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Peripheral Neuropathy still 3 months AFTER microdiscectomy!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi all. I am so frustrated and just wondering if anyone had any insight, similar experience, etc. I had a microdiscectomy 3 months ago on L5-S1 for severe nerve compression that caused weakness in my right leg and loss of ankle reflex, etc. The recovery was going pretty ok, still had some residual sciatic pain, but nothing terrible and strength was returning. Around week 7 strange things started happening in BOTH legs. I started getting hot/cold sensations, buzzing in feet, ankle areas and then around 2 weeks ago started to get some burning sensations on both upper knees/lower thighs - all mostly happening on the front part of my legs so nowhere near the sciatic nerve that was the cause of the initial reason to get surgery. I had an MRI done this past Friday on my cervical, thoracic and lumbar and nothing was out of the ordinary. Had very mild scar tissue at L5 but again my symptoms are symmetrical on both legs now. Doctor said to give it another month that it will probably just pass, but why did it come on 7 weeks after surgery and why is it still here 6 weeks later (I am week 14 almost actually). I am just scared as these are such weird sensations and very different from what I felt pre surgery which was mostly hamstring and calf pain. I was given Neurontin, but didn't start it yet as I didn't have such a great reaction to Lyrica when I tried it a couple of weeks ago. Again, from a pain standpoint I am definitely better than I was pre-surgery and strength is almost all back, it is just the nerve issues that are getting on my nerves...literally!! Thanks for listening.


  • are probably still in the healing phase is what my best guess would be. Try to be patient. My microD took me 5-6 months before I could even lift my leg. The nerves had been compressed so they are going to take some time to heal. Good luck to you and please keep us posted. It will probably be a very good idea to get started on the neurontin. Just because you could not take the Lyrica doesn't mean that you will react the same way.
  • I too have the nerve issues and mine is in the left leg. You need to look up nerve dermatomes for L4 - S1 and see if your pattern of numbness follows their chart. I woke up with the numbness after my first surgery and have yet to lose it.
    I had a real hard time with Lyrica, but I had no problem at all with Neurontin. I don't know if it is doing anything, but I keep on taking it just in case.
    I really hope your doctor is correct and this will just leave. Keep looking for answers.
  • I also had a microdiscectomy 11ish weeks ago and am still suffering with nerve problems. I just started physio in the hope it will loosen the nerve gliding through the nerve sheath.I understand it takes time for them to heal especially when the nerves have been very compressed but it is so frustrating!

    I take lyrica cos the neurontin made me totally zoned out (which was pretty unpleasant) - like you julie I don't know if it does anything but don't want to risk not taking it and feeling worse!

  • Very new here. What a relief there are peeple just like me.I thought I was going senile!I am 39 male started back pain about 2001.Had 3 injections in 2006. Three more in 2007.My pain does nothing but get worse to the point of being bed riddin for days(Very fustrating).Had sugery in march of 08 lamnectomy/discectomy L4 the first two months were the best had zero pain.Month 3 pain returned with a vengence.Im back to chronic pain all day all night getting about 4 hrs sleep at a time.Im still trying to work hard for my family but sometimes seems to be imposible to have agood life dealing with this.When does the madness stop?I wont take pain pills,Im in physical therapy,I dont want a fusion (unless it will help) but I have my doubts anything works.WHAT THE HECK!!!
  • First Scott welcome and do realize there are a lot of us that suffer. I too fought not to take pain medicine, but then realized that not getting sleep was not allowing my body the healing time it needed. It takes a lot of energy for the body to react to pain, leaving little left for it to do other things, so maybe you should think about giving your body a break from it, while you figure out what to do. I am not sorry I did my fusion. I am just sorry that my pain went from my hip and butt to my foot and didn't just leave altogether. There are a lot of people who get better Scott so don't give up.
    Nicola, the Lyrica totally zoned me out. Isn't that funny? What are your nerve issues and did you have them before surgery or just pain? I had no issue with my foot at all until I woke up from my first surgery. Then it was numb, untouchable and painful. I too am afraid of stopping the Neurontin just in case it is helping. My surgeon said stop and see. Ohhhhh I just can't get myself to try that, yet I hate taking it in the first place.
  • Hi scot welcome.

    Why won't you take the meds? You should stop trying so hard to be a saint :T and try some.
    I was also in chronic pain for months and refused any meds as I don't like putting stuff in my body. I tried a tens machine it was a life saver for me and gave total relief . Please get one they are quite cheap. Try for a while, give it some time to get used to and I promise it will help.

