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Need to alleviate sciatic pain in left leg after fusion surgery for L4 to S-1

After fusion surgery for stenosis in L4 to S-1, I am unable to get a full sleep. The surgery to fuse was done through the abdomen & the back and the stenosis & injury was primarily on the left side. Thus I can't sleep on my back, nor on my stomach, nor the left side. I sleep only on the right side with both right & left legs bent into a fetal fashion. The problem is that my left buttock and left leg ache...the sciatic nerve pain travels down the left side though I am not sleeping on the left side. The physical therapist says that my sciatic nerve is stretched in this position & gets irritated. I could hardly sit on a recliner & can't sleep in a recliner. Standing relieves the pain. I am limited in using my pain medications. I lost 20lbs on Hydrocodone because it destroys my appetite & nauseates me. I can't use anti-inflammatories because they interfere with bone building & are hard on my kidneys (I have hypoPARAthyroidism), & the Gabapentin (Neurontine), which did help me, caused my feet to swell (a rare side-effect) & made my kidneys work overtime to dump fluid.  I take Tylenol (about 650mg 4 times a day) which helps alleviate pain but I would like something better that allows me to sleep more than 2 hours. I use lidocaine patches and cream, St. John's Wort Oil, & Apsercreme on my butt. Can anyone suggest different more effective meds? Can anyone suggest a different position to lay or try.  What kind of massage therapy would help?  It has been 6 weeks after surgery. I am checking on supplements that promote healing of my nerves. Thanks


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    hello elisea!

    just reminder...to please always let doctor know about supplements taken, as doctor need to know everything, for those times where something may interact with med he has prescribed.

    i may have missed it, but ...when did you have your fusion surgery? and did you speak with your doctor about your lack of sleep?

    i was never a candidate for surgery, but with my chronic pain i struggle with sleeplessness, which is not uncommon, but something that can be dealt with.
    i was so irritable, hyper and wanting to pull out my hair with the crazy making no sleep!

    my pain management doctor did sleep study on me. i thought it would be waste of time since i don't sleep...or not enough sleep for test to show anything.
    but it did show something and doctor treated me successfully.
    i still may have one or two nights a week where as i'm not sleeping, but i can deal with that.

    curious if you mentioned your nausea from hydrocodone to your doctor?
    he may be able to give you a med you can tolerate better??

    you may be interested to read...recovery the most important phase....as it seems you may be a recent post op...??
    i wish you the best with your continued recovery and work with physical therapy.

    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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