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PCORREA 03-09-2013 05:51 PM

L5S1 post surgery
 
Hello,
Anyone with feeling calf pain after surgery?
I'm female, 31 years old and had a L5,S1 4 weeks ago.
It all started with a very bad sciatica on the left leg and foot. I could not walk, stand or seat for not even 3 minutes. Lying down on bad for 9 weeks until I decided to do the surgery. Tried Epidural injection, which did not work at all, tried spinal decompression, but stopped in the middle to do the surgery.

Pos Surgery was EXTREMELY painful, the first 48 hours I was in extreme pain and extreme weak.
As recommended, I started walking after the second day, but 5 minutes was too much.
Started increasing the time of the walk a little bit everyday and today, after 4 weeks I am walking 1 hour a day. Still with no BLT - bending, lifting, twisting, but overall I'm feeling good.
The only thing that I'm complaining, and wanted to ask if anyone had this, I'm having kind of cramps on my left calf during the night and I am waking up every day with my left calf extremely tight. It looses up after a while, but it is umconfortable.

I'm having my 6 week pos surgery check up in 2 weeks, and I will check with my doctor.
But as I said, overall I"m great, came back to work within 2 weeks, going to church, going out to eat.
Driving is the most difficult thing for now.

workinmom572 03-09-2013 07:17 PM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
I sure did, still do but not as badly Now and I am 7 months post op. I take 900mg Nuerontin at bedtime and it takes care of it so I can sleep well.
Congrads on being well otherwise so soon!

nora01 03-09-2013 08:16 PM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
I still get leg cramps only on left side which is same one that had nerve & numbness before surgery 1 year ago. Still also have partial numbness also. Gentle stretching & walking help. I also make sure I get enough potassium & magnesium. Take it slow & try not to over do it.

gmak 03-10-2013 08:44 AM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
Hi pcorrea, I had four lum surgs @ L4-5,L5-S1 years ago & yes i can remember everything! You are walking 1 hour a day total, like six 10 minute walks, correct? According to my NS it was frequent, short walks that were desired for me not an hour long daily walk. If this IS what you are doing it could explain the calf pain & the nightly calf cramping, depending on how long you were down & immobilized with pain prior to surgery. But,of course, you have the best idea to ask your surgeon exactly what he wants you to do re: activity. My NS had a tip that i will pass on thats left an indelible mark on me, He said that when in post op recovery, it is like a child stacking blocks, going slow, steady placing each improvement like a block on top of block stack is successful, but do too much, overdo, go too fast & blocks fall, tumble down & now you have to start recovery over from beginning! Its so early, 4 weeks, be kind to yourself & move from bed to strolling down short driveway, sit or standing no longer than in 10-15 minute intervals, walk around den then back to bed or recliner but make sure to rest a great deal because your body has been through so much, according to what my dr told me. Lyrica or neurontin are great adjunct treatment for neuropathy at least it is for me. Take good care & please let us hear from you! God bless you pcorrea!

teteri66 03-10-2013 09:02 AM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
If you are doing all your walking in one jaunt, it may be that you are doing too much. You may be irritating the nerve by the duration of the walk. The purpose of walking in the period immediately post surgery is to stretch out the spinal nerves. This helps to keep scar tissue from attaching to the spinal nerves as it forms and fills in post surgery. This is best accomplished by taking frequent short walks during the course of the day.

You are still very early in recovery. You are very lucky if you have almost no pain at this point. I would urge you to use caution because once the nerve or nerves are irritated, it can be very difficult to get it to calm down again. Once any inflammation gets going, it is difficult to get it down again. Remember that even though bone growth may start early, it takes a good twelve months for the bone to "cure" and set up to the point it is hard and durable.

The first six months are the most crucial in terms of the ultimate success of the fusion....Just try to keep that in mind as you plan your activities, job, family obligations, etc. and don't allow yourself to do too much, even if you feel terrific. It takes energy to grow new bone cells...so rest is an important component of recovery.

workinmom572 03-12-2013 12:24 PM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
Exactly as Teteri66 said. My pt even told me at 5 months to only do walking at two intervals of 10-15 minutes, not all at once. I still struggle as at where I am now, walking feels really good, I want to walk so much, but I take care not to over due it, even forced myself to get a wheelchair at the airport recently.

I have read about so many others rushing back to work, life, etc. and they have so many complaints and are not as happy as they may have had a chance at being if they had taken recovery much more slower. I myself, having recently crossed the 6 month post op point can see now how much I have improved and how hard and at times negative I was as my body was not moving as fast as I thought it should, but looking back, if I could encourage EVERYONE to slow down and give it a full year I would.
As GMAK above stated, I LOVE her dr.'s description of blocks for this. I could never word it better myself now that I have lived it.