    About the meds you could try something I did eventually cause walking about with wires all over me was a nuisance. I tryed the lycria made me bit zombie for a bit ,then a month later it started to work on the pain and no effects for me on low dosage. You need to sleep it is important. Don't be so hard on yourself okay. Try not to become bedridden it won't help you need to be active. Please have some faith you are not alone in your pain okay >:D<
  • Hey julie - I had really bad nerve pain sciatica for about 12 weeks before my surgery. I had my first surgery in 2003 and had about a year of chronic pain before then and such bad nerve damage that I ended up with foot drop. So long story short you could say I had years of damage. When they opened me up they saw the nerve was trapped between a gross epidural fibrosis (scar tissue) from my first surgery and a bulge in the disc - so it was pretty messy.

    Have you been doing any physio for your nerve pain

    Don't you love it when they suggest you "stop it and see" with meds?! All I have is the lyrica so no way am I quitting it until I have good reason (ie my pain is less).

    Zoleniaq - how long did it take for the tens machine to help you?

  • Hey julie - I had really bad nerve pain sciatica for about 12 weeks before my surgery. I had my first surgery in 2003 and had about a year of chronic pain before then and such bad nerve damage that I ended up with foot drop. So long story short you could say I had years of damage. When they opened me up they saw the nerve was trapped between a gross epidural fibrosis (scar tissue) from my first surgery and a bulge in the disc - so it was pretty messy.

    Have you been doing any physio for your nerve pain

    Don't you love it when they suggest you "stop it and see" with meds?! All I have is the lyrica so no way am I quitting it until I have good reason (ie my pain is less).

    Zoleniaq - how long did it take for the tens machine to help you?

  • I am not in PT anymore. Just doing stuff on my own. Plus I have Acupuncture two times a week and my DO works on me twice a week too. They are what keep me going. My tens machine did absolutely nothing for my foot pain and numbing. That is unfortunate. I had the hip and sciatic pain for two years before surgery and then finally gave in cause I couldn't sit, sleep, eat or live anymore. Since then I deal with my foot, which isn't acting like a foot at the moment. I grow lovely scar tissue. Just too much of it. Way too much of it. I also had the dropped foot when I woke up from this last surgery. Actually I had to relearn to walk cause my brain and my left foot did not remember each other. I still have those moments.
  • hi nicola
    I had relief right away with a tens machine. Once I worked out the way it worked, it was brill!!.I was connected all day till I went to bed. Takes a bit to work out the best program, but I liked it continually.

    Remember it does not fix anything the pain is still there when you unplug. At the time I really was in so much pain and could find no pain relief. The doctor's here weren't very good at prescribing anything or even suggesting a tens !!! Huh they don't even know how they work!!! Just suggested paracetamol huh yeah!! :O

    While I waited for an MRI scan and the appointment to see surgeon, the tens helped tremendously. Meantime I did a lot of research on med's . I tried all the conventional stuff . Acupuncture, chiropractic, physio, but 9 months was enough!!!

    Wearing the tens does restrict you pads keep falling off nightmare. They are worth it though but best if you make sure the pads stick on firmly .For me I needed something else. As I hated walking round with a machine and wires on me all time. ~X(

    That is when I found about Gabapentin. However it did nothing after a month so gave up that one. Then I started on the lyrica and after 28 days I found at last the relief to live a day and night with out to much pain.

    I too am not giving up my lyrica I take 75mg morning and 50mg night, little dose but works for me. Trouble when they say, "Try and see", huh if it takes month to work, would it take a month to get it out your system? And then would we be in pain again? Then wait another month again no thank you.
    I do plenty exercises and walk regular. >:D<
  • Hi julie
    A tens machine cannot help a numb part of the body hence that's why it wouldn't work for you. But it should help with foot pain if you set the right program they are all different.
    You sound like you been through the war's ~X(

    I too seem to have lot of that scar tissue huh!!
    I think that the fact that 2 years passed before you got operated on is why your foot was to damaged to save it .

    Keep working on it. zolenniaq
  • Hi Zolenniaq,
    What is really weird is that my foot had no problems before the first back surgery. I woke up with the numbness after that first surgery and my back had re-herniated while they were taking me off the table.
    The tens doesn't even diminish the pain part of the foot. I have tried.
    I haven't given up yet on the foot and neither have the doctors. We are trying to figure out if something is wrong in the ankle or the foot or if it is all because of the back. I am not throwing in the towel. My quality of life depends on finding a cure.
  • Hey julie

    Have you seen a surgery report for the surgery that caused your foot problems? If you didn't have it before is it possible they damaged the nerve while moving it around? I had foot drop before my first surgery but it went and I regained a decent level of ankle reflex.

    Keep fighting - like you say quality of life is what we all crave. I keep on with my stretching regime in the hope the nerve will ease off eventually.

    Zolenniaq - I have tried a tens machine but I only use it on the path of the sciatic nerve not anywhere near my incision site. I haven't found much success with it but I only use it sporadically.


