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weeks Post Op-Looking for input

asignor908aasignor908 Posts: 339
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,
As you may know I had my laminectomy L-4 to S-1 two weeks ago on the 14th. You also may know that after coming home from the hospital for 2 days the pain in my lower back right side of spine, right butt, and right leg to foot became unbearable. I couldn't sit or stand, or walk, or roll over in bed without crying out in pain. I was tasken back to my surgery hospital via ambulance where I was shot up with a great deal of pain meds which helped only because I was barely awake at that point. Finally after running some tests (which I don't recall) the doctor started me on steroids even though I don't do well with most steroids due to my PTSD and major depression. I started to improve a great deal with pain and movement in the first 24 hours and I was in for 3 days on IV steroids.

He told me that since the steroids worked it indicated inflamation of the nerve on the right side and dowm my right leg.

Now I am 2 weeks out and the pain in the right side and leg returned to a lesser, but still chronic degree and I take more pain meds then I ever have in the last 3 years. I still have pain and trouble standing up, sitting down, sleeping, and walking. Don't get me wrong it's like heaven compared to what it was before I went back to the hospital. I did have a very bad mental reaction to the steroids after coming home but that finally past after being home for a few days.

What is troubling besides the high doses of pain meds I am prescribed and that I do take which i feel like I'm losing myself in is the fact that I did the surgery to relieve long term lower back pain with left leg pain as well as functioning issues. Left leg seems to be a sucess except it's like we swapped legs.

I know I've laid out a lot of bare facts and history and what I am hoping for is feedback on my situation as well as opinions, or shared experiences they may fit what I am going through. I though the right leg got cured from those damn steroids, but as I said it's back and I feel it's not leaving. So now I'm left with pain I can manage with a lot of pain medicines which I know have changed me in subtle ways and reduced my quality of life in some areas while they perform a needed job, Pain Relief.

Sorry to say so much but I'm just not sure what I'm going to do, what my next move will be (if any) and what will happen when they will surely reduce the pain pills and I will still be stuck where I am now.

Please give me anything you can and as much information or your opinions as possible. Happy New Year to you all and God Bless you my friends and supporters. Thanks again all


  • I obviously don't have any cure or inside medical knowledge for you, but a couple of things came to my sleepy little mind as I read your post.

    One thing is that I remember after my TLIF that I had major nerve pain down my legs for a couple of weeks after surgery, pain that I'd actually never had pre-op - at one point I even needed a walker and hubby's help just to get to the bathroom. It subsided after a while, but while it was happening it was virtually unbearable. So I wonder if this is common after surgery to have the nerves go nuts on you until they settle down. I certainly hope your nerve pain isn't permanent - substituting one problem for another isn't quite what you bargained for.

    Another thing is I'm wondering about nerve meds in addition to your pain meds. I've never taken them, but others on here swear by them and have felt wonderful relief with them. I'm sure someone will be along to tell you what has helped them, such as Cymbalta or Lyrica.

    In any case, I'm sorry you're going through all this. You're still very early out from surgery and all sorts of new pain and issues tend to come and go as you heal. I only wish that this one goes away on its own and that you find your surgery a complete success in 2011.

    Please keep us posted, Al.
  • Are coming your way Al!! I have been wondering how you are doing and am sorry it isn't as well as it should be! Hang in there!!
  • I am no DR but Its sound like nerves damage Or as Cath said nerves waking up.
    This you might want to talk to your DR about.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    The recovery from spine surgery can be long and painful. You can experience new and odd pains in areas you don't expect. Keep your doctor updated on these types of pains, what helps for them, etc.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • For the information, I hope I am just over reacting due to not sleeping well, anxiety, and pain. As you all know this can be very trying on the nerves. I am sorry about my long rambling post, just wanted you all to understand where I'm at with this.

    It was kind of funny I asked a couple of doctors and a few nurses about this. I would say this probably happens all the time, and they would say nope, really unusual which made me more anxious, LOL.

    Well if you guys think of anything else please post it.

    Thank you
    AL S
  • I had a C5/6 fusion and was readmitted 2 days later for pain control. I was told by my NS that the spinal nerves at C6/7 were manipulated during surgery causing them to "scream". I was put on Lyrica for 3 months and it worked wonders for me. So maybe this is a similiar reaction to your's.

    Have you asked your surgeon for nerve pain medication?

    Wishing you the best,

  • I have asked for nerve pain meds nd I am taking it. This is one I had taken before when I had a sudden onset of nerve pain which was like a nueropathy and normal pain medications had little effect on this type of pain. As I said my pain now I guess you could say is manageable, but it;s there constantly.
    AL S
  • Happy New Year to Everyone, May 2011 be pain Free

    My recovery has not been going as planned. It was done with the idea of relieving severe pain in my lower back, left hip, and left leg to foot. After surgery I noticed my left hip and leg were much better, but within two days of coming home I was back in the hospital with horrible pain in my lower back and right leg to knee. After IV treatment with steroids and pain meds it improved a great deal so after three days in the hospital I came home again. The pain when I first came home was confined to lower back, but with the passage of a few days it was back in my right leg to foot and still is there.

    The pain now is not off the charts as it was when I was taken by ambulance to the hospital after surgery crying with every slight movement. It's more like the normal chronic pain I had prior to surgery with pain medication except now I am on stronger pain meds.

    I am pretty nervous about what is going on and what the outcome maybe as now it's hard to sit or stand or get out of bed. I have a nurse, a physical therapist, and a occupational therapist coming to my home twice a week. The occupational therapist helps me take a shower because they say I'm a fall risk, which I guess is true to some degree as it's very difficult to shower without assistance.

