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Symptoms for severe spinal stenosis

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Spinal Stenosis

This question is mainly for anyone who was diagnosed (MRI) with severe spinal stenosis and then had laminectomy surgery.

Could you tell me what your pain symptoms were before surgery? Particularly when the pain got better, worse. Did it get worse the longer you walked? Did it immediately relieve or lessen when you sat or bent forward? Or did it ever worsen upon sitting down?

Of course, tell me how surgery affected your pain, mobility, ability to resume activities, etc.

I’m interested in a variety of experiences so I hope many spinal stenosis patients reply.




  • Hiya >:D<
    Welcome to Spine Health forums :) . I hope you can enjoy this site as we all do :) , people her are friendly and helpful ;) .
    I dont think i have that problem, well nothing has ever been mentioned to me :S . Someone her will be able to help you, but only on there personal experiences :) . Check out our chat room, you can chat to people there who may have this issue, with there back! :H

    Angie x
  • Stenosis cervical or lumbar? I have cervical stenosis and had cervical fusion and a 3 level posterior cervical laminectomy. My pain came on rather suddenly, my left arm was very numb, I could hardly walk the day the symptoms came on. The first surgery was a 2 level fusion that helped with the pain and numbeness, but I still had the symptoms of myelopathy. That has left me with some numbness down my left arm and into my hand, some balance issues when walking. The second surgery was a new 2 level fusion and the 3 level laminectomy to deal with the stenosis issue. The laminectomy has helped stopped the progression of myelopathy at this time, but most of my symptoms are still with me due to the damage to my spinal cord. feel free to PM if you want. Welcome to Spine Health.

  • Thanks for the Welcome Angie & Mark!

    Mark, I should have mentioned my stenosis is lumbar. Never had MRI of cervical spine but it probably doesn’t look good considering my severe multi-level stenosis in my lumbar spine. My pain was sudden onset as well. Although if I had had an MRI a few months b4 the pain it would have looked very bad. Stenosis doesn’t develop quickly. I asked the neurosurgeon what % of people over 50 have spinal stenosis, he said ⅓. I asked what % of those have no symptoms, he said ⅓.

    BTW, in July I had; one epidural, nerve root blocks x2 & then a week ago had facet injections x4. No help except the 1st nerve root block stopped pain completely for 48 hours while 2 weeks later the same block did nothing. I thought (& still do) that this is diagnostic! I was really hoping the facet injections would work as the results s/b seen immediately & then they can go back & kill those pesky nerves which have no motor or sensory function so you won’t “miss” them.

    I still hope that I can hear from Lumbar spinal stenosis patients regarding the specifics of their symptoms. Does anyone know of any other back pain forums?


  • I had stenosis in 2006 (T3-T7) pain in back was due to weakness in legs. Could not walk very far without having to sit down. I had laminectomy OCT 2006 in areas above. PT therapy got me back about 60% still weakness in right leg. But shed all devices(cane, walker etc) I think acute therapy and moderate excersise program is needed when you resume daily activites (POST-OP). I might have gotten back to 80-90% if I would taken PT seriously.

    fast forward 2008 the stenosis came back in the same area I now have to get surgery done again to relieve pressure off spinal cord my leg weakness is more severe now.

    Not trying to scare you. If surgery is needed, I just believe once you are done healing take PT serious. Take on outpatient rather than home therapy(a joke). Lose weight if you have to. Workout if you can. I think the answer is healthy diet and excersise once you heal from surgery.
  • Hi: I have significant spinal stenosis is At L3-4 and L-2-3 and 2-3. My pain is almost always in my legs from shutting pains to muscle tightening to weakness, tingling, burning, and sometimes paralyzing pain. This is when I am walking and moving around only or when I first sit down. Sitting or lying down I do not experience much pain just tithing in my lower back. Without medication I cannot walk because of the pain, the only way to exercise is to increase my medication. So I am trying to stay as healthy as possible while I wait to see a neurosurgeon in 6 weeks. I am not sure if this will help you with your question because I have not read on this site anyone with only leg pain due to this disease. :H
  • You might want to read my post under "bladder control....."

