Text Size: A A A
SpineUniverse Community Advice
Get help and share your story with others who know what you're going through.
Please register or log in to join the discussions!

Sciatic pain after spinal fusion

From: lisap7 - on 02/19/2010 9:28pm

I had spinal fusion-L3-S1-with instrumentation the end of September '09. According to my xrays, I have good bone growth,which is great. From the day of my surgery to the first of the year, I had ZERO sciatic pain. Then the first of the year I started with the pain again. At first it was just in my lower back-it has progressed to pain down the leg to the foot,leg weakness and the beginning of drop foot. My surgeons comment when I told him about the pain was "Your spine is fused-that wouldn"t cause the pain" My PCP sent me for a CT scan that showed bone spurring L5-S1. According to my surgeon the spurring is not causing the sciatica. He is ending me for an EMG next week to see if I have permanent nerve damage.
I have been fighting the back pain for about 10+ years. I tried epidural injections,TENS, PT,traction, bed rest and now finally surgery. The only good thing about the surgery is that I have been able to go from Oxycontin and Percs to 7.5 vicodin-but I am tired of being on the drugs-PERIOD!!
I thought the surgery was going to help fix the problem and in a way it has made it a little better-but the pain that I have now is like it was BEFORE the surgery,so did the surgery really 'fix' anything?

Do you find this discussion helpful?
2

43 Responses

Like/Dislike
0
on 02/22/2010 10:00pm

Im going thouh the same thing.I hope you and i get better. if here of any thing.I will tell you.

Like/Dislike
0
on 02/26/2010 9:10am

Now I am waiting for my surgeon to cal me...the Dr. that performed the EMG told me that I have muscle weakness in my lower left leg as well as nerve 'irritation' L5-S1. At least I know that there is a REASON for the pain...now, what can be done about it?!?
I am to the point of needing a cane(again) if I am going to be walking alot-like at the mall or such. As well as not being able to bend to pull on socks or reach my feet(yet again). These were things that I wasn't able to do BEFORE the surgery and I had gotten to the point where I COULD reach my feet AFTER the surgery. Man this is sooooo depressing!!

Like/Dislike
0
on 02/28/2010 11:35pm

my heart goes out to you with so much pain. I am in the same boat after 4 major back surgeries and after all the things I have tried I go to a pain specialist now and have a interthecal pain pump and have to have injections in my deep lower back. I fogot right now what it is called but will look it up and get back to you. After this last injection I am pain free now for a month..time will tell. Seems whatever I try after a couple of months ole sciatic comes around again. I am getting older now and it seems worse. Hope you feel better...

Like/Dislike
0
on 03/18/2010 7:17am

I am currently taking 10mg Norco(Vicodin) 4X a day-plus 1 more if it is a really bad day. Plus 2400mg Neurontin and 4500mg Robaxin(muscle relaxer) a day...with mostly positive affect. I have noticed that I have a walnut size firm lump at the base of my spine. Could this be scar tissue from the surgery? I am going to my dr the end of the week...see what she thinks would be my next step.

I just know that I CAN NOT continue with the way things are. I don't know from day to day if I am going to be able to walk, let alone go back to work(i am a nurse). Right now I am so frustrated I could spit nails! I am 6 months post op and it seems that I am almost back to the same condition I was in before I had the surgery.

Like/Dislike
1
on 04/22/2010 3:34pm

I totally understand what you are going through. I had instrumented spinal fusion surgery, L5-S1 in December 2009. I expected to be back to work March 8th 2010. I am still out of work, and still in pain. I take a perc and a valium when I go to bed, and I take a perc and a half a valium prior to getting out of bed in the morning. I also take Neurontin (1800mg/dar). My fusion surgery went well, and my first recheck in February was a success, well, until the surgeon called 3 days later to tell me that the rods were disconnected at S1, and to stay in the brace for another 2 months! I have just had another CT and the bone is setting up well, and the doc says to start weaning myself from the brace. But I still have pain, and have had two cortisone injections at L5 nerve root, with no relief. The doctor then ordered an MRI, and has confirmed that I have a herniated disc. How the heck could I have herniated a disc when I haven't been doing ANYTHING! I was in tears when I read your posting, because I felt all alone out here and was beginning to think it's all been in my head! I'm an Engineer, and I work on my feet on concrete floors most of the day, so, getting back to work is a problem, but if I don't go back soon, the job that I am supposed to move into, will be filled by someone else. I did all this surgery to get rid of the pain, and I'm in pain still, and I am taking more meds than before surgery!! I am really open to any suggestions!

