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Last update for a while! Back Fusion bros tell me what to expect.

2elbows

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Spoke to my surgeon. She has stated to me that my back is so bad that I would benefit from a Spinal fusion of the L3\L4\L5.
I am so sad about this. I am only 8 weeks out from my last surgery. My last surgery apparently did not go as expected.
My right leg is literally useless and I am walking with a cane.
Still on hydro's and gabapentin. Seriously depressed wonder if it is the meds.

I am going to Mayo for a 2nd opinion. She said sooner rather than later but that sounds off.
She said 4 more weeks which would be a little over 12 weeks. I was thinking months longer.

I was on top of the world 2 months ago looking and feeling good. Was Starting a early prep for a Summer show. Then BOOM.
I feel like I will never be normal again.

I have asked some friends. One said it was the best thing they ever did. Another buddy said don't do it he is in infinite pain.
I think of Ronnie Coleman.
I was so proud as a young man when I squatted 675 lbs, dead lifted 700 lbs. Is this what it cost me.

Should I do it get the fusion? Tell me what to do BIO!!!
 

maldorf

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Im sad to hear about this. I remember your posts from before. We have a good number of guys on here that have had surgery like that. I agree with what you said about lifting the heavy weights when you were young. It does catch up with you when you get older. I only squatted about 600 lbs and my back is all screwed up now. Nothing like your's though thank God. My heart is enough to deal with.

Smart move going to the Mayo clinic. I would do whatever they tell you to do since they have all of your tests and xrays to look at. Mayo is one of the best I think. Can you get the surgery done there, or will that be considered out of network and cost you more? Might be worth paying more to get the best.

My cardiologists wanted to do another Ventricular Tach ablation but I told them no, at least for now. You don't always have to go along with what they say. I hope you get some good opinions here.
 

2elbows

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Hey Maldorf Mayo is the best. It is where I had my heart surgery 3 years ago.
Yes they do the surgeries I need if I get it.
I just need to vent to other guys who get it. In the same boat. Maybe get a hint as what to expect.
 

pheenix

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A buddy of mine fusion surgery about 2 years ago? He is doing great but just wont / cant lift heavy any longer. Looks great though. No pain as well. Just sharing. Wish you the best
 

maldorf

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What heart surgery did you get? I cant remember if you shared that on here. I also have had a lot of PMs from guys with heart trouble. My memory is shit these days and I cant keep anything straight! I forget my own kids' names and call one the other's name all the time.
 

Pretzel Logic

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I get you. I have chronic degenerative lower back problems. I'm not certain I'll get surgery right now, but it's in my future, and with the pain and function getting worse and worse recently I can't see avoiding it. Mine would be a 2-3 level fusion involving L3-S1, similar to yours. I've put it off for a couple years with opiods. I was able to work out the same and work and I thought that would be the situation for awhile.
It's gotten significantly worse lately though, and the pain is not controlled. I'm bummed that I can barely work out any more, and life has become a struggle in general.
In a couple months I'll see another spine surgeon who specializes in scoliosis and spine problems. I imagine he'll recommend surgery, and then I'll get a second opinion, and say fuck it, lets do this.
I have scoliosis, but never knew it until I got imaging when I first started getting treated. It's above the problem area, bridging the lower T spine and upper L. I don't know how that effects treating the low back, but I'll trust the surgeons. I can't help but wonder if having scoliosis and not knowing, and spending the last 20 years lifting hard and heavy, caused my back to wear out and fall apart.
 

Bio

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I have L4-s1 fused. It was the best thing I could have done! It will be a painful recovery but it will be worth it in the end. The weights will still be there.

I'm sure the "sooner" comment by your doctor was in regards to nerve damage. If you wait too long it will become permanent. It was that early PT that screwed things up. You should never have been doing PT that soon after surgery. Just keep in mind with fusions that once you start that process, statistically you'll need another level or two done in 10 to 12 years. If you were to squat, deadlift, or row heavy, you could speed up that time line and/or herniate discs below or above...in your case it would be above. It is what it is. You can't stay where you're at and risk permanent damage. I have that in my left bicep from my cervical issues...most of my neck is fused as well.
 

