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



  • WindTurtleWWindTurtle Miami, OklahomaPosts: 1
    Reading all of these remarks is just heartbreaking. I have experienced this since 2001. My circumstances are similar to many posts in that I had L1L2/ L3 L4/ L5 S1 fusions. I had four back operations. After the first operation I had severe pain in the sacro joints. They did a second surgery six months later. Fused my sacro joints and replaced all my hardware explaining it had come loose because my back turned to soup as I was allergic to Titanium. So, they cleaned it up put new hardware in and said come back in a year we will take it out. It was a little distressing to be carrying around a bunch of metal in my back which I was allergic to. Anyway, my insurance decided to drop me six months later so I told my doctor as I was very scared they wouldn't remove it after I had lost my coverage. He then immediately scheduled the surgery and removed all the hardware before the end of the month, my lapse date. After this surgery, I awoke in recovery with a horrible excruciating pain in my right thigh. It was a continuous pain and subsequently I maintained high doses of Hydrocodone. The real kicker was that my fusions were incomplete. The solution, put me in a hospital bed at home for a year. I was told to stay in bed except to get up to go to the bathroom. I lost my job. I lost my house. I lost my car. I lost my purpose for living. I pretty much lost everything. Even my ability to be a good Mother was compromised. It was a nightmare. Years have now passed. The pain is still with me. I currently take 80 mg of Oxycontin and 40 mg of Dilaudid every day. It's bad enough to lose your physical possessions but I also have lost my ability to have any kind of really rewarding social life. Sex is simply out of the question. I was only 39 years old when this began. I would have been sooo much better off to just stay on pain meds for sciatica. Now I will attempt to explain a symptom which I have yet to find another individual has experienced. I suppose that's a good thing in that I wouldn't wish this upon my worst enemy. Sex is out of the question because..... Achieving orgasm is certainly still possible. But afterwards, the pain is just unbearable. It has nothing to do with penetration. During orgasm, the muscles in the pelvic area contract and expand and somehow this irritates the nerve endings which affect my legs. Within minutes my legs begin to hurt. Not just a little. It is just excruciating. It feels like, imagine your bones are made of steel and they have been submerged in ice. It's a deep cold sensation that vibrates and surges up and down both of my legs. Additionally, they feel as if they are being crushed in a vice. I have had to accept complete celibacy and there is no sexual pleasure in my life. I am, after 16 years, still single with no chance of ever having a romantic relationship. I have RA and diabetes came along in 2009. No doubt due to some weight gain after living such an immobile life. I can walk but only for short periods of time. I would be interested in hearing if anyone else has had this happen to them. In my scouring the internet for years, never have I found a case where someone has had leg pain following orgasms. The pain lasts for 3 or 4 days and then gradually subsides back to the level of pain I can control with narcotics. Up until about 3 years ago, I would experiment to see if there was any improvement. Always seemed to take about a year for me to scrub up the "nerve" pun intended, to try again. I've given up now. It's comparable to asking yourself, "Hey, I'm gonna shoot myself in the foot and see if it hurts".
  • mcpcolesmmcpcoles United KingdomPosts: 1

    Clio said:

    Hi everyone
    I wonder if anyone out there has had the type of problem post lumbar fusion that I am having.
    I am 38 and had an anterior L4/5 lumbar fusion in Oct 09. I had back pain only and no nerve pain in my legs. After the operation I had new severe right leg shooting nerve pains. After 6 weeks they realised from an MRI and CT that one of the fixation screws had been placed into my nerve root by about 10-15mm, instead of into the bone of the vertebral pedicle. The screw had effectiely gone out the back of my vertebral bone and right into the nerve space. They took it out Dec 16 09 and replaced it with a shorter screw.
    I was doing ok until about 3 weeks ago and now I have SEVERE and constant shooting pains in my right leg - across the thigh and into the lateral calf and foot. Lyrica and steroid injections haven.t helped. I cant sit or stand for long and I cant sleep on my right side.
    I had a CT myelogram last week and they cant find anything.
    My neurologist wonders if the screw that was at the nerve or even in it, has damaged it and they dont know how long it will take or even if it will ever recover. I might end up with chronic pain. I am devastated as I was a healthy young woman (im actually a dr) before all this and now I feel my life is ruined.
    If anyone else out there has had problems with hardware/screws upsetting or damaging their nerves I would really like to know how you did in the long term.
    Thanks for reading this. Good luck to all of you !

