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Anyone with fused L4, L5, S1 ?

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  • Anyone with fused L4, L5, S1 ?

    I was on here almost a year ago for my bf who had spinal surgery which didnt really do much.....but he WAS able to ride after awhile, not for long at first, but was up to about 2 hours! However he was still having pain. Dr wants to fuse the next set up so he would all total have L4,L5 and S1 fused.
    Dr said he doesnt think he will have the mobility after that.

    which means not only losing his career.....but also not being able to ride his horse!!!!

    REALLY hoping someone on here has had those fused and that the "frankenstein" spine that the Dr seems to be describing is FALSE!!!!!!
    Im sure he will lose "some" motion, but to be locked up and walk like frankenstein?? that CANT be true!!!!
    I dont want him to be in pain and neither does he obviously, but hes worried about it.
    Also, after the FIRST fusing we thought YAY, it's gonna be all better, no pain, etc......yeah, well THAT didnt work! so after the pain of the surgery (went in thru the abdomen) and rehab and all that....the initial sciatic kind of burning/numbness/charliehorse pain is STILL there!

    anyways, thought I would ask since we dont know anyone else that has had it done.

    If this thread gets buried, Thanks in advanced to all that reply!

  • #2
    Yes. I had L5-S1 fused in 2001 (by an orthopedist), spent the next 3.5 years still in pain and had L4-L5 fused in 2004 (by a neurosurgeon). Both incisions were down my spine, not through the abdomen. They placed pedicle screws in each vertebrae with rods running through the screws. During the L4-L5 surgery, they actually removed the disc and placed a block of cadaver bone in its' place.

    I still ride. Have a TB that can get a little hot out on trail (keeps me on my toes!). Recently started having issues again with pins & needles feeling down my left leg & foot so we've started epidural injections & they are helping. When I was riding regularly, we would ride 12-14 miles at a time over various terrain (I'm in the northeast as well, we have hills & miles of trails).

    Most important thing, for me, was following dr's post op instructions to the letter. I did not get on a horse or do barn work for 6 months post op.

    I don't have any issues with flexibility and can just about touch the floor with my fingertips while bending over, keeping my knees straight.

    ETA: To see me walking, you wouldn't know I ever had back issues. I can still walk with an easy, swinging stride, no limp at all. I currently do self care and take care of 4 horses daily.

    PM if you have questions or would like more info! Best wishes to your bf, back issues are the worst.

    By all means, seek a second, third, or fourth opinion from respected docs that do a LOT of spinal fusions. My neurosurgeon did a lot more fusions than the ortho that did the first surgery. Wish I would have known that ahead of time... I was 20 years old at the time of the first surgery. Learned my way around the medical world the hard way.
    Last edited by tarynls; Dec. 4, 2012, 03:14 PM. Reason: More info


    • #3
      I had L4/L5 and L5/S1 fused in Oct of 2008. Disks removed with cadaver bone put in its place plus hardware. I still have problems with nerve pain down my left leg. Also have major problems with muscle spasms in my lower back. According to the neurosurgeon some of the scar tissue from over one of the screw heads has popped off and the muscle scrapes every time I move it and that sets off the spasms.

      But, I do still ride occasionally. It costs me, but most things do.


      • #4
        I know this is an older post but I just had my back fused Dec 9th from L4 down to S1. I was told no riding for a year but seriously that's extreme! I have a Western pleasure bred show horse and is kind of an all-around. I really just miss going and relaxing. How do you feel now? I had a bone piece on pressing my nerve so now I'm numb from mid thigh with my foot feeling asleep. I wondered if I might show in May or June.
        I've had a rough bout I got a staph infection while in the hospital so months of antibiotics


        • #5
          C.vetter..... I have had two spinal fusions (L5-S1 and L4-L5 three years later). I was 21 when I had my first surgery and 24 for my next...So I had youth on my side as far as healing speed went.

          I had all the hardware removed from my back in 2013 because a screw migrated & breached the spinal canal. I'm lucky I'm not paralyzed.

          Each time, I atayed OFF that horse for the full year. It takes a FULL YEAR for bone to fuse solidly. The surgeons tell you to stay off the horse for a year for a damn good reason. The restriction is not "extreme".

          If you want to get on your horse sooner.... Have at it, but realize if you have a freak fall, you could seriously injure yourself. Especially since you had complications after your surgery (the staph infection) - and the fact that your leg is still numb?!

          That would want me to be all the more careful. Not to mention, if you did not follow your surgeons instructions, had a fall & screwed up your back because it wasn't fully fused yet, he could very well "fire" you as a patient. I've seen it happen.

          You only have one spine. Your horse will still be there and I'd even be willing to bet there's going to be a horse show in May or June of 2016. Don't do something that could potentially screw up the outcome of your surgery just because you wanted to go & relax with your horse.

          Sorry for being harsh, but this is the reality. I'm speaking from the patient point of view... And I was a medical assistant for an ortho surgeon.

          The docs really know what they're talking about. Please listen to them.


          • #6
            Mr. Mukluk is about to have L5-SI fused. Plans to stay off horse for a year. I am wondering if when he starts riding again it would be a good idea to wear a vest and possibly one of those vests that inflates. Anyone done this?