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Please cut my leg off!

I'm almost serious. I've been in so much pain the last week. I'm talking most of the time in the 8 - 10 range. My background....I had a successful ADR in 2003 at L5S1 which was good for a few years. Followed 2 years ago by a 3 level fusion and Laminectomy. Everything was going along great until a month ago when my pinkie toe and the one next to it went numb along with the outer half of the sole. Then almost two weeks ago it was agony getting out of bed. No real back pain, just intense burning going down the back of my thigh. It is so painful I feel like I'm going to pass out . In the beginning it was only in the morning that I'd have the leg pain, then the foot would still be numb. The last few days the thigh pain is excruciating all day long. I'm now in a wheelchair. Sometimes I can stand for 2-3 minutes before its excruciating. Sometimes it's instantly. I went to a Neurologist who ordered an MRI which was done yesterday. He's doing an nerve conduction study next week. I have an appt with my back surgeon's PA in two days. I went to the ER last week. They did regular XRays and said the hardware all looks correctly placed. They gave me Steroids and muscle relaxants and I have Norco. None of the drugs have done a thing. Any thoughts on what could be causing it? I can't go on like this forever.
Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil


  • I had L5-S1 diskectomy, fusion in 2011. Over the course of 3 weeks after surgery this 1st 3 toes, the top of my foot, across the lateral side of my ankle and up my leg to my hip was searing, burning, deep pain. After MRI, there was no evidence of injury or misplacement of hardware. Nerve conduction studies indicated injury of sciatic nerve at the ganglion root confirmed by another neurosurgeon. I stayed home all the time with ice packs up and down my leg. Oral meds, fentanyl patch didn't touch it. Finally 9 months later, I had a spinal cord stimulator placed. This has helped considerably, along with very high doses of oral meds. I had a revision of it surgically in 2013. It works even better now. I still just wanted to cut my leg off. I could only sleep maybe an hour, then wake up screaming in pain. Pain management and I decided to go for pump. It's helping more and I have almost weaned off everything oral. I still have periods of time where i get a little depressed. But i snap out of it pretty quickly since my relief is so much better. We did try ablation of scar tissue and that didn't work. For me, I don't want to chance something else going wrong. So I don't want further surgery.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,448
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    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I'm sorry to hear that your pain is back in full force. I'm anxious to hear what the surgeon/PA and MRI say. I had the same kind of problem with sciatica, but it was before my L4-5 fusion and it was coming from that level. It's hard to say with you because you've already had such a large fusion.

    Hang in there and let us know what the doc says.
  • My appt is in 3 hours. I'm certainly no expert, but looking at my MRI it looks like I have a large herniation at L1/2. I'm terrified they'll recommend another fusion. Time will tell.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • My doctor doesn't think my sciatica is from a disc. She thinks it's coming from my SI joint. It could be caused by my artificial disc being pushed on by the 3 discs above which are fused together. Theoretically pushing it into my SI joint which in turn is touching the sciatic nerve. I'm going to have a CT scan with contrast dye because the artificial disc is obscured in the MRI. We'll then try an injection. Worst case is fusion of either my SI joint or my artificial disc which is at L5S1. I'm not really sure how that works (and I really don't want to think about it!) Meanwhile I'm still in agony. My sister wants me to look into getting a pain pump.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • Jen, so sorry to hear about your pain returning. I'm also having a tough time lately. I injured my back a little over a week ago and have been in pretty awful pain ever since. I now have sciatica in both legs. I will mention I was in my garden picking beans and that did it. I was given a Medrol pack to help with inflammation, as well as a toradol injection and then had a series of trigger point injections the next day. I'm miserable
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • cslickccslick Posts: 3
    edited 08/20/2015 - 8:36 AM
    I have a L4, L5 injury with sciatic for over 17 years. I have learned to live with it although at times it puts me in bed for months at a time. About 19 months ago I had an episode with it along with inflammation of my left hip that was severe enough that I simply couldn't take it any more. Even though I have no insurancce and haven't had any for most of the past 15 years I just could not put up with the pain any longer. I couldn't walk and my husband called an ambulance. After an x-ray proved to show no problem with the hip and ultra sound did show inflammation. They sent me home on crutches and pain meds. I did get some what better but I still have difficulty walking and now use a cane. I still live with pain that is almost always a 6 and often is 7-8. My doctor wants to send me to a neurologist but of course I have no insurance and cannot afford it out of pocket. I did see a poiditrist which I did pay for out of pocket who also suggested the neurologist telling me that the pain is a worsening of the L4, L5 injury. Since that time I have developed pain in my left calf and left foot. The entire leg is numb as is the foot and I cannot curl the toes of my left foot. I did have disability back when I initially hurt my back and I am now awaiting both a reinstatement of it and medicare. I am so miserable and depressed. I have fought depression just I have fought with this pain and at times I am just plain tired. I just am tired of the fight, I want a more normal life while knowing it isn't ossible living in my bedroom 75% of the time is getting to me.

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    Cindy Slick
    L4-L5 injury
    Left leg numbness
    left foot toes do not curl
    Neuropathy left leg
  • I'm so sorry to hear that you're back pain is back. I remember we had our fusions around the same time. It just never seems to end, does it. At least I don't have small children like you. I don't know how you young mothers handle taking care of the family with back problems. It took me over an hour to get out of bed this morning. The leg pain was horrific. It finally eased up enough that I could go to the bathroom with a walker. I'm right back in bed now trying to talk myself into getting up. I hope your pain eases up soon.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • OMG! 17 years of sciatica. I can't imagine how you cope. I'm having a nerve conduction test on Tuesday with a neurologist. I'm scheduled the next day for an SI injection and the next week with a new Pain Management doctor. Luckily I have great insurance as my husband worked for the Federal government for 30 years. I hope you have luck getting your disability and Medicare. Are you on an antidepressant? I'm not sure what they cost out of pocket. I think I might have gone bonkers without it the past few years. I hope your pain eases somehow.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
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