My sister had spinal fusion surgery nearly about 10-11 months ago (I think L3- L5) as a result of years of scoliosis. She had a fusion about 25 years ago higher up (not sure exactly where), and the hardware from the two fusions are attached together.
By about 3-4 months after surgery she felt significantly better - still some back pain, and some minor nerve pain. However, by about 5-6 months post-op, nerve pain started increasing, in her left leg and foot. She said it had slowly been getting worse, and now 10+ months post-op, it continues to be severe with no signs of improving.
She has a 5 year old and 7 year old so cannot simply rest. She is sick and tired of seeing doctors so I also need to work on her (with her husband) to help her take some control and make some progress.
- She cannot take NSAIDs due to drug interaction concerns with her other condition
- She did physical therapy for 3 months (maybe it was longer?). It helped her strength and her back but not the nerve pain. She ended up quitting because it seemed to actually aggravate her nerves, and other benefits were minor at best.
- She has not tried Lyrica or other nerve drugs. I want her to ask her doctor why not.
- Her doctor (based on x-rays) says everything looks secure and stable.
- She tried two cortisone shots. Both seemed to make her worse for about a week, and didn't provide any relief after that.
What should the next steps be? Suggestions? Could it be the fusion growing and applying pressure to the nerve? Could it be scar tissue? Could it be a new problem?
My thoughts and other questions:
- Try Lyrica?
- Ask for a CT mylogram to see if things look OK. Would this even reveal scar tissue entanglement?
- See a neurologist?
- Find a pain management clinic?
- Do they need to do some sort of exploratory surgery?
I appreciate anyone's thoughts, theories, and ideas. I try to ask her a lot of questions and give her ideas for questions to ask her doctors. She seems open to hearing them, but doesn't seem to pursue them with her doctor. Her husband has a hard time getting time off to go on appointments with her, but he has a new job that is more flexible - hopefully he can go and help get some of the questions asked. I'm very close with my sister so I suppose I could go too. Thank you for your thoughts and ideas.