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What has gone wrong?

It had been 16 weeks since I had a L5/S1 lumbar fusion for a spondy with mild stenosis. I have numbness down my right buttocks, thigh and calm left ankle. I didn't have this before the surgery, My muscles on the left side are fine but the right side is still really sore I struggle to sit for long, can't stand for long and can't walk very far. My neurologist said he had to pick through the scar tissue to find the nerve but expects 100% recover. He also sais he doesn't understand why I am having these symptoms and that maybe it is all in my head and that I just need to pull my socks up and get on with it. I go to physio every week and hydrotherapy every day. My physio said the muscles should be fully healed by 6 weeks and doesn't understand why mine are still sore. Since there doesn't seem to be any reasons for me to have these symptoms I'm scared this is how it is going to be for me from now on. All the positive stories of spinal fusions seems to be from people who recover very quickly and are back into their lives in 6 weeks or so, I don't see many stories of people like me who take time yet recover fully. Anyone else take a long time to heal?


  • I am sorry to hear that after 4 months after your lumbar fusion you are still having pain.
    I am also very sorry to hear that your neurologist couldn't understand why you are still have these symptoms and said that maybe it is all in your head and you should just pull your socks up and get on with it. That must have been very difficult to hear when you are still in pain.

    Is it possible that you have overdone it and flared up your pain? Or have you not got rid of the pain since you had your surgery?

    It is interesting that your surgeon said that you had a lot of scar tissue that he had to pick through. Hopefully there is none that is still compressing nerves.

    Don't give up hope of getting improvement. Not everyone has a quick recovery and I don't think that it means you won't improve.

    I had a lumbar fusion done over 3 years ago and I did have some numbness on my left buttock for a long time after my surgery. I put it down to a nerve or two being damaged during the surgery. I don't know when it went, but it has gone now. I certainly still had it a year after surgery. Nerves are very slow to heal.

    I hope that you will continue to heal and recover from your surgery and that things will improve for you.
    Don't give up hope. :-)

  • EMS GuyEEMS Guy Posts: 1,607
    edited 08/13/2013 - 12:46 PM
    After my fusion, I had nerve pain in my left thigh and hip which I didn't have before surgery. It took almost 8 months for that to go away, so I wouldn't stress too much about the additional pain just yet.

    As far as what to expect after surgery, I've said it before and I'll say it again....doctors only learn about pain they inflict, we have to live with it. Your doc needs to remember that any surgery on your back is an assault on a living thing that isn't natural. We are complex animals and sometimes, they really don't know all the effects of surgery.

    Now, if my doc told me it was all in my head and to just pull my socks up I think I'd pull them up and proceed to kick him in his testicles! Tell him the pain is all in his head after you do it! A doctor who just did surgery on your back should not be dismissing any issues you are having. What a putts!
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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  • Thank you both for your encouragement. EMSguy I will try that one out next time I visit him. ;)
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