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teteri66 09-27-2011 11:34 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
Speaking from past experience, I can tell you that it is impossible to predict what will happen with your groin pain and leg numbness. But, generally speaking, while a patient is healing, it is not unusual to have nerve pain that comes and goes. Just when you think it is gone, maybe you do a new activity or do something too long...and the pain returns. It is very frustrating.

I know you don't want to hear this again, but, you are very early in your recovery. Perhaps your doctor did not warn you sufficiently that even though this is supposed to be minimally invasive surgery, it was a BIG surgery. Nerves were moved and touched and they are unhappy. It may be that the nerve itself is inflamed...or, perhaps the tissue surrounding the nerve is inflamed. In any case, it is sending off signals that your brain is interpreting as pain.

You may be different, but it would not be unusual to find that things do not settle down until around the 10-12th week post surgery. If there is nerve damage, it can take a year or more.

Was your leg numb prior to surgery? I guess I should go back and read through the whole thread...you probably mentioned this earlier....

The best advice I can give you is to be patient and take it one day at a time. Try to maintain a positive attitude, walk and rest. Sometimes people forget that getting plenty of rest is just as important as the walking.

ej1948 09-29-2011 10:07 AM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
To answer your question, No, my leg was not numb before surgery. From the incomplete information I have my doctor did XLIF thru my right side and fused L4, L5, S1 thru my back. He inserted a stabilizer and two screws. He also inserted spacers (I believe there were 4 on the right, two on each row) and the wedge from XLIF (on the left). I'm not sure it that's the reason for the eight incisions but I have one approximately 3 inches on my side, one the same size on my back at the spine, and six smaller ones (3 on each side) that are diagonal to the spine. I'm in the brace off and on because I'm having low back pain where the lowest cuts are on the left and right. I assume that's simply because everything is still healing. The groin pain has stopped again but the leg is still numb and there's a weird sensation with my knee; it keeps feeling like it wants to twist to the right. Go figure!

I'm trying to keep up the walking activity but the weather hasn't cooperated lately so I make sure I sit in a straight back chair (dining room) with arms and get up frequently. I make numerous trips thru my house so hopefully that counts a little.

Every time I get down I re-read the posted responses to my bla bla bla and I pull myself up by my toes and try to keep focusing forward. Thanks all! You have no idea how much you've done for me.

teteri66 09-29-2011 04:33 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
Those little trips through the house do count. What you're doing by walking is stretching out the spinal nerves, not trying to build up stamina or gain strength or anything like that. So keep it up. Hopefully you'll have some nice fall weather soon, and you can get outside to walk.

ej1948 10-01-2011 10:24 AM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
Was able to do 1/2 mile yesterday. Legs were like jelly afterwards but didn't have to take any pain pills. Also walked some later at the local tennis courts. May be paying for it today, however, as there's a burning sensation at 3 of my lower incisions and my right leg feels weaker than ever. My knee keeps wanting to buckle, too. Two steps forward and three steps back!

ej1948 10-16-2011 04:52 AM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
I'm back on the board with more information. I am now 8 weeks post op and no change in the numbness or weakness in my right leg. I have been researching this further and found a website that describes compression of the femoral artery. The symptoms are groin pain, numbness and tingling of the inner thigh and lower leg, feeling that the knee is going to buckle, and overall weakness of the leg. BINGO! Every symptom that I have. All of the medical articles are disheartening in that they recommend modification of daily living, changes in routine, possible job changes, and, depending on severity, filing for disability. There's also talk of surgery to relieve the nerve from compression. In every case it says studies need to be done to pinpoint the problem and to consult with your medical provider. Herein lies my problem: my surgeon is a firm believer in XLIF and brushes off my questions, concerns and complaints with a "it will just take time" response. I have a Family Practice doctor but not sure if she will want to treat this problem because it's the result of the surgeon'sprocedures. Do I go to another surgeon? Ask for a referral to someone else (Who is the question), or just continue on my current path without a clue as to when or IF this will get better. I've tried to drive and that's definitely out because my reactions are slow and it's too dangerous, yet I cannot continue to rely on my daughter and son-in-law because it's a definite scheduling problem.

Any advice, assistance, or anything else would be SO much appreciated. In the meantime I'm going to ask my FP doc to increase my depression medication because it's clearly indicated. :confused:

atgirl 11-19-2011 05:32 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
How did you herniate your discs? And where are they located? what type of pain did you have before surgery? I had surgery about 4 months ago and still am not better. I am hoping for a miracle.

teteri66 11-19-2011 06:12 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
ej--

Have you had any change in your condition? I just wanted to mention that sometimes the femoral nerve can be damaged during surgery due to positioning on the operating table. But it is usually a temporary problem and does resolve with time.

ej1948 11-20-2011 06:26 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
I'm not sure how so many discs became herniated. This was my second surgery; in 2001 I had surgery for 2 herniated discs. This time I had extreme pain down the back of both legs and knifing pains in my lower back. My area is L3-5 and S1. This time I had 8 incisions whereas in 2001 I only had one. I still have back pain if I stand or sit too long. My problem right now is in my right leg; it's weak from a nerve trapped or damaged. I'm in Physical Therapy and can tell a little difference but not much. I've only been able to drive for 3 weeks and I have to be careful to stay out of stop-and-go traffic. What area was your surgery and what problems are you still having?

