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pins and needles in feet/heels 3 years post op (fusion)

Hi all,

3 years ago I had a spinal fusion L5/S1 after being diagnosed with spondylosis, spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis. I also have Fibromyalgia since the fusion.

Around 2 months ago I started getting pins and needles in my feet now and again, now I have a lot of nerve damage to my left leg from the sciatica 4 years ago pre surgery and so that side is always worse anyway.

The last few weeks I have pretty much constantly had to some degree pins and needles in my left heel. It is a horrible feeling and last night for the first time it actually woke me up in agony and I could not get rid of it or get back to sleep.

I have looked online and can't find much about it other than it could be linked to MS.

Does anyone else get this or have any info or advice for me please?

Thanks in advance.


  • I'm 4 years out and have the frozen leg feeling. And my toes go numb a lot. This just popped up suddenly. I don't know if its something I did or cold or what but all of the sudden I'm not sleeping.
    I had kind of a dead leg post op. I prefer that to the waking limb feeling.
    You are right there isn't much Info out there for years out. I wish I had a solution! I'm hoping we both can find some answers here!
  • Thanks for your reply:

    The nerve damage has left me with a lot of problems with my left leg...I have that dead leg feeling a lot and struggle to sit comfortably. I struggle to weight bear on my left side when sitting standing or sleeping so pretty much all the time. Its just this pins and needles in the heels that is causing me to worry as its not something thats happened before and now its happening all the time for the past couple of months.
    Today for instance, I had a terrible nights sleep, kept waking with the pins and needles sensation and struggled to get back off again. Then all day whether I've had my feet up or just normally sitting position, the pins and needles just keeps coming and going. It's driving me nuts! But I really am concerned that its something more sinister.
  • I am having trouble sleeping too, from the pain and the weird leg sensations. Has it been ok over the last few years or have you had this at all before?
  • Last night I decided to start looking into side effects of my medications as I take a lot of pain meds. One of which I started taking a few weeks ago - Topamax/Topirimate. This appears to be a very common side effect of this medication!
    So, after reading up on it a lot of anitconvulsant meds cause this pins and needles sensation, and the one thing that can help it is to take a magnesium supplement......I am going to buy some today and see if it helps as I don't want to stop taking the medication because it does help me a lot.
    I would say if you are taking any medications get them all out and read the information leaflets or look online and see if this is listed as a possible side effect. Even if it isn't maybe try the magnesium supplement? It appears that a 400mg dose a day can help.
    I will update you as to my progress in a few days x
  • I'm on meds that lower my magnesium absorption. (I have inflammatory bowel disease) I can. Tell when I'm low because sounds drive me nuts. But I haven't been taking it lately I didn't even think about that being a reason, I wonder if that's whats making my ears ring too...it all came along together. I did hurt my back but my dr didn't think the leg sensations were from that.
    Thank you for Sharing that! I'm going to start back up and maybe get some sleep! Please do post an update!
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,806
    So many things can cause pins and needles and unless u meet the criteria for fibro I would not just blindly accept that diagnosis. Autonomic dysfunction, small fiber neurapthy, peripheral neurapthy, vitamin toxicity or deficiency etc etc can all cause that . Many of these mimic MS. So many tough things can start after surgury that have nothing to do with surgury itself.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • I am 5 1/2 years out from a L4-L5 fusion using a cadaver bone and BMP. I started having issues about two years ago although I have never been absolutely pain free or muscle spasm free since the surgery. I had an episode of two days of extreme pain down the L4-L5 dermatome about two years ago, saw a neurologist, and subsequently was diagnosed with a case of shingles as I had a small area of rash on my right calf. It has become worse since that time and it is always worse at night. Like you, I am often awake at night with burning, electrical like pain in my feet and legs. It started out being mostly on the right but has progressed to being both feet and legs. I have had two MRI's and a CT scan since all this started and both the radiologist and the neurosurgeon I saw felt like my fusion was unsuccessful (pseudoarthrosis). I have moved across the country from where I had my initial surgery and am seeing new health care providers at this time. My symptoms are very odd in that at night when I am supine in bed the burning is pretty much down my legs, across my abdomen and at times down the C5-C6 dermatome also. I also have intense muscle spasms down my right leg. I have been on neurontin for this twice and was unable to tolerate the neurontin as it made me like a zombie!! Insurance refused to cover Lyrica so I am managing with tramadol, diazepam for the spasms and sleeping mainly on my sides as sleeping on my back intensifies the pain. I have tried the magnesium also but I find that it is really hard on my GI tract. It is frustrating to be this far out from a procedure and I worry how much worse it may get.
  • Hi, I was responding to the above posts and IE shut me down but I was able to save so have no idea if the post will show up. To complete the post, I was going to say that it is frustrating to be this far out from surgery and to have these kind of issues that are hard to diagnose. The neurosurgeon I saw said that he would go in and repeat the exact same procedure that the previous surgeon tried and that failed to fuse. He said it might work, it might not, or it might make things worse. At that, I got up and thanked him for his time and left!! The symptoms of this are so generalized and pervasive that it makes me feel like it is more of a radiculitis or arachnoiditis syndrome although getting a diagnosis of either of those conditions is difficult at best. I have a diagnosis now of "Failed Back Surgery Syndrome". Not what I was hoping for but not going to jump on the band wagon for a repeat attempt with encouragement like I received from this current surgeon. I am considering trying acupuncture and see if I can get any relief. The tramadol does help with the burning and electrical, pins and needles type pain but nothing seems to help at night other than getting up and moving around. I have researched a lot too and have found little information on those who are 4 and 5 years out with these symptoms. Feel like at this point it is just up to me to find a solution. I really get the feeling from the medical establishment that I am just another person in a long line of folks with "back pain" and I feel like describing my symptoms just falls on deaf ears.
  • Hi - I was great for 2 yrs after my TLIF - not even a Tylenol was needed, but then pain, numbness & at times inability to walk started. My pain is severe but slightly less than the pain I had pre op. It's also in different locations. Pre op, I had back pain that wasn't relieved by meds. Sitting or laying down helped but if I was in bed, I couldn't turn over. I had some numbness in my right thigh which never went away. Now I have back pain, horrific hip pain, leg pain ( R more than L), numbness all the way to my feet, pins & needles at times & at times I can't walk. Standing is a problem as well. When I went back to the surgeon, he told me about the effects on the discs above & below the fusion - they're being stressed more. No one told me that before surgery. My primary physicians weren't even aware of that issue. I was out of work for 7 mo. after surgery. My incision opened, I had an infection and very debilitated after all of that. I asked for PT which did help a lot. Now, Percocet & 2 Advil gives me significant relief for a few hours. I'm trying Neurontin again, but I tried it 2 yrs ago & it really didn't help but now, I'm giving it another try. I will not have surgery again. What happens to the discs above or below another surgery? They can fail too eventually. When I read literature regarding long term use of opiods for chronic pain & the statements these physicians make regarding overuse, or stating NSAIDs should be prescribed makes me shake my head. I wonder how many of them have walked a mile in our shoes? Believe me, if I have minimal pain, I don't need or take any analgesics -but when I have pain that prohibits me from standing or walking, 1 Percocet & 2 advil relieve my pain for several hours & I can continue to work. It relieves my pain. I don't get high. It doesn't alter my thought processes - I can function & be a productive member of society. I'm going to look into decompression techniques offered by chiropractic physicians.
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