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Terrible leg pain following 3 level cervical fusion - need advice

On June 3rd, I had a 3 level ACDF with a C5 corpectomy. For the most part things have been going as expected. Som surgical pain in my neck, muscle pain in my shoulders and definately improved function and less pain in my arms.

In the last 3 days I have been dealing with pretty severe pain running down both of my legs and a general achiness in my lowers back. The pain in my legs has been excruciating and I am not sure why this is happening and cannot figure out how to even get comfortable.
At first I thought it might have been positioning during surgery but I should have felt that right away not a week and a half later. Since my surgery I also noticed that it is harder for me to walk straight. It is almost as if my gait is off and I veer to the left. I am not comfortable walking unless my husband is right there with me because of this issue.

Tonight I have actually been in tears and cannot get comfortable enough to sleep.

If feels as if I have run a marathon and my legs are still running. I took a muscle relaxer and that has done me no good.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this before and if so, should I be worried? I did call my doctors office but have not heard back yet.

Also, I have been backing off pain medications because my neck pain just has not been that severe. I thought maybe it was a side effect of coming off some of the dilaudid and Valium they had me on.

Any thoughts? My surgeon is 6 hours away and I really wanted to avoid going to an er out of network if I don't need to.


  • Sorry you have hit a wall here. Before my surgery and after I had a good visual of my problem by the MRI I had some terrible pains in my legs. The pain is now gone but my guess is that I was walking, sitting, bending differently because of my neck problems and strained my back. Maybe this could be what happened to you or maybe this is what some here call "things waking up" after cord decompression by surgery. Hopefully it is very temporary.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    should not impact your legs. Looking at dermatome maps and other diagrams, the cervical discs should not be impacting anything with your legs.

    But as iyvm suggested, the pain in the legs could be associated with some pre surgical situations you had, surgical soreness, etc
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks guys! I spoke with my surgeon a short time ago and he is thinking that we may have aggravated my previous L5S1 fusion site which would explain the pain and weekness in my thighs and lower legs. He is however a bit concerned that I am having foot drag and gait change issues as well that I never had before. Those issues could come from the cervical spine.

    We are trying a Medrol dose pack and lots of ice on both my neck and lower back areas to help alleviate swelling. Also I have a neurostimulator installed for my lumbar issues so I have that turned on trying to get to some comfortable level.

    After we try the Medrol dose pack we will investigate further if need be.

    Honestly the pain and discomfort from my 3 level cervical fusion and corpectomy was a piece of cake compared to the pain in my lower extremities right now.
    Well let's hope it gets better fast.

    Thanks so much for your advice. I will keep you posted.
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