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7 week checkup

thenadetthenade Posts: 137
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello. I had my 7 week check up last week. Sad to say things are not going as well as I had hoped. I have a MI tlif of the L4-L5 on oct 26. Surgeon said he did not use BMP as my own bone quality wasn't bad. Used spare bits and pieces of my own bone Interbody fusion with peek cage, 4 screws and 2 rods. I was home within 2 days, no infection and minimal pain meds needed after surgery. Incisions have healed but still tender in spots. After I got a bit more active, at about 3 weeks I noticed the same pain returning to my right leg. My left is ok. It's not more pain than before about the same. In my butt area, down the back of the thigh, calf and into my foot. Comes and goes, moves around, sometimes disappears. But it is the same type of nerve pain, that's for sure. I haven't overdone it with lots of BLT. I would walk sometimes for an hour or more. I'm trying to practice pelvis tilt and activating deep core muscles. I have been to 1 physio appt, recommended by the surgeon. Very light exercises, no stretching. The surgeon has ordered a CT scan(who knows when that will be, I live in Canada) He said to me 7 weeks is still early but how can I have the same pain back. Says that nerves can take up to 12 months to regenerate. I don't have any numbness. How do they regenerate in relation to pain? I am thinking of starting Cymbalta at a low does of 30 mg. How have people faired with it? I am so upset and feel myself slipping into depression. I waited 15 months for this operation and was so happy when It finally happened and I could get on with life. Now things look rather bleak to me. I am also going to a podiatrist to check my stance and walk and see if he thinks I need orthotics. Everyone that calls asks how I'm doing and thinks everything is ok. I don't want to tell friends and family how I feel. Only my husband knows and I feel sorry for him because he has been dealing with this for 2 years. Any comments or info will be much appreciated.


  • Hi there, I'm so sorry that you're depressed and not doing so well. I'm a bit confused, did you have surgery because of leg & butt pain? And now the same pain is coming back?

    It could just be the nerves 'pissed off' causing the leg pain, and with medication, physical therapy & time it may subside.

    I had the same surgery as you on november 3rd and I am still suffering from back pain & have leg pain as well. I was told it was normal and it was still very early in recovery. Perhaps you are just experiencing flare ups? Are you on any medications for your nerves, like Lyrica or Neurontin? I think that the Lyrica is really helping my leg pain.. I am also on "Metanx" that is supposed to help with nerves too. It's concentrated vitamin B and folic acid. You may want to ask your doctor about it.

    Try to keep your chin up (I know it's really hard), a positive attitude will help you heal.
  • No I am not on any nerve medications. My family doctor is open to prescribing any type of nerve meds.
    I thought Cymbalta might be good because it is also an antidepressant and anti anxiety drug and helps with pain. But like anything it has side effects. Any Cymbalta users out there? My surgery was mainly for my leg and butt pain. I didn't have that much back pain. I also had a grade one spondy that was unstable. After surgery the doctor said that there was quite a bit of compression on the L5 nerve on the right side. That's the side that's paining me again. My other discs at L5-S1 and L3-L5 are fine, normal height and no central or foraminal stenosis. There is some arthritis but nothing major. What the heck is up?
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  • and I have pain almost identical to yours. Mine occurs at least once a day, after activity. I have to rest, take my pain meds, and then start over again.

    I'm praying tonight for all spiney's to have a painfree night.

    Take care,

  • I know first hand that nerve pain is a tough bear to fight. I have had mine since my first surgery on 8/31/09. I take the generic of Neurontin 2100mg a day, I dont like the side effects, but appreciate the pain relief. I also understand how depressing it can be to think all will be better, then be disappointed. I am thinking about asking my pcp for something for depression, mine comes and goes these days so I dont know if I need to be medicated.
    On the bright side, you are only 7 weeks out, that is very early. I didnt start PT until 6 weeks, even though it didnt help. My doc does not want me doing any now, he doesnt want those nerves stretched or irritated in any way since my second surgery on 12/4. HE is hoping they are just "waking up mad" and if we leave them alone they will be ok. My doc did a CT mtelogram after 3 months of no improvement, thats when he found a bone fragment/spur still compressing my l5 and s1 nerves, he removed it on 12/4. we wait and see now.
    Just remember to listen to your body, dont let them put you off if your gut tells you something is not right. but also remember you are early in recovery. so be patient with your body, I am still not able to walk more then 30 minutes and that is with a walker, beyond that I have to use my electric scooter.
    I will pray that your ct comes up negative and you just need to slow down a bit and let yourself heal some more.
    May God bless and Keep you,
    Happy Holidays,
  • Thanks for commenting on my post. Right now I am getting much comfort from hearing from others who have been through it and understand. I'm wondering what will the ct show? What will the surgeon be looking for? He did say that it is doubtful if there will be any bone growth yet. What could be causing this pain? As I mentioned I didn't wake up with excruciating nerve pain, it was more just of a surgical nature. It seemed to creep up on me as I got a bit more active. At now 8 weeks, how much should I be sitting? I had minimally invasive and don't have the huge scar. When I lay down I will get pain and tingling in both legs. After awhile it will quiet down. When I stand I'm ok for awhile and then my leg will burn,or my feet, or my butt. Again just like pre surgery. Walking sometimes provides relief for awhile as long as I practice perfect posture.

