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Leg Numbness Recovery...or not?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

Following my recent revision PLIF, I had the removal of an interbody cage which was resting nicely in my spinal canal compressing nerves. Gave me numbness in lower leg.
Afetr my surgery 6 days ago, the numbness remains. the docs told me I had a lot of nerve irritation and the dura had been torn (subsequently repaired)

I woke expecting MAJOR pins and needles but there is no chnage at all. This rather surprised me.

The docs explained that pins needles / numbness was the same thing on nerve pathway and pain was different. Pain = nerve irritation in spianl column and must rest if i get that. They explianed it may or not recover.

My legs both go numb from time to time as well.

It is too early for me to comment on back pain, feels same right now.

MY question is if anyone else has had a receovering nerve path like this and what can i expect?



  • I am having a similar experience. There is still some pain in my legs, but nothing compared to pre surgery. I have been told it may be a year or so before they can determine permanant damage or not. I had 3 roots impinged and really irritated plus scar tissue putting pressure on the herve after the root.

    I feel many time better and am starting to see muscle rebuild where it had atrophied. The pins and needles is gone as is the radiating pain. The only thing I get now is in to the buttock when I overdo it; correctable very quickly by just laying down and getting gravity off the spine.

    You are not alone..... Best wishes to you,

  • A year....wow thats ages! I guess my 6 days post op is well early then! =))

    Still good to know. The PT said the docs never tell us the bare truth and i know that the recovery will be slow and "iffy".

    Do you think it could get worse? :&
  • I hope it doesnt get worse. I would imagine if one over does it, it could get worse because the nerves are still being irritated.

    The docs really can't give a straight answer because every single one of us will heal differently, and some not at all. You should start feeling a difference in the next couple of weeks; hopefully less pain, more strength, and longer endurance.

    Take it easy, but keep active.

  • I heard that it could take up to year for the nerve to recovering following surgery.

    Is this true? :(

  • No fusion for me, but I have had 2 laminectomies.
    1st was L5-S1 Healed in about 6 weeks. I had extreme pain in my left leg, to the point that I couldn't walk more than 10 feet. After surgery I felt great.
    2nd was 5 yrs. later at L4-L5 had no pain with this one just completely numb from knee to toes. I am now 13 months out of surgery and my foot has just begun to get feeling back still get a few aches in my calf area. It depends on each person as to how you heal. My chiropracter says it won't take more than a year but I think he's wrong as I feel and hope that i'm still healing. Keep yourself positive and do what your suppose to it will come along.
    Pains and numbness are part of the healing. At times you'll have pains you never had before and wonder "whats going on" it happens and is normal.
    Goodluck and keep positive......

  • Before I had my surgery my doctor told me the same thing it could take a year for the nerve to regenerate. I had a L4S/L5S1 microdiscectomy and, a dropped foot. After the surgery I instance relief and, I was very lucky. I think it is possible to have the nerve regenerate but, it could take sometime. I wish you the best and, Ihope you get much better
  • I had my second surgery five weeks ago today, and had major nerve impingement (almost total numbness, really frightening). Pain was relieved immediately after surgery...I was lucky for a second time. But the numbness remains - from posterior to back of thigh to calf down to toes (L 4-5 was the culprit...so I think this is L 5? anyway).

    My doc says many months, possibly longer. I've had the burning pain, the shock pain, the bee stings and ant bites and the cramping feeling (?). One thing I've noticed...I could be crazy (likely) but each time I have a "phase" of this pain, when it finally leaves me, I feel a little less numb. Is this regeneration? It's so strange. My new "thing" is an itching sensation, esp on the bottom of my foot. Comes and goes, annoying but def not painful.

    This nerve stuff is really freaky stuff. The pain is the pain - this is so different. Anyone else had the experience of the intense sensation and then an improvement? It's subtle...very slow.

  • I couldn't stand or walk for more then 5 minutes before my legs and feet were totally numb. I got to the stage where I was afraid to walk in case I lost control.
    I had some pain but the worst symptom for me was the numbness which was so disableling.
    I had had this numbness for a good 18 months before I had surgery.

