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I need some advice :T

mechadragon007mmechadragon007 Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Chronic Pain
So here's my story. I'm 22 years old college student and I microdisectomy on the L5-S1 level of my spine last 6 month ago. I had sciatica for nearly like 3 month before deciding to go with surgery. Let me tell it was a major life changer in my life. I'm limited to certain activities that I can't ever do because I fear the risk that it might happen again. During these 6 months, recovery has been hard. I still get a stiffed lower back and also some weird sensation going on in my legs. Now I have this heavy leg sensation that has been going on for a week. I'm scare that I might need to go to do another surgery. It's quite depressing if you ask me. I really don't know what to do at the moment. My legs would feel heavy/weak whenever I sit down for some period of time and also standing feels sort of weird. I'm really tired of having to deal with this. I'm too young to have this. The worst part of it is this semester has started and I'm having this. I really don't want to drop this Spring semester in college knowing that I'm almost done with it. The weird part about this is I feel no pain like the tingling and numbness I had before. It was happening to my left leg when I had the tingling, numbness, and weakness. Now I just have this heavy and weak feeling in both my legs. Does anyone have any advice? I already scheduled an appointment with a neurologist, but what should I do till then? Anyone else had this heavy and weak leg feeling? What did you guys do to cope with this?


  • Yes I often feel that late in the day or if I've been walking a lot over the course of a few hours or standing a lot. I assume it is muscle fatigue due to weakness, in turn, caused by the nerve root compression. It might come and go, and the cause could be different for you. If you have sudden symptoms of worsening (weakness, pain, numbness) you may want to go to your local emergency room. Otherwise, cut down on any unnecessary walking but try to get mild exercise for 15 or 20 min, every other day until your leg strength improves. Try a daily multiple vitamin, it could help. Good luck.
  • f4 stated much of what I was thinking. My surgeries so far have been cervical, but upper lumber this year most likely. I know with me due to Neuropathy, if I walk too much, my thighs get really weak to the point even a few stairs are hard to navigate, as my legs don't come up enough!

    Your nerves went through a trauma with the surgery, and it can take up to 2 years for the nerves to fully recover. I'm glad to see you are seeing your Neurologist to get to the root of this. Hopefully it is just continued recovery from your surgery. Please let us know how it goes.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I also have that "heavy legs" feeling in both my legs, the left one being the worse. Like Brenda, I have neuropathy in both my legs. At times my left foot wants to drag a bit.

    I have had a spinal fusion at L4&L5 and recovery from that can take up to a year or longer. Anytime you have surgery on your spine, recovery is a long slow progress. Sitting puts a lot of stress on our spines, or so I was told by my Doctor.

    It's good that you are seeing a neurologist.

    Good Luck
    Patsy W :H
  • I don't think the heavy legs could be walking so much. I've been walking a lot but had no problems. I assume it has to be sitting down too much because I could feel the sensation of it. I do feel some weakness as I was testing both my legs by tippy toeing. Something I learned when I first saw my neurosurgeon. I really hope when I see the neurologist I don't want to do another surgery. Do you guys think spinal fusion works better or disc replacement for the L5-S1 level?
  • Mechadragon,

    My lumbar issues are L2/3/4 (nerve roots L2&3) and when I sit in certain positions, the tops of my thighs spasm and buzz - the buzz is similar to when your foot fell asleep and is waking up. If I alternate tippy-toeing my feet while sitting; that little movement calms my thighs a bit. Have you tried something similar to that?

    I ask that since you had surgery, you might be experiencing the nerves trying to heal after the trauma of surgery? Your body went through bunches of changes as once they went in, your whole spine was affected. It also can take up to 2 years for full medical recovery. When I continued to have problems after my last cervical fusion, I was sent for a full EMG/NCV of my arms/legs/spine. It was determined that I had Neuropathy in my right arm and both legs. Not happy of course, but at least had some answers.

    I'm sure if your surgeon thinks what is happening to you is more than transient he will send you for and EMG or other diagnostics to see what is going on. As for fusion or ADR, your doctor is the only one that can answer that based on your body mechanics and status. Please let us know how your appointment goes.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi,

    I'm also a young spiney whose issues began in college, and yes, it is very challenging to cope with chronic spine issues while in school full time.

    First, try to relax. Easier said than done, I know, but I think sometimes our minds get the better of us when we start going down that "what if" path.

    Second, have you discussed your spine issues with any of your professors or administrators? Your school should have some type of student disability service. I know it seems weird as hopefully this is just a temporary situation, but I was shocked at how helpful and accommodating my school was. For me, I basically stood up in all my classes, and they brought in a podium for me so I could still take notes and everything. It also helped just to have my profs know what was going on because they were more understanding/helpful if I ever missed a class for a dr. appt or something. Is it embarrassing? Yes. But the best advice I ever heard was "stop apologizing, and stop caring what other people think." For a person with chronic pain, just making it to class is a victory, and even if you have to stand up or move around or what ever, you are there and you are surviving in a situation that most people would give up on and quit. But of course, medical leaves are also an option if necessary, but hopefully your school will work with you particularly since it is your last semester.

    Lastly, for me I felt incredibly isolated dealing with chronic back pain in my twenties. None of my friends could really understand, so I've enjoyed reading and connecting with other young people facing these issues. If you're a gal, you might check out the "Chronic Babe" blog- I always find inspiration there. Or, there is a great book called "Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in your Twenties and Thirties" by Laurie Edwards that has some good insights, coping tips, etc.

    Best of luck. Let us know how the neurologist goes,
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