Pain from scar tissue post surgery

whatapain Community Member June 19, 2008
  • It has been nearly two years since I had back surgery to fuse L4-S1.  Now there is degeneration at L3-L4 and it has been found to be a positive pain generator and there is talk of fusion there because the epidurals last  only about 1 week.  However those epidurals only work on the pain that is up higher and the pain that is my very low back in and near the central spine area and extending into my buttocks, hip and sometimes thigh (mostly on the left side but occasionally flaring in the right) is constant and terrible.  Certain activities make it unbearable but even at best is a 2-3 on the pain scale.  My physical therapist well over a year ago said that there certainly was some scar tissue adhereing to the sciatic nerve because certain movements caused immediate, sharp and severe pain.  One of those movements would be when he would try to manipulate my foot and straighten it while my leg was extended.  Even extending the leg fully was painful, but when trying to dorsiflex the foot to stretch the achilles tendon I had extreme pain in my back, buttock etc.  Now, all this time later with pain still a  daily issue I am being treated still by pain management, still on duragesic, etc and have see a doctor about a pain pump (intrathecal fentanyl or morphine) who feels I would be a candidate.  My question is this:  how can the scar tissue issue be diagnosed and examined further?  Is there imaging that would show it more clearly?  Is there any procedure that would help to break the scar tissue away?  An anesthesiologist doing a myelogram mentioned that I had a huge amount of scar tissue that gave her trouble getting a needle in place to inject dye.  I am wondering if this chronic pain may be largely due to scar tissue that is entrapping or irritating nerves and nerve roots and if there is anything pro-active that could be done to address the causative issue instead of treating the resulting pain forever.

9 Comments
  • Anonymous
    willyb
    Feb. 24, 2009

    my wife had botox shots in scar tissue on her shoulder - she was down for 3 weeks in major pain and had to take serious pain meds - we are not sure if it is working- now she is afarid of needles..they said 3 to 4 weeks before she gets relief - it been 7 weeks - no relief

  • medicfl1
    Jun. 19, 2008

    I have read that Botox is being used to break up scar tissue in severe situations, however, I can offer nothing more on the subject right now.

     

    Actually, I wanted to ask if you would post your thoughts, feelings and results status post your Duragesic/fentenyl pump placement.

     

    In 2006 I had L3 down to S1 fused and am on 400mg Morphine twice daily....

    RHMLucky777

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    I have read that Botox is being used to break up scar tissue in severe situations, however, I can offer nothing more on the subject right now.

     

    Actually, I wanted to ask if you would post your thoughts, feelings and results status post your Duragesic/fentenyl pump placement.

     

    In 2006 I had L3 down to S1 fused and am on 400mg Morphine twice daily. Prior to the morphine I wore the patches and can say that for me, Duragesic is 100% more effective than the Morphine I now take. Having lost my job due to current illness my insurance went with it and morphine is quite a bit cheaper than fentenyl patches; but I am interested in moving toward the pump.

     

    As to the scar tissue problems I understand fully as that problem caused me to sustain a 4cm laceration which is now a mess as I could not go for stitches due to the cost and tried to make my own kind of steri strips to close the wound. However they had let go due to the blood and as they were under the bandage I did not see the problem until too much time had pass to properly close the site - hence the surface scars healing now.

    I speak of this to tell of my own scarring causing tendons great sudden pain and leading to this lac.

    Back in 1989 I spent several months in the hospital in a modified body cast from hips down and had my knee bone(s) (Femur head, Tib,Fib head) reconstructed with grafts etc. There  were no knee replacements back then. Through the years multiple surgeries followed and I spent up until 2006 without any cartilage between my knee joint. Bone on bone.

    In 2006 I had a total knee replacement. I had to wait until then as no Doctor wanted to touch me due to my young age and the extensive bone damage (fragmented).

    Those multiple surgeries lead to scarring which now effects me when I bend my knee. The scarring is in the medial calf area and causes great sudden pain leading to momentary failure, more of a painful flinch if you will, and that is what caused the above mentioned wound.

    Funny thing is that the skin nerves are dead, no feeling, and I had to be told I was bleeding. I am considering whether to investigate and follow this Botox procedure and it's results.

    I would be interested in how others, like yourself, are finding what's "out there" that can be done with this situation.

    • whatapain
      Jun. 19, 2008

      I will have to look into the botox and find out more...and if insurance considers it also.

      I have not had the pain pump done yet, it has just been put out there and I have seen the doctor who specializes in those in this area.  I am hesitant, I guess.  Some days the pain is to the point I am ready to do it immediately, other days it is bad, but not...

      RHMLucky777

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      I will have to look into the botox and find out more...and if insurance considers it also.

      I have not had the pain pump done yet, it has just been put out there and I have seen the doctor who specializes in those in this area.  I am hesitant, I guess.  Some days the pain is to the point I am ready to do it immediately, other days it is bad, but not horrendous and I am afraid to go through another surgery.  It seems that if I am going to do it then it should be done before the end of the year, and maybe during the summer so that my son's schooling wouldn't suffer.  After this long, with no reduction in pain levels, does anyone think it will resolve?  I was told I would not walk again, but through a miracle, I now am.  I'm holding out for another one I guess...

