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Extreme leg pain after surgery

shellbellsshellbell Posts: 5
edited 10/25/2014 - 8:01 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi everyone,

I had L5 S1 fusion with Discectomy on 10/13/14, so it hasn't been long. My pain prior to surgery was pretty much in my lower back with some occasional leg pain. I had been dealing with back pain for years. I was really looking forward to this surgery to finally begin getting on with my life.

I woke from surgery with the most extreme left leg pain it was really unbearable. I was in the hospital for 5 days and during that time they performed a CT scan of my lower back after explaining this pain and numbness to the doctor which found nothing other than some bruising.

They originally had me on Norco and Valium which did nothing for the pain. They also gave me morphine when the other meds were not working. So after literally crying inconsolably to my Dr, he switched me to Oxycodone, kept me on the Valium and also added Robaxin, Nuerontin, gave me a Toridol injection and a round of steroids.

In addition to the pain I am also having leg, foot numbness, and muscle spasms and cramping. The Doctor assured me that this would pass once the nerves calmed down.

I can't sleep, no position is comfortable. I can't sit up for more than a couple minutes. The only sleep I get is the couple hours after the pain meds knock me out.

I go back to see the neurosurgeon next week and am also going to look into physical therapy on Monday.

I am feeling like the back pain pre-surgery was the lesser of these two evils. I have read some old posts here from people who don't seem to recover.

Is there any hope? Has anyone dealt with this and recovered? How can I possibly go back to work like this?


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 10/26/2014 - 4:23 AM
    You are ONLY less than 2 weeks out from spine surgery.........the nerve pain can continue to flare and change over the coming days and weeks. The nerves if they were contacted by the herniation prior to surgery, followed by, the surgery itself, the retraction involved, the movement of muscles, tendons and ligaments to get to the herniation, and the movement of the nerves all contribute to the onset of nerve pain post op.
    It will settle down , but spine surgery as has been said here, over and over is not an instant cure for pain, in fact, it is not done for that reason....it is done to correct an anatomical or neuropathic problem that needs to be fixed. It is going to take some time before it does, but it will improve, slowly, a little at a time.
    There are medications used specifically to treat nerve related pain that can offer some relief- gabapentin, lyrica, cymbalta, and others.........I do want to caution you that the dosages need to be adjusted up to get the benefit of the medication, so it is not an instant relief, but they do help once you get to the correct dosages.
  • Thank you for the feedback! I know that you are probably right and am already starting to see some small relief from my pain. My Doctor does have me on garbapentin (same as Nuerontin) so maybe the dosage needs some adjusting.

    Honestly I freaked out a little when I came out of surgery with a numb leg that felt like fire was running through my veins. Caught me off-guard and then I came here and read a few too many horror stories =)

    Maybe doctors should warn patients a little more on this particular side effect as it seems pretty common.
  • I am glad that you are feeling a little better...........I have to agree, that doctors should explain this to patients before surgery, but I think it's because they honestly have never felt it, so they have NO clue what it is actually like and they tend to minimize it's impact......
    When reading the forums, just remember, that most of the posts are in similar situations to you, either just immediately post op or pre op, and some of the surgeries are huge, so the recovery is a lot slower........by the time they are feeling a lot better, most are so busy resuming their lives, they forget to let us know......
  • shellbellsshellbell Posts: 5
    edited 11/06/2014 - 5:54 AM
    I am feeling much better and now feel I am well on the road to recovery! The doctor doesn't think I am ready for PT yet though. I had a nerve that was damaged during surgery by the pedicle screw. The doctor tests the screw placement with some kind of electrodes or something? This test showed the one of the screws was impinging on a nerve, so he relocated the screw. The pain was a result of damage to that nerve which needed to heal. He is very encouraged by my progress. Make sure that your neurosurgeon does this test! He said many doctors do not and patients of course don't recover. I am very thankful for his knowledge and thoroughness during my surgery. Had he not discovered this I would probably still be in a lot of pain!
  • spatel1224sspatel1224 Posts: 7
    edited 01/23/2015 - 3:00 PM

    Did you have to another surgery to relocate the survey? y husband is post op 3 weeks and having the same pains you did. I am wondering if something is wrong with one of his screws too. How did he test to see the displaced screw? Does a CT scan or MRI not show this? Any help is greatly appreicated. Thanks!
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