• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.

Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

L5-S1 fusion...

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • L5-S1 fusion...

    I'm getting that done in a few weeks. After dealing conservatively with the condition for 6 years, it's come to the point that fusion will be a good choice. Well, it doesn't feel good, more like scary - but my successful pain reduction regime is not working anymore so time to accept surgery

    I'm not concerned about getting back to riding, it's been off the plate for the last three years or so and I've accepted that. If I can ride a bit, great, but we've switched to driving...so am quite happy there. But today is a blue day (must be the March snowstorm) and need to hear from others who have been through the procedure. How did you feel afterwards? How did the lumbar corset work out for you? What level of activity were you able to regain and what kind of time frame? I was addicted to yoga and it brought a significant amount of relief (until the disc degenerated more) and sure hope I can get back to that... Were you able to get back to simple farm chores post surgical recovery? Need to hear from some horsie folks...Encouragement welcomed!
    http://www.cajonatfarm.com/
    Home of well loved ponies...

  • #2
    This is cut & pasted from a previous post: I had my first fusion in 2001 (I was 22 years old). L5-S1 was fused; had 4 pedicle screws placed with vertical rods connecting them. They did take a block of bone from my iliac crest (back of pelvic bone) as a bone graft - that was the worst part of the recovery. The back felt better long before the pelvis did.

    My second fusion was in 2004. This time they fused L4-L5. The S1 pedicle screws were removed as that fusion was solid and they weren't needed. They used the existing L5 pedicle screws, added screws to L4 and placed vertical rods and a horizontal crosspiece connecting the center of the rods. This time they removed the L4-L5 disc and placed a block of cadaver bone in it's place.

    Recovery from the second surgery was much quicker. I've had no problems since, I have excellent mobility (can still touch my toes while keeping my knees straight!), and I can ride without any problems. I do mostly dressage work with my OTTB who is prone to "Thoroughbred Moments" when he thinks something will jump out of the trees and eat him.

    I do not ride with a back brace. Both surgeons said it would not help and if anything, would hurt me in the long run as the muscles would become dependent on the brace. Strong core muscles (esp. abdominal muscles) will protect your discs above & below the fusion, not a brace. I did not have a brace or corset after either surgery.

    I do a lot of routine work around the house; gardening, bending over, waxing the cars, stacking firewood... I might be a little sore after waxing 2 cars in a day, but who wouldn't?

    I do have a patch of permanent numbness on the outside of my thigh; that's been there since the first surgery. And I do get goosebumps in odd patches on both legs....both were chalked up to nerve damage.

    One more thing: My first surgery was done by an orthopaedic surgeon who specialized in spines. My second was done by a neurosurgeon. If possible, use a neurosurgeon. My second surgery was 8.5 hours long compared to the first (3 hours) and I really feel like the neurosurgeon was very thorough and meticulous where the ortho was just concerned with finishing the surgery. You need to find a doctor (ortho or neurosurgeon) who does a LOT of fusions.

    Full recovery was about 6 months for me, but I am a very active person. If you have a desk job, I'd say 3-4 months, MAYBE two.

    Both my surgeries were done posterior (through the back). The surgery and recovery is TOUGH. I spent 5 days in the hospital each time. It was about 2 or 3 months before I was cleared to drive as I lost all the reflexes in my right leg.

    Best to you, please feel free to PM if you have any questions....

    Currently, I am waiting for a surgery date as one of the screws broke off a bit of bone that is impinging on the central spinal canal. But - it's been 8.5 years since the last fusion - and to look at me and the work I did until recently (caring for 4 horses daily, riding up to 10-12 miles), you would never know I ever had back problems.

    I do not think getting back to yoga would be a problem. Just don't do it until your doc says it's ok.

    Feel free to PM with any questions, etc...

    Taryn

    Comment


    • #3
      I am 3 week post-op today. Had S1-L5 and L5-L4 fused with pedicle screws and rods on each level, along with an iliac bolt into my right hip.

      I spent 7 days in the hospital (more due to the blood clot I developed more than the surgery itself). I had an ortho doc do my surgery after the top Barrows Neurosurgeon here in Phoenix said that due to the position of my vertebrae, he felt it was too complex for him and referred me to an ortho doc (whom I ended up using for my surgery). So as a blanket statement, to say you need a neurosurgeon as opposed to an ortho surgeon, I would highly disagree.

      Each day is better. I was issued a back brace at my pre-op appointment, however was never told when to wear it, so I have yet to put it on. I too have lost quite a bit of motor function in my right leg and cannot walk well without a walker yet.

      I had severe nerve compression prior to the surgery and now all the nerves are firing at full force, so I am dealing more with severe nerve pain more than back pain. My nurse likened it to putting a tight rubber band around your finger for a long time. Once the rubber band comes off and your finger regains feeling, it is really sensitive for a while.