Hang in there, stay positive, and be thankful every day for every movement you can do without horrible pain. Find joy in the tiniest things like rolling over in bed, etc. I promise it will get better in time.
((HUGS))

PCORREA 03-12-2013 03:35 PM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
Hi everyone!
thank you so much for all the replies! It really helps to know that I'm not an alien!

Jokes aside, I have been patient and trying not to overdue, what is hard sometimes is that our body is used to certain movements since we started to walk, and out of the sudden, you can't do them anymore, and it takes time for your brain to process. Talking about the no bending, lifting or twisting.

I did not do the fusion, my surgery was the laminectomy. Strangely, now reading all of your posts, my doctor told me before I decided to do the surg, right after, and before I left the hospital, that I should start with a 5 min walking, several times a day, then gradually increase the time slowly, as long as I was feeling comfortable doing so.

So no, I feel really bad writing here that yes, I am walking 1 hour straight !!
During the day, I do short walks around the office, then when I come home I walk for 1 hour..... now I'm afraid :(
Will double check with him!!!

I only felt the cramp once, during the night, but I continue to feel the "threat" of the cramp, meaning that sometimes I really think it will come, but thankfully it goes away. But the soreness or tightness of my left calf (which is the side of the surgery) is very frequent. Even when I lie down on my bed for a little while, when I get up, I feel it every single time!!

I will keep in touch and THANK YOU SOOO MUCH for all the responses, it meant a lot to me!!!

May God bless you all and may your recoveries be with less pain possible!!!

PCORREA 03-12-2013 03:49 PM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
Oh, and just to mention that although I am walking 1 hour, I'm not walking fast or increasing my distance.

Small, slow steps only :)

gmak 03-12-2013 04:08 PM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
Dear pcorrea, I had L4-5, L5-S1 laminectomies & in my opinion & from what i learned from my NS, when your dr said "as long as your comfortable doing so" meant if it doesnt cause discomfort, as in making the muscles or the nerve in the leg on the side of your previous nerve compression become irritated, on the calf is exactly where the L5 nerve root is, if looking at a dermatome map that shows which spinal nerves innervate which parts of the body. A dermatome map is interesting to me to look at anyway after having back surgery. Once a nerve becomes irritated it can be quite difficult to get it to calm down again or if it just feels "funny" like twinges this is what it felt like to me when the nerve was healing after being decompressed & i was told by my NS that the twinges were normal & by no means were painful though. I think it is good that you are checking with the surgeon just to make certain that post op guidelines are clear so that then alot easier to follow but i wouldnt wait til 6 week check up, if its uncomfortable now I would want to know now & especially if i was doing so well i wouldnt want to risk messing up something that very few attain so quickly!

chris134711 03-14-2013 10:53 AM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
[QUOTE=PCORREA;5144463]Hello,
Anyone with feeling calf pain after surgery?
I'm female, 31 years old and had a L5,S1 4 weeks ago.
It all started with a very bad sciatica on the left leg and foot. I could not walk, stand or seat for not even 3 minutes. Lying down on bad for 9 weeks until I decided to do the surgery. Tried Epidural injection, which did not work at all, tried spinal decompression, but stopped in the middle to do the surgery.

Pos Surgery was EXTREMELY painful, the first 48 hours I was in extreme pain and extreme weak.
As recommended, I started walking after the second day, but 5 minutes was too much.
Started increasing the time of the walk a little bit everyday and today, after 4 weeks I am walking 1 hour a day. Still with no BLT - bending, lifting, twisting, but overall I'm feeling good.
The only thing that I'm complaining, and wanted to ask if anyone had this, I'm having kind of cramps on my left calf during the night and I am waking up every day with my left calf extremely tight. It looses up after a while, but it is umconfortable.

I'm having my 6 week pos surgery check up in 2 weeks, and I will check with my doctor.
But as I said, overall I"m great, came back to work within 2 weeks, going to church, going out to eat.
Driving is the most difficult thing for now.[/QUOTE]

You may want to rule out a blood clot in that calf, they call it a DVT (deep venous thrombosis), and can be very serious. Go see your doctor.

PCORREA 03-21-2013 05:43 PM

Re: L5S1 post surgery
 
Hi everyone again!
Well, I went to the doctor on Wednesday, and everything is going as expected.
Thank God is not a blood clot or anything, just the nerve and muscle acting up a bit, which is normal and will go away eventually.

He told me that walking 1 hour a day (straight, not 6 times of 10 min) is fine, as long as I'm not pushing myself.
He told me to continue avoiding bending, lifting, twisting for another 2 months.

Hope everyboddy is having a great recovery


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