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Sharp Shooting Pain

dapopo315ddapopo315 Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all, I'm 39 days post-op from my Open TLIF. For the past 3 days if been having a stabbing / shooting pain in my back. It's on the lest side of the incision & it's not always there.

Usually comes when I sit down &I'm try to get situated into my chair. It also happens when i try to stand up. When it hits me it's like someone stabbed me with a knife & takes my breath away. I've also noticed my lest foot going numb while I'm sitting.

I'm not sire if it's supposed to be there or if it's not. I havnt called the doc cause it never seems to happen except on weekends. I have my 6 week post-op visit on Tuesday.

Just wondering if it was something anyone else has experienced. Scared & hoping I didn't do somthing to screw it up! Thanx


  • It is unlikely that you have done anything to cause the pain. You will find that you will have various, odd pains and sensations that will pop up as you continue your recovery. Sometimes it is a matter of the soft tissue getting used to the new situation -- muscles and ligaments may lengthen or shorten, as the new alignment begins to take hold.

    I can remember a similar situation after my fusion. I'd let out a little squeal because it always came as a surprise. When your foot starts to go numb, that is your signal to get up and walk a little bit. The nerves were assaulted during surgery and you will continue to have odd sensations for a long time.

    Be sure to ask your surgeon about it. You might want to sit down now and draw up a list of topics you want to discuss with him, questions you want to ask, etc. so you won't walk out the door and then remember what you wanted to ask.

    Remember to do your walking and take it easy otherwise!


  • Wow,

    I was just going to post on this same thing. I am 3 weeks port op from a kyphoplasty and a double microdiscectomy. I had some really bad leg pain which was made somewhat better after a course of Prednisone. I started hydrotherapy for PT this last week. About a week ago I started getting shooting pains similar to what you describe.

    Ironically before surgery I did not have any back pain, it was all in my leg. Now I find that I ge tthe shooting pains almost exactly as you described when sitting, standing, sometimes when walking, or if I should twist or bend the wrong way even when I am trying to be careful about how I move. I am still not able to do any kind of walking. A trip to the grocery store can still be challenging for me and walking as exercise is still out of the question.

    This has me worried as I seem to be getting worse rather than better. I'm going to be calling my Doctors office on Monday as this certainly does not seem to be "normal".
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  • I am curious about something like this as well.. I am almost 5 weeks post L5/S1 fusion. I am doing reather welll.. Have started PT, walk about 2 miles per day and have not had any pain that I had prior to surgery.. However, I woke up lasntight with my hamstring hurting (throbbing pain) just above my knee in the back.. When I get up and walk arouund it goes away a little. This morning it is still there but not near as bad as lastnight around 3:00 AM. I am hoping this is just soreness because I a am not really allowed to stretch much and still cannot bend over or twist. Sorta scares me because this is the FIRST time I have had this type of pain since the surgery and I am hoping that the fusion is not aggrivating the nerves..
  • That your body gets really beat up during fusion, and your nerves and muscles can take what seems like forever to heal completely. I know it may seem like it's been long enough that you shouldn't have random pains like that, but as the nerves and muscles heal it's fairly typical to have sudden strange pains.

    I had little to no pain after surgery aside from incision pain, but i did have a few instances that made me uncomfortable. Right after I got home from the hospital, I had a deep ache from my left hip down to my knee bad enough to keep me from sleeping, especially on that side. I just assumed it was from being "manhandled" during surgery and just tried to keep heat on it, and massage it from time to time, and sure enough after about a week it was totally gone.

    Then about 5 weeks into recovery I started getting a kind of sharp pain in my lower back just above my hip that felt almost like a pulled muscle. I figured it was probably because I was sitting too long once I got back to work, and started making myself be more diligent about getting up, stretching and walking throughout the day. The pain is only there occasionally, and really just at the end of the day, but it isn't even really bothersome, so I just let it be my reminder to move a lot!

    My Dr actually told me in recovery, "There's really nothing you can break or damage in there as long as you're smart. If it hurts, don't do it. Other than that I have no restrictions on you." My surgeon knew I had educated myself extensively, so I knew the general guidelines of "NO BLT", and he also knows I know my body and was going to do my best to take care of myself after surgery. Point is, as long as you're smart and careful, chances are you haven't done anything to cause the pain, it's most likely just part of the healing process.

    Qwennie definitely hit the nail on the head, so talk to your doctor, but also try to keep in mind that it's not uncommon to have pains like that.
  • Mark - sounds like a charley horse cramp.

    I get them every night. Really bad ones make my muscles ache all day. If I straighten my legs I get them, if I kneel down it also sets off my hamstring. You kind of have to find the middle ground.

    Since you are still early in your recovery I would suggest you just try to stretch out your legs - without bending your back. Maybe sleep with them bent a little too.

    Also watch your potassium and nutrition levels - low levels along with a reduction in movement due to your post-op restrictions can all combine to cause some leg cramping.

    Good Luck
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  • Salzworks is right, I actually sleep with a pillow under my knees. I can recommend that.

  • I've had several fairly major surgeries in the last couple years, and have found that right around 6 weeks post op I seem to have some odd pains. Don't know why, but it's happened with each one to a certain extent. Just remember, after surgery we're hyper aware of everything anywhere near our surgery, as well. Excellent suggestions here, and if it gets very bad, call your surgeon's office before your appointment. Hopefully, it won't get to that point.

    Keep us posted, and hope you're doing better soon!
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Mark: Muscles atrophy amazingly fast. So the gradual increase in activity and walking could easily cause hamstring pain. Plus you are doing things differently (everything from getting dressed to moving around has changed so you could be relying on new muscle groups without even knowing it)

    Dapopo: Like others have said when you get to the point in your recovery from most any surgery where stuff is healing and you may be moving around more you are bound to experience some new and unexpected pain moments. Very often it's due to the healing process, scar tissue being built up and then "dissolved" by moving the affected area, etc. When I had galbladder surgery I started with new sharp pain at about 4 weeks post op. Everything checked out fine. The doctor said it's probably a scar tissue adhesion. Believe it or not we went to a friend's house and when I jumped into their above ground pool and swam a bit...I noticed when I got out the pain I'd had for at least a week was gone. I think I separated the adhesion with my little leap into the pool. They now joke I should attend their healing pool whenever I have any pain.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • You all have hit the nail on the head.. The first 4 weeks I was pretty good in my lower half of the body.. The last 4-5 days I have had this ache in my hamstrings at night and sometimes the next day my leg muscles are tender to the touch and it almost feels sore like when you OVERLIFT weights the day before..

    I have nto been doing anything different so it has really scared me!! I have been pushing it a little so I thought that might be it as well..

    I like the suggestions above.. Any type of nutriotional suppliment I could take?? Ice my back? Continue stretching?
  • Thanks for all the input. When I saw the doc she really didn't seemed too concerned but said we'd keep an eye on it. The past couple days the stabbing pain has really been bothering me. Making it very painful to continue with my daily walks. I continue to walk thru the pain because the walking is SO important in the healing process.

    Anyway thanx to all for the advice & encouragement!
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