It's been a long time since I've been on the board. But you know how it goes, people with good results tend to stop posting... now I need you guys. I'm experiencing some issues one year post op from my lumbar fusion (L4L5)
Honestly, everything was going great. I followed the advice of the docs, took things easy, didn't overdo activities and was given a clean bill of health 3 months post op. I followed the physical therapy program and was released after 3 months as I was making the right modifications in my life and following the exercises to strengthen the core. I'm still following all the great advice given and the modifications and exercises prescribed by the PT.
So, what's the problem? Six weeks ago, I had the feeling of sleep cramps in my right calf. You know the kind: the kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night and your toes are all curled and it's extremely painful. Anyway, I marked that up to diet. I'm busy during the summer and I don't eat right. In fact, I sometimes don't take time to eat meals at all. Thinking it was a potassium problem, I corrected my diet. A day or two later, I took a simple step - no twisting, no stumble, and my calf felt like it popped and then I was sent to the ground. I ended up in the hospital as I was unable to bear any weight at all on my right leg - honestly, I was picked up off the floor by two people, placed in a car and removed from the car by hospital staff... A doppler was done to rule out a blood clot. Everything presented just fine. I was told that I must have a sprain and was sent home. I could not bear weight on my right calf for two days and my ankle swelled to the size of a large grapefruit, but no pain in the ankle. However, my back had been aching for about two weeks but like I said, I've been busy so I kind of ignored the pain.
Now, six weeks later, the back pain is still there and worsening each day. I visited my surgeon's PA and he ordered an x-ray of my spine and said that I'm still 100% fused (of course I am) and that he doesn't see any additional compression. I was given some pain patches and orders to take ibuprofen 4 times a day and call back this week. I'm now at the point where my pain is the same, and sometimes worse, than before surgery to fuse. While the calf pain went away several weeks ago, it is now back...as is my huge ankle. Nothing reduces the swelling, not ice, not heat, not staying off of it, not ibuprofen, nothing. I called my PA again today and he ordered an MRI with contrast of my back for Wednesday and said I should call my GP about my ankle as he sees no relation. My ankle is fine. There is nothing wrong with it other than edema. I think this is related to the back issue. I think I will wait to call my GP until after Wednesday because I think she will refer me to a vascular and then I will have another doctor to deal with.
I can't help but wonder if the back pain, the pain in my right calf and the swelling of my right ankle are all related. I turn to you spineys for some advice. Anything? Please? I hurt and I am scared. I probably should have mentioned that prior to my surgery, there was also some DDD and narrowing at L5/S1 but the decision was made not to fuse that area in hope that the stability of the fusion at L4/L5 would alleviate some of the stress at L5/S1.
If anything pops into your head, or you have had a similar experience, please let me know. Meanwhile, I'm in bed...