    Since surgery in May, I have had minimal numbness (really only a day or 2) and very little pins and needles.
    I have had more pain in my back but that is because the surgeon had to fix my scoliosis as well so my whole posture and sense of balance has changed.

    So stick with it and remember that it is early days still. The best is yet to come. :H

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • Oh yes I agree, the nerve pain is weird...all the different sensations, numbness, "funny bone" kinda sensations, electric shocks and the deepest nagging pains in the world.

    I'd be amused to watch my facial expressions - i'll bet they are apicture.

    Ah well, its going to take a while. When i sit for any time, both my legs go numb. weird. @)
  • Since my redo of microd, I was symptom free for 10 days, didn't need any pain med (although I kept on 600mg ibup. x3 per day). Then I stood too long at a party, and since then (1 week now) I have persistent tingling leading to numbness again if I stand or sit for more than 5 minutes.

    So is this normal, and will go away eventually, or is it a sign that I did not have a successful surgery since I am now 2 and 1/2 weeks post surgery and thought I would be able to up and around more by now.

    I don't know whether I should do less, (i.e. not sit or stand much at all), or just more or less ignore the tingling and increase my activity slowly.

    Anyone have thoughts or similar problem?


  • Like I said I'm 13 months out of 2nd lami. Just got feeling back in my left foot at the toes. Just before I got my feeling back I went through about 2 weeks of pain. I would get shots of stabbing pains(not real bad but enough)in both calfs. I thought I had screwed myself up again. My wife said relax your probably still healing! I hate to admit that she was right but after that bout I can feel my toes and wear a shoe and my foot doesn't feel swollen. It's amazing that it takes so long but if you have less or no pain after surgery then the rest will come eventually. The time it takes is well worth it.
  • of my microdiscectomy last September, Woke up from it and the nerve pain was still there. After all the ESI's and PT, and time itself- it's still here.
    I had a TLIF/Laminectomy 16 weeks ago. I still have nerve pain. Now it started on the opposite leg.
    Must I wait another year to know what will happen? Forgive my cynisism. I think the right leg nerve is damaged already. I wouldn't be surprised come next September, the nerve pain will still be there.
  • after 4 surgeries. After number 1 half of my foot was numb and painful as well as a lot more. Then after the last one, 8 months ago, most of the rest of my foot became numb and painful. I couldn't walk after this surgery. Had the foot drop and had to relearn how to make foot work. My numbness or pain has not changed at all. My pain is slowly eating away at me. I am with it night and day. I have weird pains in my calf all the time but nothing changes. I keep hoping someone will figure out all of this for me before the pain does me in. What is sad is how little is known about nerves in general. I never realized that going into this. I have learned a whole lot since then, and what is weird is that I wouldn't have changed any decision that I have made only would like to have changed the issue with my foot.
  • Hiya,

    I undertsnad what you mean. The nerve pain thing is horrible. my leg 12 days post revision is = Raging Numbness, bordering on super sensative. Now explain that to someone who has never had it!!!
    I keep falling over my feet too, so now not only do I stumble and stagger, I am tripping up as well! rofl! :))(

    How do they test for scared nerves?
    Can they even test?
    Is it inevitable that we will have some scar tissue and therefore a leap of faith as to how much??

    My legs seem to get worse at night. I don't undertstand this at all. I have read it too somewhere that nerve pain is worse at night.

    Early days for me yet. I am expecting ups/downs anyway. I too wouldn't have done it differently at all. My doc says that leg/feet pains are the worst to treat and changes are seen as positive signs. oh well.
    Take Care and thanks for adding to the thread.
  • Hellooo 1 of my good cyber friends. ;) ;)

    How long did you have the numbness before surgery number 1 if any at all??
    How long did you have it before surgery number 2???

    When I called last week like I mentioned about mine. They said its going to take awhile. To early to asses any damage.
    Ooops big caps =))
    Only sit for the 15min a hour.
    Walk only if I am able to.
    Heat on that leg has been awesome.

    Now of course we are checking into other issues if you read my post in chronic pain on MS. But whole other story.

    My pain has been worse at night to. Even just post op beat up/bruised feeling.

