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    "Clicking" sounds after Lumbar Fusion
    nonna23bellas posted:
    Hi there! I had a spinal fusion at L4/L5 on 2/28/11. I feel so incredibly fortunate in experiencing 100% relief from the pain I had in my right leg which got progressively worse since 2002. To make a very long story short, I am wondering if anyone else who has had a spinal fusion sometimes hears tiny clicking sounds from the site of the fusion? THANK YOU!
    bj1208 responded:
    Hi and welcome to the support group --

    Yes I had a fusion 2/25/08 - Anterior Lumbar Fusion L5-S1

    I am very happy that you are not experiencing any pains in your leg - that is great - there are not too many FULL success stories that we hear about - so I am really HAPPY for you~~ I also wanted to know if you are pain free in your lower back too - please let me know

    Unfortunately, with fusion surgeries there tends to be the good ole ARTHER that visits - I too have the 'clicking' sounds in my lower back right at the fusion area - I've had numerous MRI's and CT Scans oh and X-rays' too - All my hardware is intact and nothing is loose. I've had my PA from my pain clinic, the Physiatrist doctor, my hubby and my daughter put there hand on the lower part of my back and have had them feel the 'clicking' when I move certain ways - Both my PA and the doctor have said that I have arthritis and it could also be 'matter' that forms around the fusion are too -

    you are still early in your post op care - the next time you see your surgeon for a check up (some usually require x-rays to check progress of fusion) mention the clicking sounds prior to having the x-rays - sometimes they will do a different x-ray where they have you bend forward as far as you can and bend backwards and the sides too (while standing) - this way they can see how the plate, cage and screws show up in the different positions.

    I've had these type of x-rays done and they have informed me that my hardware is solid (was worried I had a loose screw/cage etc)

    So be sure to mention this - and if you have started Physical Therapy, mention this to the therapist -

    there are normally 3 parts to a fusion surgery (1) the disc, (2) impingement on nerve root in leg(s), (3) pain in lower back - so with these factors involved we hardly hear from people that have 100% in all areas -

    I have fused 100% (surgeon told me that on my first post op at 6 weeks! Does happen but not too often) - and that part of my surgery went very well, however I do have permanent nerve damage in both legs (my L5-S1 disc splintered - mostly on left side but some on right) and my pain levels are worse now than before my surgery -

    I don't regret having it - I had DDD (Degenerative Disc Disease) and a splintered (herniated or ruptured - same thing) and because of changing jobs and insurance all the pain clinics I went to would start me over on procedures - so I kinda got shuffled around until finally one pain doc said no treatments you need surgery - by this time there was too much damage - but oh well I've learned to live with my disability and do not regret it -

    So don't forget to mention this and let me know how u are doing on the rest of your recovery - take care - Joy
    nonna23bellas replied to bj1208's response:
    Thank you for the welcome, Joy. And, I cannot thank you enough for your reply.

    Your personal experience with the clicking sounds has eased a tremendous worry of mine. I won't be officially released by my n-surgeon until later this month. I do have an order for x-rays, and he told me he ordered the forward and backward views. The CTscan done 3 weeks post-op showed that the fusion had begun, and that the "cage" was securely in place. That was obviously good news, and now that I know you also experience those clicking sounds, I'm feeling very positive. However, like you, I worry about the cage, pedicles, etc., and pray that the x-rays later this month show no problems at the fusion site. I was delighted to read that your fusion was complete so early, but am so very, very sorry that your pain was not relieved.

    I know how incredibly lucky I am about the right leg pain. Right now, at this phase in my recovery, I continue to have pain at the site where a piece of my hip bone was harvested for the fusion. And, I have a hematoma to the left of my incision that I am told is the result of the hip harvest. I was draining an excessive amount of blood post-op, not from the back invasion but from the hip. I required 2 units of blood, and was in the hospital for 5 long days.

    And, as to lower back pain, yes I continue to experience it sporadically. I also have pain in my left thigh, but because I lived with the nerve compression for so long and the right leg radiculopathy, I am certain that the left thigh pain is not nerve related. It feels totally muscular.

    I know that if my fusion turns out to be 100% successful, I will still have to be very, very careful with my back. I have so many abnormalities remaining. This may sound unbelievable, but from my cervical spine through my sacrum I have 14 herniated disks. Virtually every professional I've consulted with asked me when I was in the motor vehicle accident, and they were all stunned when I said that there was no accident, motor vehicle or otherwise. Severe o-arth, stenosis, scoliosis, DDD, ad nausem. I've wondered if this mess could have been congenital, and hopefully I'll remember to ask my surgeon or the PT once he releases me to physical therapy.

    I was diagnosed with the ole ARTHER when I was 35. I am now 53, and last November had bi-lateral knee replacements. I know that some of my progress with my knees (which I love!! - having both done at once was extremely challenging, but I don't have a single regret now) is being compromised by the back surgery in that my surgeon prohibited any PT whatsoever. Sometimes they too click, and if my back does its little song at the same time (it doesn't happen every day), I feel like a bionic woman who needs a lube job! lol!

    I wish you the best as you deal - and that's all we can do. I look forward to chatting again, and THANK-YOU so much for your reply.

    Be well,

    nonna23bellas replied to nonna23bellas's response:

    I'm lost in navigating this site. I'd like to add a picture to my profile - it's nice when you can put a face to a name. Can you direct me to the correct option. Thank-you!

    bj1208 replied to nonna23bellas's response:
    Hi Sue - sure

    At the upper right - where the option for log - off is - you should also see "MY ACCOUNT" - just click that and it will direct you to your account settings where you can add your story and picture -

    Hope this helps - take care - Joy
    nonna23bellas replied to bj1208's response:
    Thanks Joy. Wishing you a good day.
    Be well,
    bj1208 replied to nonna23bellas's response:
    Hi Sue - just wanted to add another post regarding the clicking sounds - I forgot to mention this the other day - it could also be from scar tissue moving around.

    Just as a note, I have spoke with quite a few people that have had the bone graft done, like yours. I didn't - they put this medicine stuff in my cage - it's to help the fusion and to help bone growth - I'm wondering if he should have done this to me and if it would have made a difference -

    Also, my bone started growing around the 3rd month post op - and that has me wondering if possibly I fused too soon and my bone started growing too soon - oh well guess these questions may not be answered too quickly -

    take care - Joy
    Jetnois responded:
    Yes I have it really bad, fused at L3,4,5 and S1. I am seeing a doctor in CA today. How long have you had it and have you found out what it is?


    bj1208 replied to Jetnois's response:
    hi jetnois - just wanted to let you know you are responding to a post from a year ago -

    but, yes I did find out what mine is - at my L4 disc when I bend forward the disc slides over the fused part of L5-S1 causing the clicking/grinding sounds.

    so far they are watching it by doing an x-ray each year to see how bad it it.

    hope this helps - take care - Joy

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