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Has anyone had injections months after L5 S1 fusion due to sciatic pain

MingMMing Posts: 1,127
I was just curious if anyone else has had to have injections shortly after a fusion because they are still having sciatic pain. I just had L5 S1 anterior discectomy and fusion 7/1/08 and the muscle spasms are gone. I am still having pain in my lower back towards S1 and facet area and pain down buttocks, legs, hips and now my legs and feet go numb or mostly get the pins and needles feeling. I just had a CT scan and the ortho surgeon said nothing shows up that would continue to cause me this pain. I am showing minimal degeneration with diffuse bulging at L4-L5 level, no disc herniation or spinal stenosis, facet joints are very minimally degenerated with posterior marginal spur formation, remaining posterior L5-S1 disc show minimal bulge and central spinal canal is midly narrowed on a congenital basis. He said he is going to send me back to PM and have injections done at L4-L5 and L5-S1 to see if this helps. I mentioned that my father is disabled and in a wheel chair (as I have mentioned several times) at the young age of 54 and has peripheral neuropathy, degenerative discs and some other things that I can't remember. My situation is similar to his when he was my age. Anyway, it seems he is finally listening because he said if the injections do not work then he will set me up for nerve conduction test. I didn't realize that problems with the nerves could not be spotted in MRI, Xray or CT Scans so I would have figured he would've looked at that. I wonder if he may have overlooked this because I am only 30. :?


  • Well, I did not have to have a fusion but did have a radical endoscopic microdiscectomy last december and the sciatica and facet pain was so bad after surgery that I did have an epidural and 5 level rhizotomy done. The pain was so bad that I could not straighten my back or lift my right leg. So, I think some docs do use these procedures to help while you are healing. Good luck on your recovery and keep us posted.
  • I have had 1 injection since my L4-L5 fusion. I had a 360 fusion with disc replacement and hardwear on 11/10. Having some sciatic/nerve pain and numbness down my left leg and never had that before surgery but my back pain is gone!!! I will probably have at least one more to calm the nerve down. Good Luck to you...
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  • Did the injections after surgery help at all? What is rhizotomy? I seen that a couple of times on this site today.
  • How long ago was your injection? Your situation sounds similar to mine. How long did is seem to offer relief? I didn't have the nerve pain all the way down my leg until after the surgery and now my legs and feet either go numb or mostly get the pins and needles feeling that I didn't have before surgery either.

  • and rhizotomy was about 2 weeks after surgery. And yes, it did help. A rhizotomy is a nerve burn and helps me alot with facet pain.
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  • My injection was last Tuesday, two weeks after my fusion. So far so good, about 80% better. Sorry you have had a lifetime of pain and to watch your father go through it too. Get more opinions and this site is great for advice and articles. My back pain went away after surgery so I am thankful. Good Luck to you..
  • Hi Ming, I had the cortisone injection right before I leave the hospital after my surgery. He did it in a fashion where the needle was in an out all over my buttocks. He didn't do one in the back because he placed the steriods right inside during the surgery. That really helped with the sciatic pain.

    Because the nerve has been compressed, even after the surgery, it will take about a year to feel better. It takes that long for the fusion to set too. It is only 5 months after your surgery. Though in pain, Ming, try exercise your pain off by going into the pool. But make sure that the wound is fully healed first. Water takes away gravity.

    Injection is also a diagnostic tool. If you still find no relieve after the injection, then there is more to the eye. So, it is 'good' to have it in that sense.

    I hope you find relieve. Keep us posted.

  • I had the microdiscectomy between L4 & L5 last year and now I have BAD sciatica in the butt, hamstring, calf and into the foot. My foot is also starting to tingle and go numb. I had an injection last Tuesday (one week ago) and it worked ...... for 3 days. I go back for another one this Thursday. I am SICK of this pain taking over my lifestyle and stopping me in my tracks. NOTHING I take orally helps. Nothing. I am so used to being in pain everyday that my mind has told me that it's the way it's supposed to be. I cannot imagine NOT being in pain. Since my back surgery in Jan 07, I have been in pain in one form or another. 6 months later, I herniated a disc in my neck and had a cervical fusion. Now it's my back AGAIN............

  • Hi Ming, I am pre fusion, but I saw another neurosurgeon, and since my back hurt when I leaned backwards, he suggested the facet block, 4 needles on each side of the lower spine, they injected numbing meds that lasted only a couple of hours, If the pain goes away then you are set up for the rhizotomy...burning of the nerves after insurance approval. Any mention of a spinal cord sitmulator? I am trying to research getting it instead of fusion first. The facet block is only a diagnostic tool, but its worth a shot...no pun intended, a rather inexpensive tool, close to $4000.00. Anyway thats how mine was. Rose
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