch. Kinda weird to see in the mirror! :(

My concern is that my surgeon cut a nerve and I will have some permanent damage now, but I'm just not sure at this point. The surgeon did say that the scaring will take some time to soften up, and I kinda agree with some of the other members,
that it may always be a little stiff. Maybe it is a trade off from the pain that she had before the surgery. PaLady makes a good point about the PT, and maybe this is what is needed for her.

When is her next check-up with her surgeon? Ask him at that time about PT. Also if her surgery was at the bottom of the spine, L4-L5 area, and she is sitting a lot, it may be pulling on the incision too much. I tend to either lay or stand, and avoid sitting for any length of time right now.

I would think that a lotion would not hurt anything at this point as well. Of course, it would be best to clear anything you do with your surgeon first. As mentioned earlier, we are not Dr here, and all we can do is suggest and give you food for thought as to the direction you may want to go.

I also wanted to welcome you here, and tell your daughter that she is very welcome to post herself as well. We have wonderful supporting members here. Your daughter needs to know that she is not alone in the recovery process as many of us have similar situations as well.

Thursday night is our Chronic Pain Chat night, and I'm sure you and your daughter would enjoy it.

Please do keep checking your post, and do reply as much as you want here. Just a tip here!....more than likely your post will fall off onto page two of the forum, so keep in mind that if she keeps posting it will re-rack it back to the top of the forum, where it will receive more notice by the members here. I have a very bad habit of checking only page #1 here, so my point is, "out of site out of mind!" We encourage new members or any member for that fact to stay active, by either posting or replying to other members post.

Good luck to your daughter, and we wish her the best, and please do let us know how she is doing. We ALL can learn from these types of experiences.

SE :)
DDD (Degenerative Disk Disease) S1-L4-L5, Heart Attack 2002, Angioplasty to clear blocked Artery and to implant Stent. Six Epidurals, Disocgram, Melanoma Cancer 07, Lumbar Fusion March of 2010, Four cortisone injections Tendinitis in Elbow.

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 4/26/2010 3:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello VitalSpring,

I'm very happy to meet you, but very sad your daughter has had to go through this surgery. Like many others here, I had a fusion at L5-S1 (just a little over a year ago). Also like the others here, I have "successfully" fused and been released by the surgeon, but still have chronic back pain and nerve pain. Nerve ablation helped quite a bit, but they were unable to do it on the worst area.

As far as the tightening up....I am no Dr and everyone is different but I do still have that problem and I think it is quite common. PT helped, but didn't fully solve the issue. A good pain management dr is always a good starting point once the surgeon releases you (if there is still pain). Your daughter will likely need a referral though, so I would make sure she tells the surgeon about all of the issues she is having....especially if there is urinary or fecal incontinence (which I was left with). It is better now, but was a serious problem for a while. All of these things can be related and can play a real factor in whether or not a person is returned to work or what restrictions are placed on them.

I also had to wear a bone stimulator for four hours a day for several months. This helped the fusion to grow faster (even with the hardware). The TENS unit helped a great deal with the tight muscles and spasms and the Physical Therapist gave me a product called biofreeze which gave me wonderful results. I needed the Tens Unit especially during and after PT. (There is a another product over the counter called freezeit that works about the same way and I use it some times too).

Screaming Eagle.....I believe you mentioned numbness at the site. I had this and could feel nothing from incision to incision for about four or five months. Then the nerve "regenerated" in the back area and I found they were quite sensitive to touch and even to water from the shower. My neurosurgeon said that was very common regarding the numbness, but had already released me to pain management before the tenderness appeared. The RFA helped with that as well (except the one they didn't do....of course). I still have the soreness now and can no longer wear pants with waist bands because they cause the area to flare.

I hope I didn't give too grim of a picture regarding this procedure. Please know that we are chronic pain patients, so we are naturally the ones who still hurt after the procedures have been done. There are quite a few people who find complete relief and are painfree after fusion surgery.

All the best!
Retired Mom

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 4/26/2010 3:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Retired mom, your information is right on! When you brought up the numbness and then the areas sensitive to touch and such, it almost hurt me to think about it. I suffer from that as well! Very weird feeling isn't it! Numb and then at the edge of the numbness it goes to the other extreme. My surgeon said this was normal, but I take things with a grain of salt at times, especially after the surgery. I mean what is he going to say..."so sorry. but I really messed you up!"

I had to laugh at the comment he made to my wife, when she asked how my surgery went ..."He said it went textbook Perfect" I didn't expect anything less from him.

I'm glad you posted this reply, as it has taken some of the worry off of me. I have said this before, but you should see my scar! is at least 8" long.

Didn't mean to rob the post here vitalspring, but I wanted to comment on retiredmom's reply. Good stuff!

This is all so new to us first timers having fusion surgery's, so anyone who has something to add here...please do so. I know there are posts that have been archived on this topic, but it may be faster to just ask the question here, and receive a quick answer, especially if the question is a very specific question instead of a general one about fusions. I know when I brought up a fusion topic before, it brought over 400 views, so I know it is a much researched Hot Topic. OK, well maybe 350 of the views were mine! :) JK! :)
And of course, do please do a search on the fusion topic as well, as you can never learn too much.

SE :)
DDD (Degenerative Disk Disease) S1-L4-L5, Heart Attack 2002, Angioplasty to clear blocked Artery and to implant Stent. Six Epidurals, Disocgram, Melanoma Cancer 07, Lumbar Fusion March of 2010, Four cortisone injections Tendinitis in Elbow.

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 4/26/2010 5:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm glad I was able to give some perspective SE! Mine was "text-book" perfect too...haahahahhahah The guy never even bothered to fix the one above it that ALREADY had a tear and a bulge. Perhaps that would have helped.

I'll be glad to give any info to you or anyone else on my experience with this. I've learned a great deal over the last year and you are so right that you can never have enough information.

All the best!
Retired Mom

New Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/14/2010 8:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all, I am 33yr old female who also had lumbar fusion at l3-l5.I am almost 5 mos post op and am still in alot of pain.My muscles are so tight that its difficult to take deep relaxing breaths and the soreness is still bad.I am so upset I cry almost everyday thinking i will have to live like this.Am seeing the dr on Monday hoping to get some answers on why i am so uncomfortable.Is there anyone that can give me some hope or maybe tell me if youve been through this.I welcome any advice.Thanks so much.
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