    My husband has profound (severe) spinal stenosis,before and sadly after his surgery.

    His pain is concentrated in his thighs mainly.
  • As there is no further surgical help for my husband with his condition, we are looking into management of his condition.
    He takes 2 - 5 mg. Oxycondin per day, but they don't do much for his pain.

    I am wondering whether anyone out there knows anything about nerve blockers for the lumar area? Or for that matter any other alternative pain management method for a condition such as his.

    Somehow we have to get better quality of life since we have to live with this problem.

    Appreciate any help.
  • HI :H

    I have both lumbar and cervical stenosis ranging from mild to severe. The pain from the lumbar stenosis is far worse when I just stand and don't move around, i.e. standing in the kitchen cooking. Walking uphill is ok, downhill hurts. The pain is relieved when I sit down and lean forward, but just plain sitting isn't good. Sitting in bucket seats in a car is a killer.

    Now all that being said....I started PT last June (today is my last day in PT aftercare!) I learned to keep my pelvis tilted which really helps alleviate the pain. The core strengthening has been a miracle for me. I still have pain but it is liveable. I swim 2x a week and am replacing PT with a pilates class. Now I really can tell the difference in pain when I don't exercise. I guess I'm really lucky.

    I have avoided surgery with the exercising for now and want to put it off as long as possible. As a side note, the symptoms of my stenosis were so severe that I actually lost bladder control for awhile. Surprisingly it's no longer a problem!

    Good luck with whatever path you choose. I know it's hard when you hurt so bad, but try to stay positive 8>
  • I have been watching my lumbar spine degenerate for 12 years, and have had increasing stenosis for about 5 years. Numbness in the middle three toes on my left foot. Crawling tingling front and back left calf. Weakness in my left leg - hard to lift it, loss of muscle mass in left calf (wondered why my LEFT knee sock kept falling down...) Symptoms have advanced now to where when I walk I have pain shooting from my left butt to my foot, and it feels like my calf is in a vise. Oddly, sitting for long periods of time makes it worse (I sometimes have extreme pain sitting, but more often, have no pain/tingling until I get up and try to walk.) I can often "walk" through the pain, although my gait is off and I strain other muscles. I get no relief by leaning forward.

    PT, accupuncture, injections did not help. Celebrex helps, Neurontin did not. I could manage the symptoms for years using an inversion table (hang like a bat twice a day), deep water aerobics, and sitting on an inflated disk/ball, but have hit a point where nothing I do helps any more. Am scheduled for double laminectomy (L4/L5) in December. I have a spondylolisthesis which may need to be fused at some point but I am putting that off. I am also not considering the X-stop because it's really only recommended for people who get relief when they lean forward.

    Hope that helps!
  • Hi,

    I have severe lumbar spinal stenosis at L3-L4 due to a herniated disc and mild to moderate stenosis at L4-L5. At one spot, I have no disc height at all, just two vertebrae rubbing together. I also have bulging discs in other parts of my lumbar spine and had a previous fusion in my neck (C4-C5-C6) due to cervical spinal stenosis. I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease as the cause.

    I have not yet had surgery on my back but saw a neurosurgeon two days ago and was told I am a "surgical candidate" for a fusion of L3-L4-L5. The neurosurgeon said all I have to do is call him when I'm "ready" for surgery. He apparently didn't think I was ready, mentally or something, because he said I seemed nervous.

    This made me a bit angry with him and makes me wonder if I need to find a different surgeon. I would not have been sitting in a neurosurgeon's examining room unless I knew I needed surgery. What person on earth would feel "ready" for spinal fusion and not feel nervous about it? I certainly don't look forward to it like it's a party or something, but I am tired of living like this.

    Having already undergone fusion in my neck, this is not my first rodeo. I saw my lumbar MRI report and even have a copy of the scans on both film and CD. You don't have to be a doctor to know I have a serious problem. My spinal cord looks like two sausage links with a knot between the links at L3-L4.

