These are responses that I received
following the November 1st newsletter article on back
pain after surgery. Remember that these people have been kind
enough to share their experiences, but their experiences should
not be used to diagnose your own problem. Please read each with
that in mind.
I have always had back pain, or should I say it seems like always.
Well, at least for 6 years I can remember being on pain meds for
the pain in my back and knee. So, after losing almost 250 pounds,
it seemed to be hurting more not less.
So, for the first time my back was x-rayed, and
this didn't show a problem, however when that was followed up by an
MRI they found the bulging discs, so maybe it wasn't just that the
problems got worse after surgery, but because of the surgery they
were able to find the problems.
Thanks for all of the stuff you do and help you
offer to everyone.
I have lost 124 pounds since my surgery almost 1 year ago. I did
have back problems before, which have lessened since losing weight.
But I have noticed that my tailbone hurts pretty badly now when I am
sitting in any position. I guess it's because there's a lot less
"padding" in that area now! I never had trouble with pain from
sitting before, but since losing weight, I have enough energy most
days to keep moving anyway! I wouldn't undo any part of this
experience. I am a much happier person, not to mention healthier!
I have to have surgery on Nov. 7th because I blew my L5 disc and the
L4 is herniated. My surgeon also told me the L2 and L3 donít look
good either. I'm 27 years old and had my RNY surgery 5 years ago.
My neurosurgeon that is doing my back surgery is a professor. He
told me he sees this a lot in gastric bypass patients. He told me
it was from being overweight all those years. It had nothing to do
with having weight loss surgery.
My name is Brenda and I had weight loss surgery March 8, 2004. I
never had any problems with my back ever, and about 3 week after
surgery I started having back pain. I went back to my to my surgeon
and he thought it was a problem with the nerves in my back, and said
I should see my regular doctor. I ended up having an MRI and found
that a disc in my lower back had deteriorated.
I went to a chiropractor twice a week. The pain
would shoot from the lower part of my back down to my groin. My pain
was so bad one day I could hardly walk. Eventually the chiropractor
helped out tremendously. Things got better and the pain lessened,
after about 1 year until my weight stabilized. Itís been 21/2 years
and I have not had any back pain in 8 months.
Thank for bring this topic up!
I love your newsletter and wanted to give some feedback on the
subject of back problems after surgery. I had weight loss surgery
2/9/06 and so far I've lost 89 pounds. Several years before surgery
I was diagnosed with 3 herniated disks and a degenerative disk, so
back pain was no stranger to me. I was excited about having surgery
because I couldn't wait to not be in pain anymore. Boy, was I wrong.
The first 6 months after surgery I had
incredible pain in my back and attributed it to the change in my
center of gravity. The severe pain would last a few days then go
away, only to return a week or two later when my weight changed
again. To be on the safe side I had another MRI to see if the damage
progressed in my back; however, I'm happy to say that there was no
change. It's been almost 9 months since my weight loss surgery and
now the back pain I have is minimal. I'm always going to have
chronic pain, but what I experience now is nothing compared to what
I used to feel when I weighed 288 pounds, or even at my highest
weight of 316 pounds. Now that I am down to 199 pounds, the pain is
a breeze to deal with.
I've been blessed with only wonderful outcomes
from roux-en-y surgery. It's not something to take lightly and it
was a difficult decision to make, but well worth the pain both
emotionally and physically.
Natalie J. Koval
I was morbidly obese weighing 348 pounds at time of surgery. I am
now 169 pounds and maintaining. I also had horrible back problems
and when I saw my neurologist, he told me those years of being
morbidly obese put a strain on the back.
I have herniated
discs & bone spurs growing into my spinal column. No one knows when
the damage was done, but that yes the weight does aggravate the
problems. When you lose the weight than you finally realize there
is something wrong with your back. It is not the rapid weight loss
but the burden of carrying the weight before the surgery.
I found after
surgery the worst & most painful times were when everything was
shifting and finding new homes inside my body after the fat
disappeared. Just thought you would find this interesting. Thank
you for your time
I just read your newsletter for this month, and I just about jumped
out of my chair when I read about the back problems question.