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  • L5/S1  only 3 weeks in, have not even seen my DOC yet but the pain in my legs are to the point I cannot sleep.  mostly on my left side, does anyone have good news to report here?  only 53 so a long way to go.  On Neurontin but not sure that does anything.  Any hope for OHIO?
  • sctybossctybo St. LouisPosts: 1
    I had a spinal fusion at L5 to S1 to relieve sciatic pain in my right leg. Now both legs seem to be getting worse everyday. I have tried to exercise everyday for the last 4 months and you would think things would be getting stronger but that is not the case. I still have lower back pain and more severe than before and both legs are getting worse not better. I was in car sales which required walking standing and sitting for long periods of time so like you this has ruined a lot of things for me. I cannot even play frisbee with my 14 year old without paying for it. This whole process has been so frustrating I have head two surgeries on my back with promises it would relieve the pain and I end up in worse pain or pain else where. I have had chronic pain for years. I have had both hips replaced the lower back fusion a bi-level disc replacement in my neck and still have chronic pain! I am only 52 and should still be able to play with my kids and work around the house or work period but I can barely get out of bed and walk to my living room. I am so frustrated and at the end of my rope!!
  • I too feel your exact pain and have fibromyalgia. If I would of discussed this with others and done more research I would of never had the surgery!
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  • lhprollhpro Reno NevadaPosts: 1
    Hello, I am wondering if you had your surgery through the abdomen or back. I had my surgery in 2009 through my abdomen. I was put on high dosages of narcotics, so I thought I was doing better, but it was the narcotics that was putting the bandage over the wound. I am still dealing with severe pain and all that goes with it. My doctor at the time would not do an MRI after requesting it several times, I kept saying something was wrong, I knew something was wrong. I finally found a doctor who was willing to give me a second opinion 2016. That is when my current doctor finally ordered a MRI, EMG test. I just found out there is a screw loose from the ALIF surgery. I had a stimulator implant put in my back in 2008 due to severe leg pain. The doctors say now  that I didn't even need , and now they want to remove it. They need to do something about the screw, this is what has been causing the severe pain all this time. They told me because the surgery was done through my abdomen it is now considered a very high risk surgery. I am angry, frustrated and so afraid.  I have been dealing with this for so long. I may of had some of my life back years ago. The doctor told me my options maybe to have the screw sawed (because it is in my nerve root) or they may have to go back in through my abdomen. I was wondering how you are doing today. Thank you for taking the time to read my message. I hope all is well.
  • Hi, it's been 19 months since my lower fusion surgery and on my right leg, below the knee and all the way down to my toes, it remains numb. The numbness is below the knee and to the right of the shin to the toes and left of the shin and the back of my calf are NOT numb! When I exercise, the right front of calf, next to my shin cramps up constantly and with it being numb, it huts in a very strange way. I can only hope that it will heal back to pre-surgery, but I'm not counting on that.
  • I found out I had a broken screw that was just dangling and wondered why I was in so much pain post surgery for almost a year until it showed up in an xray, no that he fixed it and put in another screw he left the old one just hanging there because he claims its not going to hurt anything by leaving it in .. which the truth in my mind is that the bone fused around the screw and he doesn't want to touch it and still have pains on groin area, shooting pains in my tail bone and leg to leg pain not to mention my lower back constant horrid pain daily, cant stand, walk, certainly lay down for any length of time and this is my life, I have cried out all my tears and the doctor now wants to remove the original cage and fix the L4 that now needs to be fixed and put a bigger cage but thru my abdomen ... I am scared to death to go through yet another surgery without a guarantee, the only guarantee I got from my surgeon was that the pain I have I will have for the rest of my life so I wish you luck that they can do an ablasian or something to help you because its not your fault this happened, I know now that one back surgery leads to a life of hell!
  • i do have a similar problem the screws i have in my foot  was from a bunionectomey and they cut my foot open in 2 places and   and broke my foot into two places .  well the type of screws i have in are suppose to be removed they are not made to stay in my foot.  this happened in 2012 and  the doctor would not take them out because i did not have the  payment for the second surgery .  now my foot and leg hurts all the time .   if they have to rebreak my foot again  thats fine i want these screws out 
  •  It was suspected that one of the pedicle screws from TLIF surgery has migrated and pressed on a nerve root. I've had MRI reports indicating this possible problem and recommending a ct/myelogram to confirm. Last time I had an RFA, they weren't able to access the nerve root from the right side. I thought this would explain the worsening nerve pain I've had; the paid radiates down both legs. However,the latest MRI showed thoracic and lumbar spinal stenosis and I don't know if fusion revision will be an option at this time. The plan is to go ahead with SCS and see if it helps. An exam showed neurological deficits, but since I have FBSS, more surgery could make my pain worse.  
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
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