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5 1/2 post L5/S1 fusion now L4 nerve damage

CMiska1966CCMiska1966 Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
L5/S1 fusion done in 11/04 and have done great (except that I have L5 neurophathy which I can live with). March 2, 2010 started feeling some of the same symptoms - tenderness in the lower back, hard time getting to a standing position from my office chair, walking very slow with pain and if squatted down on my knees not getting up.

Took a fall on the ice on March 5th. Went into the ER the following day, xray done doc says rods are ok and probably a ruptured disc, sent me home with IB and told me to see my DR. I went into my family DR the following monday and he was greatly concerned giving my history referred me to a spine specialist. On my way home just about his a child crossing the street. I couldnt bring my right foot from the gas pedal to the break, had to use my left foot to slam on my brakes or I would of hit this child.

I immediately went to the ER. This scared me to death and I know that what I just had experienced was not normal. The ER DR was great, he was just as concerned as I was. Gave me a different ref. to another DR. Wanted to order a MRI but didnt feel it was life threatening to order at 10 pm.

Saw the spine specialist on Fri 3/19 who was very worried. The tests he performed there in his office indicated nerve damage at the L4 level. Certain movements shot electrical pain down the inside of my right leg to my ankle. Now I have a drop foot, numbness of my big toe and foot. I have lived with that for 5 1/2 yrs but this is now new and I am now nervous.

What can I expect? What are treatments esp with hardware already in place and L5 nerve damage already there. I truly dont want to loose the feeling of my right leg all together. Is this a possibility?

Any insight would be wonderful.... Thanks


  • I don't really have any answers for you ,but I wanted to welcome you to Spine-Health. This forum is full of many knowledgable members to answer questions and offer support.

    I am so sorry all of this has happened to you! I can't imagine how terrifing it would be to see a child crossing the road and not be able to automatically hit the brakes. Then to realize your leg wasn't functioning normally.

    It sounds like you are starting to put together a good medical team.

    Do you have your MRI scheduled? Are you in a lot of pain and if you have been given meds are they working for you?

    Hang in there and please let us know how you are doing. We'll be thinking of you! Take care! Shari
  • I am scheduling the MRI tomorrow for this week so I can get it done. When you think all is well one door closes and the other opens doesnt it...

    The spine dr I did see is wonderful and has a great sense of humor which really helped break the ice.

    The horror of seeing this child just about killed me. It took me longer to calm down then to get my happy butt to the closest hospital ER.

    I have always known in the back of my mind that there may be something that could go wrong but never did thing of any other parts of this old ladies body that was ready for a break as well. I am hoping we can put together a good game plan and nip this in the butt as I am not going down without fighting. Have 7 grandbabies and darn well plan on dancing at each and every one of their weddings as well as the great grandbabies :)

    Thanks for the welcome Shari
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. That is so scary not being able to use your right foot to brake, but thank goodness you got your left foot onto it and didn't hit the child.

    I hope your specialist can put a treatment plan in place for you and that the MRI shows up something that can be fixed.

    We don't give up do we !!


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Sorry to hear of your very scary experience.

    I wanted to assure you that just because you have hardware in place, this does not preclude you from receiving other procedures. If additional fusion would be necessary, it could be added on, if one level above your L5-S1 hardware....If you need surgery other than fusion, the surgeon would just go ahead and do it just as though you had a "virgin" spine.

    Since you have foot drop, it is wise to seek treatment right away, as you are doing. This is a sign that the nerve is compressed. The function of the nerve usually can be restored if the nerve is decompressed in a timely manner. It may be that conservative measures will be attempted first, or if you surgeon deems it necessary to save the function of the nerve, he may recommend surgery.

    You will know more after you have the MRI and the surgeon sees the images.

    Good luck to you. I hope you get some answers soon.

  • Sounds like you have your game face in place, and you know what to do. Big help to have a DR you feel good with,I sometimes wonder if my Dr crazier than I am.The first time I was getting my injections he was leaving and I said thanks Dude. I felt bad next time I saw him I aologized,He just told me I can call him Dr Dude anytime. I had 2 TKR last yr and riding 50 mi. a wk postop 2nd after 4 mos.
    Then back came up. We deal with whatever comes up, we just need to keep pushing. All will be well for you.We need to deal with whats ever in front of us to deal with. This forum has helped me trendously Knowledge
    Hope Courage.
    My prayers are with you.
  • The drop foot was actually a result from my first surgery in 2004, the nerve will not be restored :( but thats ok.

    Just an update, go in for my contrast MRI on Tuesday to see just what is going on. New meds are working wonders and love it just take them at night. The spine doc I see is also part of a PM clinic which I really like and the meds he put me on he calls them 1 for the price of 3. They are helping not only the back, but my migraines and my IBS (imagine that)

    Will keep updates coming :)
  • Had my MRI done today to see just what is causing the L4 nerve problems. Set to see the jolly yet funny spine doc in a week :) keeping fingers crossed all is well. New meds are working great, though wish I could take them during the day but would make me nuttier than a fruit cake and that would not be good :) Just dont need the extra help in that dept.

    Will post results once I see the spine doc.
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