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Nerve pain after surgery on L4/L5 & L5/S1

alyn93aalyn93 Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:36 AM in Chronic Pain
I recently had the hybrid surgery with fusion at L5/S1 and disc replacement at L4/L5. About 5 weeks after surgery, developed a terrible pain in my right buttock & thigh whenever I lie down. The pain gets worse & worse and now effects me almost 24 hours a day. When I lie down I have a very hard time getting up, a lot of the time relying on my husband to pull me up through the pain out of bed. In the beginning the pain would go away with walking but now it persists. I have had an MRI & a CT scan. The MRI showed nothing, the CT scan showed a fairly large pocket of fluid under my incision (abdomen) however the dr felt this had nothing to do with the pain. At first they thought I had an infection. Took strong course of antibiotics. They also did flexion x rays to check the mechanics of the fusion and said that everything looks great. At this point they are saying that it is likely nerve injury or nerve damage and saying that I must just wait and see and if I still suffer 1 year from my surgery date they will consider it permanent nerve damage. They have put me on Lyrica which helps a little. Wondering if anyone else has had these symptoms and what your experience has been? I am in a tremendous amount of pain. Any walking or excertion more than 1/2 hour puts me in excrutiating pain for 1-2 days. The pain is mostly in my right buttock and thigh sometimes radiating down the leg & foot. I have had some pain in the left leg as well as my lower back but mostly the right side. Sometimes when I move it feels as though I have a broken bone. I can't imagine living the rest of my life like this and am hoping someone out there can relate (although I am truly sorry if you can!) and can share their experience/outcome and if it truly was nerve pain or something else?
Thanks for your time and concern!


  • I had a fusion at L4,L5,S1. I am having nerve pain on my right side. It starts at the incision site and radiates down into my buttock, hip, and outer thigh. My pain seems to be different from yours though. I have a strange hypersensitivity and also a deep ache and burn that is pretty much constant. It does get worse if I stand around. At first the doc put me on gabapentin, but that was causing memory loss and not helping much, so then I was switched to lyrica. I have been taking that for a couple of months now and while I think it does lessen the pain a slight bit it is still there. I am coming up on a year here soon so the doc wants me to get a nerve mapping test done to see if the damage is permanent. If so, he is talking about using a SCS implant instead of long term meds. I can and do commiserate with you. I hope that you find some sort of relief and that yours does heal in time.

    One Love,

  • it takes up to a year to recover from fusion surgery. i also had pain in my leg which woke me up screaming. this is not unusual. you are dealing with surgery around a lot of nerves and they tend to get irritated and it takes time to recover. did they give you a corsett or brace to wear around stomach and waist? i had to wear one for 6 months around my waist and stomach to keep everyting in place while i was recovering. take meds, hopefully pain meds such as opiates and if not talk to dr about getting some. if he won't prescribe opiates, find a new dr. there is no reason to be in pain when there are pain meds around to help. if he is closed minded then he should not be practicing medicine.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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  • I have had the pain for 4 years. Nerve damage is not fun at all.
    If it persist maybe talk to your dr about pain management if you aren't seeing someone already. I have had ESI's and it's the only thing that gives me relief in my buttocks hips and legs. Take it easy and keep following drs orders. It can take a while to heal good and it can seem like forever. But your not alone in your pain!!! Hope you feel better soon!

  • I had the pain you are talking about. I recently had my hardware out, my Ortho seems to think is was the hardware causing the problem. Will wait and see.
  • hi had a bilateral discectomy at L5/AND S1 and A LAMINECTOMY AT L4/5 and that was 2 years ago .and i am sorry to say that for the last 2 years i have been in pain and for the last 3 months absolute agony .i think that any operations on that part of the body never seems to heal very well {i am due to see the surgeons soon } all i can say is good luck we are in the same boat pain wise .let me know how you get on
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  • Thank you all for your speedy reply's. I am so sorry to hear that all of you suffer from the same pain that I feel. But know that I take comfort in knowing that there are folks out there who can sympathize and lend an ear and some advice. It means a great deal as I'm sure you all know.

    Hollie- can you tell me what ESI's are? Just curious what kind of treatment is available for this kind of problem. So far they have offered me nothing but pain pills. I am trying to keep the pain meds to a minimum as I have throughout my injury but there are days when the pain is beyond me. Right now I am taking Lyrica 150 and Darvocet. I tried Tens unit and ice and heat to no avail. Just this week I have started to experience a sharp stabbing pain in the bottom of my foot and ankle as well.

    Iowa robin-I asked my dr about the hardware possibly causing this as that immediately crossed my mind but he seemed to shrug it off as not likely. Were you allergic to something in the hardware?

    Thanks again to all of you for your time and thoughts. I wish you nothing but the best and hope that we can all find peace from this night mare at some point but until then may we continue to encourage each other!
  • leroy8065lleroy8065 Sarasota Florida Posts: 5
    Hello, just reading your discussion. I've had a L4L5 L5S1 Discectomy in May 2016 woke up with a horrific pain in left ankle, lord and foot was numb. I was release from hospital and out on lyrica it took about a week to kick In. I ended up having a second surgery in June 2016 even though my recover has been better I'm still have lower back pain and I can't stand or sit for long periods of time due to nerve damage.  I took myself of lyrica because of the crazy feeling it gave me which has cause my pain to increase. Seeing a PT, it helps with stretching and the electrical stimulation I get  I'v asked to return to work. Which has been a mistake. In terrible pain throughout the day, mostly from the nerve issue tingling numbness and pounding throb. I've had to start taking more pain med just to make it through my scheduled hours. Feeling pained and overwhelmed. I'm hoping you all could give me hope it will get better.  
  • Chiming in as folks were here to help me when I had my last surgery and was SO DEPRESSED when my pain didn't go away, but rather got worse.....I'm managing now.

    had L4/5/S1 in 2008, Aug 2014, Dec 2014----little relief, except pain really starting up more in Jan of 2015 to where my dosage of Percocet was increased to  the 7.5-3 times/day.  Appears to be long term damage to nerves as I still am "managing" with the sames doses, but now using gabanpentin and methocarbomel (sp?) in higher doses. 

    I am now losing weight to see if this helps some --I'm  6' 1", was 225, down to 205...wanting to go 20 more.....no help yet, but I am fairly active and know it could be worse.   

    But I am on my meds, and (depressingly) can't imagine trying to get by without them.  I travel for work and literally have to schedule my work to ensure I  am around home to get refills taken care of.... 

    I use ice as well as the Hidow muscle stimulation and all of my stretches, pretty much daily.....

    Hope that helps.

    Question....how is Lyrica vs Gabanpentin and Methocarbomel?

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