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    Old 07-23-2012, 06:45 AM   #16
    teteri66
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    It is not unusual to have pain in new locations after fusion, particularly if the surgeon had to tug on a nerve to free it from compression. Also the surgeon was working on the disc, probably removed it and inserted a spacer of some type, possibly a cage. The disc is located in the middle of the spine and nerves that affect both sides of the body are located adjoining it. It is fairly easy for a nerve to get bumped, or otherwise irritated, which can result in pain in the other leg.

    Unfortunately a trip to the ER doesn't usually accomplish much. The options are somewhat limited.

    Being able to walk in a pool and then do aqua therapy involving more specific exercises with a trained therapist is very beneficial. Unless something in the hardware is causing the nerve problem, regardless of what has caused the nerve pain, it will take some time for it to clear up. People are usually able to make better progress if they can work in a pool.

     
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    Old 07-23-2012, 07:41 AM   #17
    JustSayMo
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    Hi - I had L5-S1 fusion on July 6th, and after feeling much better than anticipated the first 11 days, I started experiencing left leg pain down my entire left leg - starting at the buttocks, hip, hamstring, calf, shin and ankle. It is significantly worse at night, when trying to sleep. During the day, it tends to subside, perhaps due to me being active. I have a call into the doctor today, awaiting their feedback on what might be going on.

    I was walking very aggressively through day 11, up to 2-3 miles per day. Not sure if I did harm at that rate, but I was encouraged by my doctor to walk as much as possible.

    Will let you know what the doctor says.

     
    Old 07-23-2012, 03:43 PM   #18
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    same thing happened to me after my surgery...I had pain in my right thigh/leg...I started taking Neuorontin and that helped some but lyrica really helped and that is what I am taking now at 900/mg daily...mmy surgeon said I had a damaged nerve during the surgery and it may/ maynot ever heal,but the lyrica seems to help alot I never feel it unless I miss a dose....I hope you feel better soon!

     
    Old 07-23-2012, 05:35 PM   #19
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    Hey Purple Girl,

    I've been having left leg pain that started about day 11 post op (L5-S1 Fusion). I spoke to the surgeon's office today, they want me to get a CAT Scan this week to determine what is causing the pain. They said some tingling sensation is to be expected, but not the aching pain I've been experiencing in the full length of the leg. It seems like it is worst at night when I try to sleep and in the morning, but generally gets better as I move around during the day.

     
    Old 07-23-2012, 06:17 PM   #20
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    [QUOTE=JustSayMo;5025960]Hey Purple Girl,

    I've been having left leg pain that started about day 11 post op (L5-S1 Fusion). I spoke to the surgeon's office today, they want me to get a CAT Scan this week to determine what is causing the pain. They said some tingling sensation is to be expected, but not the aching pain I've been experiencing in the full length of the leg. It seems like it is worst at night when I try to sleep and in the morning, but generally gets better as I move around during the day.[/QUOTE]


    Omg i just went today for the ct scan and tomorrow to the dr for results. So weird!!! I will pray for us all here that it is just the nerves aggravated from surgery and will subside. please keep me posted and feel better!!!!

     
    Old 07-23-2012, 10:11 PM   #21
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    JustSayMo ~ I hope you told the surgeon how much you were walking during the first week after surgery. That alone should explain the leg pain.

    How far were you walking on a regular basis prior to surgery?

    Doctors really need to be more detailed in their instructions. They really do their patients a disservice when they say walk as far as you can. They don't realize they have some patients who will take them literally when they say "walk as much as possible.... " The result is a bunch of seriously annoyed spinal nerves and then the patient spends weeks trying to get them to calm back down. This much walking causes inflammation, irritation of the piriformis muscle, which in turn irritates the sciatic nerve...and so it goes.

    What most surgeons also usually neglect to tell their patients the point of walking in the beginning. It is not for aerobic exercise! The reason walking is important is because it stretches out the spinal nerves better than any other exercise. This is important because it keeps scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it grows and fills in. It is important to take many short walks during the course of 24 hours. Distance and speed are not at all important at this point in recovery. One should be walking on a flat, smooth surface, no inclines.

    Keep in mind that it is much easier to keep from causing a nerve flare than it is to calm it back down once it has occurred. Another thing surgeons love to say is "If it hurts, don't do it." This advice is meaningless. You only find out it was "too much" after you have done it and are now suffering as a result.

