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Old 05-19-2011, 08:30 AM   #1
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continued leg pain 2.5 months after spinal decompression

I had a laminotomy/disctectomy at the L4-L5 two and a half months. I had symptoms (ongoing leg pain up and down the nerve on my right leg) for about 2 years prior to surgery. Before undergoing the surgery I had 3 epidurals, physical therapy, and acupuntucture. The pain just kept returning. Since the surgery, I have had recurring pain, most likely because I overdo it as I try to return to a modified exercise program. Prior to the most recent bout I had been walking short distances, did some swimming and attempted a low-key bike ride. This most recent actiivity may have caused an increase in the pain level. I had initially been advised by my medical team that during the surgery it became evident that my nerve was very inflamed and could take up to 6 months to heal but they did not recommend physical therapy. With this new occurence of pain I can get a referral for physical therapy. Has anyone had this experience? Did the pain eventually go away and were you able to resume an active lifestyle. I am very frustrated right now and uncertain how to proceed.

 
Old 05-19-2011, 06:06 PM   #2
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Re: continued leg pain 2.5 months after spinal decompression

This is strictly conjecture on my part, but I imagine the reason the surgeon did not order PT right away is because he knew it would cause the nerve pain to flare up. Often when a nerve is compressed for a long time, it can take an equally long time for it to recover, if recovery is indeed possible.

The L4-5 area is tricky to heal in that it takes the brunt of the entire spine's motion when we move our bodies in any way. It can take a disc a good six months after discectomy to "scab over" so it may be that you are just trying to do too much too soon, and you are continually irritating the nerves that run out from that segment.

Why don't you try laying off all activity other than walking short distances several times each day for a week or so, and see if you can get the nerve to calm down?

Welcome to the board.

Last edited by teteri66; 05-19-2011 at 06:07 PM.

 
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:33 PM   #3
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Re: continued leg pain 2.5 months after spinal decompression

[QUOTE=Hadassah1;4758170]I had a laminotomy/disctectomy at the L4-L5 two and a half months. I had symptoms (ongoing leg pain up and down the nerve on my right leg) for about 2 years prior to surgery. Before undergoing the surgery I had 3 epidurals, physical therapy, and acupuntucture. The pain just kept returning. Since the surgery, I have had recurring pain, most likely because I overdo it as I try to return to a modified exercise program. Prior to the most recent bout I had been walking short distances, did some swimming and attempted a low-key bike ride. This most recent actiivity may have caused an increase in the pain level. I had initially been advised by my medical team that during the surgery it became evident that my nerve was very inflamed and could take up to 6 months to heal but they did not recommend physical therapy. With this new occurence of pain I can get a referral for physical therapy. Has anyone had this experience? Did the pain eventually go away and were you able to resume an active lifestyle. I am very frustrated right now and uncertain how to proceed.[/QUOTE]

 
Old 05-19-2011, 08:35 PM   #4
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Re: continued leg pain 2.5 months after spinal decompression

Thank you very much for your reply. I think that you are probably right and that is exactly what I am going to do. It' s just so hard because I am normally a very active person (swimming, biking, walking/hiking, pilates). But I will as you wisely recommend.

 
Old 05-20-2011, 08:40 AM   #5
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Re: continued leg pain 2.5 months after spinal decompression

Most likely, the pain kept returning because you had nerve compression. Now the surgeon has freed up that nerve, but you have to give it a chance to calm down. Nerves heal very slowly and the progress is from the spine out to the limb, so if you had numb toes, feeling in the toes would be the last thing to come back.

I don't know what type of swimming you do...but, contrary to popular belief, swimming is not necessarily a great (or even good) exercise for spineys. When swimming on the stomach, the back is in extension, which puts additional stress on the lower lumbar and sacral discs and kicking with the legs can also be aggravating.

I was only "allowed" to swim sidestroke or on my back. I'd be good for a couple laps, but then I'd "forget" and next thing I knew I'd done two laps of breast stroke...and then my sciatic pain would be inflamed for a week! When I start swimming again, in any serious way, I have been advised to learn the "total immersion" method that is used by tri-athletes. It supposedly will be much better for someone with my back issues.

I think you'll find if you ease up on your activities, and give your nerves a chance to recover, you will be happier with the results of your surgery in the end.

 
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