- Back Story
- SI Joint Degeneration
- iFuse Implant Procedure Date
- July, 2016 Left side | March, 2017 Right side
"I feel better now than I have in 10+ years."
I had been dealing with pain in my hands, feet, and hips for several years due to an autoimmune type arthritis. I also struggled with bilateral hip bursitis. I was able to manage my discomfort with anti-inflammatory type medications and activity modification. My weight has always been an issue, so I have tried to stay active. Walking was my way to “stay active.”
In 2012, I started to notice pain in my groin, buttock area, outer thigh, and going down the back of my right leg. Walking was becoming more challenging. I thought my pain was due to my tight hamstring muscles, but decided it was time to consult with an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon thought my pain could be coming from my hips. I was sent to physical therapy and pain management for a bursa injection. While the injection gave temporary pain relief, I was still having increasing difficulty with walking and pain.
I was still able to work full-time as a nurse, but I was having to find ways to adapt my daily activities. My Physical Therapist (PT) suggested some of my pain could be coming from by back and recommended I get a second opinion. I consulted with a neurosurgeon who worked at my hospital. I was sent for a lumbar MRI and was diagnosed with lumbar disc herniations, facet arthritis, and generalized arthritic changes of the lumbar spine and hip.
I continued with physical therapy and had a series of injections that included epidural steroid injections (ESI), facet injections, and a radiofrequency ablation of the facet joint at L4-5. The ESI relieved my leg pain for a short time, but the facet treatments were not beneficial.
My pain management physician determined the first thing to treat was my herniated discs. I was given a diagnostic nerve block at L4-S1 which relieved my leg pain, so I underwent a L4-S1 microdiscectomy in 2014. My leg pain did resolve, but I continued to have buttock, groin, and hip pain. At this point, I was unable to sleep and my days off work were recovery days. I would only go to stores that had a cart I could lean on to shop.
I thought maybe I was “crazy.” My physician said, “You are not crazy, and we are going to get this figured out. You have apples, oranges, and grapes…more than one thing going on at the same time.” I said, “Great! I have fruit salad.” My next step was to have bilateral SI joint injections and radiofrequency ablation (RFA). The injections provided relief for 10 days and the RFA provided partial relief.
In 2016, I attended an informational patient seminar on the iFuse Implant System presented by my neurosurgeon. He felt this would be a good treatment option for me due to my ongoing pain issues. I had a second left SI joint diagnostic injection with positive results and underwent the iFuse ProcedureTM on my left side in July of 2016. I was surprised how much pain medication I needed after the surgery.
I attended physical therapy to learn how to walk correctly, was off all my pain medications by 3 weeks and used a walker for 5 ½ weeks. In March of 2017, I underwent a right SI joint fusion. My recovery protocol was the same. It seemed easier the second time around, but that might be because I knew what to expect. I returned to work at 8 weeks following both procedures, working 6-hour shifts, and then eventually 12 hours.
I am now more than a year since my second iFuse Procedure and am sleeping great and able to walk, shop, and workout in the pool without any pain. I went 2 ½ years between my orthopedic surgeon, neurosurgeon, pain management specialist, and physical therapist to get it all figured out.
Connect with this Buddy
* Required field