  • Hi N,
    We are considering the possibility that my ankle or foot was hurt during the surgery. I have not seen a report. My surgeon did have me get an MRI for the ankle and foot and he has looked at the films and is now waiting for the EMG to be finished. I will see him Oct 8th.
    N keep working on this ankle or yours, you may get more back with persistence.
  • Cheetah38CCheetah38 Posts: 3
    edited 09/16/2015 - 10:14 PM
    Ok, I feel all your frustrations, I had l4-s1 microdiscectomy surgery end of june 2015, day I was getting out I was great, no butt/leg pain n I could move my toes n foot really well. Went home, was in pain, but managed it with meds. Then I got a uti, pretty much had it at hospital but figured it would go away with AZO (I take anyway) n lots of water....nope, July 4th I'm in er, got antibiotic, went through all that antibiotic n still had it, went to regular dr n new script, anyway, this whole time it was soooo bad I'm pretty bed ridden with pain n fatigue probably fighting infection n healing.
    Week 3 still have uti n at surgeons door, they put me on medrol dose pack n gabapentin, I also went back to regular dr n put on different antibiotic because it was a "tough" uti, I did try gabapentin (horribly tired n out of it), medrol dose pack (tingling and numbness in feet), call surgeon quite all that till 6 week post op. Ok, stopped all except my hydrocodone n advil, tingling and numbness almost at once was in hands n feet, traveling slowly day by day up into calves, upper leggs, arms, upper back, neck, and then buttocks n low back, I went to 6 week n no surgeon, talked with his assistant n she's gonna tell him what's going on, well she has no idea why I'd have it n why it's in my hands. Gives hydrocodone n pt.
    I'm freaking, I'm gonna take anything or do anything to get rid of this.
    Went to different dr, she says try gabapentin but more n stay in pt: physical therapy. Tried gabapentin again, I hallucinate from it, quite that n I had lyrica left from dr before surgery so started taking it, I am doing fine on lyrica, but the tingling n numbness is bad!!!
    I have this feeling of falling asleep/waking up tingles all the time 24/7, not kiding, it's driving me batty. It's so bad, I lose balance n sometimes feels like I stepped on pins inside n I actually look at feet, nothing. Wake up in morning n hurts soooo bad to walk, n feels like lumps of something in random spots in feet. My hands do it where I wiggle them or rub them together hoping they will wake up, I'm a [edit] freak...I am not the same person I was before the surgery much less the one before I got hurt....this sucks, can't sleep but the 3-4 hrs a nite, so I know the feeling n drs won't increase meds to help me.
    Oh n my upper back n neck get the same tingling n numbness, but it makes your stomach turn it's really gross feeling.
    Only thing I wish for now is later this month imma see the surgeon, make sure I do n light a fire up under his [edit]!!!! Pardon my french, but what would drs or surgeons do to help us if they had to walk in our shoes one day?????? They'd have something to lessen it or cure it!!!!!!! Thanks for reading my rant, I'm hopeless sometimes as some of you may be.... I will post what happens with surgeon!!!

    Please do not use abbreviated text talk!!

  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,806
    Cheetah38, I would see a neurologist very soon to rule out the beginings of neurapathy because it is very serious if it is.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • Cheetah38CCheetah38 Posts: 3
    edited 11/19/2015 - 9:29 PM
    itsautonomic said:
    Cheetah38, I would see a neurologist very soon to rule out the beginings of neurapathy because it is very serious if it is.
    Hey, seen surgeon, wow, says first time he's heard of the neuropathy symptoms I'm having, says his surgery was a success n takes me off ALL meds, sends me to work with (10lb max) restriction, but he also says new mri, neurologist n pt again.
    Ok I'm wondering [edit] just happened because this guy did a surgery on me n now claims this neuropathy is in my head. Well anyways, I went to mri, neurologist got emg/ncs and I got a new Doc, much better, took me out of work which I did try, lasted 12 minutes n they rolled me out in an office chair, no joke.
    So just got mri n emg/ncs tests back. I'm pretty messed up, this neuropathy which I only could get lower body done (edit) says I have some neuropathy but not bad enough for it to be numbness n tingling, but the mri says different, I have still a mess going on in l4-s1 n t11-t12 there's an impingement. So I had a bad day n told new dr all as bout it, he sent me to get my si joint injected as well to rule out one more thing.
    This new dr, I feel bad for him because giving him my case now is like dropping a bomb on someone, but he's just like your a bit complicated, but we'll figure it out.
    I'm just scared because the tingling is now traveling to my nethers, I'm not happy about that, I have no sleep still but at least I was put back on an actual good dose of lyrica to try to help the neuropathy, I'm still getting this stuff but I wonder how much worse I'd be if he took me off it...lol.
    Well I'll let yall know what happens next, gotta be some more out there like me n are "complicated". :(
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