Like/Dislike
0
on 05/13/2010 8:40pm

Hi Folks how is it going? Like you I am still in horrible sciatic pain and back pain. I like you guys are discusted with it all. Today my husband told me I need to get rid of all those pills and we could save some money that way. This hurt me so much. It seems no one understands when I have to cancel a program or church. It seems they think oh yeah; I have had back pain to. This sciatic pain really gets me down. Ineed support from folks just like me ..thanks, Pat

Like/Dislike
0
on 05/13/2010 9:47pm

I'm 49 years old I had fusion at L4-L5 for the last year and half I've walked arround with a large freezer bag of pills the pain clinic sent me to there shrink I passed his test I passed there drug tests still I hurt I go to work everyday I am a mechanic for a small city outside Detroit i'm making it weekend to weekend I sleep them away so i can go to work on Monday I live on Roxicodone N-saids prilosic and diazapaim I can hardly walk some days. Doc says S1 L5 are narrowed on the right nerv and spurs have formed on the left nerv Ihad about 20 blocks at the pain clinic seems they just dont know what to do for me I feel like I run out of answers
John

Like/Dislike
1
on 05/14/2010 12:55pm

Hi All,
I just had to comment on all this. It is really great to have a place like this that you can talk to others who have similar problems.
About 8 years ago I had a lumbar puncture that went horribly wrong and now have nerve damage along with moderate arthritis in L3,4,5 and S1 and I am only 44 yrs old. I became a nurse 7 years ago and for the past 1 1/2 have not been able to work due to the severe pain I am in. For years my primary care told me it was impossible to have pain from this procedure. I finally switched primary cares and now have a dr who believes everything. He started me on Morphine ER daily and Hypdromorphone for breakthrough pain. He just sent me to a pain clinic that gave me a medical facet block a little over a week ago and the pain is unbearable. They told me it could take up to 2 weeks for it to help but I am getting discouraged. This clinic does not believe in Narcotic pain medication but because my primary gives it to me they have not said anything.

Pat, I feel for you. My husband recently told me to just flush all my meds (I am also on heart medications and headache medications) and that would solve everything. It does make you feel terrible that at time they are not supportive. If you ever need to vent I am here.
Kim

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/07/2010 1:59pm

hi,

i am having the same problem, about 5 yrs ago i had a disc herniation surgery that left me in bed for 8 months and by that time i was a college student i had to drop out of college for a whole semester. after that surgery i was 100% better. but a year after later the pain started again on my left side, first one was on my right side. the pain ran from my lower back to my calf i endured it for years until it got to the point i had to take a medical leave from work ( i was able to finish college and get a job since the pain wasnt THAT bad). about 11 days ago i went through a spine fusion surgery i had degenerative disc decease but nothing was pinching my sciatica but my spine was unstable from the first procedure. right after surgery i ghoht my pain was gone but now, today, my sciatica pain is in full swing on top of the surgery pain. My surgeon said that if the surgery doesnt fix my sciatica pain he he going to look into other things because its not my spine. i have been lucky he is a good DR.

i think this is a good place because we can help each other figure out why the pain if the sciatica is not pinched.

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/07/2010 4:08pm

Folks,
I just wanted to share with you all, my current status. I had a second surgery on May 13th and to date, I am pain free. My earlier fusion 12/1/09 had problems. The rods were disconnected, then my L5 disk herniated. The Doc opened me back up, replaced the screw heads, removed the herniation (and watched the nerve return to it's position) put in new, longer, prebent rods and found out that one side of the original fusion was NOT fusing. He added more Bone Matrix and catalyst to that side to firm it up. The plan is to do a CT around 6/18 and then discuss back to work and PT. It's an amazing feeling to be rid of the debillitating pain!

I also wanted to share some stuff I learned during this whole ordeal (to date). CT's and X-Rays are for Bone problems. MRI's also give soft tissue (disk) information. Going from a slight bulge to a significant increase on the Radiologist report, probably means a disk herniation. My Doc had been requesting CT's as he was concerned that the fusion had fractured. It took an additional MRI to find out about the disk.

I hope and pray that things continue to improve for me. I also pray for all of you to be pain free. At this time, I am still on, 1800 mg of Neurontin per day, and one 5/325 percoset in the morning and one at night. I take one 75mg Arthrotec in the afternoon to help with the rest of my Arthritis pains! I hope to Kick the Perc habit by the end of this week or next week.

I wish you all good spinal health and I will stay tuned!
Regards,
Kelley

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/07/2010 4:44pm

Does anyone have this system? I want to sleep all the time? Today I slept until noon. Seems when I get up I have sciatic pain on the right side. I am trying to lose weight and have lost 10 pounds. Sometimes when I am in such pain I feel like crying and give up. My pain specialist is hesitiant to give me relief with nerve root. I am so sick of the yo yo of my life. I take percot but hate to take them because they make me sleepy. Help..