Bio

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I get you. I have chronic degenerative lower back problems. I'm not certain I'll get surgery right now, but it's in my future, and with the pain and function getting worse and worse recently I can't see avoiding it. Mine would be a 2-3 level fusion involving L3-S1, similar to yours. I've put it off for a couple years with opiods. I was able to work out the same and work and I thought that would be the situation for awhile.
It's gotten significantly worse lately though, and the pain is not controlled. I'm bummed that I can barely work out any more, and life has become a struggle in general.
In a couple months I'll see another spine surgeon who specializes in scoliosis and spine problems. I imagine he'll recommend surgery, and then I'll get a second opinion, and say fuck it, lets do this.
I have scoliosis, but never knew it until I got imaging when I first started getting treated. It's above the problem area, bridging the lower T spine and upper L. I don't know how that effects treating the low back, but I'll trust the surgeons. I can't help but wonder if having scoliosis and not knowing, and spending the last 20 years lifting hard and heavy, caused my back to wear out and fall apart.
Have you had an MRI? If so, what was the result?
 

STEVO 47

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I am close to 8 weeks post op, L1 to S1 fusion and finally able to get some feeling
back in legs and feet. Again Wouldn't try to find ways around this. I would take the advice from the doctor
more so then friends. And longer you post pone greater chance permanent nerve damage or at least longer recovery.
Roni Colman from what I read from doctor reviews wouldn't except the fact and went back full force breaking screws and and damaging all that was done not letting fusion fully heal. I mean once we get to this
point where the spine has had enough then that's it. The thought of doing squats forget it. But still not the end of the world.
Just have to change the program a little.
 

2elbows

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Maldorf I had a mitral valve repair at 48. Heart surgery was easier than this crap.
 

2elbows

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Thanks fellas I'll hover but I wont be posting for a while. Gotta wrap my head around all this.
 

Pretzel Logic

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Have you had an MRI? If so, what was the result?
Two MRIs. Most recent one:
PROCEDURE: MRI OF THE LUMBAR SPINE WITHOUT I.V. CONTRAST COMPARISON: ADM Date: 03/22/19 Delta County Memorial Hospital, MR, LUMBAR SPINE W/O, 8/30/2017, 15:29. INDICATIONS: Spondylolisthesis, site unspecified; Low back pain. TECHNIQUE: A variety of imaging planes and parameters were utilized for visualization of suspected pathology. MEDICAL HISTORY: Cancer: No Additional patient history: SURGICAL HISTORY: No surgery of ordered body area FINDINGS: Moderate levoscoliosis again noted. Lumbar alignment appears stable again noting anterolisthesis at L4L5. Bone marrow signal within normal range with subchondral reactive endplate changes at L4-L5 and L5-S1. Severe disc desiccation and degeneration with disc height loss at L4-5 and L5-S1. No abnormal disc space fluid is seen. Lesser changes of disc degeneration at L1-L2-L2-L3 and L3-L4. The distal spinal cord appears unremarkable with the conus at L1. At T11-12, there is a focal left paracentral disc protrusion partially effacing the adjacent thecal sac. Moderate left lateral recess stenosis. Mild left foramen stenosis. No significant right foramen stenosis. At T12-L1, mild disc bulging facet hypertrophy. No significant canal or foramen stenosis. At L1-L2, moderate diffuse disc bulging and facet hypertrophy. There is no canal or right foramen stenosis. Mild left foramen narrowing. At L2-L3, diffuse disc bulging and mild facet hypertrophy. No significant canal stenosis. At L3-4, mild diffuse disc bulging and slight degree of facet hypertrophy. No canal stenosis. Fall left lateral annular disc tear again noted. Mild bilateral foramen narrowing from disc bulging and disc height narrowing. At L4-5, posterior uncovering of the disc secondary to the anterolisthesis. Mild diffuse disc bulging but no focal disc protrusion. Mild facet hypertrophy with small right facet effusion. No canal or lateral recess stenosis. Severe right neural foramen stenosis with obliteration of the epidural fat around the exiting nerve root. A least moderate degree of right L4 root compression. Moderate to severe left neural foramen stenosis with partial effacement of the epidural fat. Mild left root compression suggested. At L5-S1, diffuse disc bulging and mild moderate facet hypertrophy. No significant canal or lateral recess stenosis. Severe left neural foramen stenosis with probable compression of the left L5 nerve root. The right neural foramen demonstrates mild moderate stenosis. CONCLUSION: 1. Overall no significant change. 2. Moderate levoscoliosis 3. Increasing advanced disc degeneration at L4-5 and L5-S1 4. No significant central canal stenosis in the lumbar spine 5. Degenerative anterolisthesis at L4-5 but no significant central stenosis. There is moderate to severe bilateral neural foramen stenosis at this level, right worse than left. Correlate for bilateral L4 symptoms. 6. No canal stenosis L5-S1. Severe left neural foramen foramen stenosis, please correlate for left L5 symptoms. Mild moderate right foramen narrowing.
Probably need another one to see what is going on with these new problems and symptoms.
 

