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Old 04-09-2024, 05:39 PM
paigetullio paigetullio is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 3
Default It seems my 2 teenage disc replacement surgeries made me worse

It seems my 2 teenage disc replacement surgeries made me worse

Hi all, My name is Paige Tullio,
I had 2 back surgeries in Europe the first when I was 17 an artificial disc replacement at L5-S1
In 2017 and the second surgery in 2018 an artificial disc replacement revision surgery at L5-S1. After the first surgery I was desperate to go running to control my anxiety, my mood and my weight. So even though the surgeon told me to wait 3 months and I asked if I could wait a shorter amount of time and he was like okay wait 2 months before running I went running after 6 weeks.
The x-ray showed I can't remember exactly what but I think mild displacement of some sort and I was in more pain post op then pre op but i didn't have nerve pain. Since the pain was worse post the 1st surgery I asked for a revision surgery and my surgeon Dr. Thomas Bierstedt said he could do a fusion for free. I didn't want a fusion cuz I heard fusions lead to more fusions and I wanted to be able to run for the rest of my life. So I went to a different surgeon Dr. Burkhard Rischke and he did a revision disc replacement at L5-S1. I didn't go for a run but I ran to catch a bus up a hill 2 weeks post op and I've been in nerve pain down to my feet ever since. The mental health treatment center I was in 2019 looked at my MRI and told me my pain was psychosomatic and my EEG nerve responses were normal. In my opinion i shouldn't have had back surgery in the first place i was running 10 miles a day pre surgery. I had the surgery cuz i thought my mental problems were all caused by my back pain which i did have pre op but it was mild compared to what i post op and it made it much more painful to run but i still can. I regret the surgeries.
The surgeons are sort of hands off once they do the surgery like we did our job. It's not our problem, it didn't work to solve your pain. I've gained a lot of weight. I was 200 lbs now im 161. I was 130 before the first surgery. I don't know if my pain is actually psychosomatic but it's intolerable.
Cuz right now i'm 24 and back in my 7th mental health treatment center. I really regret my decision 2 get back surgery at 17 as the degeneration I had at L5-S1 was only mild to moderate and there might have been a previous endplate fracture I can't remember. I was a figure skater till I was 14 and the doctors in Canada told me not to get back surgery. They were right, it seems.
Anyone have any advice on how to deal with chronic pain and how to deal with the surgeons? It would be much appreciated, thanks so much! All the best with your journeys as well!

Last edited by paigetullio; 04-10-2024 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 04-12-2024, 07:22 PM
annapurna annapurna is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,676

Some opinions and options:
First, MRIs are notorious for being difficult to interpret once you have hardware like ADRs in the image. I'd look for someone who can order and interpret flat film x-rays: front and side view as well as flexion and extension. That'll give you an idea of whether ADRs were placed correctly, if they subsided or shifted after placement and if they're functioning correctly.

Second, I'd suggest looking for someone who can handle whole body motion physical therapy. Get them to assess your general motion and position: sitting, standing, and walking at the least. See if you have improper loading from improper motion. This can even be residual improper motion from ingrained habits formed prior to your ADRs.

Those two shouldn't be too expensive, though I don't know anything about your medical system in your region. You might end up paying a premium to get someone who'll do what you need, not what the insurance or medical standards say you need.

You might have adjacent spinal levels checked for disk height on the x-rays just in case you have another level beginning to desiccate. Figure skating is pretty well known to be punishing to the body so that could be happening. For that matter, your SI joints might have also been damaged. They radiate in a pain pattern very near to L4/5 and L5/S1 so they can be mistaken for spine problems.
Laura - L5S1 Charitee
C5/6 and 6/7 Prodisc C
Facet problems L4-S1
General joint hypermobility

Jim - C4/5, C5/6, L4/5 disk bulges and facet damage, L4/5 disk tears, currently using regenerative medicine to address

"There are many Annapurnas in the lives of men" Maurice Herzog
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