Spinal Decompression/Pain after lumbar fusion


I am a 33 yr old woman who was in a car accident in 2005 and had 2 back surgeries the next year. My last was a lumbar L4-L5 fusion. I never really got a ton of relief after surgery and now I am in so much pain all the time I don't know what to do. I have been in pain management for about 5 years now and have been on more pills in that time than most people take in a lifetime. I have also had treatments such as...radio frequency , steroid injections, and the most recent prolo therapy injections done with my plasma. Nothing seems to work and I'm on 25 mcg Fentynl patches and Percocet 10/325 as needed for breakthrough pain. It is cold and rainy right now in Georgia and I have been almost in tears at night because this deep knawing back pain is keeping me up. I am up still and it is 5am right now and I haven't been to sleep yet. I am so tired but the pain keeps me up through all medication that would knock a grown man out. My recent MRI showed disc degeneration and arthritis around the fusion area. I was just wondering if you might suggest something new for me to try is there possibly a surgery to correct a bad fusion? My pain doctor thinks that the area where the screws were placed just blew out my facet joints. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Liz ~

So sorry, I understand how desperate you must feel, but there is hope.

There is such a thing as a bad fusion, but in all likelihood the source of your pain is not the area of fusion - it is the area immediately above or below the fusion. The problem with a fusion is that it in fact fuses the vertebra so that it no longer moves which necessarily means that the joints on either side must now do more bending and twisting than they were designed to do. In an injury such as yours it could be argued that the adjacent joints were not in perfect shape to begin with and now because of the fusion they are being asked to do double duty accelerating their degeneration. Another fusion at this new level results in triple duty to the next level so you can see that it is a game you are unlikely to win.

A doctor experienced in non-surgical spinal decompression may be able to help you. I am fully aware that most of the early research literature states that hardware such as screws are a contra-indication for non-surgical spinal decompression and, in fact, there is a sentence or two on my own website that states this as well. However, I have had good success with numerous patients such as yourself and a bad result with none. A bad result would be defined as the necessity of yet another surgery which at age 33 with 50 years or so to go is where you're headed anyway so you have a life to gain and nothing to lose. If the source of your pain is in fact in the area of fusion then spinal decompression won't help because the area of fusion can't be de-compressed because it doesn't move or stretch. An examination by a doctor experienced in the application of non-surgical spinal decompression, both radiographic and physically of your back, can raise the level of certainty that it will or will not help. My habit in such cases is to do a trial treatment or two which will further raise the certainty level.

For more information about Spinal Decompression go to my website by clicking www.triangledisc.com .

To listen to Roger who had 4 fusions and 8 RF procedures talk about his results with spinal decompression go to You Tube by clicking Roger .


Dr. Michael L. Hall, D.C. practices at Triangle Disc Care in Raleigh, North Carolina specializing in Spinal Decompression for the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain and back pain due to herniated, degenerated discs. This is a conservative procedure for patients suffering with bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, posterior facet syndrome, sciatica, failed back surgery syndrome, and non-specified mechanical low back or neck pain.

Spinal Decompression

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr Michael L Hall


I was originally trained as a chiropractor and was in practice for 24 years. I've been asked every question related to back and neck pain and what to do about it that can be imagined. With additional training I now specialize in the new treatment of non-surgical spinal decompression for the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain and back pain due to herniated, degenerated discs.


A practicing chiropractor for 24 years plus 5 additional years practicing at Triangle Disc Care in Raleigh, North Carolina specializing in Spinal Decompression for the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain and back pain due to herniated, degenerated discs.

Nearly 30 years experience Southern Illinois University Logan College of Chiropractic

Past/Present Clients

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.