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Old 02-27-2012, 03:46 AM   #1
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Also having nerve pain return after fusion at L5-S1, anyone else?

Hi,
A bit over a year ago I had very successful surgery on my lower back reducing my pain very much enabling me to come off very large amounts of pain medication. I was very happy with the results even though I started having some tingling in my toes on the left foot. I really hoped the nerves would settle down after time but it seems to have gotten worse over the last month or two. It has really started to get me down as my life has been on hold for so long and I hoped I could go back to work eventually. The pain I do have has increased also a little and I am having to now take some tramadol and an anti-inflammatory. I might have to have the dose increased or add something if it gets worse. I really hope it improves without me having to go for more surgery.
Has anyone had to have a second surgery to release nerves etc?
Allan
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25-Nov-2010: ALIF fusion L5-S1. 9 years of Chronic lower back pain. Nearly 18 months of pain across my upper pelvis, through my butt and down my left leg into my foot. Sciatica relieved by surgery.

 
Old 02-27-2012, 05:57 AM   #2
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Re: Also having nerve pain return after fusion at L5-S1, anyone else?

Nice to see you on the board, but sorry for the reason you find yourself returning.

When the lower lumbar segments are operated on, and with a fusion, surgically altered, there are often issues that pop up with the sacroiliac joints and/or the piriformis muscle. Both of these cause symptoms that mimic the pain caused by the original symptoms for which you were operated.

Also I would suggest that some people are not fully healed at a year post surgery. And, again with the L5-S1 segment, it is so easy to cause a flare by increased activity, bending one time too many, etc. I am almost 2 years out from my fusion and I still have to monitor my activities constantly or I pay for it. In my case it usually happens when I sit too much. This causes the piriformis to tighten up which then puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, and can cause all those painful feelings associated with sciatica.

Another thing that can happen around this time is that the patient starts to become aware that they aren't making any "healing progress" any longer, and maybe are going in the other direction. Sometimes it is because the body has not completely fused and the hardware is no longer holding the joint together as completely as it was earlier. This can result in a small amount of movement between the bones which results in symptoms similar to what the patient felt prior to surgery.

Do you have a one year check-up where they will x-ray to see if things are still in place?

 
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:02 PM   #3
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Re: Also having nerve pain return after fusion at L5-S1, anyone else?

Hi tetonteri66,

I am over due to have the last visit with the surgeon but have been holding off to see how things went. The appointments are usually very quick and unless I can question him on a particular problem he shuffles me out after a couple minutes. So I have been trying to figure out what to ask him before I do go in. I might make an appointment now though as I would like to quiz him on what I can do to help this nerve issue.

I am doing a lot more than in the past including cleaning around the house as I live with my disabled niece and I do everything she can't. I cook most nights and do everything else apart from when a cleaner/carer comes once a week for a couple hours. She vacuums, mops and changes the sheets on my niece and her daughters bed. Oh I forgot to mention Liah who is my nieces 5 year old.

Anyway I do have quite a lot of time on my hands in the mornings and often I just rest but I also get lonely and wish I had more to do especially in a social environment. I haven't pushed the work thing because I am worried I could end up back where I was in so much pain and having to walk with a stick. I really don't want to have to take so much medication again. So it is very frustrating caught between being recovered or not.

I think that exercise might help if as you say the muscles are involved. I had to stop walking for a couple months as I tore my calf muscle maybe overdoing my physio. I had been walking before that for about 30-40 minutes a day. and stretching as well as doing some weights for my upper body. So I am slowly trying to get back to my walking again and I might pull out my physio exercises and start them again.

Thanks for answering my thread.
Allan
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25-Nov-2010: ALIF fusion L5-S1. 9 years of Chronic lower back pain. Nearly 18 months of pain across my upper pelvis, through my butt and down my left leg into my foot. Sciatica relieved by surgery.

 
Old 03-02-2012, 02:37 PM   #4
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Re: Also having nerve pain return after fusion at L5-S1, anyone else?

I had my fusion in 04 and by 07 I was seeing my surgeon again because of returning pain. When you return to work be careful not to overdo it. I returned to a much easier job physically and although I was off all meds for three yrs when it began it progressed rather quickly. I was back on meds within a month. Imam interested in what you think of the tramadol. It gave me such bad anxiety and brought on constant panic attacks. I had three bottles that the dr gave me and I threw them away and went without pain meds till my dr could see me and prescribe something new. What you are experiencing isn't unusual at all as I know more people who have later problems than not. I say listen to your doc and try what he suggests if you trust him. You can always get another opinion. Doing nothing will cause you nothing but pain and misery most likely. Hope all goes well for you.

 
Old 03-02-2012, 02:42 PM   #5
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Re: Also having nerve pain return after fusion at L5-S1, anyone else?

I should also say that I didn't get on these boards after surgery because I didn't want everyone else's sad stories to influence my recovery and decision making. For your future happiness and health I think you should be open to Dr's suggestions and don't make a decision because someone like me had a story to tell. I only mean to convey my experience which may not be the same as yours.

 
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