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Newbie still having pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I'm so glad to find a forum like this. I'm hoping to find others with my same issue and possibly with some advice or answers.

I woke up on a Sunday morning about 3 months ago with what felt like a knot in my left buttock, numbness (like my leg was asleep) and tingling down the back of my left leg and down to the bottom of my feet. I had a fusion with a cage at L/5-S1 in August of 02 as a result of a car accident and the symptoms I was having (other than the bottom of my foot) was similar to the pain I had before surgery, so I was thinking it may has something to do with that area. On Tuesday, I called my primary doctor who told me to go to the ER to make sure I didn't have a blood clot. They did a scan of my legs, which came out fine. On Friday, my primary dr. sent me for an MRI, which showed I had moderate foramenal stenosis at L4. The pain ended up going to the right side as well with some pain in the low back but primary in the back of both legs and horrible pain on the bottom of my feet. I saw a neurologist who recommended surgery, but sent me to a pain management dr. for a nerve block shot to make sure the pain was coming from the nerve where the stenosis was present. The pain completely went away after the shots (one on each side), but returned two days later. This apparently told the dr. that was, in fact, the nerve area that was causing the pain. I had a miniminally invasive foraminal laminectomy on April 15th. Immediately after surgery, the pain in my feet and legs was gone. But, 4-5 days after surgery the pain started coming back and is now as bad and sometimes worse than before surgery. I saw the neurologist for a follow-up from surgery this past Thursday. He was at a complete loss as to why I was still having so much pain. He recommended that I get a second opinion from someone else in his office, start physical therapy and have an EMG to check for nerve damage. I have that test on Monday. He also gave me MORE pain meds to take in addition to the meds I already was taking.

My husband and I have 4 kids and I have missed a lot of their activities as well as normal things I do. I am almost 42 years old (next week) and am not ready to have my life come to a screeching halt because of this pain. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, but I made a decision after seeing the doctor that I won't miss anything else when it comes to the kids, even if I have to be "stoned" to be there!! I saw my 5 year olds t-ball today, and though I was miserable, I saw every second of it!!

Has anyone else had these types of symptoms? Any information, tips, advice, etc. would be awesome!




  • Welcome to the board. Sorry for the reason you found us. I can certainly sympathize with your situation as I have ongoing pain from that same area, after having had a fusion and a year later, a lami-foraminotomy one level below the fusion.

    It is possible that the surgery did not take enough away to totally decompress the nerve. Minimally invasive surgeries are nice for recovery, but sometimes the surgeon is not able to see all that is going on. Obviously I am not a doctor, so am just guessing at what might be going on.

    The fact that you have the nerve pain indicates that something is still either compressing the nerve, or the nerve is damaged and is still sending out signals indicating it thinks it is still being compressed. (Sometimes the nerve becomes like a frayed electrical cord and does not transmit signals properly.)

    I would follow through with that second opinion you mentioned. I don't think you will learn much from the EMG except to learn if there is a disruption of the signal...which you already kind of know. It cannot pinpoint the exact point at which the nerve is being compressed or tell what is causing the damage...at least, that is what I was told when I asked if I should have a second EMG study done.

    Sometimes swelling from the surgery will be enough to cause these symptoms. Perhaps your pain management doctor will want to give you an epidural steroid injection to try to calm the nerve down. Sometimes this works. It would be worth a try!

    Sorry you are going through this. I hope you can figure out the cause of your pain and can find a solution for it. Please keep posting with your comments and questions. This is a great place to find good information and caring support from others who understand what you are going through.

    xx Gwennie
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