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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


I have seen a bit about my issues on previous posts but nothing recently. I am/was an avid runner and have had a slight ache on occasion in my left lateral hip area for several years which generally gets better during a run; I've just lived with this. However about 2 weeks ago I began having much more severe pain both in that lateral hip area as well as slightly above that and a bit more medially in what I'd call the left lower back area. But most troubling of all is that I've developed severe "burning"/shooting pains along the lateral side of my left leg down my thigh and often into my calf. In addition my big toe and 2nd toe are tingling or numb. The pain is very severe at times and is the worst when I stand or walk for more than a few minutes. I also can't lie on my back which elicits the leg pain; so I've been forced to try to sleep on my side in a balled up position. Sitting is the only position which gives me any relief. Thus far I've only taken ibuprofen or tylenol with no real help. I saw a "sports medicine" family doctor specialist (in a group with a bunch of orthopedists) who did xrays and suspects I have an L5-S1 disc issue. She ordered an MRI (which I'm not sure how I'm going to do since I can't lie on my back without terrible pain) and physical therapy. I had sciatica on the other side many years ago and received spinal steroid injections which helped but this doesn't seem the same since I couldn't sit then and now I can't stand and can sit without pain.

I am hurting and very frustrated (and anxious to get running again). I am 62 years old and in otherwise in excellent health. I would greatly appeciate any comments or suggestions. Thanks
I have been negligent in continuing to update my story. I received a private message from someone asking how I was doing and that reminded me.

Well, it's been a long and unpleasant year and while I'm much better than I was at my worst...I've still got issues. To much time has gone by for me to list everything which has gone on so I'll just hit the highlights. After my last post (2nd ESI) I was pretty good for a few months but then in April I got terrible again and had a third ESI which did little. At one point I also got a SI joint injection which I initially thought helped but really didn't after a day. The ESI this 3rd time also did nothing and I went back to the Orthopedic Spine Specialist. Along the way I tried massage therapy (zero help) and acupuncture (good but only short term help). Eventually in mid July I underwent a left far lateral microdiscectomy. I expected the recovery to be easy but it wasn't/isn't. My unbearable pain down the side of my leg is mostly gone but my lower back pain is worse than it was before surgery and I have pain in my foot (burning in addition to the tingling). I just saw the surgeon yesterday because I still had so much pain (11 weeks post op) and he had me restart the gabapentin which I had weaned off and I'm scheduled for PT. I do feel somewhat better after only one day back on the gabapentin.

Again sorry for the lack of followup and for the brevity of this summary. If anyone has any specific questions/comments I get into more detail.
Hi pO506! Long time no "see"! Bummer news, im sorry that you had to go through so much! In my case i waited 4 months before surgery & it took 6-12 months before all the nerve numbness healed. You are still early post op & the nerves send very different sensations while coming back to life & your leg nerve pain was so very very severe, it could take awhile before you feel it return to normal & if the gabapentin helps in the meanwhile thats good. My back had a deep ache too, oh i can still remember. My NS gave me a piece of good advice, Imagine your recovery like you are stacking blocks. Slow & steady & it builds up, go too fast & you knock all the blocks down & now you have to start all over again. I did this sooo many times! PT really helped me gain stamina & strength back after being down for so long & helped the pain slowly but surely. My therapist wasnt one that made me hurt the next day but maybe because i was a terrible PT patient! I was really scared, had many pre conceived notions & made them call my dr for every little thing i thought was too much! Because you are an athelete im sure you will like it. What does your dr say about the burning in your foot, is it your left foot? The ESI's were uneventful as far as severe pain or numbness afterwards? What kind of timetable did the surgeon give you for a full recovery? It just takes time for the nerves to heal & patience while recovering but you will get there! Thanks for the update & let us know how you are doing & hang in there!
[QUOTE=gmak;5229695]Hi pO506! Long time no "see"! Bummer news, im sorry that you had to go through so much! In my case i waited 4 months before surgery & it took 6-12 months before all the nerve numbness healed. You are still early post op & the nerves send very different sensations while coming back to life & your leg nerve pain was so very very severe, it could take awhile before you feel it return to normal & if the gabapentin helps in the meanwhile thats good. My back had a deep ache too, oh i can still remember. My NS gave me a piece of good advice, Imagine your recovery like you are stacking blocks. Slow & steady & it builds up, go too fast & you knock all the blocks down & now you have to start all over again. I did this sooo many times! PT really helped me gain stamina & strength back after being down for so long & helped the pain slowly but surely. My therapist wasnt one that made me hurt the next day but maybe because i was a terrible PT patient! I was really scared, had many pre conceived notions & made them call my dr for every little thing i thought was too much! Because you are an athelete im sure you will like it. What does your dr say about the burning in your foot, is it your left foot? The ESI's were uneventful as far as severe pain or numbness afterwards? What kind of timetable did the surgeon give you for a full recovery? It just takes time for the nerves to heal & patience while recovering but you will get there! Thanks for the update & let us know how you are doing & hang in there![/QUOTE]

GMAK, thanks so much for your response. Even though 6-12 months is an awful long time (especially for someone like me who's used to being real active) it's encouraging to hear that there may be a time when I'll feel better. Yes the burning is in my left foot and since I've restarted and increased the gabapentin it seems to be better...mostly just pins and needles. My doctor really said nothing specific except that it's in the dermatome of L5 nerve root which is the one he cleared the impinging herniation and that the feet often take the longest time to improve. A possible confounding factor is that I have a central disc protrusion mildly pressing on S1 but he knew that and didn't think it was causing my symptoms. I also have other "stuff" related to degenerative disease and he says the surgery may have aggravated that and might take longer to settle down. He really didn't give me a timetable and I'm scheduled to see him in 3 months unless I get worse again. Thanks again GMAC>





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