I had some minor back problems prior to having
the surgery. I will be 1 yr post-op Nov 28, 2006. I have since lost
107 pounds, and I now weigh 139 pounds. About 6 months ago I started
with pretty significant back pain - mostly muscle pain in my back.
I have been going to the chiropractor for about
7 months, which does help, but within a day or 2 the pain always
returns. My surgeon doesn't know what would be causing the pain, I
often think itís the droopy skin and my sagging boobs.
Sooner probably then later I'll have to go see
a specialist and find out. But for now, I can live with it.
Thank you for all you do for us!
I am also wondering about the correlation between the weight loss
and my back pain. I have had tail bone pain and lower back pain.
An MRI showed a herniated disk at L5-S1. My surgery was in July
2004 and I have loss about 110 pounds. Since NSAIDS are not an
option for swelling and pain, I was sent for physical therapy
(traction/electric stem). I recently had a spinal injection for
I have experienced some back pain also. Before surgery I had a
little pain, but not as much as now. People also tell me that I walk
differently as if I am trying to lean forward. Before my surgery I
had a huge curve in my spine from the weight of my stomach and now
it is like my body is having trouble adjusting. I am almost 3 years
Good Morning Barbara,
My surgery was June 2004 and earlier this year I had surgery
to remove a herniated disk in my neck. The doctor couldn't really
pin point the cause but as I had thought back to my weighted years -
I could identify issues back then that I had believed had other
causes. My weight has certainly done its damage to my back but I
had blamed other issues for numbness and discomfort. Unfortunately
for me, weight loss would not completely alleviate my back
problems. From my perspective, this would have happened with or
without the weight loss surgery. The good news is that I probably
bought more time before I had to do the surgery.
I had back surgery in 2004 and my lower back hurt all the time but
hurt worse after doing almost anything. I had gastric bypass
surgery in April of this year and my lower back has not hurt since
May. This has been wonderful, however since losing 68 pounds
already my mid-back seems to hurt more than it used to. When it
does hurt it is usually along the side of my back bone and it is a
burning sensation. I think it is muscular. I exercise at Curves 4
to 5 times a week and use a weighted hula hoop 4 to 5 times a week.
I used to hurt all over because of arthritis, now my mid-back is the
only thing that bothers me and that is only occasionally.
I have had a very bad back for years.
Ironically, it started when I was at my thinnest about 25 years ago.
It has gradually gotten worse over the years. I was constantly told
that it would get better if I lost weight. However, the more weight
I lost, the worse it got. It got so severe; I could barely walk at
times. I went through many procedures to try to help it but not much
has helped. I was unable to exercise because of it. As a result, I
would get frustrated and I started to eat way more than I should
have. I have since put on some weight and, while my back is still
bad, it is better than it was when I weighed less. I probably need
surgery on it, but because of my weight, the doctors don't want to
do it. It is a very vicious cycle. Even with all the problems I have
had with my back, I am still glad I went through the surgery. I am
far from where I should be weight-wise, but I am better off than I
Thanks for your
encouragement and you web site. It is very helpful.
I was reading your newsletter and had to reply. I had my surgery
August 2004 and I have also had a lot of problems with my back. I
went through physical therapy this past July and they were having me
do traction and that seemed to help at the time, but didnít resolve
the issue. My lower vertebrae are horrible. I donít have the
specific information from my chiropractor but the x-rays show that
my lower spine almost looks as if is dissolving - if that makes
sense. I havenít done anything more in trying to get this resolved
due to my other medical problems, including severe anemia, but once
the other problems are under control, I will work on this one.
Thanks for listening,
I've had a Lap Band since May 2005, and I've lost 80 pounds. I've
had a curvature in my lower spine all my life and arthritis back
there. I've learned to work around it, but as I got close to 300
pounds, I became a "solid block" and my weight stabilized it.