    If anyone can give me any ideas if this is something that they can relate to, or maybe have been through I would appreciate any input you might have.

    Thanks and Happy New Year
    AL S
  • I sure hope you feel better soon. Essmoe
  • I suffered from sciatica before surgery and, right after I got home from my fusion, my right hip, leg and foot just went off the charts in nerve pain. I was writhing around trying to get comfortable and it was just impossible. The doc gave me Lyrica and put me on steriods (Medrol pack). It eased a bit. Three times during my recovery, this would happen again. Lyrica always seemed to help it. I've been relatively pain free for about 8 months now. My right foot is half numb (the outer side), so I do have some permanent nerve damage, but that is no doubt from the nerve being compressed as long as it was when my back was falling apart. I hope the meds work for you and you eventually become pain free. It took me about 18 months to recover.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Hi and thanks for the post. What you said makes a lot of sense but boy I am miserable and I don't know if I can make 18 months of this. Well thanks for sharing that info.

    Take care and Happy New Year


    AL S
  • Oh, Al, I am so sorry. I haven't been reading much and didn't realize you were having so many problems.

    My surgeon basically said there are 2 kinds of pain after surgery. The pain that's going to get better, and the pain that isn't. The pain that's going to get better are those areas irritated by surgery, the incision, whatever position you were in on the table, etc.

    The other pain... well. We know it happens, right? We all hoped for miracles but knew they would be few and far between.

    What has your doctor said about this pain? You're still so early, does he think it's possible this is still "pain that is going to get better?" Maybe with PT?

    Huge hugs. Remember that besides the steroids, your PTSD is in high fever right now just because of the surgery (at least I know mine is) and lack of control over the outcome and what's been happening to you in the past few weeks. Take great care of yourself and feel free to PM me if you need to talk.
  • I get the two kinds of pain, I'm not sure which one I am dealing with, or maybe both kinds. As far as my PTSD, I know it has gotten worse since the surgery along with my depression.

    Right now I just feel physically and mentally sick like I don't know if I c an get through all this. My face is even breaking out which only occurs when my PTSD is high with stress, nightmares, etc...

    I just feel like I'm sinking instead of improving. This is not a good place that I'm in and I hope somehow I can pull out from it but for now I'm not sure. It just really hurts mentally and physically like I am totally out of control.

    Thanks for the feedback,I think you are right and I am scared of where I may be going.
    AL S
  • I spent a few days last week in a mental funk also and I can't tell you how many conversations my husband and I had that went like this - me saying "I never should have done this, I can't take this pain another minute" and him saying "you can't unring this bell - we WILL get through it, hang in there". You know the feeling I am sure! Then on New Years Day I was blessed with a beautiful new Granddaughter and found my hope renewed along with my motivation that I WILL beat this pain and come out better than before! The renewal in strength has convinced me again that I will make it - I hope you can find the same source of strength in some way!
  • Well preese it's like you said I can't unring the bell, although I wish I could. Right now it seems to be tearing my life apart in so many ways. I have been over eating and gaining weight. Pain makes me irritable, pain pills make me sleepy, short term memory is out the window. I feel depressed and hopeless, although, somehow I have to pull it together and stop this madness. I've got to, and I know it, but when I'm in pain I get weak and say what the hell and eat. I don't shower like I should or anything else I should be doing. It's a tough road but I know I better get back on the horse and try even harder. It's very hard, but I have to try for my sake and my family. Just pray for me please.
    AL S
  • I am sending up prayers for you as I type! That you will soon feel some relief and the healing will begin!
  • You can lose weight later, but right now, just take care of yourself and take the meds when you need it. If you're short term memory is as bad as mine is after taking the meds, then keep a journal. Hopefully things get better, and if they don't, then call that doctor that you're paying for and make sure he does something for you. We all forget sometimes, but that is what we are paying that doctor for, and if he don't like it then he should have found a job that didn't involve people's health.

    Hang in there, I had my surgery Nov.30 and am trying not to take meds any more than I have to, but there is not a day gone by since surgery that I haven't had to take some yet. I guess one good thing for me is they went thru my belly and I haven't had a good appettite since surgery, and when I over eat I get sicker than a dog, so gaining weight hasn't been a problem yet.

    Good luck and I hope the pain gets better soon.
  • How are you doing today? I hope better. You are one day later than I was. I know you are in pain. My first surgery in 2008 was a PLIF 2 levels, the surgery was supposed to be 4 hours, and it was 8! I wanted to die when I first got up. The first couple months were really rough. BUT, it did get better. I know you are having problems with feeling down. It is hard, but, try to keep a positive attitude. It will get better, and although it is a long recovery, look to it from when you had surgery. I hope you can see improvment from then. Look from week to week. It makes it easier to deal with.
    I started to feel better after last fusion, then all of a sudden, I felt worse. Test after test and no one could figure it out. Had my hardware out, and it didnt help. But I kept trying, cause it could only get better! I found out I had two more discs that were torn and causing all the pain. So, next surgery.
    I have not regretted having surgery. I would have kept hurting and on Narcotics. That is no way to live and I am only 50 and have two grandkids, 2 &1 and another on the way in June. I want to enjoy them. Hopefully, you can find a focus like I did to have something to fight for to get better!
    Al, I hope I made sense. I just want to let you know that it does get better, and keep your chin up. You have gone through the worst part, and now it comes to the part where your positive attidude makes all the difference. Keep your chin up and PM me at any time, I am available 24/7. I am here for you, and will always be. Let me know what I can do for you!
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