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    Old 02-12-2008, 11:11 AM   #1
    mznell
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    Pain after fusion

    I'm 5 weeks out from a PLIF at L4-5 (decompression L3-5) and overall I think I'm doing pretty well.

    About two weeks ago I began having pain on the FRONT side of my thighs, totally different from the sciatic pain I had the previous 3 years. I'm basiclly just venting...but it is annoying. If I had the same pain I think I could deal with it better...but it is annoying to go through all this and end up with a brand-new series of pain in new location that is every bit as bad as the old pains and the result is the same: it is almost impossible to walk. GRRRRRR!!!

    And then the doc says "Everything looks fine...." You all know the drill.

     
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    Old 02-12-2008, 01:00 PM   #2
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    Mom,
    this is my second surgery - last one 7 weeks ago, and i have new pain too. I had never before had front leg/tigh pain, now I have it!
    Dr said that this is quiet normal at this point since it can take up to a year or even 2 for the nerves to heal. They hurt all over, many new places, but hopefully it will get better for you,for me and many-many others!!!!

    Best wishes on your recovery!

     
    Old 02-12-2008, 09:10 PM   #3
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    ((((((((HUGS)))))))))) I can feel your pain. I will be lifting you both up in prayer.

     
    Old 02-12-2008, 10:39 PM   #4
    schragie
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    Hey MM:

    Have you ever checked dermatome maps online? They show the relationship between nerves and the sensory feelings throughout your body. I checked out one for front leg/thigh pain (because I get that as well) and saw that it corresponds to L2 to L4. So, since you had decompression starting at L3, I think this could explain the new thigh pain. That doesn't mean it won't pass, but it's just a little explanation. Oh, the nerve of those nerves! Good luck with your recovery and remember to listen to your body but don't let it drive you crazy. I remember having several new pains that were so intense I kept calling my doc -- but they did pass.

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    Old 02-12-2008, 10:45 PM   #5
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    [FONT="Arial Narrow"][SIZE="3"][COLOR="DarkGreen"]I'm sorry . I'm really hoping the new pain in your thigh has somehow been brought on by surgery and will go away soon. I will be praying for you .[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

     
    Old 02-13-2008, 08:48 AM   #6
    mznell
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    Schragie ~

    I did check out the dermatome charts and was wondering about that. Did you have pain on the front of your thighs and did it go away? I had a terrible episode in the middle of the night last night that felt like my leg was in a vise and it just kept getting tighter and tighter. Nothing helped.

    The sciatic pain I had for 3 years prior to surgery would vanish the minute I sat down. This pain just continues to hurt...and sometimes hurts more when I am lying down or sitting. Now I am noticing pain in my left leg as well. If it weren't for this, I would feel pretty great!

     
    Old 02-13-2008, 07:12 PM   #7
    schragie
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    Hi MM:

    I've had pain in the fronts of my legs for years, both before and after surgery, so don't go by me. It comes on only when I'm sitting and is more a throbbing pain than a vise-like pain.

    Post-surgery, though, I had weird burning spots on my ankles that never hurt before. It hurt to even put socks on. Yes, they mostly passed after about a month or so, but I was very worried about them.

    Are you doing anything that could be causing an increase in pain, like exercising, walking a lot, driving, etc? YOu may find that you feel good and overdo it a little, which could cause a flare up for a few days.

    Feel better, dearie!

    Schragie-girl
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    Old 02-13-2008, 08:37 PM   #8
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    I get the front of the thigh pain when I lay back in bed on my back with my legs bent over two pillows and the laptop resting on my knees. Do you have problems with L4?

     
    Old 02-14-2008, 04:18 PM   #9
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    Hey All:

    Not to hog the post, but I have a bulging disc at L4-5. I guess that explains the front of thigh pain too, come to think of it, no? Also have facet osteoarthritis at that level, but I thought that was more of a back/hip pain thing. Does anyone know if that causes front of the thigh pain too?

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    Old 02-14-2008, 04:25 PM   #10
    mznell
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    My fusion was at L4-5 and I never had any pain in the front of my thighs prior to my surgery. L4 does run down the outer outside of the leg on most people. I thought the front (topside) of the thighs was relatd to L3 or even L2.

    I don't know anything about the arthritis. Sorry.

     
    Old 02-14-2008, 04:31 PM   #11
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    L1, L2, L3, and L4 run diagnol across the top of the thigh.

     
    Old 02-14-2008, 04:32 PM   #12
    schragie
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    Thanks, MM. I had the thigh pain both prior to and after and L5-S1 fusion so I keep thinking it's the disc above. I don't want to admit to myself that I have problems with the levels above (L2-L4) because they are only "minor" bulges right now. Oh, the tricks we play on ourselves!

    How is your pain today?
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    Old 02-14-2008, 09:33 PM   #13
    mznell
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    My pain in my right leg is about the same from day to day. There are a couple times each day where it feels like a vise is turning on my thigh, squeezing more and more tightly, then other times it just hurts. Sometimes it changes location a bit.

    When I complained about this at my 3 week appointment, my doc ordered x-rays and a MRI. They showed everything was in its proper place, nothing appeared amiss. He said the MRI showed a small area of "fluid" that could be blood or whatever that didn't totally drain out...and that my body would eventually reabsorb it, and that could be causing the pain. Or, the other option was the femoral nerve getting roughed up during surgery--which I think sounds more likely. Here too he assumes it will calm down and the pain will evenually go away...

    Do they ever do these surgeries where everything goes perfectly, the patient goes home, recovers, and everything is fine? No new nerve pain?? So far, I haven't heard of it happening!!

     
    Old 02-15-2008, 07:25 AM   #14
    schragie
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    Hi MM:

    I want to believe that people have fusion surgeries and everything goes swimmingly and they never suffer pain again...but realistically, I wonder whether that could ever be true. I don't mean to be a downer, and I'm confident that your pains will pass since you are only a short time out from your surgery, but one thing I've had to face for myself is that I'm not going to be 100% pain-free. That doesn't mean you can't be 80% pain-free or 90% pain-free. (Or 99% pain free? )

    In other news, and to give you some hope, I had a cervical 2-level fusion 9 years ago and my neck is doing just fine. Beyond the medical issues, so much of recovery depends on your physical fitness prior to surgery, the work you do in physical therapy after your surgery, and the modifications you make in your life going forward to take care of yourself and your back.

    Hang in there, have some patience, take your pain meds, and give yourself the space and time to recover. Use the boards as you have been to vent and share your concerns. I hope that in a few months you can do a search of your posts here and say "Wow -- look how far I've come!"

    Okay, that's my pep talk of the day! I'm doing it for you as much as I am for myself

    Schragie-girl
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    Old 02-15-2008, 07:35 AM   #15
    mznell
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    Re: Pain after fusion

    Thanks, Schragie.

    I guess we all need pep talks! I am only 5 1/2 weeks out and I am optimistic that this new pain will eventually go away. I haven't started PT yet, and won't for several weeks.

    Hope you have a good day. The sun is out here and we're not supposed to have our next foot of snow until Sunday.

     
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