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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

I had a discetomy in 1/06 that I considered very successful. In 12/07 I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and has a fusion at L5/S1 on January 15th.(2 weeks ago) I was doing great until day 7 post surgery when I started having leg pain in both legs that feels like my legs are in a vise twisting them from the bottom of my rear to the back of my ankle. This is not the same pain I had in 06 that I would consider sciatica (more of an electrical shooting pain only in one leg.)
My calves and hamstrings feel like the are going to burn out of my legs. Percocet gives minor relief. Doc put me on prednisone for 6 days and it helped some but since I'm off of it the pain is back. He took an x-ray of the fusion and said all looks great. Doc is baffled since I had no leg pain pre-surgery just back pain. He wants to give it some time before trying nerve meds (what the heck are they) or doing another MRI. Giving it time is easy for him to say when I'm the one in pain. Anyone else have this experience or any ideas?
Hi Deb and welcome to this board! I am/was a very active and incredibly fit person up to the point of my last spine injury over 4 years ago.

I know exactly how you are feeling as your story is quite similar to mine. After waking from the surgery, my sciatica was gone! But I did have some numbness issue with my left leg/foot that was a tad odd, as I had no issues on my left side prior to surgery. But other than that.. I felt great.

After my fusion surgery, I looked and felt amazing. I was thinking my healing was going to be a complete piece of cake. At week two, that all came to an abrupt halt! That numbing agent they coat the surgery site with had worn off, and the real healing pain had come forward, to include nerve pain in both legs and feet and severe muscle cramping in my legs.

Doc gave me a prednisone pack and it helped while taking it but then the pain returned. He then gave me Neurontin to try and see if it helped ease the nerve pain. I had a severe adverse reaction to the medication, that I could barely get out of the bed or walk and also suffered some very serious swelling. So I got put back on prednisone to help get things back into control. It helped temporarily again, but the nerve pain came back. So they tried me on the sister nerve med to that, called Lyrica. It only took one tablet and I had an immediate reaction.

I continued to have unexplainable swelling after all this and they were beginning to think I was allergic to the titanium hardware they put into my spine.

The doc said that I would have to tough things out on my own, as he was pretty sure some of my nerve pain was due to the swelling I had going on. Unfortunately, taking anti-inflammatories while trying to fuse defeats the purpose of the fusing process and can be directly correlated to fusions failing to take. So he had me tough it out for the first 3 months on my own, and then he put me back on anti-inflammers for awhile. I did help some and I was solidly fused at 7months.

Over time, the nerve pain calmed down ALOT and then became less frequent and more of an annoyance and minor distraction than anything.

I am left with permanent nerve damage as a direct result of the surgery on my left leg/foot. The doctor has no idea why this happened. I had no nerve impingement to begin with, and he does not think he ever even touched my nerve at all during the surgery.

Hopefully yours will fully resolve and you wont get left with any residual permanent damage. Mine is so slight, I dont give it much thought and a welcome trade off to how bad off I was before the surgery.

None of us like to take meds, but us veterans have learned it's important to take what is needed to stay in control of pain. And the nerve meds does not mean failure in anyway, but just a means to help those in need get through the healing process with less pain. So many get great results from the meds, they are worth trying.

Your hubby is wonderful to want to take you out and get you out of the house for awhile. I would just communicate with him as you know him best to understand what you are going through right now, and I am sure he will understand. Tell him you'll take a raincheck on that and take him up on it in a few more weeks, when you and he can enjoy that time together better.

I was back at work at 7 weeks (office job). I really should have waited to return to work at 12 weeks, or more, but I financially needed to return to the job.

Wearing that brace is no picnic and while it supports your back, it also puts alot of strain on the rest of you having to adjust to that thing being on your body. You will need to wean yourself off from wearing it when the time comes.

Walking is the best thing you can do for yourself and makes a huge help to your healing process. If you have any home exercises you were given, do them as best you can. They too will help you heal.

When PT is offered, take full advantage of it. It was my turning point to my healing and feeling normal again. I shuffled into PT at around 10-12 weeks, stiff as a board. Within a few weeks, they had me walking with a normal gate and stranding up straight again. Works wonders!

Things seems gloomy right now, but you will begin to see some noticeable improvements in the coming weeks. Take your meds.. that's why you have them. It's not a sign of weakness or failure but a tool to help you control your pain. If you hurt, you are not going to heal as well or as fast.

Hang in there.

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