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    Old 08-20-2006, 05:17 PM   #1
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    Worried and frustrated about post op sciatica

    I've posted earlier about the return of sciatica following a laminectomy (L4-L5 for a ruptured disc at the L5-S1 level) performed 3 weeks ago. I'm getting more persistent (though fairly mild) sciatica on the opposite side of where my pre op symptoms were. Also I wake up with this horrible calf/leg stiffness (I call it "plank leg") which is increasing throughout the day. I'm also having more sciatica symptoms on my right side and some numbness in my toes that comes and goes. Have any of you experienced an increase in symptoms post op? I had thought that 3 weeks after surgery that I wouldn't feel any sciatica, numbness or that calf tightness anymore. I hope I won't have to post about this anymore. I'm just so worried that the surgery didn't work like it should have. I hope you all are having a relaxing weekend and are free of pain. Thanks, Terri

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    Old 08-20-2006, 05:41 PM   #2
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    Re: Worried and frustrated about post op sciatica

    Hey there Teri... I am 8 wks post op L4-L5 laminectomy and diskectomy and my sciatica is back, in fact it never really left and I would say it is at the same level or a little worse as pre dr is doing another MRI on Tue... so if you are having problems be sure to tell your dr... he said mine could be scar tissue or a reherniation anyway I hope to know more soon... but at three weeks you prob just need a little more time to heal... my physical therapist said he is seeing alot of post op paitents just needing a little more time for the nerves to heal... hope you feel better soon... Angelia

    Old 08-21-2006, 07:06 PM   #3
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    Re: Worried and frustrated about post op sciatica


    I did not have any post op sciatica at first and thought this surgery was a miracle. Then on the 18th day post up, bilateral nerve pain returned with a vengance. The doc said it is not unusual and that I should increase the amount of walking I was doing. Although that was the last thing I wanted to do, I did as he said and it has been diminishing since. It is not entirely gone but then I had the L4/L5 nerves impinged for 4 years as I was refusing surgery. I guess I can't expect them to heal in 9 weeks!

    It is so much better now though than at weeks 2-5 post op. Walk, walk, walk....I hate it but it works!


    Old 08-21-2006, 07:58 PM   #4
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    Re: Worried and frustrated about post op sciatica

    I'm in this boat too! I had surgery on July 10th; L4/L5 laminotomy/discectomy and L5/S1 laminotomy. For the first two or three days after surgery, my sciatica was pretty much gone (which I think had a lot to do with the great hospital/surgery drugs)... but it was only a brief reprieve. It is still bothering me more than I'd hoped for by this point, and now I have added low back pain that I didn't really have much of pre-surgery.

    My post-op follow ups are being done by my surgeon's PA. The first one was at about 2.5 weeks after surgery. We talked about the pain I'm having, and she said that at this point it was a little too early to make judgements as to whether the surgery was "successful" or not. She said that it wasn't unusual for there to be pain, especially if the nerves had been compressed for some time (mine had been a sporadic problem for years). Surgery is traumatic on the body on its own, then combined with manipulating the nerves, muscles, bony structures, etc... it may make it worse before it makes it better. I'm hoping that time will give us ALL some relief!!

    I have my second follow up this Thursday, so will be interested to see what she thinks at this point. I am scheduled to go back to work on August 30th, and frankly, right now I am a bit terrified of that prospect. I have a desk job, and pretty much sit ALL day. I'm really not sure my bod can handle that right now (even starting in with a reduced schedule, as I plan to). I can remember the pain I was in at work before surgery so vividly... and I just don't want to go back to that misery! <sigh>

    Anyway, hang in there and try not to panic just yet! I second Brenda on the walking thing too... as hard as it is to motivate with the pain, I think it really does help. Take care!

    Old 08-21-2006, 10:32 PM   #5
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    Re: Worried and frustrated about post op sciatica

    HI Terri. You just had the laminectomy and that is a very involved surgery with the nerves obviously. Your nerves are having to recover from all the work that was done around that nerve and relieving the pressure off it. The pain you are in could be just post-op pain with your nerve trying to heal. That is the worst part of any back surgery is the nerves and how they heal.. and unfortunately.. dont.

    I must say that I am not overly fond of PA's unless they are the ones that treated me in the first place. It's like playing the 2nd or 3rd string of a football team. Just not the same and the quality is with the surgeon that performed it. I would insist on seeing the surgeon Terri and ask if some tests or MRI can be done just to rule things out.

    The mind is a powerful tool, and if you KNOW it's just your nerve healing, it's much easier to tolerate than thinking that something else is going on.

    Also, are you on any nerve meds.. such as Neurontin or Lyrica? If not, that might be something for you to explore. Opiates.. dont touch nerve pain. And if you are on a nerve med.. might be time to up the dose to make you more comfy while you are healing.