    Due to my lumbar stenosis, I have pain that affects my lower back as well as both legs. The pain goes down the back sections of my buttocks and also involves my hips and the entirety of my thighs to my knees. If I walk a lot, the pain affects my entire legs. Sometimes I have more pain in one leg than the other. When the pain concentrates in my right leg, it's a sharp pain. Elsewhere, it usually feels like a cramp or a sting from a wasp. In my back it's more of an ache or cramp, but sometimes it feels like my back is about to explode. I cannot bend forward to touch my toes or retrieve things I've dropped.

    The pain is worse when walking or standing, and usually feels better when sitting. The pain begins after I walk only a short distance, taking perhaps 20 to 40 steps or less, and gets worse if I continue to walk or stand upright. Once the pain gets to a certain level, sitting down doesn't help. When I'm sitting, my legs often go numb, so I can't even sit for long.

    But lately I have pain all the time, waking from pain at night and waking with pain in the morning and experiencing pain even when sitting in a chair. I already took my pain meds and have been seated in my computer chair, doing nothing else since waking this morning, yet still I have pain of about 5 or 6 on a scale of 1-10.

    I made a call to a pain specialist just now to see if I could get stronger pain meds, but the nurse said the doctor usually tries things like cortisone shots and electrical stimulation. Well, maybe those would help my pain meds to work better. Note -- I don't want to say what pain meds I use because some of these forums won't let you do that.

    I became almost paralyzed by the stenosis in my neck, which was the worst at C4-C5. I also had pinched nerves at every level of my neck except C1-C2. I lost bladder control and sometimes even bowel control, long before my surgery. I also lost most of the motor skills in my hands, and one leg became difficult to control.

    Since my neck fusion surgery two years ago, I cannot say I'm perfect but I am definitely much better. I continue to have pain in my neck and shoulders, and I develop numbness in my right arm when I'm using the computer, but these are not nearly as bad as before the surgery, which I consider a success because I now function at a much higher level and can type on my keyboard almost as well as before my neck problems began. For the most part, my bladder control issues resolved immediately after surgery but I still have problems when I get very fatigued.

    The recovery of function took many months after my neck surgery, however, and two rounds of physical therapy. But now I'm able to sign my name in my usual manner or hold a pen or pencil with which to write. Before the surgery, I had lost those abilities and every other kind of "fine motor skill."

    As for my lumbar spinal stenosis, it remains untreated and seems to be getting worse on a daily basis. I've always been very active and am frustrated about all the things I am unable to do because of pain. I will probably be having surgery within the next few weeks, but I'm hoping to wait until after Christmas, if I can stand this pain that long.
  • I just saw a neuro yesterday and he told me it wasnt normal for me to have pain going down both legs :T :T :T . I also have hip pain on both sides all the way to my toes. I am also starting to get more numbness again. I also have the back pain that has always been located to my left side.

    I got a script to go get a xray of my hips because he thinks my hips have problems?! UGH :''( :''( . I totally felt like a idiot, like I wasn't believed at all!!!!! I guess I was basically told that it is all in my head until I get the results, and the results of the emg.
  • new to this site and in the Uk i have bladder issues. I'm not sure when to go to the loo as in so much pain and when i do only half a cup is filled. Six weeks ago i have a discectomy and decompession L4/L5, now I'm getting electric shocks down my penis and the pain in my groin and in the inner thighs is killer me.
    What area was your husbands spinal stenosis..?
  • Hi,

    I had severe lumbar stenosis for a few years and I can tell you what my symptoms were:

    I started out with just sudden occassional low back pain and spasms that would come and go. I could not understand why b/c I had never had back pain in my life, plus I religiously exercised and did alot of the weight machines at the gym. I was in good shape. So I tried some patches and other meds here & there, which worked in the beginning, but over time, the pain & spasms got worse and lasted longer. This would happen only while standing and/or walking.

