A little background first - - L5-S1 fusion, and 2 laminectomies between the end of 2003 and the end of 2006. An MRI in 2007 showed that all discs in the lumbar were bulging, and a discogram pinpointed the problematic one, although I don't remember now which one that was. I saw a PM doctor and after some testing was told I might be helped by either a spinal cord stimulator or a morphine pump. I decided to wait and to think on it. The pain seemed to lessen over time.
Now, 1 1/2 years later, the pain is back, beginning around late morning and increasing throughout the day. The pain is mostly in my back during the day, but some in my legs. At night, I'm awakened by pain in my legs, so intense that sometimes my groaning wakes me up first. When I get out of the bed, I can hardly move. My legs also seem to be getting weak. I can't "trust them" in some situations.
Has anyone experienced anything like this nighttime pain? It's so intense.
Thanks Sarah, although I'll have to go out and buy about 4 pillows to follow through with your suggestion. I'm living in China for a year and only have two. : ) I do sleep with one pillow between my legs with my legs flexed.
As far as not "watching" my legs, that's taking my life in my hands since I'm in China - - there are always many stairs to climb, and all kinds of things to watch out for on the sidewalks and streets. I may have to cut my stay short although it would mean cutting out on my contract - I'm teaching. I have seriously considered it because I will be going home (the U.S.) in January for a month during Chinese New Year. It would put a strain on the school, but I may have to think of myself. I really cannot imagine staying here until the middle of next July with these physical conditions.
Your description of the nighttime pain waking you and your legs feeling so weak that you can't trust them sometimes are cause for concern given your history of repeated decompressive laminectomy. During the night, your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and lowers your blood pressure, slows your breathing and allows you to 'rest and digest' but the slight drop in blood pressure might mean that blood flow around your lower back and the nerve roots in your lower back (cauda equina) is slowed and that may be triggering your back and leg pain. The nerves there need space, movement and blood (your surgery in 2003 and again in 2006 were most likely done to restore space that was lost and causing a pinching or pressure on those nerves). The weakness in your legs may be a sign that those nerves are not happy.
You really should let your doctor know what's going on.
Explainpain - - you've brought up something I've never heard of (and certainly there's lots I've never heard of) about the parasympathetic nervous system kicking in at night, etc. Yes, one of my problems has been/is stenosis, so that makes sense. I have a problem about letting my doctor know, though, because I'm in China. I am going home in January for a month, so I can do it then. Thanks for your input.
Sarahwithstars - - thanks to you, too, and God bless you! I'm certainly not to the point of needing crutches, so my problem seems small compared to yours.