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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


I had a lumbar fusion 22 yrs ago L4 to S1. Over the years I have suffered with sciatica pain at night with limping developing when I walked a distance. A change occured last November. I started to have extreme left lower leg pain at night. This pain occurs when I lay on my side (right or left). The pain was excruciating my leg weakened and I was unable to put any weight on it. I was given Neurotin and Percocet for pain with no relief.

A cat scan was taken of from L3 down. L3 shows vacuum disc phenomenon and of course the lower levels are very difficult to read because I have metal screws that are distorting the images. Pain relief was obtained when I get up from lying down. I even tried sleeping upright in a chair. Over the next couple of months the pain finally eased up some and I regained strength in my leg. I had 4 epidural cortisone injections which gave some relief. I am now going back for another injection as the pain is increasing and once again I cannot lay on my side to sleep. The pain is there at other times but not to the degree that I get when trying to sleep on my side. I get to sleep laying on my back but awaken when I turn on my side during my sleep. My walking ability is limited and I have to use a cane outside of my home.

I do have severe degeneration throughout my spine and have experienced nerve encroachment due to osteophyte formation in my cervical spine.

At this point in time I am questioning my acceptance of my situation. If my walking is going to be limited the rest of my life so be it. But because of image distortion no clear picture is available to show precisely what is going on with the nerve. I have no numbness only unrelenting pain. My family doctor did not think that further surgery would be an option but I have not had any additional diagnosis procedures done.

What can possibly happen at a very old metal supported fusion level to bring on such an extreme increase in radicular pain. And most strangely increase so dramatically when lying on either side. I consider myself pretty well educated as far as back problems are concerned as mine has been a problem most of my adult life but this has me stumped. MRI' s are not available to me because of the metal so image diagnostics become limited.

I would be ever so grateful for any advice.





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