    Over the course of about 3 1/2 years, I just went down hill quickly. The pain intensified and so did the spasms. It got to the point where it was 24/7. If I layed down in a fetal position, it felt somewhat better or on a recliner chair. I got massive, excruciating back spasms as well as leg spasms. My standing time and walking distance ability decreased by the week, it seemed. Also, I could no longer stand upright at all and forget about bending back at all. Those things brought on even more pain.I did find the only way to walk around was to lean onto a shopping cart and I only went to stores that had shopping carts. Then I developed sciatica on top of it. It started on my left side but eventually it happened on my right as well. I can tell you that the pain inside my spine felt as if my spine was compressed. It literally felt like I had a vice grip wrapped around my spine. If you took one of those binder clips and put a small one on one of your fingers and just left it there....that is what the inside of my spine felt like. And it worsened if I tried to straighten out. I really was god-awful. I had trouble moving my legs normally so I walked with wide stance, bent over at almost a 90 degree angle. I ended up only being able to walk about 20-30 feet before I had to collapse. After time, the low back spasms spread up my entire back and even into my neck. Then my neck going into spasm all the time, plus other symptoms. I also was diagnosed with neurogenic claudication, which involves deep cramp-like pains in the legs, which again, gets even worse when you try to stand up or bend back. I just was physically unable to do either. Now, I should have been using a walker, but i was too stubborn and guess didn't want to give in to the fact of my condition as I was only in my 30's, which is unusual. I also developed multiple disk herniations and a tear that my PM saw on MRI. Usually sitting and bent forward would relieve my pain, however, the sitting with the disk herniations made things worse. I literally felt severe burning pain in a particular area of my spine and more spasms radiated out from there. Turns out I ended up pointing out exactly where the tear was from that, which was confirmed on MRI. I know what you are going through and it is dreadful, exhausting, and just sucks all the life out of someone. I had to keep working because I had to support myself, I had no choice. So someone I went to work every day in severe pain, many times in tears all day. I've had times where I was stuck in the bathroom unable to zip my pants back up. It took a long time to get dressed & undressed. Showering was another project in itself. Other than work (I Had a desk job), i became homebound. I couldn't go to stores or movies or restaurants b/c I could not stand in line anywhere. I did go to my local convenience store for coffee and so many times the employees had to help me get back to my car (which was humiliating for me, though I did really appreciated their help). But that's the best way for me to describe the stenosis pain....like one has a very tight vice grip around the spinal canal, squeezing the life out of it. I also developed bladder problems, though never complete loss of control. At first I couldn't go, it was just little dribbles all day long and I went constantly. The whole thign was very hard to deal with, especially at first and when i was diagnosed. I was diagnosed with the stenosis due to bone overgrowth into my canal & nerves, spine ligamanet thickening and buckling inot my canal, plus multi-level disk herniations and bulges. I had tried many painkillers, and none really helped the stenosis pain. I also tried the epidurals, but they only helped the sciatic nerve pains for a few weeks. Also, upon exam from a few doctors, I had no knee reflexes left. Nothing helped the vice-like pain or spasms, though I found keeping a large, moist heating pad over the area provided some temporary soothing on my spasms. Like I said, I was stubborn. All my co-workers & managers (god-bless them) were so understanding and helpful. They kept telling me to go on disability or get surgery, as my family did. Several of my doctors also said surgery is probably my only option. I never had surgery before, so of course I was scared and had heard all the bad consequences of surgeries. Even my PT urged me to look into surgery. My PT was awesome....they actually found a good surgeon for me that some of their patients had used. It's a well-known orthopedic group and I finally gave in and went there. Again, their only option was surgery as well, being nothing else had helped and I was just getting worse and worse.

    So in 2006, I ended up having a multi-level laminectomy, along with foraminotomies, disk removals, and something else I can't remember. So when they opened me up, they found more nerve compression than was seen on MRI.

