Post surgery - will the pain ever go?

Natalie -

Original posting, 2005-04-10:

I am 29 years old and suffering terribly with my back. Just over 2 years ago I had a spinal fusion (L5/S1) due to a degenerative disc, spinal instability and pain whilst sitting. The fusion went well and I underwent a lot of physio. The pain from sitting went away for over a year after the fusion and then returned.

I went back to see my spinal surgeon and tried 2 lots of cortisone injections, the first of which included a manipulation which increased the pain so much that I couldn't sit at all for a few weeks. After the second lot of injections I had my coccyx removed at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Stanmore, UK (Jan 2005).

Since then I had a brief period of relief, but after about 5 weeks post surgery the pain came back. Even worse, my fusion site became very painful and swollen. I know the recovery time is long but I am going out of my mind. I am only back to working part time.

Will the pain ever end? It's worse now than before the surgery and I can't sit for even a second without it hurting. If I risk sitting down on the tube train, then I have to brace myself when I get up and frequently wince when I stand.

I am having physio but it's an awkward place to treat, I suppose, so it's not doing an awful lot. Is there anything more to be done or is this it for the rest of my life?

The only positive side is that having been prescribed anti-depressants by my GP, I am no longer as depressed about it as I was.

Update, 2005-09-18

I am still unable to sit without pain and I am still working part time. My surgeon is "investigating" what more he can do about it. Does anyone have any tips?

Whereas I am reluctant to have more surgery, I am especially interested if anyone has had spinal cord implants either with opiods or SCS. Do they work for this type of problem?

I am getting on with life and am no longer letting it get me down but I really would love to sit without any pain. Is there anything anyone can recommend? I have tried different seating wedges, physiotherapy etc etc.

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