********update, if your insurance company does not pay for this device or you have a large co payment in order to get it I would say save your money, it turns out that the claims that this device makes are not proven medically or scientifically so I would not recommend it. The best thing you can do is make sure you do your physical therapy, make a decision to lead an active lifestyle after surgery for example, walking every day. Exercise will help you recover and rehabilitate more in the long run than expensive devices and or supplements. Spend time strengthening your core because a strong core will also do more in the long run in managing pain and providing the strength of the muscles around your spine and therefore reducing pain and the chance that you will have further damage to discs in the future, I am 4 years out from surgery now and this is my own advice I am offering and taking. I am happy to answer questions of anyone currently or having experienced back injury and or surgery so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting a comment here, I will respond as quickly as possible.
The newest addition to my recovery from the ALIF surgery is a CMF Spinalogic bone growth stimulator . It is worn like a belt around my waist for 30 minutes a day. I will need to wear it for at least the next 6 months. According to what I have read about it, it creates a magnetic field that apparently increases the rate of new bone growth by 21% vs patients who do not use one. It is really not hard to fit it into my day, right now I usually put it on after my shower but before I get completely dressed, in fact I am wearing it right now over my bathrobe. After I return to work, I plan to put it on as soon as I get home. You simply wrap it around your waist like a belt and there is a circular part that sits right over the discs that you had fused and fasten the Velcro so it fits snugly, then you press and hold the button on the controller which is attached by what looks like an old style phone cord until it beeps. Then it times your session and beeps again after 30 minutes. That separate piece has a belt clip that attaches to the belt part so you can walk around during the treatment. The only thing I notice when wearing it is a feeling of warmth on my lower back, there is no pain involved. It was covered by my insurance company which is BCBS Anthem but they required a prior authorization by my surgeon’s office which took about 2 weeks to complete. I believe it is probably very expensive for people who do not have insurance or whose insurance company doesn’t cover it because I have seen them on Ebay for $200-500. I just got it this week and have not missed a day yet. The nurse that told me about it told me that I am to bring it with me to my follow up appointment and that they will check the timer unit and it will tell them if I have used it faithfully or not. Of course as far as I am concerned if I don’t use it I would only be holding up my own recovery and I want to do everything I can to regain my normal activity level so what would be the point of cheating? This is what the device looks like:
So between this, the daily walks for at least 20 min and taking extra calcium supplements I think I am doing all I can to promote the bone growth between the vertebrae that were fused (L4-S1 in my case which are the lowest 2 discs in the lumbar spine). I have also added a new supplement called Dolomite powder by KAL. It contains 1100mg/110% of calcium, 2mg/11% iron and 630mg/150% magnesium. I am mixing 1tsp into OJ and a little milk to make it palatable since its rather chalky, this mixture makes it taste like a creamsicle. I take this in addition to the OsCal calcium supplement with D3. It contains 600iu/150% of vitamin D3 and 500mg/50% of calcium. The drawback with all this calcium with my pain meds causes Miralax to be a daily supplement as well since these things all cause constipation. I hope all of this information helps those of you out there going through the same condition as me and I know there are a lot of us. If we all help by sharing information hopefully we can look forward to a pain free and more active future! Thanks as usual for reading and please feel free to share your own stories or tips by commenting on this post.