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Missed Diagnosis?

Five years ago I had surgery for an L5-S1 herniated disc. It did not change my pain level or increase my mobility at all. Since then I've done PT (no results) and had a few other problems pop up, like the outside of my left food has been numb for almost a year and had painful bursitis flare-ups in both hips (luckily cortisone zapped that).

Now I'm having significant pain in my butt (literally) on the left side, which is where I also have all my back pain.

Could all these be connected? What should I tell my Dr. to look for. I'm worried he's just going to send me to 12 more weeks of pointless PT.

Could this be piriformis syndrome?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Lili_InuLLili_Inu Posts: 633
    edited 07/23/2013 - 12:33 PM
    I would try seeing at least a couple of different specialists. I think a lot of my remain pain is actually a result of a short leg. No one diagnosed me with this condition even though I had brought it up with many doctors. This does not mean that my resolving my short leg will cause less pain, but you have to keep searching for answers if you are not satisfied with the results of your surgery. That's just my opinion.

    Have you had new MRIs done recently? Wish you luck with your search!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • What type of surgery did you have?
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • The surgery I had was a laminectomy. After some research last night, I'm 99% sure this is sacroiliac joint pain.
  • It could certainly be sacroiliac joint pain, but it could also be the lower lumbar as well. Are you seeing an orthopedic surgeon? If not, I'd start there for sure. If so, they are able to tell if it is SI joint pain using SI joint injections, so that should be easy enough to figure out.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Beckycat1, it's very common to have pain even years after surgery. While it's always something to get checked out with your surgeon, there's almost always a residual "mechanical pain" after surgery, whether it's months or years down the road. I've been having it for what seems like forever now. I've had three surgeries, one cervical and two lumbar, and will continue to have mechanical pain because with two levels fused, the ones above and below them will continue to do all the work for my back. That creates pain as they're working extra hard.

    Do go and see your surgeon, get a diagnosis, and don't be surprised if the only thing available to you is conservative - meds, exercise, limitations, PT and shots. It must get to a point where your back is unstable before they'll consider a second surgery near the same area - it's considered a "difficult" surgery with your being more prone to infection and non-fusion.

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