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I had a spinal fusion of my L5-S1 back in May and was in a ton of pain afterward, so my surgeon decided to take out my rods and screws. I'm only 23 years old and I am still in pain. I got my screws removed about 3 weeks ago and I'm still in pain when I sit or walk. I know it hasn't been long but the doctor said I should feel better by 2 weeks.. Which I'm not. AND I'm having severe leg aches! My legs ache when I'm laying down or after I walk. Heat takes away the aches but the aches are terrible. Does anyone have this issue???? My doctor doesn't know what is causing the leg aches and he hopes it just goes away...


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    edited 12/28/2015 - 10:33 AM
    Wondering what kind of symptoms you had prior to your fusion surgery?
    Was it painful to sit and walk pre op?

    Curious if doctor said your leg aches are not related to your area of surgery?
    Did doctor do any further testing to try to determine cause of your leg aches?...or to put a time limit on enduring in hopes of it going away?
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Thanks for responding.. Prior to fusion surgery I could not sit through class without being in pain. I couldn't walk for more tHan 30-45 min without pain. It was all the time. I had leg aches prior to surgery as well . I had degenerative disc disease and that's why they did the fusion in the first place. My doctor said he has no idea why I have leg aches and has not done any testing for it. He said my MRI looks good so he doesn't understand why they hurt and it should get better eventually. It's hard because he doesn't give me any time frame or hope. I'm thinking about getting a second opinion because I start school again in January and I can't concentrate when my back and legs kill!

    Thanks again for the response
  • I am going to tackle this from a general perspective. I have a long history of issues with many surgeries. By 22 I'd had my left eye removed and 2 reconstructions on the socket because my body rejected the implant. I hated to complain but by golly the pain and discomfort was NOT tolerable. So I understand your frustration! Finally they removed the second implant and used my own tissue. Then all was well, even so, I healed so very slow.

    Now many, many years later, I suffered a debilitating back rupture. Though my final prognosis is much better than yours, it took again, two years of horrible pain and in my case sciatica (burning nerve pain down my leg) before we finally resolved it with fusion. I am very slow to heal, and at 12 months post fusion I finally feel somewhat normal. Again, it has been so slow and I found myself very frustrated many times.

    I encourage you to not give up, keep seeking answers, but perhaps from other specialists than your surgeon. I found my spine physiatrist and spine physical therapist to help the most from a supportive and solution standpoint. I did NOT want fusion, and these two kept at me to give in and go have it done. So perhaps you can see a spine physiatrist for their input. I find surgeons to be very focused and they are not interested in anything other than what they can do which is to basically be a carpenter for your body. They are not necessarily good at all the subtle issues like nerves, etc and how to handle that type of pain.

    IF you were rejecting the metal they removed, it could take your body longer than the 2 weeks the surgeon quoted.

    I still have to take nerve pain meds, very little, but if I don't I end up cramping and burning down the back of my right leg later in the day. My back is limited in what it can handle. I work very hard at anything I do and need to monitor my tendency to overdue things. My overdoing is what put me in this position to begin with. I am quite a bit older as well and my flexibility is not what it was before. I have a very hard wall I hit and cannot go any further.

    Your surgeon left no stone unturned by removing your hardware. (I was concerned about my body possibly rejecting the metal, like my eye implant, and truthfully, I still wonder...)

    The only last thing from his point of view is how your body is doing at growing bone, is it accepting/growing well? He says your scans all look good.

    So, stick with it, don't give up, keep searching for a workable solution. I wish you the best of luck!
    Massive rupture at L5-S1 July 2013
    Emergency microdiscectomy L5-S1 July 2013
    Revision microdiscectomy L5-S1 Feb 2014
    ALIF 360 L5-S1 Dec 2014
  • Thanks for answering me! You have gone through so much so you understand. It is hard for my parents to understand because they haven't gone through the back pain. I completely agree that my surgeon is more concerned about the way my spine looks instead of how I am feeling. I think I will ask for a second opinion because I do not want to keep dealing with this. My surgeon also wants me off of Norco, which I have been on since my first fusion in May. I am fine with getting off of it, I just do not want to be in pain and then not have anything to stop it. I think the only solution for me is to get a second opinion. I have heard of pain management but I do not know what that is. Thank you for the positive words! I just want to finish my masters program in school without pain!
  • edited 12/30/2015 - 8:57 PM
    my story is very complicated. However my injury started in my left leg, and for months i let it go because i thought it was just a muscle issue since i did fall while shoveling and there was no back pain some in my hip but never in my back. I'm going to tell you to read my story how did i get here because I'd be reposting an ongoing story thats turning into a nightmare of 18 + months of [edit].
    If you would like please ask I will tell you my tests ive had and my surgeries and maybe something might click i am only 48
    healthy until this all happened. I am surprised they took your hardware out what did they put in place to repair what was wronto begin with?

    Have you had any injections or steroid packs? SI joint injection is not only a treatment but a diagnostic test first. Have you had PT?

    I do agree every dr is limited in what he or she can treat. ortho only knows so much about the skeleton and some nerves but then you need a neuro surgeon or neurologist, and or a pain management ,anesthesiologist. We expect them to know everything and I am still in frustration mode because my 2nd back surgery looks like its leading towards a fail just now going into PM....which makes me feel like weve given up on whats wrong because I feel theres something being over looked.
    This can't be happening
  • I had an L4-5 laminectomy in April 2015, healed well. Apparent disc herniation in this area now. Radiating pain down my left leg, would chew my leg off if possible. My friend, a pediatrician, had a similar issue two years ago. She was prescribed Gabapentin for the nerve pain. I am now on this and it is miraculous. It either works or it doesn't. I can walk, sleep a bit better and generally function. Still waiting on second and third opinions on my potential L4-5 fusion, which I am trying to avoid.
    I don't think you can heal when the pain is persistent. My physicians don't think of Gabapentin/Neurontin as a treatment for this type of pain. A neurologist prescribed this, and for me, it works well for now.
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