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Desperate and needing advice. Spinal Fusion 18 months ago.

Started by Annalee on 08/23/2014 5:24am

The fusion in my lower disc (L5 S1 is what I believe the docs call it). It instantly removed the pain from the herniation. Now, all this time later, I still have numbness in my right foot and calf and lately EXTREME nerve pain. Feels like being stabbed in the calf. Also in the toes. The bottom of my foot has an intense itch that scratching does not relieve. I am in so much pain I cannot function without pain meds. I have had an EMG and Spinal Tap. Nothing reveals any block that would be causing this intense pain in my lower right let.

Questions: has anyone else experienced this? What is it? Can it be fixed? My doctor has put me on steroids in case we're dealing with inflammation, and steroids make me really buts and completely unable to sleep. I am at the end of my rope and quite simply don't know what to do. I can't live like this anymore.

THanks for any help you can offer.

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7 Responses


Just wanted to add that I cannot take Lyrica or Gaba or any of those drugs - they don't give relief and they turn me into a zombie.


I had spinal fusion and a Laminectomy 5 days apart 6 months ago - I am dealing with the right foot numbness and lower leg. I feel your frustration! I don't have nerve pain anymore just major fatigue in my legs. Did you have the weakness as well? Did you have an MRI? Maybe there's another issue causing the nerve pain. I still get nerve pain here and there and for me the Advil and GABA does help.


How long ago did the surgery take place?


My surgery was 18 months ago. I have had every test possible, none show any current problem that would cause these symptoms. (MRI, CT scan, EMG, Spinal tap).


I just got my Mri report have seen dr yet. I know nothing about anything to do with the spine can you explain to me what this means Exam demomstrates anatomic lumbar spine bony alignment. There is no pathological bone marrow signal. There is degenerative disc and desiccation and degenerative loss of disc height at L5-S1. The conus terminates appropriately at L2 vertebral body level.

L1-2 disc is normal
L2-3 disc is normal
L3-4 disc is normal
L4-5 disc is normal

At L5-S1, there is a paracentral disc protrusion with associated annular disc tear. There is slight flattening of the ventral sac at this disc level. Central canal neural foramen, and lateral recesses are patent.

1. Left paracentral disc protrusion associated annular disc tear at L5-S1 mild flattening of the central thecal sac.
2. Otherwise, negative exam.


I am 6 weeks, post op from spinal fusion L4/5. After going back to work 2 weeks ago, I have developed intense ache in both my legs, and a sharp pain right below my right knee. I still take pain med, and Flexerill every day, at night, and it does help. But, nothing else seems to help the aching in my legs. I take Tylenol during the day, but that doesn't help, and I am in agony by the end of the day. I'm a chef, and I'm on my feet 10+ hours. I do sit down often, and am doing no lifting. I've had xray, and my surgeon assures me this is normal. I did have immediate relief after surgery, my feet were no longer numb, and a deep pain in my right hip is also gone. I also have spondylitis in my L1/2 and surgery is also indicated for that. I had a anterior(stomach incision), and posterior incision, so basically two surgeries in one day. I still feel weak. Anyone else develop aching pain in their legs weeks after surgery? I am wondering what others are doing?
Thanks, Teri
Go Hawks!


Did your surgeon recommend physical therapy?

I had a laminectomy and fusion at L4-L5 last November. My nerve pain in my left leg immediately was gone. But I do have residual swelling at surgery site. And foot jabs. Surgeon said it was all normal considering my nerves were being strangled and I was starting to lose my bowels. Think they called it claude equine. Think about it . . . Our nerves were all bound together cutting off blood and electrical supply. Now after surgery, that same space is now open and is able to give them more room to stretch out and do their job.

I had to wait a month for things to calm down. In January, I started physical therapy. What a help it has been. I had lost muscle tone and strength. I go two days a week , the rest of the week I do my exercises to keep on plan. Walking is the best thing you can do to keep yourself loose. Mild stretching works too.

The neurosurgeon said I will probably have back pain the rest of my life. But the pain is more of an annoyance than a pain. Oh, he also said that the rest of my spine is trying to compensate for the one that is fused.

If I keep up my exercises, and find a job that is not weight bearing, then I can keep another surgery/fusion at bay. That is certainly something I can live with.

I'm praying you find the relief that you need.
God Bless You,