Need some help or feedback! I had an ALIF L5-S1 on 22 Feb 11. I've had a slow recovery but a positive one. After surgery my constant L leg pain and weakness was gone. It was such a blessed relief following 18 months of constant pain and numbness following my injury. The nerve pain only returned if I sat for too long. Lying down offered immediate relief.
I saw my surgeon on 16 May and he was really pleased with my healing. X-rays show all hardware in place and bone growth. On the whole everything looks good. I told him about the nerve pain, but he seemed to think it was nothing to be concerned about as it was probably just due to it healing. He also decided it was time to start a slow PT program, which I began on Monday. I did fine with the first appointment, I was sore the next day and very fatigued. My sciatic nerve let me know it was not happy. My pain meds helped, but it was definitely uncomfortable. Yesterday morning I awoke with a horrible L-sided headache (not migraine). These headaches happen only when my sciatic nerve is inflammed. They occured in hospital post-op and my surgeon had no explantion. He finds them very puzzling. My pain meds had worn off during the night, so once meds were on-board my headache went away. Then I went to PT. By the time I got home my headache was back in spades and my legs were tingling. The pain in my left buttock was back - both calves were twitchy and threatening to cramp. The tingling is worse than it was prior to surgery and now goes down the backs of both legs and the bottoms of both feet. Pain meds haven't helped. Lying down has not eased it. Last night I had an extremely uncomfortable time. Fortunately the headache did go away. Today I have spent most of the day lying down which has helped a bit. However once I did get up the tingling returned with a vengence.
Tomorrow morning I go back to PT. Obviously I'm going to discuss with my therapist, but this is really worrying me. How do I know if this is just a usual aspect of recovery, or if I am causing damage? I ended up having my fusion because workers comp did not approve timely treatment of an annular tear. What should have been a simple course of treatment ended up as a complicated ordeal. I'm so ready for this to be over. Prior to the injury I had never experienced any back issues. Fusion was the only recourse and I went into it understanding what the potential outcome could be. I was so optimistic when the nerve pain seemed to be resolving afterwards. Now, I'm worried that instead of letting the nerve heal - swelling and inflammation to subside - I am now aggravating it all over again.
Is this just part of the healing process? Is it going to get better? Do I need to call my surgeon or do I just keep going on hoping this is just a hiccup? I don't want to be such a Nervous Nelly about everything, but I don't know what to expect.
Thanks for any guidance you can offer.
L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
Now L4 Retrolisthisis