    I think you'll find that your scan will be fine. It is fairly normal to have some residual pain after fusion. Fusion is an assault on the body. If you ever talk to someone who is awake in the operating room,(in other words, someone watching or participating in the surgery, not the patient) they will tell you how much force is involved in wedging the cage in between the vertebrae, drilling the bone, sawing the bone where necessary, etc.

    It is often necessary to tug on a nerve in order to free it up. If a nerve has been compressed for some time, it can take a long time for it to recover. I'm talking months, even a year or longer. I am two years out from my last fusion and the nerves in my feet are still changing....some surgeons will tell you the nerve will only heal for a year. If it isn't regenerated by then, the damage will be permanent. I personally do not believe that because of my personal experience.

    Good luck with your scan. And, try to take it a bit easier with your walking. Remember that rest is every bit as important to your recovery.

     
    Old 07-30-2012, 04:17 AM   #22
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    Hi guys,

    I am in the UK and had L4/5 TLIF on May 9th this year after damaging a disc coughing. I walked into hospital that morning perfectly normally, an aching back my only symptom.

    On waking from the op, I had the same shooting pains described by many in my groin and thigh in my right leg. Over the last couple of months the shooting type pain has stopped, however I am in constant pain, a really constant ache, in right buttock, hip, groin and right down my leg to ankle. Worse during the night and first thing on a morning. I have to use sticks to walk and have a constant limp.

    I have done as requested and walked as often as possible, not massive distances but sufficient to keep the nerves stretching, and find that even after small walks, the limp I have becomes more pronounced and I get extremely tired.

    I have had a CT scan which showed a cortical breach on one side, however doctors say its the opposite side to pain so not the cause and its only minimal breach. I have also had a MRI scan and according to doctors, fusion has worked well and surgery was a complete success, and say they do not know what the pain I have is.

    I feel like they seem to think its an imaginary pain and shouldnt be there, as it has nothing to do with surgery, but I am reading so many similar stories online, now that I am checking online, that it HAS to be something to do with the surgery, and cannot be a huge coincidence that it began on May 9th.

     
    Old 07-30-2012, 05:43 AM   #23
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    Thank you for your feedback. You are correct, the doctor was not very clear in his instructions on walking. He did literally say - walking is the best thing you can do in your recovery; the more the better. There was no discussion of distance, frequency, etc. If he did say it, then I clearly missed it. Anyway, I have a follow up this week with the doctor to review the CT scan results. I'll use this opportunity to discuss he walking regiment with him.

    Thanks again for your input.

     
    Old 07-30-2012, 06:40 AM   #24
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    justSayMo ~ Don't be too surprised if the surgeon just tells you to walk as much as possible. My experience after having seen a number of spine surgeons is that they mainly know about the surgical experience as it relates to what they are doing. They aren't much interested in muscles, soft tissue, the fascia, or topics like movement, posture, mechanics, etc. For a long time, up until fairly recently, they didn't even think issues with the sacroiliac joints had anything to do with back pain. It wasn't a part of their "domain." Don't be surprised if your surgeon just tells you that you should be walking as much as possible. He is speaking from his perspective.

    Yes, if every patient responded optimally, he should walk as much as possible. But if the patient is having nerve pain, this is not the best advice. If you talk with someone who works with movement issues, trains endurance athletes, or a really top-notch physical therapist, you soon realize that surgeons are just about the last person that's good at giving advice on how to go about preparing the whole body for movement.

    Another issue is that most surgeons do not like to go into much description about the surgery itself. I had an interesting experience with my last fusion. The surgeon definitely downplayed what he found when he opened me up. When I began PT several months later, I was able to learn in much more detail exactly what had been wrong and what measures the surgeon had to take to correct the problems and resolve my pain issues. My Pt has worked with my surgeon exclusively for 18 years. He also teaches at the university level in the Physical Therapy department. He had two students interning with him -- our first days were all at the same time...so they were around the whole time I was undergoing my therapy. We all became very comfortable with one another, and because he knew how interested I was in learning everything I possible could about my "issues," he never hesitated to say something about my surgery to the students, in front of me. I must say, some of it was shocking...but you do quickly learn that spine surgery is a traumatic assault on the body. It is a high-class carpentry project involving the same tools that are used by carpenters -- hammers, saws and drills. You get a feel for how much brute force it can take to wedge a cage into a small space, and how hard they have to work to cut out scar tissue that may be binding a nerve, or how hard they tug to free up nerves. I came away thinking it is a wonder that any spinal procedure turns out well!!

    Please let us know what you learn at your appointment! Hope it goes well.

