I am new to this forum. I am a 60 year old female who has had 16 plus years of low back and leg pain. After years of searching for answers I finally made an appointment at one of our large hospitals in Boston and found out that I had a herniated disk on the L5-S1 level causing me electrical shocks, balance issues and pain down both my legs. (I was just about bone on bone) On December 21st 2015, I went into the hospital to have an ALIF done. When I woke up from surgery my right leg was in unbearable pain. I thought from the bone graft that was taken from that side, however, after receiving pain medication, the pain level did go down, but at the same time the left leg pain started to elevate and continued until I was rolling around on the bed. I was in complete shock as my doctor never talked to me prior about the possibility of this happening. When my doctor came to see me, he ask how my back felt and all I could say is, I don't feel any back pain or surgical pain because my leg pain is off the wall. I was told this was because the nerves were angry because of the surgery. After some bad nights in the hospital I went home and proceeded to get better. I was supposed to go back to work within 3-4 weeks, however the leg pain was so bad, I got scared, thinking I would have this for the rest of my life, and ended up taking a much longer leave of absence than I first thought . I could walk fine, but as soon as I stopped to sit or lie down, the pain would just become terrible. I know everyone is different, but I am now a little over a month out and I am trying to wean myself off of the oxycodone, which I am taking 2.5 mg every 7 hours, with Tylenol, with breakthrough pain. I keep trying to increase the hours every couple of days, but sometimes, I just can't, the pain is too much. As long as I can sleep at night, I am happy. However, I need to get off this pain medication before going back to work. When I went for my check up the doctor told me this leg pain could last up to 9 months. That was another shock. How does one work while on pain medication? I need a clear sharp mind to work at my job. I know people on Lyrica and it has helped with nerve pain, however, they are sleepy and a little spacey. I can't have that and I have been on Gabapentin (spelling) and I couldn't even type an e-mail correctly. I suffered through the pain for years, taking only Advil so that I could work. I haven't done a search on other people with this problem, but I will after I post this. I wanted to introduce myself to people on this forum and to let them know I am a Newvbie and give them a little history to go with it. I am scared this leg pain will never go away and it is unsettling when a future has so many unknown components. I had hoped to go one to lead a normal life. I know I have a long way to go until full recovery, but didn't expect the leg pain to be an issue and I thought going back to work would be a breeze, but it won't, it will be the challenge of my life. I start PT in a couple of weeks. I can only hope this doesn't increase my nerve pain as it always did prior to surgery and I had to stop it. Swimming was always my best therapy, but that won't happen for a few more months to come in New England!
Thanks for listening!