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l5 s1 repeat surgury

I had micro surgery from the back 2 years ago and the dr placed a cage and screws in my l5 s1. i began to have pain and went back to the dr. who did x-rays and confirmed everything was alright. He sent me to his pain management who continued to prescribe Vicodin for the pain and gabapentin. The pain continued to get worse and the pain management dr told me it was in my head. That was my last visit to them I continued for 16 months in pain and left leg numbness until I went to a new pain management dr that I was told was the best. They cat scanned and set me up for shots that I had previously taken to break up what they thought was scar tissue. Those did not help. They then referred me to a well known back surgeon in the dallas area who did a nerve test which was no fun, and a ct mylogram. The ct showed the cage that was done by the first dr had collapsed, no grafting had taken place and the screws were loose. Surgery was done through the front this time and the dr had to cut out parts of the cage that collapsed that had smashed into the bone. I am now 6 weeks post op, full size cage, on vicoden and lyrica and ny right leg I never had problems with is numb from my front thigh to my toes. My foot feels like it is going to explode 24 hours a day and is numb as well. My left leg is still numb as it has been before the procedure.I was sent for a blood clot test which was negative and waiting for the dr to call me back to decide what needs to be done next. So far the best explanation has been that the retraction they use during the surgery rest on top of the nerves during the procedure so it aggravates the nerves. I have never been in so much pain! Has anyone else had these kind of problems or have any suggestions......I am at the end of my nerves.


  • then they aren't giving you the right meds! Vicodin is the least strong. You need stronger meds to be able to withstand that pain until you start to heal.
  • You need muscle relaxers and oxycodone, but i'm no physician. You just cant heal properly unless you're relaxed. I understand the resistance though, as I'm down to 5mg oxycodone 1x/day, as I'm scared __less about withdrawal (been there). To make the taper easier, I also started taking gabapentin for nerve pain (6wks post-op now) just today.
    7/11/14 fusion L5-S1 w/instrumentation posterior/anterior @ Stanford hospital
    age 39
  • Nerve pain is not best treated by the use of opiates. Neuropathic medications treat nerve related pain, but those decisions need to be made by her physician.
    Gabapentin or Lyrica, cymbalta are all used to treat neuropathic pain and may be something that your surgeon suggests for easing the pain.
  • i was on gabapentin could not take during the day it made me so tired, tried flexeril following surgury , I have been on lyrica for 2 weeks it does not seem to have any effect
  • techgurl1988ttechgurl1988 Posts: 108
    edited 08/25/2014 - 7:05 PM
    After I had my L4/L5 fusion May 28, 2013 I woke up and my legs were numb. (BTW I had my fusion done in Arlington TX) I had never had any problem with my legs. The doctor ignored my repeated questions about it and would change the subject when I would ask him why this happened. I get that things happen and it was not like he was TRYING to hurt my legs, but I would like him to at least give me a guess as to what happened. Instead, I get the run around. Last time I was there, he had forgotten he had sent me for a referral for a stimulator unit. I said "Yeah, we already tried that, don't you remember?" I get he see's a lot of patients but dang, look at my chart before you come in, it should be on the last visit note!

    Anyway, it is what it is. I tried Gabapentin and Lyrica. Both made my legs swell up really bad and hurt. So now I am on Keppra. I take 500 3x a day. It makes my legs swell just a little, and only sometimes. So I have a diuretic now too. It feels like they are numb, yet have a ant bite feeling, sorta like when the leg falls asleep then starts coming back? You know, the painful part of the leg falling asleep? yep that's both of mine. Mostly from the calves down.

    My feet...ohhh man I can't have anyone touch my feet now. It feels like someone is stabbing an ice pick in between the toes. Anyway I saw surgeon last week and he said "If it hasn't gotten better by now, chances are it won't." I said "My legs are what is causing me to use this walker!" and I pointed at the new rollator walker I just got."It's not my back so much but my legs. They hurt or get weak when I am trying to walk and I have to sit down before I fall down." He said "I'm sorry to hear that". I said "So you still have no idea why that happened?" and he just shook his head and said "I'm sorry, I don't.". But I wanted to tell you, it is still early out for you and my legs did go through a transformation where they were really on fire and then numb and now my legs are either numb or I have areas of high sensitivity but as long as no one is touching them, they don't hurt. I would say give it 6 months. It takes time for nerves to heal. I am 15 months out and he tried to tell me my nerves could still be healing. Well maybe, I do have other issues going on that I didn't know prior too the surgery such as I have lupus and I had 0 Vit D so that didn't help with the bone growth. Now I am on 50,000 IU vit D2 and I feel so much better as far as muscle pain.

    So that's that. He doesn't want to see me back, said there is nothing he can do. He does think that my back is fusing, it's just slow. I had a myelogram done and it says "partial fusion". I think had my Vit D been good, it would have fused by now. I also had an EMG like you. OUCH!!!! I have peripheral neuropathy. On the myleogram, No details other then that and I have facet hypertrophy and three bulging discs above and below the fusion. I also have a left SI joint that you can drive a truck through lol. I take 64mg of Exalgo once a day and up to 5 of the 15m oxycodone along with the keppra. No muscle relaxer but I will talk to my doc about it when I see her in March because my fibro is flaring

    Good Luck. I just wanted to share my story.

    Grade 4 tear in l4/l5 was missed in first MRI so did injections for a year
    SI joints "messed up" not sure if I will get them fused at a later time
    Had Open PLIF L4/L5 5/28/13
    Woke up to permanent nerve damage in legs and feet.
  • Well my dr changed me back to 1200 mg of gabapentin a day. I hope this helps. I am a librarian and trying to work with my feet and legs numb and swollen is very hard!!!!
  • After reading some of the posts here, I can relate to a few of the things that you went through especially with taking gabapentin during nerve problems. I have always had back problems for as long as I can remember since after having my first child by cesarean. That is when I first experienced low back pain from epidurals. That was some 26 years ago and every child after that was born the same way...guess those little crumb snatchers did not want to come out the natural way after all. In any event, I can remember going to emergency rooms and doctors only for them to say that I had sciatica and prescribing various pain med and natural suggestions for heat/cold compresses, etc. I weaned myself off of several meds that were prescribed during my life time and thought I was on the road to never having back or neck pain again until 2012 when the pain in my neck became so excruciating I would have to hold my neck to work at my desk. Pain caught up with me and I went to visit my first neurosurgeon ever in life. After the pain took the ability to use my left and right arm, dropping things, not able to lift it above my waist, I thought it was time to get another opinion. The first neurosurgeon I saw was not a good fit. But then I was introduced to my current neurosurgeon who did the most excellent job ever!!! The surgery and recovery went very well. Now two years later, I started having problems with swelling of my neck, tingling in the right hand so I went back to see him again. He ordered a myelogram to check for nerve damage and so far so good no nerve damage. One of the levels c4-c5 hasn't finished fusing completely. But, it is not something that needed attention. However, the tests did reveal that I have an enlarged thyroid which is the cause for the swelling. Still going through various tests, but just to encourage all of my new found buddies on this site...miracles still happen. Prayer still works...and don't get discouraged...the sun always shines after rain storms.
  • well had another Dr visit yesterday 9/8/14, to find out why I was having so much pain and numbness in my legs. The Dr said he has done over 500-800 surgery's just like mine and has never had anyone have the symptoms I am having. I am up to 2400mg of gabapention on week ends and 1800 mg on week days due to it making me so tired. I still am taking 3-4 norco a day sometimes more dependent on the pain. I am going on 9 weeks post op, anyone else have any suggestions.
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