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Leg pain problems after fusion

gausbyggausby Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Greetings Everyone! Not new 2 the board, been an avid reader since I found out in December 2010 that I would be having a lumbar laminectomy and spinal fusion (PLIF) L5-S1. In November 2009 was hit by a drunk driver which through an MRI it was discovered that I had ruptured my disc causing terrible pain in right side of my lower back. Went through many of the same things many of you have; the physical therapy, pain management clinic, epidural injections and of course the extremely painful discogram. After viewing of this info and deciding my quality of life would suck if my pain levels were continuously hovering betweeen a 7 and 9 even with narc and other meds, my orthropedic surgeon decided to perform the surgery. About 6 weeks before surgery, pain had spread to my right buttock, down into my right leg and into my foot; my left leg was also beginning to show signs of pain and discomfort. Had my surgery on Monday,January 10th of this year. When I woke up, pain in my back and legs was completely gone. By Tuesday, I was up and walking around. But on Wednesday morning, had horrifc pain and weakness in left leg; I could not walk or stand on it at all. My surgeon ordered a CAT scan and believed that one of the screws may have been too close to or pressing on one of the nerves. So on Thursday afternoon, I went back to the operating room so he could reposition the trajectory of one of the screws. When I woke up this time my surgical pain was 10 times worse than the first time; I just cried most of the night even with max drugs they could give me. The next day, praise God the pain in my leg was gone. Was finally able to go home after being in the hospital 4 six days. Here's my concern. I have so little energy, can only stay up 3 hours max before I have to get in bed and sleep awhile. I have also developed pain and weakness in my legs again, more intense in my right, but not nearly as bad as pre-surgery, but enough 2 keep me awake and uncomfortable (as if anything about this entire experience could ever be classified as comfortable, right?) I also use my cane walk as much as I can everyday, but again it tires me out Can usually take a Percocet and a nerve drug and I'm o.k. for awhile. I know I'm only a couple of weeks out, so just want to know/hear from your personal experiences if this is something you have dealt with. Does this sound normal? Any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Apologize for the lengthy post, but wanted to provide as much info as possible that might help you all understand what I'm experiencing. Thanks for reading and for any thoughts, ideas, and advice.

Gail N the D


  • As you said yourself it is very early. You had a majot surgery and you need to rest alot! Everything still tires me out and I am 6 weeks post op. You had alot of cutting and moving of muscles and such during your surgery. So I remember alot of leg pain and such. But you really need to address these with a phone call to your Dr. They are the only ones that are qualified to give you such advise.
    I am on my 2nd fusion, and it is a long process. You will have good days and then some that are not so good. It is all part of the healing. I am sorry that I cant answer you question for you, but know that we are here for you. Also, did your Dr say anything about sitting? Mine wont let me sit for more than 20-30 min at a time. Keep your chin up, and remember to call the Dr and keep them informed of any changes or concerns. Thats what you paid the big bucks for, and they want to keep on top of what is going on with you. Good Luck, Robin
  • I continue to have problems with leg pain and weakness since my PLIF and while some of it is nerve related and will take alot of time to resolve, a lot of it is muscle related and the Physical Therapist I see works on the muscles in my back, butt and legs to get out the knots which has really helped with my pain and muscle spasms.

    You didn't mention a muscle relaxant med - I am close to getting off of my pain pills at 7 weeks - but I continue to need the muscle relaxants regularly.


  • Hello Everyone,

    Thanks Patti and Robin for your input! Had first post-up with surgeon on Feb 8th. Was SO relieved that x-rays revealed that there was no damage to the hardware or progress of fusion due to my fall. To relieve what he believes is nerve irritation in my right leg related to the fall, he had me to double the Neurontin (which is a totally awesome drug that helps a lot with my nerve pain) to 600 mg up to 3 times daily instead of the 300 mg twice daily that I had been taking. He also put me on a 26 day corticosteroid (Dexamethasone) to help reduce any inflammation; won't work immediately, but should start to feel relief in next week or so; feels a little better already! And yes Patti, he does have me on a great muscle relaxer Robaxin (750 mg) which I take a couple times a day which also helps a lot. Wonder when I'll be able to ease off the Percocet, but still need it due my leg and surgical pain. Thanks again so much for your kindness and extremely helpful advice.

    Continue to be blessed annd trust God for EVERYTHING!

    Gail N the (freezing cold!!) D

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