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severe leg pain after spinal fusion surgery

edited 09/02/2014 - 2:51 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I woke up from surgery in the recovery room and had severe pain In my right lower leg and foot although my toes except big one were numb. My left thigh, knee and calf are also numb. Im in more pain now than before surgery although I have no pain in the back at all (thank god) im on a lot of different medication and everyone ie doctor, surgeon and physio keep saying its only been 9 weeks it needs to settle down. I spend all day either knocked out on pain killers or counting pills. Cannot stand anything/one touching my leg at all and only recently putting soft shoes on for a short time to get about outside. My surgeon basically told me all looks fine on the xray so stop moaning about the pain he is hoping it will settle down soon. I also have fybromyagia which has got worse since surgery and cannot use my right arm / elbow very much as fhe slightest touch sends screaming pain all down my arm into my hand.


  • I was awake again most of last night as cannot lie down very long as it makes the pain in my foot worse. My doctor had switched me from 900mg a day lyrica onto 2700mg a day of gabapentin but this made my fybromyagia a lot worse so she has now switched me back onto the lyrica in hope of calming down the fybromyagia at least. Im also on 1000mg of naproxen a day. I was on 40mg/20mg oxycodone+naloxone a day as well but my surgeon advised me that they would do nothing for the nerve pain so im now coming off of those slowly. I feel like im starting to rattle with all of the tablets but dont seem to have any relief from either the nerve pain or the fybromyagia. Anyone else having the same problems as my partner is having a problem accepting my level of pain as he thinks its all in my head
  • Nerve pain commonly flares up post op...........and it can take some weeks or months to settle down again. You were taking 900 mg of Lyrica a day? I hope that you aren't taking that much now?? The maximum daily dose of Lyrica is 600 mg......I don't know how long you were on the gabapentin, but it can take a few weeks or so for things to settle down and for you to see the benefit of taking it. Especially when you are adjusting the dosage, you need to give it time to work.
    Spending your day knocked out on pain killers, means that you are taking too much...pain medications are not going to ease nerve pain. Neuropathic medications treat nerve pain. And you must take them exactly as directed in order for them to work.
    The side effects usually go away once your body adjusts to the dosage, so you need to give the medications a bit of time.
  • After my car accident (I had a 4 level fusion w/ extensive nerve damage)), I was writhing in pain. It was shooting, burning and just killing me.... Lyrica does take time to kick in and everyone is different. It WILL get better with time. And Sandi hit the nail on the head when she said that side effects usually go away once your body adjusts to the dosage.

    If it is any consolation, I am almost 8 months post op and my nerve pain is 99% gone.

    4 Level (C5-T2) Posterior Instrumented Fusion w/ Decompression (Car Accident in January 2014)
    And I can't forget that I'm not ashamed, to be the person that I am today.
  • I'm sorry you are in so much pain! I too have experienced numerous symptoms since my ACDF surgery in May. I had been dealing with the symptoms, that eventually became debilitating, for four years. I totally understand your worry and frustration. I too have Fibro, and I'm worried that it has been exacerbated by my surgery. Could you share what symptoms you are having that are from Fibromyalgia ? I'm not certain if the symptoms are from my surgery or Fibromyalgia. Any information you can give me would be helpful. By the way, I'm experiencing some relief today. :) I pray that you will as well.
  • wingnut8371wwingnut8371 Posts: 3
    edited 02/09/2015 - 9:29 PM
    I am not sure this is place to post this but my issue is I had surgery on my L4 S1. Had pain before and still have pain after surgery. They did mention I did had some serious angry nerves. I am doing PT but it hurts to walk, sit, getting up even tho I have been using my brace as well. Any suggestions?

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  • I am 3 months post op from an ALIF and I also have fibro. I have kept the trigger points under control most of the times by doing light pilates up until my surgery. Since I have not been able to exercise yet, I am having bad fibro flare ups in my back, neck, shoulder and hands. The only thing that seems to work for me is Lyrica & Butrans patch together. I take tramadol for break through and I am glad it keeps me off the Schedule II nacotics because of all the new rules where I live. Being on the patch also allows me to get away from counting pills all day, which I can't stand.
    Good luck to you! It is really tough to have back pain and fibro together because you never know which one to blame for the nerve pain.
  • I am not sure this is place to post this but my issue is I had surgery on my L4 S1. Had pain before and still have pain after surgery. They did mention I did had some serious angry nerves. I am doing PT but it hurts to walk, sit, getting up even tho I have been using my brace as well. Any suggestions?

    Also what would be the right mg of lyrica and butrans? I am already on the nerve pain of gabapentin 300mg 3x a day. Is that enough? Also my surgeon said no naproxin. So he put me on methocarbamol 750mg 1-2 tablets every 6 hrs?!?
  • I had ALIF at S1/L5 and TDR at L4/L5 on 10th January 2015, and I too had severe right leg and foot pain post op. A post op CT scan taken three days later showed that the fusion cage had protruded the vertabrae on the right side. I subsequently underwent further surgery on 19th to resolve the problem. I woke from this op in the same pain, but within a couple of days the pain was isolated in my right foot, but was excruciating at times. I also get strange feelings of tightness in the foot, as if someone has wrapped wire around my foot and toes and is pulling tight from different directions.

    Following discharge from hospital, i have been readmitted twice as the pain was not controlled at home and referred to a pain specialist. I have been home a week now and the foot pain is still bad. I too struggle to do much and spend most of my time horizontal. I am on 600mg Lyrica, 400mg Tapentadol, 400mg Tramadol, Clondine and Hydromorphine for 'breakout' pain.

    I am told by my surgeon it will take time and that a subsequent scan showed the nerve to be free from impingement, but stated there was swelling of the nerve. He gave me a tentative time frame of 3-6months. The positive is that I havn't much back pain, which was crippling pre-surgery.

    My surgeon say's listen to my body when it comes to rehab, which I find difficult as I am a regimented person and when I am in pain most of the time my body say's 'do nothing', but I am fed up of doing nothing. I see the physio on Monday and will be interested to get her opinion.

    Nerve pain is a horrible thing.
  • that you have your surgeon refer you for a lumbar epidural. Even if there is no post-operative impingement, the manipulation of the spinal nerve trunks during lumbar fusion, is often the etiology behind your symptoms. Epidural steroids will help you so much more than any p.o/ medication will. It may take up to 3 epidurals before the nerve trunk(s) settles down and your pain resolves substantially, so don't expect a miracle after only the first. Two was the magic number for me, but every situation is different. Regardless, the epidurals will lessen the amount of p.o. medications that you need until full recovery has been made. Note: it took me a full 6 months before I actually felt better than I did before surgery. Hang in there.
  • is anyone seeing my post I put on here?? just wondering. =)
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