Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Severe leg pain from cervical spine?

Hello all, I'm new here and this is my first post. :) Im a 49 year old garbageman, always been pretty healthy (besides the little aches and pains of day to day life) I'm 18 months post ACDF c5-6, c6-7. The fusion did fix my left hand clumsiness and has dulled some of the pain. But I still have a lot of severe pain I deal with. Im scheduled for a cervical mri in the next couple of weeks, my surgeon says he'd like to make sure everything is ok and that he does this usually after 12 months. It's been 18 months cause I just been busy at work and haven't had the time to schedule my appointment. But im experiencing some new symptoms the past 3 months, those symptoms are, leg pain, only in my hamstring, calf and bottom of my feet (both legs) it is there all the time, does not come and go. Like anyone I've had my little bouts of sciatica here and there, this does resemble sciatica but is also different, my question after all that is, can this have anything to do with my cervical spine? I've never in my life had much lower back pain, though my neck has been a problem for well over 15 years. I'm just wondering if my lower spine is fine and this is somehow related to my cervical spine? Any ideas? thank you in advance, I appreciate your time and knowledge. Wishing everyone good health, boogie.


  • BoogieBBoogie Posts: 4
    edited 07/17/2012 - 6:16 PM
    I'm guessing silence is negative :)
  • Yes, it could be, and maybe not. There is a condition called myelopathy, which can happen in your cervical spine. Basically means you have pressure on your cord, but it can only be diagnosed by a doctor and testing. It will not show on EMG studies but if they offer you one, do it anyway, as you could have something completely different going on. I will tell you I have it, however, I had some other issues causing increased leg pain, that needed to be addressed.

    Just so you know you don't have to have a lot of lower back pain to have lumbar issues. Many of us will tell you the leg pain was worst than any of the lower back pain. We kind of dismiss any other pains that are not severe so you might not even notice it as much. It is worth your time an energy to have them investigate why your legs hurt so bad.

    Something you can do, one drink lots of water, hydration is very easy in this summer heat. If your not taking vitamin B, try some and see if it helps. Also vitamin D can help with muscle issues. The other thing is to stretch your calfs out daily, and my guess it is it will take some time to get them stretched out. Of course if any of it causes more pain stop. I just know it is part of my daily regimen.

    Some doctors will tell you that legs go to the lumbar and arms to the neck, however in myelopathy this is not necessarily true. The Mri is the way to go, first to see if you fused completely, and to be sure nothing is on the cord, with a new herniation or a hardware issue. Good luck and keep me posted as to what they diagnose it as.
  • advertisement
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 07/19/2012 - 3:22 AM
    I agree with Tamtam's advice about drinking water, taking vitamin B and vitamin D. Also the stretching.
    I do all of those in addition to taking calcium and daily walking.

    I had sciatica before my lumbar fusion two years ago, which is so much better and was gone completely for a while. I have started to get occassional sciatica although the shooting pain doesn't go right into my feet like before. However I do get symptoms of tingles, stabbing and aching in my ankles, feet and toes. I also get various pains in the tops of my thighs, with 'buzzing' and sometimes a feeling of being splashed with cold water. I also get stiffening spasms in my legs, feet and around my abdomen, which they call spasticity. Freuqently I get cramping of my feet and toes which pull into very strange and unnatural positions.

    I have spondylosis problems in my neck with a small spinal canal, so I have cervical stenosis. At two levels my cord is being compressed and have signs of myelopathy, although not all of the signs that they look for. I have seen so many different doctors, and am seeing a neurologist to rule out MS. I have been told that the symptoms in my feet and legs are from the myelopathy which is being caused by the compression of my cord, but a different doctor thought it may be from a different neurological condition which is why I am being tested for MS.

    Yesterday I had EMG and nerve conduction testing. The doctor who did the tests was surprised that I was back again as he had tested me a year ago. He didn't do so many tests this time explaining that the results that he was getting were the same as last year, and that my symptoms were being caused by compression of the cord in my neck, and not of the nerve roots. He said there was no point in continuing and putting me through them as his view was the same as last year. He did say that there were tests that could give more information (SSEP) but that he hadn't been asked to do those tests, so was unable to do so. I felt rather frustrated that it seemed like the appointment didn't find anything new.

