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  • Neuropathy resulting from ALIF Double Spinal Fusion

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    Old 09-04-2017, 03:27 PM   #1
    nickich
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    Unhappy Neuropathy resulting from ALIF Double Spinal Fusion

    Needing help! I had ALIF Spinal Fusion from L4-S1 (2 disks) 3 months ago which caused neuropathy from my stomach/hip down to my foot/toes. I am in so much pain and it feels like the leg/foot/toes are on fire sometimes or the nerves are going crazy. The doctor prescribed gabapentin (Neurontin) 3 times a day. It dulls it a little, but the nerves still go crazy...... and if that isn't bad enough - I'm gaining wait since I started the gabapentin!!! Is there another medication that might help me with the pain that doesn't make me gain weight???

     
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    Old 09-05-2017, 07:07 AM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Neuropathy resulting from ALIF Double Spinal Fusion

    I'm so sorry to hear you have developed neuropathy since your fusion. Did you have an EMG to find the diagnosis, or is this what the spine surgeon is calling it? Were nerves damaged from the incision?

    You are still very early in recovery so perhaps the nerves will calm down in time. Am I correct that you didn't have this nerve pain prior to surgery?

    Lyrical is the only drug that is similar to gabapentin and prescribed for nerve pain. It is a newer derivative of gabapentin/neuronton. I'm not sure if it also causes weight gain. Can't remember if I had that problem with it.

    Just looked it up. It is a listed side effect for Lyrica as well.

     
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    Old 09-05-2017, 07:38 AM   #3
    nickich
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    Unhappy Re: Neuropathy resulting from ALIF Double Spinal Fusion

    teteri66: Thanks for responding! I did not have the nerve pain before surgery! Of course the surgeon is not going to tell me he was the one that damaged the nerve. He said I'm still in recovery - give it a complete year. But it hurts so bad - I can't sleep anymore. How it can be hurting so bad and still be numb is beyond me.

    What is an EMG? Not sure.

    I've taken Lyrica before for my back pain a couple of years ago, but that ended me in the ER. I was urinating bilirubin, so they told me to stop taking the Lyrica. After I stopped, I didn't have the problem anymore. Needless to say, I have to find a replacement for both of them. I think what it says about them is I'm gaining weight because it retains fluid. Maybe I should take a water pill with the gabapentin - that's what my husband suggested.

     
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    Old 09-05-2017, 04:00 PM   #4
    teteri66
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    Re: Neuropathy resulting from ALIF Double Spinal Fusion

    I know people get tired of being told it is still early in recovery...but that is a significant fact in your recovery. There are different types of nerve injury or assault that can happen with lumbar surgery. First, it is a big surgery that can end up being more like a carpentry project with the use of medical tools that look like a saw, a hammer, pliers, etc. There is little that is subtle or delicate about it. Disc spacers/cages are hammered into place, bones osteophytes are ground away, etc. and the pedicle screws look just like they came from the hardware store, even though they cost something like $1,000 a piece! I have mine from a previous surgery and they are great for a conversation starter!!

    Anyway, nerves are very fussy and very slow to heal. Often a surgeon has to tug on a nerve to free it up. I've had a twenty year relationship with one spine surgeon so I feel I am able to get more detailed information from him than most patients. I remember him telling me about a tale of two surgeries: one where the patient's nerves were very messed up, where he thought chances for a full recovery were slim to none...he had to tug on multiple nerves to free them...the patient ended up with no nerve pain. In another, the woman had a very straight forward procedure with little nerve involvement. He didn't have to touch the nerves at all. When the woman awoke from surgery, she had a drop foot. Sometimes the body just reacts in a particular way and the surgeon doesn't have much to do about it.

    Did you have a long abdominal incision? Could you have some abdominal adhesions forming? Also, when I hear the word "burning" associated with nerve pain, complex regional pain syndrome comes to mind. Sometimes it develops after a surgery. You might read about it if you aren't familiar with the topic.

    There really aren't any other medications for nerve pain. Sometimes Lyrica or gabapentin is given along with a mild anti-depressant like cymbalta. Have you discussed this with your surgeon? He may want to order a MRI to check on hardware placement, for adhesions, etc. You will need to stress to him that this is new pain and that it is intense...that it isn't just surgical pain.

    Last edited by teteri66; 09-05-2017 at 04:01 PM.

     
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