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/07/2010 7:17pm

pgray43

i do have it it disorients me and do you feel like numbness in your head? for me i know its the percoset.i hate it so much. the pain from surgery goes away but my nerve pain is still there i cant wait for my apointment on thursday.

Like/Dislike
1
on 06/07/2010 9:25pm

Wow, sounds like you have been through so much. I am about to forget begging my doctor's assist to give me another epedural series. It only lasts me about 2 months at the most. Seems like everone is in a pain situation without much help. I am on a pain pump too and it dont help either. The epadural is the only thing that helps at all. I wish there were some hope for me out there. I tried to walk some tonight and did all right which is better than the norm. I hate living like this. My daughter keeps telling me it is up to me to get better and I agree to it to some of the times but when you are in desperate pain there is no way. My other daughter is buying me a Wi and I am so excited. I used my daughters Wi and really felt it could work for me. I have lost 9 pounds so far; and need to lose 52 more. I am hoping with the excersise and weight loss I will feel so much better..Time will tell....Check in with me when you can....

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/07/2010 10:15pm

the more you read, the more I wished I never had my last surgery. I had a failed L2 - L5 fusion. The 3 Cages that replaced my disk also failed. This was in April 2004. I've had worse pain now then before the surgery. Pain that is unbearable from the lower back to the legs to the feet. Doc's here don''t know what to do with me. I moved since the surgery, and here where I live, there is no doctors that are wiling to touch me. I flew over to Seattle and the neuro told me that I needed a redue fusion but didn't want to do it because he could guarentee that much relief.
Question: I've had severe pain in the hamstrings since February. Like a cramp that won't go away. It tightens and tightens like a rubber band. Pain med's don';t help. Is this cause by sciatic nerve pain??

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/07/2010 10:15pm

the more you read, the more I wished I never had my last surgery. I had a failed L2 - L5 fusion. The 3 Cages that replaced my disk also failed. This was in April 2004. I've had worse pain now then before the surgery. Pain that is unbearable from the lower back to the legs to the feet. Doc's here don''t know what to do with me. I moved since the surgery, and here where I live, there is no doctors that are wiling to touch me. I flew over to Seattle and the neuro told me that I needed a redue fusion but didn't want to do it because he could guarentee that much relief.
Question: I've had severe pain in the hamstrings since February. Like a cramp that won't go away. It tightens and tightens like a rubber band. Pain med's don';t help. Is this cause by sciatic nerve pain??

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/08/2010 10:22am

Wigout111,
I had similar symptoms last January. I mentioned them to a Family Practice Physician's Assistant during an appointment for a sinus infection. He asked about my most recent surgery (about 6 weeks prior to this visit) and how much I had been getting up and walking (very little). It was a Saturday, so he sent me to the ER as he suspected a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Needless to say, that was exactly what it was! The clot was in my right leg, but I had pain in both legs that felt like cramps, very deep cramps in the Calves of my legs. These DVT's are scary as they can cause a stroke. I spent two days in the hospital, one in the ER and one as an admitted patient. Good Luck!

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/09/2010 10:45am

I am going through the same pain but have not had surgery yet. I am sick of all the pain. I was hoping that surgery was going to help as that is what is being suggested now. I just want this over with and my life back

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/09/2010 5:31pm

I would be the last person to recommend a Instrumented Fusion of disks, but if you have exhausted all other avenues to correct the problem and you are in pain 24/7, then what choice do you have? My initial surgery went well, but the recovery was off track in less than a month as the radiating pain in my leg was back. I toughed it out for 3 months and then at my 3 month checkup, told the Doc. The CT looked good, let's give it a month, then 2 months. At that point I got demanding and had another CT, bones look good, did shots, no help, finally got an MRI and found a herniated disk.

Bottom line though, is that if your current Doc isn't listening, find one who will! My original Doc wouldn't touch me because I was "too young" but never told me until I got my chart!! The doc that did my surgeries, did one on my Mom, success! He reviewed my case and said he could help me. He was also located in Boston, MA and I'm in Virginia. I was willing to do whatever possible to be pain free because I wanted my life back. Fight for your rights and get copies of charts, radiologist reports and start educating yourself. I did and as of today, I have been pain free for a month for the first time in YEARS! Good Luck to you. And God Bless.

