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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


I,too, have this same problem. Herniation and/or scar tissue at L5-S1. (I had a laminectomy there in 1992) Horrible calf pains that feel like an ice pick, burning and numbness in the outside of the thigh and hip pain to boot. (all on the left side) I've been in a holding pattern...not really getting better and not really getting worse (as long as I don't do anything!) I'd be interested in hearing what you guys decide to do. I need to do something, but I'm afraid it will make it worse. I can get by now by using ultram and advil, but I've given up most of the things I like to do. I also don't like the thought of taking pills long term, but right now, it's how I can get up and go to work. So, I don't know what to do. I'm thinking about another round of ESI.'s They helped for a while last year. I'm just tired of the pain that never goes away. So guys, keep us posted on how you are doing and what treatments you try.
Thanks ..kastenm.
[COLOR=DarkRed]Aloha Guyz, :wave:

Other than kastenm, who I believe is describing pinched nerve symptoms, which I had experienced both pre op and post op, I agree that you are experiencing muscle problems. I had the heater coil sensation emanating from my right buttock down the back of my right leg to just below the knee, then I had pins and needles sensation on my right calf, and I also had a numbness on the outside of my right foot and heel. This was pre op…shortly after post op, I had the burning sensation on my left buttock, then it traveled down my left hip and then came around to the front of my leg never getting any lower than above my knee. They upped the dosage of my Neurontin and I have not experienced any more of that nerve type of pain unless I over do it with my PT, then it is only very mild and I take another Vicodin :) .

However, back to the calf muscle pain, I had a 3 level (L3 through S1) discectomy and fusion in February 04, and have also experienced this phenomenon. My PT and doctors have also said that it is probably muscle atrophy from not using them for such a long period of time. It’s only been a little over three months since my surgery and they tell me that it could last for quite some time and will depend on how much and how aggressive of PT I can handle. The more I do to strengthen and stretch these muscles the better off I’ll be. This has proven to be true, as I am doing quite well with PT and the pains have lessened. I never really had a limp because of this, the only time it really bothers me now is when I am laying down and try to stretch out my right leg, and it does feel like my calve muscles have shortened. But this is what atrophy means: [B]“A wasting or decrease in size of a body organ, tissue, or part owing to disease, injury, or lack of use".[/B]

By the way, before I had my surgery, I read extensively on the web and in medical books, about treatments, procedures and technologies available for the particular problem that I had which was bulging discs in L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1, and annular tears in L5-S1. I also had DDD in all three levels, which most of us 40 something people have any way :rolleyes: . But DDD by itself, which is basically the natural process of the drying out of our discs, sometimes doesn't even cause any symptoms whatsoever or require any medical attention unless or until we hurt ourselves. By having had the L5-S1 level giving me most of my radicular pain and problems I could have opted for a micro discectomy on that level only due to the fact that it was one of the more minimally invasive procedures available, or I could have had a full on PLIF on that one level. But my thinking was, especially after reading some of these posts, where you can learn a lot about people having surgery after surgery, I figured that by only doing that one level it would only put that much more pressure and demand on the upper two levels since they also had problems, albeit not near as bad as the L5-S1 level, and I would only end up sooner or later back in the operating room to have these levels done too, if not, maybe just a redo of the L5-S1 again, so I asked to have them do all three levels at once. Full on PLIF of all three levels is an extreme to be sure, but I considered my chances of success to be just as good if not better to have it all done in one shot. And so far, I have no regrets, but as every one hopefully knows by now, we are all different, and even though we may have some of the same problems and symptoms as one another, there are too many variables to say that any two outcomes will be the same, even for the same exact procedure for the same exact problem, God did not make it that simple and easy for our doctors :nono: . That is why a lot of us…[I]well, most of us…ok all of us[/I] have to endure the lengthy pain ridden process to find out what will hopefully work best for us. And you all know what the fine print says too…right? [B]"No guarantees whatsoever". [/B] What a cruel world this is.

So…in short….[I]I mean, in long[/I]…I agree with TAZMZN and Kiwi_Girl, I think it is our muscles which we have not used in a long time, shrinking and giving us a hard time, I think, hope and pray that it will get better for all of you in time as it has for me. It is not a real issue for me any more, although I know exactly what you are talking about and feel deeply for you. But as far as you are concerned kastenm, I would consider another round of the ESI’s if they helped you in the past, they never did help me. But if it gives you a few months of relief it may be worth it to you, as I still think you are having nerve pain, but you may also be having some atrophy too. I agree with you, I also hate the meds, I am still taking Oxycontin, Neurontin, Klonopin and occasionally Vicodin. I can not wait for the day when I can just take an occasional Advil. Tramadol was a nightmare for me, I had a very bad reaction to that drug, my doctors have probably prescribed more than a dozen different kinds of drugs to me since my injury. We’re all different, and we have to be a guinea pig unfortunately to find out what may help us get through the day.

I’m sorry for making this so long, I can now sit for a long time due to a successful surgery, and now I just get carried away sometimes.

I hope that I helped someone. To everyone, Good Luck & God Bless. :angel:

Carl[/COLOR]
Hi everyone I too have had a surgery with those symptoms. My l5 herniationcaused that butt and leg anf foot pain. On April 12 I had a part of my transverse process resectioned, as it was grating against the vertebrae and it was supposed to take care of my pain. Well my back pain is gone, but I found out that the burning and numbness is due to them accidentally hitting against the sciatic nerve. It runs from your hip to your toes. Man I was in worse pain than the pain in my back. At least I didn't have cramping calves and the top of my right foot feels like hot grease poured on it.

So far they have put in lidocaine and marcaine in injections in my calf and ankle and near my big toe and near the instep of my right foot. I still have some areas that burn, but they are minimized a great deal. I now have to go to the pain medicine clinic, where my Dr said they may insert a catheter and drip in medicine over a gradual period of time to eliminate the sciatic pain. I still have a nagging achy pain in my right upper calf, ankle, and partly in my hip. But hopefully the pain will eventually go away altogether.

One thing I have found that helps, that may sound crazy. I read this in the newspaper yesterday, someone wrote in to say they had nerve pain from shingles and a friend had told them to rub it with listerine, that is helped with nerve pain. Well I thought to myself sciatic is a nerve, and what did I have to lose and we had listerine in the bathroom. So I rubbed it on, and it really did have an effect. The column said they didn't know what was in it to help, but I asked my Dr, and he said it has menthol, which is what absorbine Jr is and it has salicyilate which is aspirin. So he said that could account for it. Now it doesn't cure the pain, but it helps, and its cheaper than ben gay, absorbine jr, aspercreme and caspacian creme, all of which I have tried.

So good luck to you.





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