Osteoarthritis and bursitis in both knees very painful post 360 lumbar fusion

I had a L-4-5-S-1 360 lumbar fusion on 11,11, 2016  (anterior) and  on 11,14 (posterior).  My orthopedic surgeon is very concervative and plans on keeping me in my back brace for 6 months.  The constant use of my knees is causing me quite a bit of pain.  He is aware of my situation and has only allowed another series of Supartz Injections (I had a series last March).  My OS will not permit me to have antiinflammatories of any kind to relieve the inflammation caused by the bilateral knee OA and medial anserine bursitis.  He feels it will interfere with my fusion.  I am being treated by my regular Rheumatologist and the only suggestions were , besides changing my medications to ones I already have tried and can't​ tolerate, OTC lidocaine patches and cold packs. My insurance will not cover Lidoderm. The OTC  patches are not helping that much. I use them at night.

I apologise for my lengthy story.. I am very frustrated because walking, climbing stairs and bending my knees causes alot of knee pain. Wearing the back brace very painful if I sit too long or do too much. I am very depressed because by the time I am allowed to have PT, what kind of shape will I be in?  I am a 63 year old woman who already has had ACDF C5-7 in 2013 and arthroscopic surgery on my right knee in 2014. There was another surgery in 2012 but, not related to this topic. Many years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia but, surprise I have arthritis and it's moving along!

I realized that I should be  more grateful because many of you have been suffering with so much more and for a longer time than me.

Maybe someone would share their thoughts or experiences with me. I don't know anyone who has been through a multilevel 360 lumbar fusion. I have been reading as much information​, much of it was on Spine-health, as possible before and after my surgery.

Is there anyone who has had a similar experience ,with OA of the knees, as I have and found some non medical ways to help ease their situation until their brace was removed?  I would greatly appreciate any information or sharing your experience would be helpful.



  • JameyhJJameyh Atlanta, Ga.Posts: 98
    Hi Janice.  
         My surgery was only a few weeks behind yours.  I had an ALIF/PLIF of the L4-S1 (same day for both) on Dec.5, 2016.  I was in the hospital 5 days and like you, wore a brace from day 2.. I am 60 years old and I also suffer from Osteoarthritis (since 2000) and my spine condition was from arthritis and degeneration of the facet joints and DDD along with a slight lordosis.  I am under the care of a rheumatologist for OA and SLE and take Mobic.  I did have to stop NSAIDS 2 weeks before and 3 months after the surgery.   I wore a brace from day 2 until my 6 week check up.   The difference between us is that my surgery was done by a neurosurgeon.  He lifted the BLT's at 6 weeks (but lifting was to be kept under 20#'s).  He wanted me to shed the back brace immediately after 6 weeks and started PT by week 7.  I think I am just lucky that my knees are still somewhat normal.  I have no pain really.  But I am also having difficulty with stairs.  And when I walk any length of time I will get pain in my hip joints.  My PT thinks it is from spasms related to how I walk.  Apparently I am an over supinator when walking and my feet and ankles kill me if I do too much walking.  And I have a high arch.  This should also be causing knee pain and it doesn't.  All I can advise is the same stuff others recommended to me when I could not take anti inflammatories.   Tumeric as an herbal supplement to reduce inflammation.  Ice to the affected area.  Weight loss if that might be a problem.  Topical Diclofenac which your rheumatologist can order.   But for the record, none of that helped my pre-op pain.   I wish you luck.  I just wish your surgeon could offer a solution.  
         Where are you from in NJ?  I have some family in the Millville, Vineland area, Buena area.    Take care and hugs to you

  • rnnomrerrnnomre New Jersey Posts: 8
    Hi JoAnn,

    Thank you very much for your speedy reply and helpful suggestions. Weight Is not an issue yet.  I am not really overweight but, I have gained 15 lbs (not helping my situation) which I should lose.  Since my surgery, I have been eating too many comfort foods, inactive and depressed.  My husband is so very helpful and does so much for me like shopping, buying my favorites lol, cooking and many other things.  I really am fortunate that he is very supportive! We recently moved back to NJ after living in PA for 14 yrs. We now live in Warren County closer to family.

    I am sorry that you are experiencing pain in your hip joints and difficulty with your gait. The progression of my OA is causing me to have a knock knee issue and affecting my gait also.  I cannot take Mobic even when I can take antiinflammatories due to GI issues.  I hope that it helps you.  I have heard about tumeric. Have you had any success with it?  I will give it a try!  I do eat more fish (salmon) and avocados which are supposed to be helpful as natural antiinflammatories.  It seems like a good idea to try natural and healthy remedies, if possible.
    I am at a loss for any other ideas. I suppose that means reducing the sweets and carbs too. I hope I have the will power.

    My surgeon will not allow topical Nsaids either.  So unfortunately, Diclofenac gel is not an option. Yes,  ice and I have been good friends for quite some time!  We have the hot/freezer pack selection in our freezer but, that's a great suggestion for reducing inflammation.

    I am very sorry that you have SLE.  I hope that you are doing as well as possible.  I was tested recently for SLE due to generalized joint pain and some other symptoms. Some of my labwork (ana titer and anti dsDNA), came back positive twice but, not very high. It could be from the Fibro and I also have Chronic Pain Syndrome which could be causing some pain.

    Thank you for your suggestions,  caring,  and taking the time to respond to me.  You must be going through quite a bit of your own concerns.  I hope that you are doing better since your spine surgery. Take care and gentle hugs back to you!


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