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Sciatica nerve pain 10 weeks post PLIF surgery

Started by lucie_nc99 on 11/05/2010 9:09pm

I had a PLIF with one-sided laminectomy and instrumentation 10 weeks ago. I had a herniated disc at L5-S1 (though the disc was so dessicated it was almost gone - DDD), plus grade I spondylolisthesis. Before the surgery I had back pain right and left, but radiculopathy only on the left - hip and leg shooting pain, numbness on the outside of the left foot. When I had a bad flare up I had "pricklies" on the left side of my spine, which they told me was nerve irritation.

10 weeks out from the surgery: have generally felt great and leg pain on the left was nearly gone. Now just in the last week I have gotten nerve pain on the RIGHT side for the first time - pricklies and pain on my spine on the right side, intermittent pain in the right hip, and a little shooting pain (intermittent) on the right calf.

I am so worried that something is seriously wrong. And i know they decompressed the nerve root on the left side - do I now have nerve compression on the right side?? How can that be? Did they do something wrong? I have another appt with the neurosurgeon in two weeks, but am trying to decide if this is serious enough to call now. I'm feeling pretty defeated right now because I was initially so optimistic.

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4 Responses


i know what you mean as i have had 7 posterior surgeries including 2 fusions. those sensations are normal and will go away. i know its hard but dont worry....pete


I had the plif surgery on 09/14 and the pain in my right hip went away immediately. The doctor didnt start me on pt yet but the pain came back in the same hip even worse than it was originally. I have a scheduled mri with contrast on the 16th of this month. I really hope they just go back in and take more of the disc or something. I already did the pt for 2 1/2 years on and off to get rid of this pain so if they tell me to try that I am gonna lose it! I am so tired of living on pain meds and fighting with the nurse to knock down my dosage. Believe me, I dont want to take these things but I also have two kids and need to be able to get off the couch. I wonder if this has happened to anyone else to see what their surgeon decided to do about it.


Pete81241 - thank you so much for your encouraging words! I am feeling better again. I still feel a twinge of the pricklies right on the R side of S1, but it's diminished. So hopefully it'll go away. I went for a long walk yesterday and was happy to note that my pain is much diminished since the surgery - no more grinding, burning arthritis pain. So hopefully that will continue.

Backattack0914 - I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles! In my case, the L side was the bad side before surgery and it does not hurt at all anymore - just the tiniest of residual nerve pain intermittently. The R side pain was new and scary. But hopefully it will go away. I hope the MRI shows something they can fix or they find some other answer for you! In my case I was only on pain meds for 4 weeks after my surgery. I am not taking anything anymore - it all makes me so sick, I just use ice and heat for pain and it works for the most part. I hope you feel better!!!


FYI - now I am just over 5 months out from my PLIF and nasty pricklies are gone! I did continue to have some pain at L5 on the right side (which was not painful before the surgery - just the left side) but I have gotten 5 acupuncture treatments to help with myofascial "knots" and am now pain-free. Feeling great!