    So I had the surgery and the next day they get you out of bed, yeowwwwwww! OMG, even with the meds, the pain is terrible. But I got up with a walker and it was unbelievable that I was able to stand up straight for the first time in several years. I was so elated. I have to say that I did pretty well for 5-6 months after, with a few episodes of sudden nerve pains in my right leg, which resolved with alot of stretching. But..at 5 or 6 months out, I had an episode of severe pain again in my lower spine, along with more spasms and nerve pain. I had severe sciatica in my left leg where the pain was relentless and 24-7. My left foot was completely numb for almost 2 months.
    I finally had a nerve block done and that relieve my
    sciatica. Turned out I had new herniations and bulges, plus aalot of scar tissue build-up, despite doing everything possible to minimize it. Along with the herniations, I had
    a piece of scar tissue lodged in my left later recess area, wwhich was constantly pushed against that nerve. Since
    then, I keep getting sciatic and and other nerve symptoms
    what seems like every 3 weeks, though I do think my surgery
    helped me alot. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee or way to totally prevent scar tissue and going & taking it out can just cause more problems or more scar tissue.
  • I also had the facet joint injections :''( , its been 2 weeks tomorrow, and im still swollen and sore :''( , i can only wear loose fitting clothes :''( . I have been having spinal headaches with a vengance B) :''( . I am taking a number of different medication, but nothing seems to be helping @) , i am so frustrated with all this now ~X( . I am tired to I) .

    Angie x :( :H
  • My experience:

    a good bit of lower back pain, mostly while standing (hopeless at cocktail parties, for instance). A few extreme episodes where my only relief was to be fetal for a couple of days.

    no pain! In retrospect, I attribute this to nerves simply dieing off.

    sudden onset of neuropathy in both feet.
    began to have shooting leg pain during extended walks.

    Walking pain goes away.
    Friends noticed that I was limping, though it was subtle enough that I hadn't even noticed it.
    A neurologist diagnosed spinal stenosis. Neurosurgeon #1 suggested a 3-level laminectomy. Neurosurgeon #2 suggested just one level, L4-L5. Had surgery with #2 at Hershey Med Center. Surgeon could never get it straight that I didn't have pain; rather, I was only concerned about losing muscle. At follow-up, surgeon again asks me to rate my level of pain-reduction. I point out that I can't get lower than zero.

    I decide I'm limping a little worse, so get a workup with neurologist at Johns Hopkins. Get my first CT-scan. (only had MRI at Hershey) Hopkins team sees problems at foramin around L5-S1 which Hershey docs couldn't see.

    In between visits, neurologist observes my right calf muscle is now noticably smaller.

    Because of earlier surgery, the Hopkins team suggests fusion from L4 to S1. I have surgery in Fall of 2002. (just like with one of the earlier posters, the 2nd set of surgeons find a lot of scar tissue from previous surgery.) I wear a flexible body cast for 3 months (or was it 6 weeks?!). Recovery was pretty smooth.

    Again, I wasn't having pain so it's hard to measure the success of the surgery. But I think the deterioration has stopped. I even started playing tennis again in 2007.

    Having written this, I'm suddenly motivated to go do my back exercises!