    • Anonymous
      Robin
      Jul. 09, 2008

      Dont rule out accupunture.  I have just started accupunture and have gotten significant relief from my first session.  I had a laminectomy at L4 - 5 in December 2006 and have done very well until March of 2008 when many symptoms began to return intermittantly.  My MRI's dont show a definative cause and my neurologist and neurosurgeon are still...

      RHMLucky777

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      Dont rule out accupunture.  I have just started accupunture and have gotten significant relief from my first session.  I had a laminectomy at L4 - 5 in December 2006 and have done very well until March of 2008 when many symptoms began to return intermittantly.  My MRI's dont show a definative cause and my neurologist and neurosurgeon are still unsure of what is causing the pain and imbalance I am experiencing.  I have had one session with my physical therapist who also does Rolfing and regular physical therapy.  He has worked on scar tissue issues using accupunture with some good success.  I have to say I am intrigued by the results so far and will continue treatment weekly for awhile. 

    • Anonymous
      lunatink
      Aug. 18, 2009

      have you looked into a laminotomy to remove the scar tissue? I am doing research to help my mother, she had back surgery and now the scar tissue has wrapped itself around her sciatic nerve. nothing is helping with the pain, but I have heard wonderful things about the laminotomy. we are waiting for her next appointment to talk to her doctor about it. hope this...

      RHMLucky777

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      have you looked into a laminotomy to remove the scar tissue? I am doing research to help my mother, she had back surgery and now the scar tissue has wrapped itself around her sciatic nerve. nothing is helping with the pain, but I have heard wonderful things about the laminotomy. we are waiting for her next appointment to talk to her doctor about it. hope this helps!!! good luck!!!

    • Anonymous
      SallyR
      Oct. 04, 2009

      Hi,

       

      It's Sally.  How you doing and how is your mum doing?  I've had spinal surgery and have scar tissue in the epidural space compressing on the nerves.  Was just wondering if you had any info on the laminotomy procedure to reduce scar tissue?

       

      Any info would be greatly appreciated.

       

      Many thanks,

       

       

      Sally.

    • Anonymous
      robyn sears
      Oct. 22, 2009

      The Dr. Max Powers Scar Serum actually works. It worked for me everywhere I used it. I read that "Histologic analysis demonstrated significant reduction in scar hypertrophy and scar elevation...significant reduction in scar erythema with Dr. Max Powers Scar treatment" (Saulis). I think it helped because the Scar Serum kept the area moisturized while it healed....

      RHMLucky777

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      The Dr. Max Powers Scar Serum actually works. It worked for me everywhere I used it. I read that "Histologic analysis demonstrated significant reduction in scar hypertrophy and scar elevation...significant reduction in scar erythema with Dr. Max Powers Scar treatment" (Saulis). I think it helped because the Scar Serum kept the area moisturized while it healed. Even old scars, over the course of weeks or months (which is the amount of time the Dr Max Powers Scar Serum tube claims it take to see improvement), will change.

    • Anonymous
      b.rios
      Dec. 29, 2009

      my husband had a semi lateral laminectomy and he is still having back pain due to the scar tissue that grew around his nerve. he went to his doctor today and they are sending him to a pain management center for neurostimulation therapy for chronic pain.

    • Anonymous
      ShellOK
      Jan. 22, 2010

      Hello I was wondering if you have an update on your condition? when i read your story it sounded like mine, I had back surgery back in 2001 a fusion where they scraped tissue from my hip too fuse to my spine i have scar tissue built up over the years, i have been too so many doctors i cant even count, i have had every med they can think of, finally my doctor...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hello I was wondering if you have an update on your condition? when i read your story it sounded like mine, I had back surgery back in 2001 a fusion where they scraped tissue from my hip too fuse to my spine i have scar tissue built up over the years, i have been too so many doctors i cant even count, i have had every med they can think of, finally my doctor i have now set down with me and said Shelli we could go in and remove all the scar tissue and you could be fine for a little while but basically it will grow back and will have too be removed over and over again, a cycle i dont think you want, you should have been told all of this years ago, but i wasnt... so he has sent me too pain specialist who has me on hydrocodone, the strongest med i have been on thus far, it works ok but as time goes on it seems too take instead of 1 a day now its like 3 or 4 a day, i cant take it after 7pm or i wont sleep, so i told my doctor i cant sleep because i am in pain all night and i toss and turn and wake up over and over again and i am a mom of 2 who i have too get up at 5am too drive too a bus stop to catch the bus for school so i cant be up all night, so he recently put me on a med called remeron i have been on it for a week the problem with it is i take it i better be ready for bed because in 45 min, i will feel High and dizzy and then boom i am out for the night, the next morning i feel like i been on a drunkun spree the night before and i feel tired and worn out all day long, so this med is not for me!!! he wants me too have the spinal stimulator done but i am so scared of having another surgery there, i dont know anyone who has had it done so i am skeptical of it, i just know that this is the most unbearable kind of way too live, i am so scared of falling or moving a wrong way, i have allways been a active kind of person, i love fishing and hunting horseback riding just all kinds of things, but now scared of everything, i cant even drive anymore for very long of a time or my leg starts throbbing, all this back problem started after being in a occupation of taking care of physically and mentally disabled kids for 15 yrs, i loved it and miss it so very much..... i miss being NORMAL.... I hope you get the relief you deserve and need, your in my prayers, God Bless you and yours!!!