ej1948 11-20-2011 06:34 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
[QUOTE=tetonteri66;4882064]ej--

Have you had any change in your condition? I just wanted to mention that sometimes the femoral nerve can be damaged during surgery due to positioning on the operating table. But it is usually a temporary problem and does resolve with time.[/QUOTE]

I've done a lot of research on the internet about the femoral nerve and I've read that if the nerve is damaged it may be permanent. That really scares me! My Family Practice doctor ordered an EMG and other studies and I had them about 3 weeks ago. She had a Neurologist look at them; he said there was so much background noise that he thought they ought to be repeated but said he wanted to see me first. He also said (according to her) that there's something "acute" at the L3-L4 level. I'm waiting on her nurse to call me with an appointment. In the meantime I've been in Physical therapy for 4 weeks and can see a little bit of improvement - but not much. I can drive now for short distances but have to avoid heavy traffic. Unfortunately, I've also fallen twice because my balance is still off.

Thank you so much for checking on me. During my darkest days you were the person that kept me going with your common-sense advice. I appreciate it so much!

teteri66 11-20-2011 07:25 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
That makes me feel good to know I was able to help someone. Thanks for mentioning it.

It will be very interesting to find out what the neurologist has noticed at L3-L4 because that would cause pain in the same general area as damage to the femoral nerve...L3 usually causes pain on the front side of the thigh.

atgirl 11-23-2011 04:03 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
[QUOTE=ej1948;4882811]I don't know if you've had an EMG before; it's not the most pleasant thing in the world but it isn't the excruciating pain that a lot of people describe - or at least not to me. And it will most likely show if there's a problem. Good luck and keep me posted.[/QUOTE]

How are you doing today? I hope good! Are you doing anything fun for thanksgiving? What medication are you on again if any? How long ago did you have your surgery?

ej1948 11-29-2011 01:02 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
[I]How are you doing today? I hope good! Are you doing anything fun for thanksgiving? What medication are you on again if any? How long ago did you have your surgery?[/I]

So sorry I didn't see this until now. I was off (the University was closed) but put up my decorations during that time. Went to my daughter's for Thanksgiving; she lives nearby and loves to cook so I bought the food and let her do her thing. I'm not taking any meds for the back problem except aspirin, Goody's powders, etc., for occasional pain. Was on Lyrica for the leg problem but couldn't tell much difference so took myself off it. I'm still in Physical Therapy once a week and have an initial appointment with a Neurologist Thursday. My family practice doc is sending me to him since the Ortho Surgeon basically ignors my leg symptoms. I see him the 14th.

teteri66 11-29-2011 03:24 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
If the neurologist doesn't have any ideas, you might look for a physiatrist. This is also called a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Their job is to get a patient back on their feet and functioning to as close to normal as possible, using all modes of treatment other than surgery. They are often good at diagnosing nerve problems and pay more attention to muscles and soft tissue than do either surgeons or neurologists.

I, and many other spineys I know have found neurologists less than helpful when it comes to making a diagnosis and figuring out what is causing nerve pain. They are good at administering certain tests and interpreting the results, but then don't really know what to do with that data that is really useful to the patient. Hopefully you'll have better luck with your neurologist. ;)

PATammiee 11-30-2011 11:24 AM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
I'm going through kinda the same thing... I'm almost three months out from surgery and I have the upper thign/groin pain when walking and now the front of my lower leg is going numb. My Doc said could be 1 of 2 things.
still a lot of swelling from surgery. It can take up to 6 months to be NORMAL. or the nerves could have fallen and became trapped and there's nothing they can do for that. a ct scan can give more info.

good luck!!

ej1948 12-01-2011 12:38 PM

Re: Groin and leg pain after back surgery
 
[QUOTE=tetonteri66;4887021]If the neurologist doesn't have any ideas, you might look for a physiatrist. This is also called a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Their job is to get a patient back on their feet and functioning to as close to normal as possible, using all modes of treatment other than surgery. They are often good at diagnosing nerve problems and pay more attention to muscles and soft tissue than do either surgeons or neurologists.

I, and many other spineys I know have found neurologists less than helpful when it comes to making a diagnosis and figuring out what is causing nerve pain. They are good at administering certain tests and interpreting the results, but then don't really know what to do with that data that is really useful to the patient. Hopefully you'll have better luck with your neurologist. ;)[/QUOTE]

I saw the Neurologist today. He said there's evidence of multiple nerve damage. While I was there he called a Phsyiatrist friend of his and described my situation, his findings, etc. The Physiatrist is going to do a thorough review of symptoms, MRI, surgical record, etc. The Neurologist said he wanted to get a second opinion and this was without me asking. He says he thinks the Psoas muscle bled out during surgery and caused damage to a muscle above it that houses or has many nerves pass thru. I asked him if something could have been done when I first mentioned the problem to the surgeon and he said if it was right after surgery and had been addressed, Yes. He found significant weakness and balance issues with my right leg and his body language indicated that it may be permanent. He's ordered another MRI but says the results may be blurred due to so much hardware in my back. If that's the case he will order a CT scan and hopefully have a better picture from both tests. Wants to see me again in 2 weeks. I told him that, as difficult as it was to hear what he said, at least I can begin to deal with it - to make modifications to my lifestyle that will minimize the problem. I can deal with what I know; I cannot deal with what I don't. We shall see where this path leads.....


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