  • I commented on a couple other threads, but this one is right up my alley. I'm 42, and was born with Rickets, a bone-developing disease. Doctors had me on several medications for bone strength.
    Fast forward to 2003, where I started going to the gyn to try losing a little weight (I was 30 lbs over), and found my left arm starting to go numb. I thought that I pinched a nerve while working out. It progressed to a point to where in 04, I was losing gripping strength and balance.
    Doctors had me on a spinal decrompression machine for 15 minutes every 2-3 days, ut it did not help. After losing balance and tripping over itty-bitty things, they finally did MRI and diagnosed stenosis. Waited for approval from HMO for several tests over a period of 3-4 months, and by that time, I could not walk upright, and had to use a cane. Also, had extreme numbness in both feet, left leg, both arms, left hand/fingers, and trouble with bodily functions (#1/#2). That was when the neurosurgeon I saw said we need surgery in c3-c7.
    Late July 2004, had the laminectomy. Immediately after surgery, woke up with my left arm very hypersensitive (even air blowing on it hurt). Spent 5 days in the hospital, and because I had lost so much strength, they transferred me to a stroke rehab center for recuperation (4 weeks). I was out of work for 3 months, although I may have been able to go back earlier.
    Unfortunately, I recovered about 75%. Still have left arm issue. I read in someone else's post about excercise and physical therapy. I too did not take it seriously, and my left arm is atrophied. Otherwise I still function fairly well, but with pain. I do use tools for dressing/personal hygiene, but as I live by myself, I learned to deal with it.
    I guess the moral of MY story is that if the case is severe enough, get the surgery (as I am better of than before surgery), but stay on the physical therapy and excercise.
  • My husband has severe spinal stenosis. For the past 4 years he has been able to do certain thins such as mowing the grass (but it would take him about 2 hours) most people would only take 20 minutes, cause he would have to sit down for about 30 minutes every 5 or 10 minutes of mowing, he could walk around in a small grocery store, but if he tried to push it by trying to walk longer or do more things, then his legs would get numb and give out on him, causing him to fall. He had to take 3 to 4 pain pills a day. Just 4 months ago, he had surgery - lumber laminectomy- they had to do 4 levels. He can't walk very well, has to use a cane or walker just to walk around the house. His pain is more severe than it was before surgery. He is on more pain pills, muscle relaxors than before surgery and not getting too good of answers from the doctor.
    We are trying to find out if anyone has had a 4 level laminectomy before and their outcome.
  • Lauren,
    Can you describe your physical therapy for
    your lumbar stenosis?
    Are there any exercises to avoid?
    Lumber extensions bother me, so I guess they should
    be avoided?

    Hey I have another question.
    How can I flag this topic to send me email when
    there are new posts?
    Please send PM as I cannot figure this out.
  • my pain started in my back like an all so firmilar kidney infection..yet found out was sciatia. did 1st round PT and NSAID's helped some, then again a month later the pain returned, this time in my buttocks.left side only. Cramps like I have never dreamt of having, then did 2 1/2 months of Chiropractor with a decompression machice and stims..some help and then the numbness started on and off while walking a short distance and goes away on sitting..I know all to well about the shopping cart thing. Mine is not so much the pain, that is liveable. Mine is the annoyance of the numbness in my calf and foot, I cannot walk a half block with out it showing itself. I saw a Neuro last week and suggested ESI's first to exhaust all conservative methods..."Because that is what I want." I do not want surgery, but he claims that is the only way to remedy my problem...But I just can't seem to find it within myself to agree...I am not scared of surgery, But I am concerned that 80% of people that has had back surgery have more issues than before. He is suggesting a micro-laminectomy with no hospital stay and off about a week. I would love to hear from others that have had this same surgery to talk with.

    45yr female with DDD-LLS
  • hi, my friend has mild stenosis in the lower backarea, but last night night she complained that she had pain further up the back (just under the shoulder blades), i know stenosis can be painful in the lower back, but i was wondering if it can get painful further up because of stenosis, i do know the pain goes down int the legs, but can it go up?

    Thanx, John

    DURING THE DAY,, I could not walk upright at all, I had to walk bent over as far as possible to get some relief. I could not stand up, bent over or not, for much more than a few short minutes before having so much pain from my S1 area down through my buttocks and down both legs to my feet. It was like getting an electric shock which would not stop. I also had numbness in my left foot which built up literally in the same few minutes. In fact I had to sit down wherever I was and sometimes it was even in the street. I sat on a stool to brush my teeth at the bathroom basin and sat on another stool in the shower. Sitting down was also a problem. I could not sit in a position that put any pressure on my S! area as that too caused the electric shock type pain. so I always had to sit down in a way which put my weight on the back of my legs rather than anywhere else.