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/09/2010 9:27pm

Oh Lisa I feel for you. I have stuff going on too. Got a caudle injection at the low,low back. I only will be able to have one of the series because my Doc thinks something is going on. I too have been fighting all the mumble jumble for about 12 years . Several back surgeries etc. I have a inthercal pain pump now but itdon't help me now that I can see. I have had that about 4 years. It is a pump on your lower rib they install and I have to come back for every 3 months get a refill. They take out the old med's that is in the resevore then they put in new med's and increase it as needed. It worked well for me for about 3 years then I can't tell. It also has a hose that goes from the resivore directley into my spine with a 24 hour drip of morphine. I find it so helpfull to have someone out there that understands what you are going through. I really think no ones understands except people that have been through this. I had all kinds of tests done. I lost some strength in my right side. Please keep me posted. Good luch this week. Do you any excersie? I am overweight and have lost 10 pounds and about all I can do is walk now and not near enough. My daughter is buying me a Wi I am so anxious to get it here. That way I can excersie at my own speed. God Bles, Keep me posted. Pat

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/09/2010 11:47pm

kellmeister
Scary about the blood clots. I have a blood clot in my lung. The day after my surgery in 2004, my blood pressure was high and they couldn't lowere it. Found a blood clot. The put in a green filter to stop it from traveling. My cramps in both legs they think are being caused my by back. I see my ps doctor tomorrow and will mention it. It would be nice to know what the reason is

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/10/2010 10:50am

Wiggout, Good luck with the Doc. Those blood clot things are scary! Then having to take Coumadin on top of everything else! I completely believed that the pain in my legs after surgery had to have something to do with my back and never expected a blood clot as there were no other symptoms. Just pain in my lower leg. Hope all goes well with your visit and I'll be waiting to read about your outcome.

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/10/2010 11:45pm

kellmeister
I went in to the doc's today, and all they diid is reprogram my spinal stimulator. They are hoping that it will reduce the pain in my leg. Still no plan on what they are going to do with my back. Waiting to see a neuro surgeon or ortho. It seems that no one will see me here where I live now. Pain Pain Pain!!! So tired of it

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/11/2010 11:20am

Wigout, I can certainly identify with being sick of having Pain all the time. Something my Neurosurgeon told me, was that if I was having radiating pain, like down a leg, then you should see a neurosurgeon. If the pain is localized, then the Orthopedic is the right guy to see. You've also probably read that I went out of state to have my surgery. This might be something you will need to do, or even to another city, possibly larger, within your state. My Insurance still covered me, no matter where I went. I don't know your locale, but going outside of your local area may be what you need to do. Let me know, and keep telling yourself that there is help out there! Keep me posted.

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/11/2010 11:48am

I hear you wigout. I am sick of the pain also and want my life back. I went to see my ortho surgeon yesterday and he told me he doesn't think the pain and numbness in my leg and foot is from the sciatic nerve but from the fluid leaking from the disc or discs. He also will not perscribe any stronger medication and that I have to see my pain management dr for that. So I now have to see my pain management doctor for meds and a discography and have a EMG done by my neurologist.
Won't know anything again until next month sometime on how we are going to proceed or what will fix this mess.

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/12/2010 12:39am

Hi,

i had my first post op appt. the Dr. said i was doing great on friday was 2 weeks after my fusion surgery and i was already walking good and sitting and when asked the doc he said i could drive if i wanted to. the pain in my leg is still there but he said its normal and that it will probably decrease if i dont have permanent damage. it has been decreasing and he also prescribed meds for my nerve pain. im just hoping that it will all go away eventually.

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/13/2010 12:53am

this post is about sciatic pain, and I think that is one of the things I have too. I received a call from a neuro surgeon on Friday that might consider seeing me. They asked me a whole bunch of questions and said that the doc will review my case and get back to me. Not really looking forward to another surgery, but if I have a chance on some of the pain going away, then it's worth it.

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/13/2010 8:12am

Lisap7...I am a nurse as well and just saw your posts. I had a lumbar spinal fusion with instrumentation Feb 2010. I have not been released for PT yet but I walk everyday. I still have lower back pain. How are things with you since you found out you have leg weakness and nerve irritation?

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/13/2010 8:25pm

Does anyone knows who is the best center for spine surgery in the US? Mayo? Cleveland Clinic? UT?

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/16/2010 6:27pm

Hi everyone..i'm new to this site but not to back pain. I've had 5 (!) back surgeries over 4 years. I've had 2 laminectomies, a CSF leak repair, PLIF L5/S1 and last August 2009 a laminectomy at L4. I'm in constant pain and have to resort to pain pills just to take care of my kids and perform daily chores. I was told I have "perm. nerve damage" and DDD at L5, L4 and L2 and that nothing else can be done. SO, i empathize with everyone on this site and hope one day we truly will be painfree (if that even exists) and wish everyone well and happier days to come!

Like/Dislike
0
on 06/21/2010 4:32am

welcome to the site blazer :)

i hear you when you say to a painfree future. i had surgery 3 weeks ago the leg paid had gone but it came back a couple of days after the surgery im taking painkillers and all but they are not working that much im dreading to have the doctor tell me i have permanent nerve damage this would make my life incedible dificult and painful.

i hope everyone here is doing better and better everyday!

Cancel
Delete