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What is Normal????

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I will give a brief history of my situation - I am 43 years old and in June 2007 I started with sciatica radiating down my left leg with tingling in my big toe, after various treatments including 2 ESI's I finall had a micro-disectomy of the L5/S1 in January 2008, when I woke up besides surgery pain I still had the pain in my leg, the surgeon said not to worry because the nerve had been badly pinched and it may take some time to heal, after 3-4 months I noticed that there was no longer any improvement, my heal and side of my left foot was now numb all the time and driving me crazy. My doctor sent me to a nuerologist who after an MRI said that the L5/S1 was herniated and pushing on the nerve - again - I saw the surgeon and on January 15 of this year I had a spinal fusion of the L5/S1 - Since my surgery I think I am doing quite well but I do have some questions about my recovery and I am hoping someone can help me - I am 5 weeks post op, I am walking on my treadmill a mile in the morning (takes me 1/2 hour) and usually a mile at night, I am able to bend and squat much better each day but I do have numbness and almost a burning sesation when I touch the top of my left foot,I also have the same feeling but not as severe in my left butt cheek. I still have nerve pain but the numbness in my heel is gone and for the last couple of days I have been having pain in the incision.
My question is this: Is the feeling in the top of my foot normal? Could it be the nerves re-generating themselves .
Is the pain in the incision normal - could it be the layers underneath starting to heal - the pain almost feels like a tender pulling feeling.
I would appreciate any input anyone can give me.
Thanks Tracy


  • I have had a lot of fusion, 3 months ago. I have since had all sorts of strange "nerve" pains, but it moves around. Occasionally a stabbing/burning sort of feeling near the incision that I am sure are nerves regenerating. Tingling. Strange shooting pains sometimes. A strange numb toe from time to time. Left foot sometimes a bit tingly feeling. Strange pains in the buttocks under the hip bones, sort of. I feel pretty sure that because these pains come and go, it is in the "normal" range. If something keeps reappearing too much or lingering too long--ask the doctor. And maybe you are doing too much bending so far? Sounds otherwise that you are doing pretty well.
  • Tracy,

    Your pain at the incision is most likely due to healing, though it would be best to call your surgeon and tell them about it.

    The pain/burning in your foot is probably from a nerve being pinched when you bend over that far.

    Did your surgeon say it was okay for you to bend over? Most people are not allowed to bend for quite a while after a spinal fusion. I was on strict "No Bending, Lifting, Twisting" restrictions for the first 3 months after an L5/S1 fusion. Even at 6 months, I am not allowed to repetitively bend over. You should probably confirm this with your surgeon.
  • Hi Mark
    I was doing some bending and lifting of my 1 year old niece on the week-end, my surgeon never really stressed not to bend, the physio therapist in the hospital said to be careful with bending and twisting but they didn't make it sound that strict - I am a little worried now.
    I am not bending or lifting anything else, I think I may have tore the incision on the inside a little so now I will be extra careful. I see the surgeon next week.
    Thanks for your input.
  • Many surgeons stress to not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk while recovering from a fusion. Also, it is very important that you not reach for something overhead and attempt to lift it. You should avoid any activity that involves bending or twisting...many surgeons will say at least for the first three months.

    Probably your aches and pains are just a normal part of the healing process, but be sure to ask your surgeon, just to be on the safe side. Remember to take it easy and give your body a chance to heal. It is a slow process and cannot be rushed. You don't want to have to go through all this all over again, right?
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