      I am very optimistic for a full recovery, including riding endurance (3-5 days in a row of 50 miles each day). The ortho surgeon I used just happened to have a brother in law who rides endurance and he seemed to think there would be no issues whatsoever in getting back to endurance riding once I was fused (6 months'ish to a year).

      I too enjoy Yoga and don't see an issue resuming once I'm walking straighter and get the nerve pain under control.

      Right now I've settled on doing minimal activity other than getting on the computer and .....looking for another horse. Yes, it's an addiction.

      Oh, and as far as "horsie chores"...I was told absolutely no bending and/or twisting for 3 months in order for the fusion to "set up" if you will. I also was instructed not to lift more than 5 pounds. That took away most of my horse chores which are now delegated to my barn boy, ahem, husband. I did feed lunch yesterday though (1/2 flake to each pony which were under 5 pounds!)

      I wish you luck! Let us know how it goes or feel free to PM me and we can commiserate together since you won't be that far behind me!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Oh, thank you SO much sign of Grace and tarynls!! Both your situations sound eerily similar to mine. I will PM you, no worries - it'll be so nice to chat with people who has been through it AND who are horse-active.

        I have also heard the neuro vs. ortho debate as well, but the ortho surgeon I have does 3 or 4 operations a week so I'm feeling quite confident with him (and my family doc thinks very highly of him too).

        Once again, thanks for sharing your stories and offering your support...you have made my day
        http://www.cajonatfarm.com/
        Home of well loved ponies...

        Comment


        • #5
          S1-T10 fusion speaking, at just about 6 months post surgery.

          Fusion was for scoliosis that had been getting progressively worse. Vertebra were collapsing along with the angle worsening.

          I had an ortho do mine. From what I understand neuro's used to do the scoliosis surgeries but would have to bring in ortho do to the bone work until finally ortho's started just doing the surgeries themselves.

          My surgery was actually 2 surgeries over 2 days. Day one was the anterior work to insert the spacers (L1-L5). The spine exposure work was done by an internal med surgeon. Day two was the fusion (rods/screws/etc) work from the back. Each was about 11-12 hours of surgery.

          Got rid of the clamshell brace at 5 months after being cleared by surgeon.

          I am currently dealing with the after effects of nerve compression so just learning how to stand up again and progressing to walking. Have been also doing the physio ball to relearn balance and core muscles.

          Presurgery nerve pain from the disc degeneration is gone. My back is STRAIGHT!!!

          Some nerve pain still from the nerves healing and 'reconnecting' after the compression damage.

          Let me know if you have any questions
          You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something… S. Jobs

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Wow, that is a lot of fusion...I'll be cheering for you . Thanks so much for sharing Where'sMyWhite!!
            http://www.cajonatfarm.com/
            Home of well loved ponies...

            Comment


            • #7
              Tc, good luck with yours. No way to know in advance but I don't think you'll regret it. Just do all therapy as directed and follow all cautions as specified by the surgeon.
              You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something… S. Jobs

              Comment


              • #8
                I will be six months post-op on the 24th for an L4-S1 laminetomy/facetectomy and fusion. I have six pedicle screws with connecting rods. If you look at my x-rays, it looks like I have a hole in my spine, they took out so much bone (no more facet joints, laminar or spinous processes). I had a combination of problems - hyperlordosis with resultant spondylolisthesis (the L4 vertebra was actually sliding forward, causing stenosis and horrid arthritic changes in the facet joints), and the disc at L5-S1 went from "bulging" to ruptured. Looked like a squished jelly donut on the MRI.

                I had managed the pain successfully for a long time - about six years. Right up until the disc let go, I was riding three or four times a week. Sciatica was a way of life, but the only time I was relatively pain-free was in the saddle. Funny, that. I guess it was just that the hip angle and way I was sitting took the pressure off the nerves. Anyway, in the six months prior to the disc rupture, I had been having worsening neurologic symptoms. I knew something was going on ... but stop riding? Who, me? Nah.

                I had a wonderful spine surgeon - orthopedic - who put me back together. He had operated on my 85-year-old father just six months earlier. Dad fell, fractured his spine all the way thru at T-4/T-5, and this doc saved him from paralysis. Dad's now toodling around with his walker. Dad ended up fused from T-2 to T-10, with rods and 16 screws. Anyway, I trusted this doctor absolutely, and the spine unit at the hospital was wonderful.

                I feel great now. I was out of my brace at 3 months (Christmas Eve), and I started physical therapy in January. The therapists just discharged me. I have no pain anymore, only a slight loss of sensation in the heel of my right foot. Considering the pain I was in before, I'll take the small residual numbness. I'm getting ready to get back on a horse, starting in April. I'm just going to take it slow, and build back up.

