Chiropractor Questions Spinal Fusion Surgery

Pain years after spinal fusion surgery

5 years ago, I had spinal fusion surgery for my scoliosis. I went to physical therapy and recovered well. Now there is a lingering dull pain in my back whenever I lie down. Could this be from the surgery even though it was so long ago?

27 Answers

That is a good question. Yes, it is a possibility to experience pain symptoms 5 years after a spinal fusion. There can be several reasons as to why though. I would recommend contacting your surgeon, and if not available, your primary care physician to understand what is causing the pain symptoms.
Something to think about with spinal fusions is that even though the level of the spine is fused, the other segments of the spine still continue to move. While spinal fusions are sometimes necessary, it can also promote spine degeneration above and below the fused region along with muscle imbalance and aberrant motion depending on the region. Anyone that has a spinal fusion needs to know that for the indefinite future, their spine isn't the same as it used to be and needs regular care (even if it feels fine).
Possibly. Sometimes over time after a fusion, the segments of the spine, or structures adjacent to the spine, that are not fused have to change how they move and can start to break down or hurt.
Yes, but it could also be due to a number of causes. I always recommend chiropractic when it cones to the spine. I prefer PT for extremity joints.
It may be time to return to your physical therapist or another type of manual therapy to address asymmetries of your spinal balance and lifestyle habits.

Don't be afraid to re-evaluate and renew your knowledge about yourself and your needs.
Yes, it is from your surgery. You need chiropractic care to treat above and below your spinal fusion, because you need as much mobility as possible around that area.
Your pain could be coming from your surgery or compensatory changes in your spine since the surgery.  If you would like to schedule a consultation please call 281-557-5525. Thank you again for your inquiry. I look forward to hearing from you.
Anytime you have surgery, your nerves are cut. That's why you experience
numbness in the area following it. Nerve regeneration is a strange thing.
It can take days, or weeks, or even years. So it is possible that the pain
you are experiencing may be from surgery. However, without a proper exam
Many spinal surgeries have complications later on even after successful rehab. What can happen is any stability from the levels involved, our bodies with compensate to the surgery and may lead to early arthritis or degenerative changes in other levels. Also with the fusion, this may lead to altered movement patterns leading to compensatory range of motion and that can also lead to pain. Even after surgery, based on examination can still be treated.
Hi there! Whenever you change the structure of your spine including
surgery and fusing vertebrae, it can cause wear on places above and below
the surgery. While the issue may not be the surgery itself, it may be
because the biomechanics have changed. A good evaluation from a
chiropractor can help to see which structures may be irritated and why.
Yes. Once you've had fusion the vertebrae above can begin the degeneration process as well due to having to take on the excess movement.
Yes, it is not uncommon to have lingering pain after spinal fusion surgery. The segments that are fused do not move anymore thus putting more tension on the segments above and below the fusion. Having scoliosis puts an additional component to the equation. Due to the scoliosis the range of motion of the segments were already altered, and the fusion will complicate the motion to the segments above and below. The additional tension applied to the segments that are not fused can build and over time cause pain and discomfort.
Hi! Low back pain could be associated to many different causes. After a proper physical, musculoskeletal evaluation, we can find out the root of your concern. The pain you are concerned about could be related to your past surgery. A proper and complete evaluation would be the next step.
The short answer to your question is Yes, but there are also many other reasons why you could have pain. You are not necessarily stuck with this pain even if there are degenerative/arthritic changes present. A good chiropractor proficient in Applied Kinesiology, TBM, Neuro-Emotional Technique or Quantum Neurology should be able to examine you and determine if your pain can be potentially lessened or removed. While every case is unique, in my experience it is more likely than not that you CAN be helped without more surgery or medication. Good luck! If you are in the San Diego area give me a call. 760-518-1139 and I will take a look!
It could be the surrounding tissues from compensation of movement from the fusion. It's very common to get "wear and tear" on the vertebrae above and below the fusion. If you are having back pain, please get an evaluation. X-rays would be able to tell you.
There could be several factors causing your discomfort including scar tissue, inflammation, osteoarthritis, disc injury and more. I recommend a full evaluation by a qualified professional .
Yes, especially if scar tissue has formed or other surrounding tissues have degenerated.

There are several questions to ask;
1) Where exactly is the pain?
2) Is it low back , mid back or hip region.
3) Does the pain occur in bed or anywhere you lie down?
4) What type of pain; dull, sharp, achy, radiating...?
5) What part of the back was fused?
Possible answer with out knowing the facts are;
1) If it is only when lying in your bed, the mattress would likely be a major possibility.
2) If it is in the hip or low back region it could due to fixation of the hips and seeing a chiropractor could take care of that.
3) General treatment could include use of a CBD cream, Sombra cream, TENS unit.
4) Do some stretching exercising in a pool.
My suggestion would be to see a Chiropractor in your area to get an initial evaluation to see if it is treatable or need a referral back to your surgeon.
Bottom line you should be seen for an evaluation because there are many possible answers to your question.
What happens is since you had a fusion the integrity of that area has been compromised and you don’t have as much joint movement in that area. If you haven’t been it would be good for you to go see an Activator technique practicing chiropractor whom could work on the area above and below your fusion without compromising the area.
I would speak with the doctors that are familiar with your particular case and make sure everything is ok. I'm sorry to hear that, but most people I know that had fusions still suffer with pain on a daily basis, especially when they have hardware in the lumbar and sacral regions. Good luck to you!!
Yes. When you fuse the spine you limit the motion of your spine and put stress on your joints and muscles. There are still therapies available that may help alleviate your pain. A consultation and evaluation can help us better determine how we can help you. There may be a chance where stem cell therapy or PRP therapy can be a treatment option. The cause of the pain may also be from an adjacent region near the surgery that is causing your pain. You can always call us at 770-545-8888 to schedule your free consultation.
It definitely could be.
Possibly
For sure, surgery is a life-long issue you will have to deal with. That is one reason we try everything we can, before referring anyone out for surgery. Maintenance care will help with this situation, call our office for an appointment. We can help you out!
Not an easy question to answer without the proper exam and diagnostics.
Possible, could be getting osteoarthritis above or below the surgical area. Adjustments and therapy could help.
Did the surgeon put in a Harrington rod? If so, some discomfort is expected with the rod. Possible degeneration, calcification or scar tissue could elicit your pain. Hard to be exact without more info on your surgery