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Tired of nerve pain

It is now 4 months since my laminoforaminotomy and discectomy on L5 S1 for massive disc extrusion pressing on nerve. I started back to work on a limited basis and the drive is killing me. I am still having trouble getting to sleep with this crappy pain and at this point I feel like I don't have many options left for lessening or controlling this shovel in my side and the ax in my thigh. I'd like my life back. I don't understand why the docs keep wanting to throw me drugs that don't work and that cause horrible adverse reactions. Why didn't PT help? If I have scarring or nerve damage, will it ever improve or am I deluding myself?


  • Sadly it can take years for nerves to heal.

    I recently had cervical/thoracic surgery (acdf an laminectomy/fusion) amd I still have a numb left foot and my left hand, left pinky and ring finger, and left forearm still feel like tgey are on fire every day. My NS said it may go away in a few months, a few years, or never because nerves aren't always able to recover from severe damage (i had a 90% compression of my spinal cord).

    It sucks and you never really get used to it. I wish you the best.
  • Hi
    Sorry to hear or your pain, how are you today?
    I had fusion at L5S1 there two weeks ago and still have the
    Sciatica pain which is absolutely awful, I can't get any relief from ir

    I also have nerve damage in right foot and I've horrible
    Pains like electric shock pains in my foot and it's sore to touch.

    My back does feel food however, somehow stronger

    But I don't know how I will cope if these other pains don't go

    Keep in touch

  • Star7SStar7 Posts: 5
    edited 01/26/2013 - 10:33 AM
    The fusion has also affected my spelling I see !
  • Thank you both. I hope and pray I can get to sleep tonight with less pain but I have a plan if I have trouble. Last night I didn't sleep till after 2:30am. At least I got out for a walk today...even though I hurt, I felt better. The pain is back tonight but I guess that is my new normal. My foot is still numb and the garden implements are up to their old tricks. I hope you two are having better luck with your nerve discomfort. Don't worry about minor spelling errors--that was funny and I could use a laugh. But if you could get food on your back....hmmm. Maybe that would be better than placebo.
  • I would be curious to know if you had an initial period of relief after your surgery. My husband had the same surgery and felt "great" ( using that as a relative term) for 5 or so weeks and then the pain became increasingly worse. That was nearly 5 years ago. He now has the diagnosis of epidural fibrosis which is surgically unfixable no matter what they tell you about fusions etc unlesss your pain is due to the fact that you have instability in your vertebrae (spondolithesis). I am a nurse anesthetist so believe me when I say that I am constantly on a mission to get our life back and follow up on anything I hear about, both a good and bad thing I think. Anyway, we have gone the SCS route with some success ( see my post on that forum), and the narcotic route which helped for a while but just recently, and by that I mean a week, we have been trying ergoscue 'exercises' with an amazing therapist. After this amt of time we are both sceptics but this is actually seeming to help and the theory behind the treatment makes a lot of sense...ie you move differently ( abnormally) when you are in pain, your muscle 'learn' this abnormal posture and cause imbalances btw opposing muscle gps and abnormal posture of the whole body...that is how I understand it anyway. The bottom line is we are seeing a difference, quickly. That is almost a stressor in itself, because I am waiting for this hope to be snatched away like others before, but for the moment we are excited and praying that we may have found something that will help. Good luck.
    Michelle Marshall
  • No. When I woke up after the surgery the anesthetic helped, but I was in much worse pain following surgery. 24 hours afterward, I experienced a severe pain attack of unknown origin. I did have moments where I had less pain before I left the hospital, but I think that was probably residual and morphine-related. After I got home, I was in awful pain for about 3 weeks. My nerve pain has moved and changed since surgery, and it is slightly better than before and directly after surgery, but even changing positions doesn't help much. Neurontin doesn't work for me and neither do most of the other drugs in the arsenal for nerve pain. I ended up taking some Benadryl last night to sleep.
    My intention is that this was the 1st and LAST surgery I will ever have. I'll look at your post about SCS and also look up ergoscue. Thanks for the ideas. PT certainly hasn't helped. My drive to work hasn't either. I do notice that I am compensating for pain and the anticipation of pain a lot in my posture and in other ways.
  • I had a subtotal laminectomy, discectomy, and spinal fusion on 12/11/12. Preoperatively, the neurosurgeon warned me about what he described as a "charlie horse" sensation through my left psoas muscle (that was the approach side,) telling me that during the operation the psoas muscle gets stretched out of the way, and the nerve controlling it gets stretched pretty aggressively, too. And yeah, I had neural monitoring during the course of the operation. He told me that sixty to seventy percent of patients experience it postoperatively, half of those people have it resolved within six months, and the other half resolved or at least significantly improved by one year postop.

    My immediate postop experience was that there was incisional and bone pain, along with the "charlie horse," but I have not had any recurrence of the horrible sciatica that drove me to the neurosurgeon's office in the first place. The relief from the sciatica was immediate when I woke up from the surgery.

    Nerves regenerate and heal at the rate of one millimeter a day. I did this: Once a week, I mark an outline of where the pain is. I'm almost seven weeks out, and notice that the marked area is shrinking. Having visual confirmation of a shrinking pain area helps me keep my sanity here. Yeah, I know it sounds a little crazy to be writing on one's thigh, but it does demonstrate improvement or lack thereof, and can even be somewhat helpful to your doctor. I measure the area in millimeters, and think of it somewhat the way someone in jail would mark off a calendar to their release.

    Also, I have a TENS/inferential unit, and that seems to really help, especially combined with the pain meds and antispasmodics. Unfortunately, I accidentally bent one of the lead wires, and the company is sending me some replacement wires. I was given the okay to use it by my doctor, provided I don't use it while I'm using the bone growth stimulator.

    Charlie horse? Sometimes it feels like the whole dang Kentucky Derby is running on the top of my left thigh! (Anyone care to place a bet on the trifecta this afternoon?) Sitting, BTW, if you have a long commute, is horrendous for this. Also, I don't know what you do for a living, but if it involves sitting, is there any way you can work with human resources to get you a chair that will provide you with appropriate back and buttock support and padding? Or ensure that they work frequent standing and walking breaks into your modified job description?

    Just a couple of thoughts. We're all different, but sometimes it helps to compare notes.

    The lortab (which I thought I would be off completely by now) helps somewhat, the valium helps quite a bit with the spasms,
    I'm not a spinal diagnosis. I'm a human being with a spinal diagnosis.
  • Thanks, Odile. I finally got a call back from my neuro's PA-who hadn't looked at my EMG/NCS, by the way--and she said I am doing all I can for this darn nerve problem. I may ask about the TENS unit, but when I helped my dad out with that several years ago he couldn't put in on himself due to where you have to stick the electrodes and I am not sure I could either. I'd need a rear-view mirror (sorry about the pun) and a heck of a lot of patience. I also asked about acupuncture and she gave me a name of a physiatrist who also does acupuncture, but I don't know if I believe in it or its efficacy. I can stand at work and walk around for several hours, and then I do have to sit for about an hour right before I attempt the drive home. During that time I am trying to stand a bit, too.
    Unfortunately, I am still taking Lortab (hydrocodone that I thought I would be off by now), Lidoderm patches, and Celebrex. I supplement with Tylenol and crossed fingers. I got off valium back in late November but maybe I should take it the nights I can't sleep due to pain. I do occasionally hurt and have charley horses in the psoas region-thanks for explaining it better to me. I just don't understand why surgery didn't help me more. I did have a huge 2 cm herniated disc that ended up fragmenting.

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