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Severe leg pain after lumbar fusion - damage to nerve from screw?

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  • My first surgery was in 2010 and had the ALIF procedure. My disc was completly shredded and I was suffering from bilateral leg pain from my buttons to my feet before surgery. After my surgery the leg pain came back after a few days when all of the marcaine they inject wore off. I kept complaining of the leg pain so I went to see a new neurosurgeon who saw on my X-rays that the vertebrae was positioned on top of my L5S1 nerves. I had to have a PLIF 6 months later. The leg pain is constant and never goes away. I am on pain meds 24/7 ! There is a part of me that knows that the cage in my low back is always causing swelling abd pain and it increases my leg pain....I can feel what seems to be my sciatic like a cord from my butt down to my feet. The pain is a 15 at times and lasts for a week or so... Then back to the. Kemal 6-8 pain level. I almost want to just take the hardware out of my back to see if over time I can get my life back! It sounds crazy but I don't know what else to do. The pain is ruining my life!!! Help!! If anyone has had their hardware out and would share about your leg/ nerve pain after please let me know....
  • That you are in so much pain. Have you seen an ortho or a neuro lately? Are you still in touch with the surgeon who did your surgeries? Maybe that is where you could start. Have an evaluation, find out what is causing your pain, and most importantly, what can be done about it. There must be somebody who can help you. Good luck and let us know what what happens.
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  • I've read about some people who have had the lower back infusion.
    I just had my surgery Nov 12Th and I also have cramps in my right leg I can't bend my knee if I do I get terrible cramp in my leg that sends me through the roof. I also have muscles that bulge on left n right side of my spine I was told by my Dr this was muscle spasms. My muscles aren't twitching it's just bulging n very uncomfortable. I as well as some of you can't sit or stand for very long without pain these muscles are tight and put pressure on my back. I was told to use hot water while showering n ice
    Whichever felt better but they don't go away I've gone to my follow up apointment where I had exrays and was told everything looked good. I also looked at my exrays looked fine to me. My Surgeon also informed me he didn't feel comfortable releasing me to go back to work until 6 months after my surgery. I was terminated due to this but was told by my former employer that they wouldn't contest my unemployment but of course you have to be willing n able to go to work which at this time I'm not. Just FYI Unemployment Office advise I might be denied because it wasn't my employers fault.
  • I am in the same boat here. My fusion was Dec. 2012, and I have always been in pain since, but they all tell me that everything "looks good". My last mri was Oct. 2013, and it says (among all the other problems) that at the level of my fusion (L5/S1), there is a "left paracentral disc protrusion". If it is fused, why is there a disc protrusion??

    I can't believe the stories above...this is just incredibly sad.
  • I believe I have the same thing. After my fusion I was fine for 3 months then I had left leg pain and numbness, I can't walk w/o a cane, I recently saw the results of my xray and it indicated there was a possible loose screw on the left side. I haven't yet talked to my doctor but will see him soon. I sympathize with you and your message has given me hope. I hope you'll get some resolve. My docs PA indicated hardware could be removed - I;m not sure about that but sure would solve the issue, Keep me posted Clio. My heart goes out to you.
    Mary L. Martin
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  • I had ALIF surgery in October. From day 1 my back didnt feel right. Less than 3 weeks post op I developed severe pain from my back right down my right leg into my foot. I had pins and needles sensations in my hip and foot and a gripping pain in my hip even if I slightly raised my leg. This pain continued to get worse until I couldn't stand it anymore and one weekend I ended up in a&e. From here I was re-admitted to hospital where I got an MRI and ct scan the following day. The results showed nothing conclusive though my surgeon was willing to have me back in for exploratory surgery. Four weeks later I underwent my surgery and awoke with the knowledge that the cage had fallen out of my disc space and was compressing my S1 nerve root, which explained the pain I had been in. The surgeon took the cage out of my back as he said I had already grown half of a solid fusion and should be completely fused within 6 months. I had immediate pain relief after surgery with the pain going from a 10 to a 3. I am now only a fortnight on from that surgery and am improving every day. My surgeon told me ''the cage' doesn't show up on any scans ie MRI or ct scan hence exploratory surgery as he had an idea that was the problem. I wish you all the best .
  • Hi everyone

    I can relate to your pain and discomfort. I had my operation in April 2013. I recovered well according to the neuro surgeon and only took pain meds for about 6 to 8 weeks post op. But due to the extreme damage to the pinched nerve (I was on the edge of being paralyzed) my right leg nerves did not recover 100%, although I took Lyrica to assist. Now I suffer from my right foot and leg getting tired more quickly and severe cramps and muscle spasms at night. It is so painful. Has anyone experienced this and what do you suggest I can do to help with the cramps / spasms. I cannot take anti-inflammatory meds because I am allergic to Voltaren, so I will have to stick with natural minerals/aids.
  • sxydvldawgssxydvldawg Posts: 1
    edited 03/08/2015 - 12:00 PM
    I am sad and yet glad to see that I am not alone in what I've experienced. I had three consecutive surgeries. I diskectomy, fusion and then insertion of plate and screws at the L5/S1 in 2001, 2002, and 2003. I got significant relief in my back, however, when I woke up from the surgery in 2003 I could not raise my big toe on my right foot. After several hours of protest my surgeon was reached and an xray was done the following morning to see that the screw on the right side had been placed in too far. I had emergency surgery later that day but the damage had been done.

    For the next several months I had excruciating pain and burning from my buttock, through the thigh down the lateral side of the calf into the top of the foot. It was the worst during the late night and early morning hours, to the point that I couldn't even stand a sheet on me. I was given Lyrica and then Neurontin to go along with the Oxycontin. Although the foot drop recovered, I still had diminished sensation in my calf and top of my foot.

    Now, almost 12 years later I have been experiencing the beginnings of a burning sensation in my thigh, down my calf and into my foot followed by sharp, stabbing pains that almost cause me to buckle. They have been increasing by the day to the point where I'm wondering if I'll need to go on medication again But 12 years later??? Really? I had accepted the fact that the nerve simply was not going to repair. I certainly don't want to go through this again. Has anyone else experienced this after such a long period of being dormant?
  • Yes my screws went right through the bone as well, have permanent damage, on disability, tons of scar tissue, no relief, it's been three years, too damn young for this
  • angelmom1970aangelmom1970 Posts: 1
    edited 03/20/2015 - 2:36 AM
    I had SI joint fusion done Sept. 2014 afterwards I still had pain so my surgeon did an MRI and found that the implant was in to far and was on my spine. He then advised me to have surgery again to re-position the implant, so Jan. 2015 I had surgery again. After this surgery, I felt terrible so much pain. I had it done on my left side, before the first surgery I didn't have the shooting, burning pain in my hip and leg it's really bad in my foot. Now I have excruciating pain all the time. I have now been diagnosed with radiculopathy. My Dr. said that the implant was adhered to my spine and was really hard to move so he moved it forward and thinks he damaged a nerve in the process. I am worse off now then I was before. I have tried lyrica, amitriptyline, neurontin and they all make me so tired I can't function. He has me on Norco, which takes the edge off at times but if I take two then I itch like crazy. I am going crazy, I can't do anything, I can't sleep it's ruining my life. On top of that I have fibromyalgia and it has flared this up terrible. I don't know what to do, I am only 45 years old. I am a nurse and know that my career is over. Please any advice would be appreciated. Thank you
    Dee Planitz
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