                I second the advice on do your therapy as directed, strengthen your core, and follow your surgeon's direction. I'm not going to kid you and say it was easy - it wasn't. Muscles can be vindictive! And in the first few weeks post-op, there are days that feel like hell. But for me, every day was progressively better. I think it was really at about 3 months that I started to feel normal again.

                Good luck! PM me if you'd like. Fusion ain't easy to go through, but if done right, the relief is well worth it.
                Why do I like most horses better than most people?

                Comment


                • #9
                  ShaSamour---thanks for your story. I don't mean to take over the OP's post, but I enjoy reading the "come back" recovery stories as well, since I'm only at week 3 post-op.

                  TwinCity, when do you go in actually? I'll be praying for a complete recovery for you. FYI, first couple days SUCK. No other way to say it. But it *will* get better!!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    ShaSamour - thanks so much for sharing your story too. Awesome that you are getting back to riding, I'll be cheering you on from Alberta

                    sign of Grace - April 18th is the day! Some days are really good, and then when the nerve gets tweaked, boy, it really re-inforces that the decision is a good one. And yes, not looking forward to the first month or so, but my daughter (the newly graduated nurse) will be around to take care of her mom and husband now works closer to home so lots of help!

                    I have a mare due to foal May 7th, so timing of the surgery wasn't great, but lots of friends are around to help me out. Love, love, love them!
                    http://www.cajonatfarm.com/
                    Home of well loved ponies...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      TwinCity, we'll also be recovering together. I just got the call that surgery to remove all the L4-L5 hardware, find the bone chip & remove it, "clean things up" around the nerves and explore the L5-S1 disc (fused, but they did not remove the disc & it's herniated) will be on April 17.

                      So I'll get my hardware out and you'll get yours put in the next day. I'll be thinking of you.

                      Best wishes!
                      Taryn

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I'll have a surgery buddy!! Best wishes - and will be thinking of you on the 17th!
                        http://www.cajonatfarm.com/
                        Home of well loved ponies...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Taryn and TC, best of luck to both of you! I'll be sure to jingle the ol' curb chain for you both!
                          Why do I like most horses better than most people?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi guys,
                            I thought I'd just give you a little update: I rode for the first time yesterday. I did about half an hour of walk-trot, and I felt really good. I was surprised that my legs weren't like jello, and my core felt very stable. And best of all, I had no discomfort while riding, and I'm not feeling any this morning, about 24 hours post-ride. I really felt like I'd never been out of the tack. I just have to be careful not to overdo it.

                            I'm convinced the physical therapy did wonders to get me ready. So do your exercises, and push yourself as much as you can (within reason). Walk as much as you can, and do your core exercises as often as possible.

                            I'll be thinking of you both on the 17th! And if you have any questions or need encouragement, just send me a PM!
                            Why do I like most horses better than most people?

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Good to hear!

                              Awesome to hear!!

                              As much as I'm dreading the surgery...it will be so much better than what I have now. Fortunately walking has been OK, so now that the weather is trying to melt all this extra snow we got dumped on us the last couple of weeks, I've really been trying to walk a lot...must get in some kind of shape before the 18th! Treadmill inside is OK, but just not the same as some sun and fresh air!!
                              http://www.cajonatfarm.com/
                              Home of well loved ponies...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It was awfully nice to get some horsey time, now that the snow is melting off here in New Hampshire. It's my first winter in New England, lots more snow than I had imagined. In the last two weeks we got another 14" of snow. I thought it would never stop! My yard is still covered in at least 6". Ugh! But it was warm today, and I went to the barn and lunged Missy. I *really* missed my barn time!

                                I want you to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it isn't the headlamp of an oncoming train. It's nice to have a little group of us, all at different stages, going through the same thing. We're all different, and will have different experiences in our recovery. But one thing is the same: horses are part of who we are, and we won't be right until we can get back to doing horses. This weekend is the first time I've felt like myself - really like myself - since the surgery. When I was in the hospital before the surgery, I thought I was done with horses, and it was devastating. I've been riding since I was 5 years old. It's part of my identity. Once I got into P/T, and told them that my goal was to get back on a horse, I felt like I had a chance at normalcy. I'm starting down that path now.

                                Sunshine, fresh air, and the smell of horses! Heaven!
                                Why do I like most horses better than most people?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  TwinCity and Tarynls--thinking about you guys!! Good luck with your upcoming surgeries!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Jingles and good wishes from NH! Hope your surgeries are uneventful and successful!
                                    Why do I like most horses better than most people?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Thanks for the good wishes. Check in time at the hospital = 6:30 am. Anxious yet more than ready to get this over with!

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        tarynls - thinking of you today!!

                                        ...and thanks for all the good wishes everyone!! Like tarynls...nervous too, but I've had a few rough weeks so time to get this dealt with
                                        http://www.cajonatfarm.com/
                                        Home of well loved ponies...

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X