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Back again! Different pain this time!

nelnnel Posts: 402
I was supposed to have fusion on L5-S1 4th august following 16 weeks of awful sciatica in my right side. The two weeks before my symptoms improved a lot and so my surgeon said to leave well alone.

Now (and for the last couple of weeks) I have constant hip area pain in my left side which worsens through the day and sometimes runs down to my calf and toes. I have also been having a feeling like the outside top of my foot has ice on it. There has been some nerve pain in the right side but not as bad as before and not as bad as the hip pain.
I am assuming the pain is nerve pain as it doesn't improve with the pain killers and my previous scaitic pain didn't improve with them either. I just don't entirely understand why the pain has switched sides.

My MRI shows that my L5 S1 disc is degenerate with a long thin right sided polyp that I assume caused the old sciatica.

I am going to see my GP for advice this week and will probably go to see the ortho surgeon again.
I suppose what I wondered is if this pain that I now have is just something I will have to live with? Also, is there any other way to get rid of the pain?

I have gone back to work now (Chemistry teacher) as the new term has begun. Thankfully i am only part time so haven't got too many full days as I don't think i could manage all day. The pain is worse at night and I am struggling to sleep.

I am now starting to wish I had just had the surgery despite feeling better at the time. I don't think it will go down too well if I go back off this term.


  • I cannot tell you specifically what accounts for your symptoms switching sides, but I can assure you it does happen. I had it happen while in physical therapy following a fusion...but eventually it switched back to the other side where it remains today.

    Even though a MRI will refer to something on the left or right side, there is still just one disc and one set of vertebrae. The pain is not totally restricted to one side or the other. If there is any slippage involved, the pain can change sides quite easily.

    The "hip" pain you are experiencing is probably caused by the L5-S1 issue. If you look at a dermatome map, you will see that the S1 nerve innervates the area that we often refer to when describing "hip pain."

    If you had a disc issue, it may be that the bulge is now large enough that it is pressing on the left and the right side.

    Obviously, only your spinal specialist can clarify all this for you.

    Good luck. It may be a long school year for you.
  • Thanks Gwennie,

    I think I had thought the things you suggest but you sort of hope it will just go away don't you? I also think this year is going to be tough!

    I wondered whether just the loss of disc height caused by the disc's dessication would be enough to squeeze the nerve on the other side too?

    Well I guess time will tell!
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