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Leg and Hip Pain After Surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Chronic Pain
I had an L5/S1 disectomy in August 09 and am still having severe pain in my hip and leg which radiates down into my calf. No matter how much I stretch it doesnt help. Tried PT after surgery and it made my pain even worse. I am still taking Soma, Mobic and Lortab with little or no relief. Does anyone have this problem and if so do you have any suggestions?


  • Have you had the same pain all along or is this something that has developed since surgery? Have you had a new MRI?

    One possibility is that there is still a little piece of disc material that was not completely removed during surgery and it is still pressing on the nerve. It is remotely possible the surgeon did not take enough off the disc at the time of surgery, so it is still compressing the nerve. If it came on a couple weeks after surgery it could be due to formation of scar tissue. There is a small possibility that the nerve itself is damaged. And finally, the last thing I can think of is that you might have something else causing pain, like piriformis syndrom... Perhaps there is inflammation still going on. Have you had a steroid injection post surgery for this pain?

    What does your surgeon say at this point? It is always disappointing to hope for the best, but then to continue to have pain after surgery.
  • I have had a second MRI and it shows large amounts of scar tissue. The pain I have now is the same that I had pre-op. I had 3 epidurals before surgery so they will not give anymore.

    Right after the surgery I was feeling great with no pain then after about four weeks my pain returned. My surgeon just says it will take time but he cant say how long. I doubt my decision to have surgery about 100 times a day. I have read about pirformous syndrome and my symptoms are similar. I just want answers. Is this as good as it gets?

    I am used to being very active. I am 35 years old and played collegiate softball and also served in the US Army. I take meds for pain, inflammation and muscle spasms. I stretch and ice religously. Should I see an orthopedic surgeon. Im tired of waiting for it to just get better.

    I feel so depressed because I cant run and work out like I used to. I feel hopeless and I feel like no one understands me. It is causing problems in my personal life and I find myself asking why me. It has made me a very angry and unpleasant person. I know that things can always be worse but it doesnt make me feel any better.

    If anyone has any suggestions for me I welcome them with open arms. I have tried PT, chiropractic, pain mgt and have considered accupuncture.

    Thanks for letting me vent...
  • What can happen is that the nerve is freed up during surgery, but as healing occurs and scar tissue forms, it can attach itself to the nerve. This can result in the same type of pain that the patient had prior to surgery. The problem is that it is a rather controversial subject with many surgeons. Some say the scar tissue does not cause pain. They may downplay it as there are no good options when scar tissue becomes a factor.

    When you go in to operate to remove it, the surgery causes that much more scar tissue to form, so it is a vicious cycle. There is another procedure performed by pain management called a lysis of adhesions.

    This is a definition of epidural fibrosis (scar tissue) from the Regence insurance website:

    "Epidural fibrosis with or without adhesive arachnoiditis most commonly occurs as a complication of spinal surgery and may be included under the diagnosis of "failed back syndrome." Both result from manipulation of the supporting structures of the spine. Epidural fibrosis can occur in isolation, but adhesive arachnoiditis is rarely present without associated epidural fibrosis. Arachnoiditis is most frequently seen in patients who have undergone multiple surgical procedures."

    I would be willing to wait until about the six month post surgery mark and then if your surgeon is not willing to investigate further, I would look for a new spinal specialist or at least I would have several consultations with new doctors to see if there are any answers that make sense to you. Sometimes a patient has to take things into his own hands and push to find answers.

    There is no such thing as a simple back surgery. Things are always unpredictable and sometimes there are unintended consequences.

    But you are still fairly early in recovery. Nerves do not respond well to surgery and it may be that yours are still irritated from surgery. After a period of time, they may calm down and the pain will gradually lessen. Many surgeons will tell you that it can take up to a year for nerves to recover. I am approaching my second anniversary from lumbar fusion and I am still having changes in my feet...so I don't believe you can set an accurate timeline.

    Good luck. My best advice is to continue to do the things that you know will promote healing, keep walking and don't give up. Bodies are always in a state of flux and I believe there is always hope that you can get better.

    Gwennie ~
  • I am new to this forum so bear with me please...I have had back surgery one month ago. Fusion of L4,L5,S1 and a lot of other work to alleviate a sciatic problem I had on my left side. Is the pain in my hips normal for this type surgery?? How long will this last and is walking the only remedy to move through this? My surgeon is aware of my hip pain along with the neuropathy in my feet but really didn't give me specifics as to how long I'd experience this....I thought I'd ask others who have had back surgery to comment...
  • Hi Jerry :wave: & welcome to SH :)

    This thread is really old, so you may want to open up a new one with a subject line saying something like "new here, had surgery and still hurt". I am sure someone who had your type of issues will respond :)

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
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