    Today wellllllllllllll its raining the temp mabye 40 something??? NO HEAT HERE OH MY LIONS TIGERS AND BEARS.
    So that also has a effect. Cold, damp, rain FALL which I love but hey its not liking me at all man. image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" />

    Hang in there my good friend, give it some more time. I know time stinks but with being so early out like me well we have to or we will drive ourself insane. And well my self already am insane my nature so I do not need anymore =))

    Take your time.....
    Terri >:D<
  • I can't Ice. I end up in BAD spasm.
    Yes the rain, damp and cold really plays havoc. I now wear the most sexy vests you can imagine...yum. =))

    heres hoping! - terri i hope your recovery is getting there!
  • You don't want to go thru nerve conduction testing. It sucks. They stick long needles into your leg and run electrical currents to measure the speed that the nerve is traveling and test for damage in the motor and sensory nerves. I'm speaking from my recollection. If I'm off, then I'm sorry. But that is one of the tests they do. I don't know if an ESI is worse. The neurological testing in the office is by far the most comfortable of the others.

    I share your pains and miseries too, with horrendous spasms in the legs, electric shocks in the heels, and burning and constant aching in the back of the legs. My thighs will get hard as rock when they spasm, and oh boy do you hear me cry :''(
    It is hell when you can't sit, stand, walk without suffering. I'm never comfortable. Driving is sadistic to me. I do it when I have no choice. I know you all understand how it is.
  • Oh yes those nerve conduction tests are the pits. My surgeon told me before my surgery that I had nerve issues for many years before the surgery and that they may not ever be corrected. It took a long time to get to where it is and it will take time to heal(but may not, or not completlely). Fornutately when I woke up after surgery most of it was better. He told me they were able to open the area so it had room to regenerate(this is my interpretation)and healing could take up to a year but still no guarantees on how much. At this point I am much better than pre-surgery where 5 min of standing had me in horrible pain and numbness. It now takes at least an hour to get to that point so I am very encouraged. Like everything else about this whole procedure, patience, patience, patience. I think it is harder than the pain sometimes, the not knowing if things are going to get better. We have to just believe they will and keep working toward that goal.
  • I came on here to post the same question but found this post. I just had back surgery on october 1st for a ruptured disk that was pressing on a nerve causing left leg and foot numbness and pain.

    I too expected instant relief. At first I thought I had it because I only had pain from the surgery and my leg didn't feel numb. My dr told me to take it easy or I could re-herniate it again. I was told no bending etc. but I forget and bend over to pick up something. Well know I'm worried I may have messed it up again. I'm laying here in pain with the same numbness and now getting the terrible tingley feeling again on top of my left foot.

    I'm going to be really upset if I did this for nothing. The dr did say the ruptured part he removed was bigger than he thought. I just expected some relief.
  • I hope your ok, I am sure it'll be a hiccup.
    Be careful twisting. That'll be your worst nightmare.

  • Ok so last night the leg thing changes. My leg felt ICY cold like it was gonna drop off. I wanted to warm it up with a hot water bottle but was tld not to incase I damaged it, being that it is all over the place. It was actually warm to the touch but my brain told me different.
    This coldness / icy was sooo horrible.
    Any suggestions?
  • I don't know what to tell you. I'm now having constant tingling feeling in my foot that is more than annoying. Hope your foot gets better.
  • I know your dilemma and wonder if you used a heating pad at your back if that would have sent your brain a different message? Or maybe a warm bath? Every time something changed my docs would say "it is healing". Well I am ready for the part that is responsible for the numbing and the pain to "heal". I am sure I could get the rest of you to say yes to that.
    Keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow (Wed) as I get back test results... Yes, even the crappy EMG results and I am hoping for a clear explanation and hopefully a plan of action. I dread the thought of hearing there is nothing to do, you must live with it.
  • I know that won't help, but my surgeon said you just can't worry about every little thing or it will consume you. He is right. From what I gather, you could sneeze and have it herniate. Just take it easy and do what you are supposed to do. There is a lot of healing for you to do and this takes time and patience.
    I hope your symptoms subside soon. The sooner the better so you can relax. Just keep your surgeon up to date on major changes so he can let you know if he is concerned. I am glad you posted. Keep us informed on your progress. Soon we can have our own little numb and tingly foot club. LOL I am beginning to not feel so alone with my numb and painful foot!
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