    Wishing you the best and some relief to your discomfort. Hang in there. Tammy

    Old 08-22-2006, 08:23 PM   #6
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    Re: Worried and frustrated about post op sciatica

    Hi Terri-
    I think the others have covered your sciatic type pain much better than I could. Praise be, mine was mostly resolved after my lami done back in 3/05 though the fusion done at the same time failed so I am once again 9 weeks post-op and doing time in the Fun House along with you! I hand-picked my new surgeon on the basis of several criteria and one of them was that he doesn't even have a PA. I found the communications with my first surgeon became a nightmare since everything had to be filtered through a receptionist, a nurse, a PA and finally, maybe, the surgeon who could never understand why I wasn't happy since everyone else had told him I was 'doing great!'
    I email my new surgeon and take my time to describe all of my issues and concerns. He calls me back directly once he has the time and he always has given my email careful consideration. His clerical staff does call for clerical type communications. But he and I 'talk' about my recovery every week using email and the phone and I am very, very glad to have this option.
    OK - I was doing pretty well for my 1st 6 weeks. I had nerve pain but the Neurontin was covering it. I had oxy and I was remarkable comfortable... UNTIL I started PT (aqua) and started to increase my activity level. My pain isn't sciatic but it is weight-bearing and if I don't medicate and lie down - I hurt everywhere. Even my feet pound away in protest. I'm due to return to work in 3 weeks. I'm worried. I wrote into my surgeon last Friday to detail all of this for him and to ask what the plan was? Increase pain meds and keep up the PT and the activity level? Back off because I could be jeopardizing my recovery? Go jump in a lake?
    Surgeon called me personally tonight at 6:30-ish but I missed the call - outside with the dogs so I only got the message. He will call me between cases tomorrow because he wants to talk directly to me. He has questions but wants me to know he isn't overly worried that I am having this pain. And he wants me to know we will handle it together.
    The proof is at the edge of his knife but this is the level of care that I need to feel confident going forward. I wish you the best of luck and I'm sorry to say that post-op pain seems to be rather common. Suzy-Q

    Old 08-23-2006, 06:03 AM   #7
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    Re: Worried and frustrated about post op sciatica

    Hi all,

    Hey Suzy I agree with you. I go in almost every week to see my doctor with my progress. I'm presently going thru a series of test & xrays(CT & MRI's) to see what's causing left leg nerve pain & numbness post op(Surgery was 7/11). I always get to see my doctor even if I drop in just to ask a question. When I call I get a quick response as well. With this new issue I have ton's of questions as this could mean another surgery possibly. I had a 2 level fusion with cages & doctor is not sure what could be causing nerve pain in my left foot as surgery was on right side. I have to drug myself most of the time just to get thru some of the pain, especially at night. Sandi if I were you I would talk to your doctor about staying home a couple of weeks more. I am out for the full 12 weeks because I know I am not going to be able to sit handle even part time sitting at my desk. Take the time to heal it's worth it for your health.

    Old 08-23-2006, 06:31 AM   #8
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    Re: Worried and frustrated about post op sciatica

    Hi everyone-
    I am 5 weeks todayafter 360 degree surgery for L4/L5/S1 with hardware and BMP. I have had a terrible time with nerve pain. Yesterday I was describing my foot pain to the doc-it was like haveing sunburn on top of my feet-if I moved my feet it felt like the skin would burst open. My original sciatic trouble was on my right side only so thats where I have the cages-but both legs have been affected. They really move around alot of stuff in there during the surgery-I also see my doctor every week when I go in-not just the PA. He upped my neurontin from 1600 to 2400mg. My feet are so much better today!!!! I also slept for 7 hours straight without waking up once-first time in 5 weeks!!!! My husband was teasing me about being Sleeping Beauty! Don't rush your recovery. Everyday is different. Medicate what you can and wait it out. The nerves are going to calm down in their own time. I wanted to go back or work from home after 4 weeks but when the four weeks got here I said no way-not ready to work on anything but building this bionic body back up!
    Praying for your recovery!

    Old 08-23-2006, 02:10 PM   #9
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    Re: Worried and frustrated about post op sciatica

    [QUOTE=VAMPGRRL12]Hi all,

    Sandi if I were you I would talk to your doctor about staying home a couple of weeks more. I am out for the full 12 weeks because I know I am not going to be able to sit handle even part time sitting at my desk. Take the time to heal it's worth it for your health.[/QUOTE]

    thanks, VAMPGRRL! i intend to do just that at my appointment tomorrow!

    and, since i'm here, i just wanted to say that i am surprised that everyone seems to be so against seeing PAs. i actually LOVE the PA that i'm seeing. she is warm, caring, easy to talk to and extremely knowledgeable. my surgeon is all these things too, minus true warmth , but getting the info i wanted out of him was tougher. had i not know the "right" things to ask--in large part because of this awesome board!--i would have been far less prepared going into surgery than i was. my surgeon is an extremely well-qualified and brilliant surgeon (this is why i chose him, not for his social skills obviously! ha!), and i'm glad he performed my surgery... but honestly, i find the PA much easier to talk with and more forthcoming with information. i also know that the surgeon is available to me any time i choose to talk to him over her, but i actually like her "bedside manner" way better and that makes it easier to get the info i need. the PA works closely with my surgeon (has followed my case from the get-go), and all-in-all i am happy with the way my "case" is being managed.

    so, i think the bottom line is to work with whomever you are most comfortable with, and so long as you feel satisfied that you're receiving quality care all the way around, that is all that matters. JMHO!

    wishing a pain-free day for all!


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