Pretzel Logic

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I have a question for guys going through, or who have gone through this sort of stuff. Did it effect your abdomen? My midsection has become a mess in the last year or two. It was distended, but now it's worse, and it's still bad even when I'm lean. I can't hold it in very well and I can't flex my abs very well. It feels like the muscles, mostly deep, are fatigued, and under a lot of strain. The pain from my back also seems to have started wrapping around my sides, and even effects parts of my abdomen/front torso. I can't tell what exactly is causing the pain, or even if it is in muscle, or connective tissue, or pelvis or ribs, but it can be severe, and is connected to back pain, especially when my back gets fatigued and weak. Thanks for humoring these long, thread hijacking posts.
 

maldorf

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Maldorf I had a mitral valve repair at 48. Heart surgery was easier than this crap.
Certainly not much pain with the heart. Even my back hurts worse than when I had my heart attack. The thing is, with the heart you are risking death in surgery etc. Pain though was none existent for me with the heart problems, except now when my defibrillator goes off.
 

maldorf

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I have a question for guys going through, or who have gone through this sort of stuff. Did it effect your abdomen? My midsection has become a mess in the last year or two. It was distended, but now it's worse, and it's still bad even when I'm lean. I can't hold it in very well and I can't flex my abs very well. It feels like the muscles, mostly deep, are fatigued, and under a lot of strain. The pain from my back also seems to have started wrapping around my sides, and even effects parts of my abdomen/front torso. I can't tell what exactly is causing the pain, or even if it is in muscle, or connective tissue, or pelvis or ribs, but it can be severe, and is connected to back pain, especially when my back gets fatigued and weak. Thanks for humoring these long, thread hijacking posts.
I think the abdominal muscles are innervated by nerves at the thoracic level, but I don't see any issues listed in that post you made. Have you had trouble with your back in the thoracic area?
 

Bio

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Thanks fellas I'll hover but I wont be posting for a while. Gotta wrap my head around all this.
2e you've got this. I can imagine your state of mind thinking you just took care of things and here you go with another more serious surgery. Try to look at it like this, those levels will be stable once they're fused. Please reach out to me any time you have a question or just want to talk. I've been down this road so many times. The biggest comfort is that the weights will always be there. At some point you'll be able to do LOW impact cardio. Take your time and recover properly. It will be a short time in your life when you look back on it and you'll be in a better place for doing it. I like the fact that you're going to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion. Having the surgery there certainly wouldn't be a bad thing!
 

