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Unsteadiness like I am drunk!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi There,
Some of you will know me from old. Please see my signature line for summary of my journey of 3 spine surgeies and complications.

Early March I had ESI and nerve blocks, I had 5 days of being more comfortable and an improved gait. I don't understand this but hey!

Anyway, I am now nearly 3 months away from that.

My gait is worsening. Today my bad leg was weak, wobbly, less sensation, it wanders off in opposite direction. I now look worse than drunk. I continually stumbled today.
I am not sure what to do.

This is what I am thinking.....
Shall I go to ER?
How long should I leave it?
Do you think it will improve if I wait?
I have a GP appointment in 2 weeks and not planning to see surgeon for ____?? - He is away on leave. My pain is worsening.
I do not know why. I do not know where this is all going.

Now heres the bit that worries me. The original problem on the nerve was reomved 8 months ago. It does not make any sense that this should get worse...or does it? When nerves heal do they do this?

Thanls in advance. I feel so confused and fed up.


  • I sure understand your problem but I have no answers. My gait is altered too and I do not know why. I do have nerve damage at L4 & L5, the nerve that runs down your legs. I am just guessing that is why.
    I now use a quad cain and that keeps me somewhat steady. At least I no longer fall! The last time I fell I cracked a rib so I knew I had to do something so now I use a cain.
    I did ask the Dr. why I wass so unsteady and he just shruged his shoulders. No answers thare.
    Best of luck to you.
    May the Sun always shine for you.
    patsy W
  • Just a thought but have you had a emg done on your legs? I was having issues with my gait, as well. Actually my legs continued to get weaker and weaker. Although I do understand some of it is my myelopathy, but it was getting worse. A nuerologist examined me and seen my legs were going in tow different directions. He ordered a emg study which showed peroneal nuropathy. Apparently the nerve was damaged several years ago, and since i use meds for nerve issues, I didn't notice the symptoms as much till it started causing me to stumble more. That nerve supplies the muscles of the feet so hence they are getting weaker. But a emg may reveal something?
  • I am wondering if PT will help some? I plan to have physical therapy when I recover from my SCS implant. I am sure this is linked to the nerve damage. My legs are very weak and climbing stairs are a real problem for me.
    Itsalongwalk....do you have a problem with stairs too? This is no fun is it? I actually see the day I am in a wheel chair getting closer and closer. Bummer huh?
    Best to you
    Patsy W
  • I don't have an answer in general, but Patsy, I too have nerve damage at L4-L5 and sometimes feel like I probably look like I'm drunk half the time when walking. If I turn around too quickly, I can almost knock myself off my feet, etc. I asked my surgeon about it...like, "is this connected to my back problems?" And he looked at me like I was nuts for asking and replied, "Of course!." He said that since there is a problem with the nerve, (and considering the motion that the nerve controls), there is not a smooth, complete signal getting through from the brain to the nerve...and consequently, the nerve does not always tell the muscles what to do correctly. Sometimes the signal gets through, but other times, it does not. So sometimes you can walk OK and then a block later, you can't. I cannot walk in a straight line. If I am walking next to someone, I always bump into him/her. I tend to veer off to the left for some reason...never to the right. I suppose that is because my right leg is my "bad" one.
  • I am so sorry to hear things are not great with you right now! I have a similar problem with my left leg--some days it feels so weak and it's an effort to walk any distance. And then other days, it's fine. I also have difficulty walking in a straight line and keep bumping into the people walking with me.

    I'm sorry I don't have any answers for any of us, but I hope it gets better for you soon! You have been through sooo much and have been so supportive of us in the past.

    Take care!
  • I walk and bump into others like I'm drunk too, some days are better than others. I recently bought a cane and any day I go to work or leave home I use it. I just let myself bounce around off the walls & furniture at home. I may be worsening but it would be at a very slow rate.

    On the way in to work today, with my cane & sunglasses I had a co-worker tell me all I needed to complete my "outfit" was a seeing eye dog! =))
  • I know what you mean as I was like that pre surgery. What I discovered for me was that one leg was stronger then the other so it would send me on a course of weaving as I walked rather than walking straight.
    I still find if I get tired my left get gts lazy and i start weaving a bit.
    Maybe you need to strengthen your legs a bit and hopefully that may help.
    This ws what worked for me but as always yours may be a completely different thing.
    I am sorry you are still having problems
  • I would get it checked out in the ER or Urgent Care. I work in an ER and think they won't mind well that's what it's for. Weakness different from before, weakness in your leg. Anyway had a scare myself today I leaned out the back door and my leg collasped but I was lucky to grab the weather stripping and with all this weight it stopped me from well don't like to think of that. I've had weakness and always hold the rail and use the cane outside mostly. We're not Drs and although you may think you're disturbing the Drs and Nurses let me tell you I loved to work there and helped people and really that's what the ER is for. I had to go to a different ER to get pain meds when I injured myself and my Dr was on vacation and couldn't travel downtown where I worked. Hope you find out what's going on. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • How are you doing? I haven't been on for a long time and it's sad to see that so many of us are still experiencing problems! Have you had ESI injections or trigger point injections? I've got an appointment with Doc on June 2 and think he will suggest on or the other.

    It may be that one leg is stronger than the other, but I wake up with the left leg so weak.
  • I am so sorry to hear that you are having so many problems with your leg. With all you have been through, if you are worried I think you should see someone about it ASAP. Most of us are reluctant to go to ER, I think, but you never know, it may lead to some answers. Whoops - just saw that you wrote this a couple of days ago - what did you decide to do?

  • Thanks for your words of encouragement.

    Life has such a sense of humour for me...just as I think "That's it, not doing this anymore, ER here I come" it settles.
    ha ha ha!

    Today I was not so unsteady, but as gwennie17 says, further down the road the wobbles start again.
    Thanks for the information though Pat, I like to know why these strange things happen to me!
    I hope that nothing else is going on as to why I feel that it is getting worse and not staying the same or getting better!?
    It is 8 months now with very little change since the revision surgery so I don't hold out much hope.
    I just wish the system would hurry up and do something, EMG studies, SCS trail, intrathecal trial...anything is better than the sinking sand pit I feel like I am in!!

    Have a lovely evening all.
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