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Old 04-25-2012, 03:12 AM   #1
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Shooting, electric spasm after severe stenosis of the spine at L2.

hi there!

about 3 weeks ago i fractured and broke my l2, and there were bone fragments pushed into my spinal column causeing high stenosis of the nerves! from the looks of the MRI the nerve channel was reduced from the original 13 mm to only 3mm! I had an immediate operation done, and a fusion of l1-l3 was necessary as well as the sewing up of the spinal sack, which was torn along with the injury. Luckily i never lost any bodily or mobility functions, i can still move my legs and all other functions seem to be 100%, the thing is that i need to train and do my physio to regain my strenght and get back on my feet, but there are a few extreme pains which are holding me back and i was hoping that someone could shed some light on these.

pain1
when i turn my head i have these electric shocks / spasms, with every heart beat, going though my lower body below the injury. More precisely i think these pains are mostly received in my buttocks and then in my upper legs.

pain2
when i sit up i have this rush of excruciating pain shooting / spasm into my lower body (buttocks and upper legs), directly under the injury... once again it feels like the afore mentioned shocks, just way more concentrated and sudden, but only for 10 seconds or so! After the 10sec the spasms are gone and i can sit spasm free. i can avoid this pain by sitting up slowly and gradually, so that the shocks are less intense, or i can sit up quickly and push myself off the bed with my arms, completely relieving sitting pressure on my back / buttocks for around 10 sec, then i can slowly and painless sit down again.

Could you please give me an indication if this is normal, or if im developing a herniated disk from the fall, and if this pain will go away once im completely healed? Is it temporary? Somehow my doctor cannot give me a clear answer and im worried that this pain will be there forever... Sad

Thanks for your time reading this, i hope you find the time in answering to my problem.
Regards,
Steven

 
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:39 AM   #2
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Re: Shooting, electric spasm after severe stenosis of the spine at L2.

Welcome to the board. The reason your surgeon cannot give you a direct answer is because no one knows. When working with nerves, there is no one answer. Nerves are unpredictable and when damaged, healing and/or regeneration can be extremely slow.

In addition to the trauma of the fusion surgery, your spine suffered some sort of impact strong enough to cause the bone to fracture. Under the best of cases, we would be telling you that three weeks is very early in the recovery process from a fusion surgery, that recovery is a long process and requires a great deal of patience, that nerves are notoriously slow to heal and that you will have some pains, both of the old and new type as you move through your recovery.

Unfortunately, no one can tell you how soon the nerves will recover and repair. I would encourage you to take one day at a time and learn to listen to your body. There is little you can do to rush the process, and you can cause yourself additional problems by pushing and doing too much too soon, or before the body is ready. When you try to do a lot, with the thought that the more you do, the faster you will recover, you just end up setting off an inflammatory reaction. Then you have to back way off of what you were doing in order to give the inflammation a chance to dissipate...and you lose some conditioning while waiting for this to happen. This is NOT a situation where you can push harder and push your way out of it -- it will only make the situation worse.

Due to the fact that you had bone fragments in the spinal column, one can assume you had some nerve damage from the injury. Then, whenever there is a fusion surgery, nerves get irritated from the surgical process itself...so you are dealing with some seriously ticked off nerves!

Generally speaking it will take 4-6 months for the fusion to set up and for the bone cells to fill in. It takes a good 12 months for the new bone to harden and become reliably strong. You will always need to be careful with your back, but during the first year, it is particularly important to be prudent.

It is very normal to have a variety of different nerve pain symptoms after fusion. I would encourage you to try to relax and trust that you will be getting better as the days go on. If these symptoms are intolerable, you could take one of the "nerve pain" drugs such as gabapentin (Neurontin) or Lyrica.

This early in recovery the most important exercise you can do is to walk -- taking frequent, short walks rather than one long walk each day. This helps to stretch out the spinal nerves and to keep scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it is forming and filling in post surgery. Most everything else is too strenuous at this point.

Good luck and please feel free to post often with any questions, concerns or comments as you move through your recovery.

 
Old 04-25-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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Re: Shooting, electric spasm after severe stenosis of the spine at L2.

thank you so much for your speedy reply! I appreciate it alot! i will keep this post updated!

I just thought of adding another something which might ring a bell with your expertise.

I also have a dull but constant throbbing pain in or above my S1 it feels like its super angry at me. I tend to blame it on lying in bed on my back for too long but maybe you have a more insightful expalanation for me.

Another thing i forgot to mention is that i have a fractured perlvis on the right half. The doctor said it is not load bearing, but im not sure if it is a good contributer to the other pains i experience. One of which is the right upper cheek of my buttox - it goes into a constant spasm the moment i wanna go and do any tye of walking. i also cant tread on the right leg as well as i tread on the left I experience a great deal of discomfort and, once again, pain! weeheee! Will the fracture manage healing if i keep walking around?

Thats basically it... thanks again for the very elaborate reply!

regards,
Steven

 
Old 04-25-2012, 11:02 PM   #4
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Re: Shooting, electric spasm after severe stenosis of the spine at L2.

Who is overseeing your progress or recovery in general? From your use of the word "physio" I cam guessing you live in the UK....if that is the case, I don't know what the "hierarchy" or medical care might be....The problem with an accident type situation is that sometimes the most critical injury is addressed with surgery and then things like the broken pelvis are left to heal on their own.

