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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


First off, hello to everyone on the board. I am a newbie so please be patient with my problem.

I worked all my life, over 28 years and last year at work I turned a certain way and injuried my L5/S1 disc. After an initial MRI, it was discovered that the L5/S1 was in a pinched position.
I was put into physical therapy for 3 weeks and then evaluated again. My pains were still fairly severe from right above my left butt cheek, down the back side of my left leg, then ending up in the area of my big toe on the left foot. My Dr. ordered a nerve conduction study test. (Hated that) It was found that my siatica nerve was basically not functioning. After also attempting 3 sets of steroid injections over a peroid of a few months, still no change. Surgery was recommended to basically scrape the disc to attempt to get the pressure off of the nerve.
I have been post op for 2 months now. The pain does not seem to be as severe as it once was, but I still get the pain behind the leg with tingling and numbness on the top of the foot, all the way to the big toe. I started aquatic therapy 2 weeks ago and things seemed to be turning for the best, but yesterday the pain picked back up a few knotches. It has been 4 1/2 months since I have picked up anything over 20 pounds. I continue wearing my support brace.
I had to leave therapy yesterday, due to pain, even after surgery, 9 weeks ago. Now I am feeling a burning pain seemingly on the skins surface just left of the surgery scar. This burn is new to me and radiates towards the hip and down towards the butt on the left side. To describe this burning feeling, its like being severely sun burned, yet the skin is not hot with fever, but it is very sensitive to the slightest touch.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks
Welcome to the board, and sorry to hear about your continued pain problems.

Did you have a microdiscectomy or fusion of L5/S1, or something else entirely?

Normally a problem with the L5/S1 disc will affect the S1 nerve which goes down the back of the leg, down into the heel, and lateral (outside) side of the foot ending at the pinky toe. An L4/L5 disc problem will usually affect the L5 nerve (next one up) which goes across the top of the foot into the big toe. Do an Internet search for dermatome charts so you can see this for yourself. It is possible for a nerve to be affected by a disc problem which is 1-2 levels away from the norm, but usually this isn't the case.

I'm therefore wondering in your situation if they did surgery at L5/S1 while the problem or an additional problem is present at L4/L5.

As far as the weird skin pain/sensations you have, it's hard to say for sure what that is. The area you're describing sounds like it could be the sacroiliac (SI) joint, but that usually causes pain deeper down in vs. on the skin.

I suggest you contact your surgeon's office and explain your continued leg pain/burning pain and get an appointment to see your surgeon ASAP. Make sure you tell the nurse how you couldn't do PT due to pain as that may help you get an appointment sooner. When you see your surgeon, be adamant that you're in pain and give specific examples of what makes your pain better or worse. It's very helpful to write/type up a 1/2 page bullet-point list explaining your symptoms and asking questions you have. This is a great way to communicate with your doctors and make sure you don't forget anything. Also, since you're probably dealing with W/C it helps your case as no one can say you didn't complain of pain that way as the paper becomes part of your medical records then. Be sure to include your name and the date on the piece of paper also.

Please stay in touch and let us know how this turns out for you. Best wishes on getting some answers and pain relief soon!





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