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Post surgery sciatica and neuropathy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,662
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Had posterior neck fusion April, for triple herniated discs, bone spurs and pinched nerves. A year later I guess the neck issues are mostly gone however about a month post-surgery I started getting Neuropathy symptoms and leg pain. You know, the burning skin, tingling, creepy crawly feeling on my whole body skin along with typical sciatic symptoms. The surgeon told me my nerve are coming alive after suffering with this for about 10 years and this should go away in a few months. After 6 weeks of Vicodin he discharged me to a pain specialist for further treatments.

Well the pain guy continued treatments based on the surgeons diagnosis with various meds, opoids, spinal injections and even installed a Spinal Cord Stimulator. After a year of putting up with this butchery with no major results and feeling drugged up all the time I decided to go to another neurologist for a 2nd opinion.

Due to the sciatica the new neurologist did an EMG and found lower back issues. A CT scan was done and my whole lumbar area is screwed up with hernias, bone spurs and stenosis. Age 59. More diagnostic procedures where done and surgery is now recommended however I understand that at my age (59), a life long smoker, etc. the success rate is minimal.

All these new symptoms started after the neck surgery but I guess have been lying there for many years. I really don't want major surgery that probably won't help. Any recommendations, suggestions or ideas guys and gals?


  • you were destined to have back problems to begin with. I say that b/c even though the lumbar issues were dormant for a long time, it seems like the same types of issues, bone spurs, etc that plagued your upper spine.

    I hate to say this, but I have to: You Need to Quit Smoking!

    Sorry, I've been there and I know how hard that is, but smoking really, really, really, hinders potential surgerical success and you seriously are asking for trouble by smoking and having a fusion, for instance. Many doctors won't even fuse smokers b/c it drastically reduces the fusion rates. It can also increase other surgerical complications like heart attacks and strokes, blood clots, etc. Ok, enough of that, but please try and find a way to quit. It's really important. :)

    I'm sure you'll get some other responses about your conditions, but I'm going to address your final statement: "I really don't want major surgery that probably won't help.". Unfortunately, sometimes surgery is a gamble. There are many, many success stories, and "success" means lessening of pain (not necessarily elimination of), and improved quality of life. That's it. There are no guarantees and surgery, even "important" surgery like spine surgery is elective. It's your choice and there are no crystal balls for you to consult. Your best weapon is to research, research, and research some more everything there is to know about your issues and any possible solutions and discuss with your surgeon his or her expections for your outcome. You can also get 2nd or 3rd opnions of you choose. Ultimately, however, it is your choice. But, arm yourself with as much information as you can process so that you can have intelligent conversations with your surgeon and you'll know when and what decisions to make. Most surgeons will tell you that you will let them know when you are ready, when you can't take it anymore, and that does seem to be about the right time to make that decision.

    Good luck with everything. Hopefully, you'll get some more responses here and also browse the rest of S-H for valid, scientific information. The forum is wonderful and there are many terrific people here but were just giving opinions and thoughts and sharing experiences. That is great too but know all the facts too. Best wishes and let us know what you decide. :)

    p.s. don't forget to ditch the ciggs! }:)
  • Hopey said it very well - research, and knowledge - it's best to make informed decisions.

    One thought - it's never too late to make a fresh start - good luck on quitting smoking.
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