Bio

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Two MRIs. Most recent one:
PROCEDURE: MRI OF THE LUMBAR SPINE WITHOUT I.V. CONTRAST COMPARISON: ADM Date: 03/22/19 Delta County Memorial Hospital, MR, LUMBAR SPINE W/O, 8/30/2017, 15:29. INDICATIONS: Spondylolisthesis, site unspecified; Low back pain. TECHNIQUE: A variety of imaging planes and parameters were utilized for visualization of suspected pathology. MEDICAL HISTORY: Cancer: No Additional patient history: SURGICAL HISTORY: No surgery of ordered body area FINDINGS: Moderate levoscoliosis again noted. Lumbar alignment appears stable again noting anterolisthesis at L4L5. Bone marrow signal within normal range with subchondral reactive endplate changes at L4-L5 and L5-S1. Severe disc desiccation and degeneration with disc height loss at L4-5 and L5-S1. No abnormal disc space fluid is seen. Lesser changes of disc degeneration at L1-L2-L2-L3 and L3-L4. The distal spinal cord appears unremarkable with the conus at L1. At T11-12, there is a focal left paracentral disc protrusion partially effacing the adjacent thecal sac. Moderate left lateral recess stenosis. Mild left foramen stenosis. No significant right foramen stenosis. At T12-L1, mild disc bulging facet hypertrophy. No significant canal or foramen stenosis. At L1-L2, moderate diffuse disc bulging and facet hypertrophy. There is no canal or right foramen stenosis. Mild left foramen narrowing. At L2-L3, diffuse disc bulging and mild facet hypertrophy. No significant canal stenosis. At L3-4, mild diffuse disc bulging and slight degree of facet hypertrophy. No canal stenosis. Fall left lateral annular disc tear again noted. Mild bilateral foramen narrowing from disc bulging and disc height narrowing. At L4-5, posterior uncovering of the disc secondary to the anterolisthesis. Mild diffuse disc bulging but no focal disc protrusion. Mild facet hypertrophy with small right facet effusion. No canal or lateral recess stenosis. Severe right neural foramen stenosis with obliteration of the epidural fat around the exiting nerve root. A least moderate degree of right L4 root compression. Moderate to severe left neural foramen stenosis with partial effacement of the epidural fat. Mild left root compression suggested. At L5-S1, diffuse disc bulging and mild moderate facet hypertrophy. No significant canal or lateral recess stenosis. Severe left neural foramen stenosis with probable compression of the left L5 nerve root. The right neural foramen demonstrates mild moderate stenosis. CONCLUSION: 1. Overall no significant change. 2. Moderate levoscoliosis 3. Increasing advanced disc degeneration at L4-5 and L5-S1 4. No significant central canal stenosis in the lumbar spine 5. Degenerative anterolisthesis at L4-5 but no significant central stenosis. There is moderate to severe bilateral neural foramen stenosis at this level, right worse than left. Correlate for bilateral L4 symptoms. 6. No canal stenosis L5-S1. Severe left neural foramen foramen stenosis, please correlate for left L5 symptoms. Mild moderate right foramen narrowing.
Probably need another one to see what is going on with these new problems and symptoms.
Going off of the report, I don't see where spine issues would be affecting your abdominal muscles other than it being painful, keeping you from training abs...especially lower abs. Your ab muscles may be protruding because they're weak. You can have defined abs that are weak. Definition is just lack of fat. I would start doing plank on a regular basis and any variations of it that you can handle. I'm sure things like crunches and standard ab work would bring too much pain.

Where it says, "Severe disc desiccation and degeneration with disc height loss at L4-5 and L5-S1." That means the discs are dehydrated with a degree of degeneration. On the MRI the discs will look black instead of being light colored. Everyone has some degree of disc degeneration as they age. Luckily you have no central stenosis which would be a bulging or herniated disc putting pressure on the spinal cord. The report also says, "There is moderate to severe bilateral neural foramen stenosis at this level, right worse than left (L4-5). Correlate for bilateral L4 symptoms. Severe left neural foramen foramen stenosis, please correlate for left L5 symptoms. Mild moderate right foramen narrowing." Going off of that, they could opt for a Foraminotomy but I would guess they would fuse L4-5 for sure and with the noted disc height loss at L5s1 possibly that level as well. This is the surgery that I had, ALIF L4-5 & L5s1. I had a Laminectomy at the same levels when I was 29 and it did nothing. The fusion corrected the issues.
 

johnjuanb1

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Spoke to my surgeon. She has stated to me that my back is so bad that I would benefit from a Spinal fusion of the L3\L4\L5.
I am so sad about this. I am only 8 weeks out from my last surgery. My last surgery apparently did not go as expected.
My right leg is literally useless and I am walking with a cane.
Still on hydro's and gabapentin. Seriously depressed wonder if it is the meds.

I am going to Mayo for a 2nd opinion. She said sooner rather than later but that sounds off.
She said 4 more weeks which would be a little over 12 weeks. I was thinking months longer.

I was on top of the world 2 months ago looking and feeling good. Was Starting a early prep for a Summer show. Then BOOM.
I feel like I will never be normal again.

I have asked some friends. One said it was the best thing they ever did. Another buddy said don't do it he is in infinite pain.
I think of Ronnie Coleman.
I was so proud as a young man when I squatted 675 lbs, dead lifted 700 lbs. Is this what it cost me.

Should I do it get the fusion? Tell me what to do BIO!!!
Definitely get the 2nd opinion. If you felt great two months ago maybe she is wrong.
 

buck

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Wow second thoughts about lifting heavy now
Whether you are talking about people or machinery. If you use it a lot or under a heavy load it will break or wear out sooner. Pretty much no way around it. If the sense of satisfaction from challenging yourself, being big or strong is worth the downsides then do it if not let it go. Nothing lasts forever. The more you put into something the less you have to give to something else.
 

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