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Leg Pain after surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,662
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a 2 level spine fusion (L4-S1) almost 3 weeks ago. About a week after surgery I started gett sharp pains in my left leg and left leg only. It hurts really bad when i first stand up and then just sharp and aching pains the rest of the time. I am curious as to if anyone else had this problem and if so what caused it and what helped it. While in the hospital i had a little leg pain so i went on a 6 day steriod to reduce inflammation of the nerves so i thought that should have prevented this problem but I guess I was wrong. Any advie would be great.


  • Where specifically is your pain? Does it run along the back of the leg? If so, how far does it go? Does it hurt when you are sitting or lying down?

    Try not to worry. You are still very early in recovery from a big surgery. It is inevitable the nerves were moved or touched during the surgery. Nerves are very sensitive and do not like the assault they receive during a surgery such as a fusion. Sometimes a patient wakes up with new pain that they never had prior to surgery (me, for example). Other times the same or pain in a new location will develop after surgery. It can be from the surgery or in rare instances, it can be from the formation of scar tissue.

    Have you called your surgeon to report this? I imagine he/she would want to know. The surgeon may give you another course of steroids or prescribe a steroid injection in an attempt to settle those nerves down.

    Don't be alarmed if this nerve pain does not go away quickly. For whatever reason, you have it. Nerves heal VERY slowly. It is not uncommon for nerve pain to linger for months after surgery. It can take as long as a year to eighteen months to recover fully from this type of surgery.

    I would suggest you talk with your surgeon. If the pain is more than you can handle, he/she can give you a drug for nerve pain such as gabapentin or Lyrica.

  • My pain runs down the back of my left leg all the way down. It is worse when i first stand up from laying down and then it hurts while I walk. I have called my surgeon but i am waiting for a call back. So hopefully i will hear back soon.
  • That sounds like nerve pain. Gwennie's advice is spot on. Hopefully, they can give you something to help you out.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I had L5 S1 ADR surgery 6 weeks ago and was left with pain in my left leg. For the first couple of weeks it was pretty bad. Worse at night or when I put any pressure on my left buttock. I saw my doctor who prescribed a nerve painkiller, which I only take at night (it has a sedative in too) and it works wonderfully.

    My physio massages the leg for me which gives relief too. I also find walking or putting a hot pad on the leg helps.

    I have been told it is perfectly normal because during surgery the nerves are stretched which leaves them inflamed. Like Gwennie17 mentioned above, it can take months to heal, so get yourself back to your surgeon for some pain relief.

    Good luck with your recovery.
  • I had a single level fusion at L5/S1 almost three weeks ago and I still have pain running down my left leg to my ankle. I have noticed that if I over-do it (i.e. yesterday) and have increased pain the next day.

    Everyone who has posted is right--nerves are moved around a lot during a fusion and can take months to heal. Great news for us, eh?

    I try to remain active, but take frequent breaks throughout the day. This helps me manage my nerve pain much better.

    I hope you recover well from your surgery and start to get increased pain relief!

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