    So, to answer your question, problems in your cervical spine can cause leg pain. When it does, it is a sign that things are getting more serious and need to be dealt with.
    Do let us know how you get on and what they decide is causing it.

  • BoogieBBoogie Posts: 4
    edited 07/19/2012 - 10:23 AM
    Thank you Tamtam and Jellyhall for the reply, Just had my MRI today, I'm 14 months post-op (C5-6, 6-7 ACDF) Good advice! I have always been a pretty good water drinker and do take Vit D daily. No Vit B though, I'll have to look into that. I see my sugeon monday to go over the MRI with him. (Wish i knew how to read them) The radiologist gave me the films to take to my Dr but not the report. He said he'd send that to the Dr so he has them and for me to just take the films. So I'll know more Monday. There's a sick part of me that wants him to see something in there so I have an answer to why I feel so crappy but also another part of me that doesn't want him to see anything that would mean another surgery cause I did not have a great experience with the last one. (Long story, got very sick 3 days after surgery, had to be admitted back to hospital, then came home and 2 nights later passed out and did a face plant into the bathroom wall, ended up back in the hospital where they checked my plate to make sure nothing happend during the face plant. All turned out ok but I was off to a rough start!) So I'll check back in and let you know what the surgeon says about my new MRI. Thanks again VERY much you two for replying. This site ROCKS!
  • Hi Boogie,

    i am only 10 weeks post op myself (c5/6/7 2 cages 1 top plate and 6 screws). i have myelopathy and certainly had dreadful leg symptoms among the others pre op, still have some now but not as severe (and was told that the op was only to prevent further damage not undo damage already done)

    i didnt think i had enough experience to reply to your first post but what i would like to say is about the bad time you had after the op.

    i had a dreadful time after a previous major surgery many years ago, this time i was very sure that the anaesthetist( ?spelling) heard from me about the problems i had post op last time.

    she was wonderful and reassured me that she would take that into account. this time my experience of op was totally different, i came around with no problems other than what would be expected from the op itself.

    so speak up, let them know and hopefully, like me, you will be able to finally put behind you the horrors of your last surgery!

    good luck, will be watching out to see how you go. TinaAnn
  • advertisement
  • BoogieBBoogie Posts: 4
    edited 07/21/2012 - 6:09 AM
    Thanks welshlady, that's a great idea! And I'll be sure to talk to the anesthesiologist the next time I find myself in a surgery predicament. Hopefully that won't be in the near future :) thanks to all who commented. Have a pain free day!
  • hope4betterhhope4better Posts: 36
    edited 04/22/2015 - 2:05 AM
    so very tormented, but ill try to make it brief; A work accident as a caterer in 03 worsened to back surgery in 06. A lumbar fusion and lamenectomySP). I have had headaches all of my life and an MRI confirmed I would need surgery some day. Had enough to worry about so opted not to have surgery. Fast forward 5 months ago. Started having weakness and pain in my legs. Was going to Pain Management and the drs and I agreed that I would be a candidate for the spine stimulator. Now, for the last month, I have deteriorated terribly. I can barley walk, find it difficult to drive, sleep or function. Two hospital visits because I couldn't stand the pain. it felt like burning cramps superimposed on my "normal" pain. Pain Management still thought I didn't need an mri, but my primary cared enough to order one. the results were horrifying! At the hospital they told me I "almost" have, sorry misspelling, cauda eqiny? I was told to immediately go to an orthopedic surgeon. He told me that before I have another s urgery on the lumbar, I would have to have, you guessed it, surgery on my neck that was so bad it wowed them. oh, and that he wouldn't operated until I quit smoking, which I guess I could do but wait another 3 weeks after I quit to operate. uh, does anyone see an urgent matter or am I just goin nuts. PLEASE I need any ideas, thoughts or stories. thank you so very much,,, oh, btw, I am seeing a neurologist on Friday.
  • hope4betterhhope4better Posts: 36
    edited 04/26/2015 - 10:32 AM
    saw the neurologist. he said you are looking at big surgery(s). and as for a second opinion, he told me go back to the ortho surgeon. if anyone presented these films to me, I would say, go to the best, dr. madom
Sign In or Register to comment.