1. racoux
  2. Posterior Lumbar Fusion
  3. Monday, 16 February 2009
I am a 42 years old lean and healthy female. I am a pharmacist but unfortunately also a low back pain sufferer. I had a posterior fusion (L5-S1) in May 2007 for a grade 3 isthmic spondylolisthesis. It was doing OK until two weeks ago: I still had a bit of pain and muscle tension but was pretty functional (enough for daily living but not to go back to work). No pain meds beside non-prescription analgesics and muscle relaxants from time to time. But since the beginning of February 2009, I'm having increasing pain at the surgery site, to the point I can barely walk outside the house and have to wear my post-surgery brace (it still fits..) to stabilize my lumbar area. Bizarrely, if I \"hold\" my sacrum by pushing on it with the palm of my hand or fist in my back while I walk, the pain almost disappears... Is it possible that my fusion was not successful and my hardware has broken down in some way? (it seems my last X-ray in March'08 could not confirm a fusion) Could these symptoms indicate broken screws or rods 21 months after the surgery?
I literally feel like I have a broken glass bottle in my back and the muscles are so tense along the lumbar spine it feels like they are going to crush my bones!

I tried to contact my orthopedic surgeon (his hospital is in another city, 3 hours away, i had the surgery there...) but I can't pass by his secretary, she wont even take a message and they won't give me an appointment before May...
Should I simply go to the emergency room or a general practitioner and try to get an x-ray to check if my instrumentation is in fact broken? And if it is the case, is it dangerous to stay this way for a while, can it cause further damage? And if nothing is broken, what could be causing all this pain?

I just don't know what to do next, I just think I can't stay like this for 3 more months...

Thank you :(

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