    SLEEPING, was a dreadful problem too as it was almost impossible to find a place that was pain free. Most nights I eventually went to sleep from total exhaustion and the help of pain killers which were largely quite useless. I used to make a joke to my doctor by saying that I slept like a baby, which was that I eventually slept for an hour then woke up and cried for an hour and then slept for another hour and woke up and cried for another hour. Thank goodness I never at any time lost my sense of humor even though I really did not know where to put myself for pain relief in the end.





    JOHN B


    Medical History

    Suffered almost five years of progressive spinal stenosis using pain management procedures with regular epidurals and subsequent Caudal Epidurals with contrast and 'C' arm guidance with increasing frequency.

    February 2009
    Preoperative Diagnosis- Chronic Multilevel Bilateral Lumbar Spinal Stenosis with Recurrent and Persistant Chronic Radiculopathy.

    Operative procedure
    L3-4 Bilateral Hemilaminotomies and Foraminotomies with nerve root decompression.
    L4-5 Bilateral hemilaminotomies with Foraminotomies and nerve root decompression.
    L5-S1 Bilateral Hemilaminotomies, Foraminotomies and nerve root decompression
  • pain, tingling, numbness down fronts, backs and sides both legs while sitting or standing. depending on chair im in or how im leaning on crutches it affects at least 50% of my muscles.
  • yah john it can go up as high as your head. the only place i never get it is my stomach.
  • I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. My pain starts with walking. the front muscles of my thighs feel extremely fatigued and then the pain starts in my upper buttocks and then settles in my hip joint area. The more I walk, the worse it gets. Sitting down relieves it and even bending forward helps.

    I had a Laminectomy from L-2 to S-1 two months ago. The pain is WORSE than before the surgery. My surgeon has basically written me off and is now sending me to a pain management doctor. I insisted on new MRI's which I will get next week.

    I am really depressed over this! Anyone else have a similar experience? Did you finally get relief and if so, how so? HELP!
  • So sorry to hear that you are in worse pain.

    I am however extremely surprised that your surgeon has written you off after only 8 weeks. My surgeon told me that my pain might be worse for a while and then it would likely get better after several weeks. Your surgeons decision is very odd indeed.

    The pain that you are having in what you are referring to as the front muscles in your thighs is in the area of the Vastus Lateralis and Medialis muscles. Those muscles are served by the nerves between L3/L4 bilaterally. You seem to have had surgery in that area. The pain that you have in your buttocks and hips sounds more Sciatic related like L4/L5 and S1 and you seem to have had surgery there too. I do not know exactly what your surgical notes say but it would be interesting to know exactly what took place in the OR in respect of what your surgeon actually did. The truth is that I really find it difficult to comprehend why your surgeon is taking that view after such a short period of time.

    I hope that the effluxion of time will improve your pain and maybe, in the meantime, your PM Doctor will be able to inform you of what you have exactly had done surgically and maybe he will give you a copy of the surgical notes if you can't get them from your surgeon.
    Your PM Doc may also be able throw more light on the subject for you.

    John B
  • Wow..there's so much info here.
    It really puts my "simple" root stenosis into
    perspective. I'm glad I read this - it will make me less of a baby when I'm hurting.

  • I think that you are lucky your surgeon gives you the option to call him when you are ready. Most surgeons have a long waiting list and I know that many people need to have time to think about their options. Given the severity of disease in your spine there may be problems after that will not be the fault of the surgeon. Also given the lengthy recovery time it really is considerate of him to allow you to prepare and make arrangements.

    I myself have just had a laminectomy after crawling on my stomach for two months.I could not sit, kneel or stand at all. It came on suddenly. I thought I had severe sciatica and lay in bed for two weeks hoping it would go away, after getting progressively worse I went to emergency dep't at hospital. They did a scan and I was told I had a pulled muscle and severe spasms, given morphine and told to go to physio. I asked the doctor "what do you mean the ct is normal,I can't walk,sit or kneel" he snapped back "I said its normal" Fortunately the Dr I worked for made me an appointment with a neurosurgeon who immediately admitted me for surgery. I was crawling on my hands and knees. I am 6 weeks post surgery, some pain and moderate sciatica but nothing compared to the pain during those 8 weeks. I am so grateful for the talent of the neurosurgeons who ended my suffering but the whole ordeal left me very traumatized

    I wish you all the best and hope that weather you decide to go to surgery or not, you get 100% relief from your symptoms.

