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Calf and Leg pain after Spinal Fusion

gowri45ggowri45 Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Spinal Stenosis
HI Everyone
Iam 2 weeks post op and had spinal fusion L5 S1. I am experiencing bad pain in the left calf and leg. My doctor has ordered a CT just tomake sure all is okay. I am nervous about the pain as it was the pain I had the surgery for and it should have gone away.My surgeon also says that it is part of the healing process as there could be some inflamed nerves out there. Has any one experienced something like this? I would greatly appreciate your responses. Eagerly awaiting your responses.

kind regards


  • I had a L4/L5 fusion Dec. 12th, 2008. So I'm about 2 1/2 months post op.. I'm having a horrible amount of pain in my right leg from above the knee down. After I have been up a while and then I go and sit down and 10 min to 15 minutes later or so when I get up to walk, I can barely put weight on my right heel and then to move is like an act of congress. ONce I have walked for a bit it's better until I sit down again and try and get up. Surgeon states my xrays look good and I'm progressing like i should. They seem to think all is ok... I can't understand how it can be. They have started me on Lyrica but that almost seems to make it worse as far as swelling in my legs. My right knee seems to swell up quite a bit. Are any of you having this type of problem??
  • I am sorry to hear what you are going thru. I am almost 8 weeks post OP and have started PT. I still have the soreness (vert sore behind my knees). I do not feel the pain but it is very sore when I touch it. I can walk everyday without it hurting but cannot cross my legs when I sit down. (put my left leg over my right.). I mentioned this to my doctor and he says all looks good. He says the physical therapy should help. I am not sure.

    But I am still tight and cannot bend like before. I would appreciate it if someone can tell me when the tightness in my lower back will go away. It feels as if there is a restriction there. But my OS said that I can bend and lift and twist just after 6 weeks. But I am very careful when I bend. Sit down on my knees and lift things. But today I shaved this morning with my legs on a small stool in the shower. I can walk upto 3 miles a day but the kneesoreness is still there. Very strange indeed that I can walk without any problem. But I do get sore in my back and my doc says that is okay. Just keep walking. Sorry for the long post but I just thought that I would give you all an update.

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  • Hi Gowri

    Dr's are sure different aren't they?? Mine put me on nothing but light walking for 3 months. No lifting of any kind during this time. I'm a little over 2 1/2 months PO I go back to the dr on April 8th when at that time he will get me out of my brace and start in PT. I just can't understand why the tightness in my lower legs and then not being able to put weight on my heels after sitting for a while. This usually starts in late in the afternoon and stays with me the remainder of the day. I am on flexril for muscle spasms.

    Oh and that's about the time I was able to start shaving also and I still have difficulty putting my socks and shoes on I usually have to have assistance.

    Keep me posted on how you are doing/
  • I just logged on and found, to my delight, that I'm not the only one suffering from severe leg,calf pain after spinal fusion of L4-5 - I'm just over 3 weeks post-surgery and my left leg seems to be getting worse, from my knee down. Right one doesn't seem too bad (now anyway) But after reading your posts, I feel reassured that I'm not the only one suffering from these pains. My surgeon was no help at all, and suggested I see my primary physician, who diagnosed the pains as neuropathic immediately. I had been having throbbing pains in both legs for over a week, even while still in the hospital. I'm just hoping that this will subside and happy to find out they are more or less "normal" It would help tremendously if doctors would tell you what to expect, wouldn't it?
    Thanks for the help.
    Mary C.
  • I have a new question. I have a hard time trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. I usually wind up on one side or the other and hope that I'm not doing myself any harm. Do any of you have any suggestions or tips as to how to get comfortable in order to sleep? It's wonderful knowing that I can chat with others who are going through the same thing. It really helps.

    Mary C.
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  • Hi sorry haven't been on here in a while.. how are you feeling and have you been able to sleep. How's the leg pain? I'm still having a horrible amount of the leg and foot pain myself. I'm now almost 5 months post op. Linda
  • I am almost 4 months post op and am still having some leg and foot pain. And also the terrible tightness in my back is bothering me a lot. Maybe I should not be worried about it so much but can't help it. Is anyone else experiencing this darn tightness (it feels like some has put some heavy weight there). Walking does not help much.

    And one last thing I have lost about 10 pounds. It is great but when people tell me I look good they do not know waht I am going thru. Again any experiences with this. Why does one lose so much weight after spinal fusion?

    All your answers especially about the tightness and the pain will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much
  • Hi Gowri45

    I will be 5 months post op on the 12th of this month. Still experiencing that horrible leg and foot pain. Mine is at the bottom of my heels and I can hardly walk on them for a while. Then my toes get severe cramping in them.. pins and needles in my lower legs.. I'm not having the tightness in my back so much.. it just feels so tired at times. Now I wish i could have lost 10 pounds but i've just stayed the same.. luckily haven't gained any..

    Yes any answers about the pain would be helpful.. I haven't went back to work yet and I know my appt at the dr on the 20th he will probably send me back,.. I just do not know how I can yet.. sitting bothers me, standing bothers me and driving bothers me.. and all of this I do. Okay I will quit complaining...

  • Are you guys taking a medication for nerve pain such as gabapentin or its new big brother, Lyrica?

    Mary ~ Did you find a comfortable way to sleep by now? If you read anything about back problems or good body mechanics, it will tell you that the best position for the spine is to sleep on your side with a small pillow between your legs. The point of the pillow is to keep your top leg in line with your shoulder. This position supports the natural curve of the spine.

    Some people find it comfortable to sleep with a large "body pillow" that they can put between the legs and then the rest of it can be gently hugged, so it supports you as you sleep on your side.

    I will warn all of you that it is very difficult to get a doctor to talk to you about your nerve pain. All you will hear is that nerves take a long time to heal....They really do not want to hear about it!! (And the reason for that is because they are helpless to do anything about it. It is what it is...it may get better, and maybe it will not....)

    But do not give up. There are people on the board who have finally recovered from nerve pain after two years.
  • Gwennie17

    They haved tried me on Lyrica and it made my legs swell and then I had worse pain. Now I'm on cymbalta and it may be helping a little.. but if I sit and I'm not doing anything I just fall asleep, so right now I'm not taking anything except a muscle relaxer. I go back to the dr on the 21st of this month and I'm so scared hen is going to put me back to work and I just do not know how I can do that. Lately my back has been so tired and achy.. I guess I'm just a complainer and need to suck it up... but at this point I don't feel any better than I did before surgery. Oh and the pillow between the legs laying on your side it works wonders I sleep like that most of the time.
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