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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


Hello everyone,

I have enjoyed reading and taking part in this board! Very Helpful...

My question is as follows:

- Back in December I had become bed ridden due to my right butt, leg, calf nerve pain caused by a pinched nerve (L5-S1 Hernation). In January I went for a Micro Discectomy! It worked well on the leg pain. However, after the surgery I have had a feeling that my right calf muscle has been shortened. It is causing me to have a limp! I have tried PT (No help). Any advice?

By the way I have re-herneated my disc at the L5-S1 and am scheduled for surgery (fusion) soon! Does anyone know if the herneated disc is causing my calf pain! (it feels muscular, not nerve) However, the MRI says it is nerve being pinched!

The PT gal says that it is because I have not used my calf mucsle in a long time and it just needs to be streched! ( it shortened up) Well it is now almost June and there is no change! Note it feels real tight if I sit for a long time!

Answers wanted?

Thanks in advance for your help! God bless!

:confused:
Oh my goodness, while I was sorry to hear about your problem, was I ever glad to read that there is someone out there who has the same problem I have been living with for almost a year now.

I also had a herniated disc at L5/S1. This was diagnosed late in the day though (almost two years after I had a serious fall which I believe caused the herniation), and I finally had a laminectomy in August last year. However, about four months before this I began to feel pain in my hamstring muscle of my right leg, and this later extended down to my calf muscle in the same leg. I believed that the surgery would make these pains go away but I was horrified when I realised, after the surgery, that they had not improved but worsened! I have lived, ever since, with pain in my hamstring and calf muscles in my right leg, and it feels to me like both of them have shortened compared to the left leg. I have had intensive physiotherapy, wore a horrible boot thing on my right leg for a week, and then had four weeks of plaster casts (changed every week) - nothing has helped. I recently had a contrast MRI done and it was then found that my L5/S1 discs have re-herniated - however - I believe that the surgeon never properly repaired them first time round. I now spend most of my days sitting around waiting to see another surgeon in August, and when I try and walk I am in constant agony with my calf muscle feeling as if it is going to tear (burns when I extend my leg and try to put my foot down flat on the floor).

I'd like to compare 'notes' with you.
I have not had the surgery, but have had success with PT about 5 years ago. Am now back in PT for my hips. The PT told me 5 years ago & again today that after surgery that PT can actually prevent scar tissue, that if one doesn't go thru PT after surgery, the scar tissue can wrap around the nerve & cause the same pain as before the surgery. I didn't realize that is how the scar tissue was involved with recurring pain after surgery.
[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]
[QUOTE=TAZMZN]Hello everyone,

I have enjoyed reading and taking part in this board! Very Helpful...

My question is as follows:

- Back in December I had become bed ridden due to my right butt, leg, calf nerve pain caused by a pinched nerve (L5-S1 Hernation). In January I went for a Micro Discectomy! It worked well on the leg pain. However, after the surgery I have had a feeling that my right calf muscle has been shortened. It is causing me to have a limp! I have tried PT (No help). Any advice?

By the way I have re-herneated my disc at the L5-S1 and am scheduled for surgery (fusion) soon! Does anyone know if the herneated disc is causing my calf pain! (it feels muscular, not nerve) However, the MRI says it is nerve being pinched!

:confused:[/QUOTE]

Hi!
I'm sorry you about what you have been through. I have had a herniated disc L4-L5 region and had terrible calf pain. It would get to the point where walking was very difficult and quite painful. In 1999 I had a microdiscectomy and was very successful until I reinjured my back last January. On May 25th I had a fusion procedure L4-L5 region, with instrumentation. When I reinjured my back an MRI showed DDD and a collapsed disc. An EMG revealed severe nerve compression; (I was experiencing the leg problems again and once again could barely walk.) Please keep us posted on how you are doing. I hope you get relief from the pain soon. :angel:

-Jo





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