    Take care.
  • Almost identical to my story. I started crying reading it. Brought back all those very painful memories. I am currently being told that I need to consider a spinal cord stimulator implant. The surgeon hasn't seen my latest MRI yet though. I am almost 2 yrs out from my second multilevel 360 fusion. I am terrified to be like that again, and according to my drs it is inevitable that I will need more fusions, just trying to prolong it. I am totally disabled at the age of 38, divorced mother of two girls that if I hadn't had them, I would not be here today. they took care of me when I needed to bathe, get out of bed to go to the bathroom, dress me, feed me etc... forget about going to any functions of any sort. I was using a walker and referred to myself as a cave woman because when I did walk it was at a 90 deg. angle. I could only walk very short distances and could not drive or ride in a car for over 15 min. I have chronic pain and can deal with it most times, there are sometimes i cry and lay in the fetal position now. I am getting worse again. I have no feeling at all in my right foot-haven't had since the first fusion failed. It is permanent. I am trying to get information from this site on the stimulator implant... don't know if it's even worth doing. I have a tens unit, it feels good while it's going, but as soon as it stops it's like i didn't even use it.
  • I have lumbar stenosis, finally diagnosed about a year ago. Up until about 6 or 7 years ago, I used to walk about 2 miles most days, even had started jogging part of my route. I had lost 50 lbs and was feeling great. Then I started having problems with my lower legs cramping when I walked. The pain and cramping got worse over time. I kept complaining to my doctors, trying to convey to them that the pain was interfering with my activity level. I had just been diagnosed with diabetes, so the doc just chalked it up to diabetic neuropathy. (I couldn't understand how I could have neuropathy THAT severe, since I hadn't been diabetic very long.) I changed docs, and the new one checked me for PAD. My circulation was fine, so she didn't seem interested in finding out what the problem was.

    Over the course of the last 6 years, I have gotten worse and worse. Now I can only walk or stand about 15 minutes before I'm in excruciating pain. In other words, by the time I walk around a grocery store, it's unbearable. My legs burn like fire, my thighs go numb, and my hips just seem to lock up the muscles are so tight. Since I'm unable to walk for exercise, I've gained about 80 pounds and I wound up having a heart attack last summer. I am so frustrated that no doctor has given a flip about the problem as my health deteriorated!!! I only got a diagnosis because I fell down about a year and half ago and hurt my knee. When the doc ordered an MRI on my knee, I asked her if she could order an MRI of my lumbar spine. I had done enough reading to suspect LSS by that point. Once the MRI was done, she told me it only showed "normal wear and tear." Only when I asked for a copy of the MRI report did I see the stenosis diagnosis!

    I've been seeing a pain management doc, who wants to do nerve blocks, but the cardiologist won't release me yet to have any procedure that requires being off aspirin and plavix. I leery of nerve blocks: from the reading I've done, they don't seem that effective, and it seems like a big, recurring expense for minimal relief. I've made an appointment with an orthopedist who specializes in spines; it's next week. The pain doc was pretty condescending and argumentative when he found out I wanted to see an orthopedist.

    I read all the stories here and get discouraged...sounds like so many folks haven't gotten any relief. I just want my life back!!!
  • It seems that you do need some help.

    I have some questions.

    Firstly, were you diagnosed with Diabetes before or after you put on 80 pounds in weight?

    Secondly, were you suffering with heart problems that you are aware of prior to your heart attack?

    Thirdly, if you have spinal stenosis in the lower lumbar why are they doing nerve blocks rather than epidural steroid injections?

    It may be that you could do with some better guidance here and it would be extremely useful for that purpose if you could possibly answer the above questions.

    I look forward to your reply.

    By the way if you feel happier you can PM me and communicate that way if you wish.

    Take Care

    John B
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