When I started training for walking marathons,
the pain was severe as my body weight shifted, but I kept on
training. When I lost 80 pounds, I had back x-rays. My panni was 10
to 15 pounds hanging almost half way down to my knees. Immediately
my bariatric surgery and PCP requested a tummy tuck, which Blue
Shield approved immediately. I just had the surgery 2 weeks ago. The
difference is remarkable already, even though I have not begun to
really train yet. I'm not being pulled forward anymore.
All my plastic surgery was done at Stanford
University, and the care was excellent. I was the first Lap Band
patient to have plastic surgery there.
Any more questions let me know.
I had my surgery March 1, 2006 and am eight months out as of
today and down 106 pounds! I feel so great and have about 90 more
to go, but I too suffer from terrible back pain. I had back pain
when I was heavy but now that I have lost this weight it is worse
than before. My surgeon, Dr. Colella, told me it is because I am
leaning more forward as a result of losing the weight and like you
said the center of gravity is not the same as it was before. I wish
I knew what I could do to help the pain. I am not sure if
abdominal/back strengthening is the way or not. I am a medical
transcriptionist and spend a great deal of the day sitting in front
of a computer. I work full-time in a hospital and also part-time
every day at home transcribing and it has been quite painful.
Thanks for your newsletter!
I had a laparoscopic RNY procedure on May 5, 2005. Since the
surgery, I've lost 175 pounds. I started to have back problems
about 8 to 10 months after surgery. My doctor did explain about the
shifting center of gravity. She also said that due to the lack of
fat that used to support my back, the extra skin in my breasts and
stomach was causing a pulling forward effect, causing the back pain.
The pain was pretty severe, preventing me from exercising and doing
routine daily tasks. So, my doctor prescribed some back
strengthening exercises, as well as Celebrex, an anti-inflammatory
and Zanaflex, a muscle relaxant. They did help, albeit with some
minor side effects, and I was taking both medications in ever
increasing doses since February. However, the more I read about
them, the more it bothered me that I had to take them, especially
Celebrex since we're not supposed to take NSAIDS after surgery, even
coupled with Pepcid.
I started seeing a chiropractor about 3 weeks
ago, and his x-rays showed that potentially my pain was being caused
by having one hip mis-aligned, which could have been caused either
by the original weight or by the weight loss. With the help from his
adjustments, electro-stimulation, and traction exercises, I'm almost
completely pain-free and off the Celebrex and almost completely off
the Zanaflex. I expect to be completely off both medications within
the month. I feel much better!
I have had the same problem that the person who wrote in your
November 1st newsletter has. After multiple tests, MRI,
etc., my doctor wants to replace the lower portion of my spine. I
have 3 herniated or cracked discs. It started immediately after my
2003 and has steadily gotten worse ever since. I have opted to pass
on the back surgery as I don't want to undertake such a huge surgery
right now. But my doctor can't explain why this happened after
weight loss instead of prior too.
I have developed Degenerative Disc Disease and
it's only going to get worse. I have
several friends that are in the same boat as I am after having
surgery and no doctor can seem to explain it. I know this is of no
help, but for some reason it's happening.
My name is Amanda. I have always had back pain, but after weight
loss surgery it did get worse. I had surgery in Sept 2004 and 9
months later I was a wreck. I kept going to the doctor and telling
him something wasn't right. But all they did was to give me a
Well about a week after the medication was
gone, I bent over to pick up a sock on the floor, and my whole back
went out. My husband took me to the emergency room. They ran every
test they could think of and they were giving me morphine every 15
to 20 minutes for pain.
Finally they said they had my results. This was
after 11 hours of being there. They told me that I had Degenerative
Disk Disease or DDD. I had 3 herniated disks and spurring all over
the T1 and L1 areas. They said that had the test results for the
last 4 hours but they weren't positive on the results, because most
people who are diagnosed with this are in their forties. I was 26
years old at the time. I have from standing 5'11Ē to 5'8Ē because of
The doctors there told me that the reason for
all the back troubles was because I had lost almost 150 pounds in
less then 9 months. The doctors are now saying that they want to do
back surgery on me. But with my husband going to Iraq in January
2007 there isn't enough time for me to recuperate and take care of
our child. So that is going to have to wait until he gets back.