This is worrisome as the pelvis is kind of an integral part of structural integrity when it comes to the lower lumbar spine. The pelvis forms a ring that includes the ilium which abuts the sacrum and is joined with the sacroilium joints. There are various ligaments, nerves, etc. that inter-connect. Even if the part of your pelvis that fractured is not needed for weightbearing activities, I would think it would effect the structural integrity and might cause healthy muscles, ligaments, etc. to have to work harder in order to keep you upright. This is bound to cause some imbalances and result in greater wear and tear on certain affected areas. I would think that this could result in subsequent problems such as pain, impaired mobility and even sexual dysfunction, especially if there is any nerve damage associated with the pelvic fracture.

Any time the SI joints are involved, there is the potential for pain that can be in the buttocks, hip area or groin region....there is a big, strong muscle that attaches at the sacrum and runs across the buttocks, attaching by the hip on the other side. It is used to flex the hip and is very important for walking. Also the sciatic nerve runs directly beneath the piriformus muscle so if the muscle is taut or irritated, it can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve.

When one part of the spine is injured, muscles and soft tissue work extra hard to protect the injured area. This results in over-compensation -- (like a limp, for example). It can change a person's gait, posture, structural alignment which can set up the person for even more problems.

I'm not sure what type of doctor you should see, but I think you would be wise to have someone keeping on eye on that fractured pelvis. Maybe someone like a physical therapist would be able to evaluate your situation. I don't think you should just ignore things and keep your fingers crossed and trust that it heals properly.

 
Old 04-26-2012, 02:23 AM   #5
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Re: Shooting, electric spasm after severe stenosis of the spine at L2.

Sorry for the double post.

Our internet here in Namibia, Africa aint all that peachy .

Well, i ahve been 10 days in a recovery hospital where they made me walk a bit and put me on paralell bars to do some squats, leg curls, walk, ...etc. and after that period they released me told me to do continue with my training and all will be good! The only advice given to me was - if it hurts dont do it and currently, well, everything hurts and is stiff, worse than when i was still in that recovery hospital, and i was not sure if im doing something wrong or too much!

I have taken your advice and am taking many small walks with my crutches around the house and garden and minor leg strengthening movements in bed that dont strain my back at all. When i walk i tend to lay off on the leg that hurts, so that the healing can get a chance to do its thing.

Last edited by carlogb; 04-26-2012 at 05:08 AM. Reason: Accidental double post

 
Old 04-26-2012, 05:17 AM   #6
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carlogb HB User
Re: Shooting, electric spasm after severe stenosis of the spine at L2.

One last thing please! they also told me that i can sit for around 30 min and then walk around and then sit 30 min again.

Is sitting advisable at all or does this put too much pressure on the injured areas?

 
Old 04-26-2012, 06:19 AM   #7
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carlogb HB User
Re: Shooting, electric spasm after severe stenosis of the spine at L2.

I might have found the origin of my constant lowerback pains! when you mentioned sciatic nerve - i looked it up and found Sciatica can be caused by stenosis of the lumbar spine.

We even did the a diagnostics test with a something called the Lasègue's sign, Lasègue test which has proven positive in my case.

 
Old 04-26-2012, 06:57 AM   #8
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Re: Shooting, electric spasm after severe stenosis of the spine at L2.

Surgeons (at least in the U.S.) who perform lumbar fusions usually stress that a patient should not sit longer than 15-20 minutes at the beginning of recovery. The reason for this is that sitting puts at least 30% more stress on the discs than any other position. Also, some doctors will only let their patients sit for those 15-20 minutes when having their meals (or 3 times each day). The rest of the time, they are supposed to be walking, lying down or reclining with the spine well-supported.

Also, with the state of your fractured pelvis, I think that may be more reason why you would want to limit your time spent sitting.

 
Old 05-18-2012, 02:22 PM   #9
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Re: Shooting, electric spasm after severe stenosis of the spine at L2.

I felt like updating this, since teteri66 has been so helpful in the beginning of my recovery. I also have a few question for her again. It would be nice if she could give it a tiny bit of attention.

I has been nearly 6 weeks now and all the afore mentioned pains and issues have vanished. I am getting more mobile every day, but at a very slow pace, although my left leg is still a fair bit weaker and less responsive than my right. which still puts me on crutches when i leave the house. Otherwise indoors i walk around without them.

The past week ive been trying to sit a little longer and yesterday i actually managaed spend whe whole day outside of my bed, mostly sitting and a little standing and walking. It was quite uncomfortable and i had to lean on the table all the time to releave the press ure a little. After while it got painful and I went home.

Otherwise my back feels incredibly stiff and i can barely bend (still cant bend more than 30deg.). I trust that the flexibility just above the L1 and below the L3 will return. Does it?

Im considering going to a biokinetic practitioner, is it too early for this?

I also looked up fusion reversal with a complete vertbrae and disk replacemnet, would you like to share your thoughts on this? And do you think this will become an option for me in the near future?

All the best,
Carl

 
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lumbar fusion, pain after fusion, spinal cord injury, spinal cord spasm, spinal stenosis



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