     
    Old 07-30-2012, 07:18 AM   #25
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    Flickboroboy ~

    Welcome to the board. I would love to know a bit more about the need for surgery. Had you been under care for back problems for a long time? It is not too often that a herniated lumbar disc is considered a medical emergency requiring surgery immediately. And I know that they don't rush into surgery in the UK, so I am surprised you had a fusion

    Often the reason for continuing pain after surgery is due to the fact that the "pain generator" was not identified properly and the surgery was not done on the right level, or the surgery did not include enough levels...

    It is true that there is often residual nerve pain post surgery, particularly if a nerve has been compressed for a long time. Also just in the surgical process, sometimes a nerve has to be tugged in order to free it up. Nerves are very susceptible to irritation and are easily irritated.

    In the US spine patients are told that even if a patient shows bone growth early, it takes a year for the fusion to be completed...and for the bone to set up hard and strong. Prior to that time a surgery would not be considered a success or a failure.

     
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    Old 07-30-2012, 07:50 AM   #26
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    [QUOTE=purplegirl1;5024088]Had 1 level lumbar fusion july 11. Having very bad left leg pain since that wasn't there before. ???[/QUOTE]
    Hi my name is Mercy. It has been 5 weeks since my Lumbar fusion, and I too have leg pain and nerve pain in the right leg that I never had before. What I have learned is that from the intense manipulation of the spine during surgery has inflamed other areas of my right leg. The good news is that the pain has decreased with exercise, walking and stretching. After much research and on line reading I am convinced that it will get much better with time. Don't give up. I do still take a lot of pain medication, but I can now walk which I could not do before surgery. Be very careful and rest frequently.

    Last edited by Mercy6; 07-30-2012 at 07:53 AM. Reason: spelling

     
    Old 07-30-2012, 08:00 AM   #27
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    Hi Mercy - thanks for your input and words of encouragement. I'm 3.5 weeks post surgery, and I am encouraged that after several days of intense pain, the left leg pain does seem to be slowly diminishing. It started out with the entire leg, from button, hamstring, all the way down to ankle. The upper leg is feeling better, with the pain mostly in my calf and ankle.

    I am continuing to walk daily, although haven't been stretching as I'm concerned about putting strain on my lower back. I'll stay the course, and let everyone know how it progresses.

     
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    Old 07-30-2012, 08:01 AM   #28
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    Hi Mercy - thanks for your input and words of encouragement. I'm 3.5 weeks post surgery, and I am encouraged that after several days of intense pain, the left leg pain does seem to be slowly diminishing. It started out with the entire leg, from button, hamstring, all the way down to ankle. The upper leg is feeling better, with the pain mostly in my calf and ankle.

    I am continuing to walk daily, although haven't been stretching as I'm concerned about putting strain on my lower back. I'll stay the course, and let everyone know how it progresses.

     
    Old 07-30-2012, 08:13 AM   #29
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    [QUOTE=Mercy6;5030319]Hi my name is Mercy. It has been 5 weeks since my Lumbar fusion, and I too have leg pain and nerve pain in the right leg that I never had before. What I have learned is that from the intense manipulation of the spine during surgery has inflamed other areas of my right leg. The good news is that the pain has decreased with exercise, walking and stretching. After much research and on line reading I am convinced that it will get much better with time. Don't give up. I do still take a lot of pain medication, but I can now walk which I could not do before surgery. Be very careful and rest frequently.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks but I ended up needing a revision of the surgery where the dr freed up some stenosis etc that. He also needed to fix the hardware as 1 of the screws was not through my bone. So if ur not sure about ur pain then make sure b/c my left leg pain was not normal

     
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    Old 07-30-2012, 05:37 PM   #30
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    Re: leg pain after lumbar fusion??

    Doing my nightly reading on the boards. I have been asking some questions about new pain after surgery. Had laminectomy @ L4/5 five weeks ago tomorrow. Having terrible pain,numbness etc in left leg--all new! Dr gave me Prednisone pack last Tuesday. Also on Neurontin,Norcos and sometimes trying a muscle relaxer. Told me to take it easy and see if Pred. worked. Today I decided to see what I could do and push it a little. Went to 25 yard lap pool and "power walked" for 30 minutes. Then into gym and did 4 very very lite sets of pull downs,rows,seated bench and couple others. Feel better tonight than I have since surgery!! Been icing 20 min per hour. Prednisone is gone so we'll see what tomorrow brings. I am just so damn sick of feeling sick!! Got couple of other maladies to deal with as well. Signed up for PT for Thursday. It is at same Ortho practice as my OS so at least they may be able to have some communication with my surgeon. Good luck!

     
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