    Noseovertail, How are you doing? How often do you take you meds and how much? I'm trying to keep positive. Did you have a CT scan before your check up?

    How are you doing sleeprgirl? Feeling any better?

    Mommatialuv. You have been through a lot. I truly hope things settle down and get better for you. I'm probably going to try Cymbalta after the holidays. If there are side effects I don't want to be out of it over the holidays. But I know I am blessed with a wonderful daughter and son in law who are going to cook Christmas dinner. And my husband has been here all the way with me.

    All the best to everyone.


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  • Please find a way to stop worrying. You had quite a bit "wrong" and as a result, the surgery to correct it all was extensive, despite the fact that you heard the words "minimally invasive." All this means is that the way into the surgical area is small. Once inside, the surgery was plenty invasive!

    The MRI states the nerve roots were crowded and you also had extensive stenosis. This means that the surgeon probably had to tug on the nerves to free them up and decompress them. The nerves can take a beating during this process, and they are notoriously slow to heal. Many doctors will tell you up to a year, but I know from personal experience they can still heal after that point. I had similar issues as yours and am approaching my second anniversary. I am still getting feeling back in my feet...it happens so slowly that I barely notice the difference.

    Seven weeks is still very early in your recovery. You still have a long way to go.... It is important that you walk several times each day. This is the best way to supply the surgical area with freshly oxygenated blood and it also is the best way to stretch out those spinal nerves. You want to do this to prevent scar tissue from attaching to the nerve. The distance you walk is less important than the frequency...several short walks are better than one long one.

    Be sure you eat nutritiously...and drink plenty of water. You should not sit for more than about fifteen minutes at a time. Sitting puts 30% more pressure on the discs than either standing or lying down, which is, of course, best. And try to maintain a positive attitude. What you are going through is perfectly normal. I hope your doctor did not promise that you would be pain-free after surgery....Sometimes that is the result, but there are no guarantees. Recovery can be a long slow, frustrating process.

    When you have a spondylolisthesis, healing can be a bit more difficult because all the soft tissue has to become accustomed to a new position.

    You might want to ask your doctor for something for the nerve pain -- some people use Cymbalta, as you mentioned. Eitherwise, neurontin (gabapentin) or its new big brother, Lyrica are used successfully in some patients. If you look on the pain management part of the board, or type "cymbalta" into the search box on top of the page, you should be able to read about others' experiences with the drug.

    Good luck to you. Remember to rest and walk, rest and walk.


  • I take Cymbalta and it helps my leg pain! I don't think I had any side effects with it and I started at 60mg. I also feel more positive too. I'm in Canada also and I always call several hospitals to see when they can book the CT scan. Some are faster than others but it depends on how rural your area is. Happy Holidays and hope you continue to heal completely. I know it takes a long time to heal especially after major surgery. Wishing you new hope for the New year. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi there Thenade. Trust me, I know about rough recoveries, and I really do feel so sorry you are not feeling very well. Just hang in there, and try not to worry too much. Stress really can slow down the healing process, so try to just let things "roll off" you if possible.

    "Noseovertail, How are you doing? How often do you take you meds and how much? I'm trying to keep positive. Did you have a CT scan before your check up?"

    I am doing okay. Pain wise, I still have lower back pain but it's more of an aching, probably from surgery. My right leg still has this weird post-op nerve pain, but only when I stand on it for a few minutes. It's better than it was immediately after surgery, because I couldn't stand it on it for even 30 seconds without horrible pain. So it's getting better, just slowly. I started PT which I'm sure is going to leave me achier than normal.

    As for my medications: I take 75mg of Lyrica, one Metanx pill (there is no milligram or dosage amount on the bottle) and 5/325mg of Percocet in the morning when I wake up. I usually take another Percocet in the afternoon or evening sometime if I feel very achey in my back. Then I take 150mg of Lyrica, another Metanx pill, & another Percocet at night, a little bit before bed time. If I can't sleep an hour after taking that, I will take a Flexeril to help me sleep.

    Starting this Friday though, my pain management doctor wants me to take 150mg of Lyrica twice a day (instead of just the 75mg in the morning). He also wants me to start cutting back on my Percocet, which is why I try to only take 3 a day instead of 4. In a couple of weeks, I will try for only 2 a day. Then just one. He said he wants me off Percocet within 3 months, and hopefully off the Lyrica within 6 months. I really like this doctor and trust him completely, so I'm working hard toward those goals.

    I did not have a CT scan before my 1st check up, but I did have Xrays taken. It was just to check if the hardware was where it should be, I think. My surgeon said it is way too early to tell if I'm fusing or not yet, but in the Xray I see tiny white specks so I wonder if that's the start of the fusion process?

    I hope this helped. You know, if you ever want to PM me at any time, even if it's just because you're feeling down or worried, feel free. :)

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