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2 days after lumbar decompression surgery I developed sciatica type pain, shooting through buttock and down the thigh, the pain which I never had before the surgery. Did I herniated my disc again by starting to walk and even drive too soon after the surgery -- the next day? Or is it normal after this kind of surgery and will resolve on its own? I am now 4 days post-op and the pain is excruciating.
Thank you

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i have gone through 2 lumber decompressions op's this year ( mid june and mid september)in the last 4 month it can have this affect.you have got to understand that there will be internal swelling so something might be niggling on the sciatic nerve.you have got to give it at least 8 weeks before it starts to slowly settle down.

as for driving and walking ,,? walking short distances is fine but for driving i would have strongly advise against it.you should not stay in one postion for more than 20 mins at a time for at least 4 weeks and 3 words i strongly advise stretch stretch stretch.
you must slowly get the back moving without doing too much ,,gentle stretching exercises to quickly get it moving again.
i caught a nasty infection in mine and this has knocked me back at least a month (anti biotics) but i learned all my mistakes from the first op not miving my back early enough and too much time on my back.

a lumber decompression is done to treat to leg pain/cramps/electric shock pain / power loss to limb , its not to treat back pain so try to keep moving and stretch your leg but i would say dont drive for a while.
go swimming m8 , it will help no end i promise.
hope i have been of some help in some way.
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I have a question about Fusion. I just talked to a doctor today and he said I needed L5-S1 Fusion and a flexrod L4-5. I have severe lower back pain and numbness in my left leg as soon as I stand up. I have had PT, injections, Steriods, Tens, 2 Xrays, and a MRI. Newest xray was today and it showed almost no space between L5-S1. Surgeon said it was too late for a Laminectomy. Said that he would have to cut so much bone that it would expose marrow. He said that fusion would relieve the nerve issue and I should be able to atleast drive a truck again. Any help would be nice as I want to get as much info as possible before I let someone cut me open.
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Hi from Australia

I have had problems with my lower back for about 9 years now. I have had numerous nerves burnt off and facet blocks all during day surgery. 3 years ago I had a spinal stimulator implanted which was supposed to trick the brain into thinking I had no pain. I noticed an improvement after this but it was short lived. About 4 weeks ago I had a spacer put between L5 and S1 with a cage in the middle and a couple of long screws and nuts etc. Apparently my bone should grow through this cage and give me a permanent fusion at that level.

Since having this procedure I no longer have the original pain but am suffering from post op pain and my left leg is in continuos pain. It worsens when I walk or stand and I get a blotchy looking skin on my left knee and parts of my left leg. I feel a numbness in this leg mainly around my ankle (outside of it) knee and thigh. At times it is like the majority of the leg feels numb and the pain is incredible.

Has anyone had a similar experience after a spinal fusion and did it settle down at all. I am still taking a truck load of strong pain killers including Oxynorm, Oxycontin, Endone but the majority of the time they don't touch the pain. Any suggestions / advice appreciated as I dont see my surgeon until the 12th January 2010
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nuvasive surgery is the answer! XLIF surgery, with side entry, is less invasive & WORKS. It wasn't an easy recovery, but its over and I have no more pain! Dr.Bruffey @ scripps green in Torrey pines in s.d. is the man.

I went thru all of the same pre -surgery attempts for L1-5. I understand. do it! its worth it.
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Dude, I hear you. 4 hours post surgery s1 decompression.  Monsterly worse, to the point of total left leg collapse. Definitely hoping it is a post surgery nerve swelling situation, or I am muy fukado.

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had herniated disc surgery 8 weeks ago, because of sciatic nerve pain. still no improvement, is this normal? Or should I go to see the doctor again.  want to do things but cant

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Hi All

Had spinal decompression surgery 7 weeks ago and so far the pain level (mainly in the foot) is as bad, if not worse than pre-op. Was warned that it could take weeks for the pain to subside and 12 weeks to know whether the surgery has been successful. Like others who have commented, have been given extensive stretching exercises designed to get the nerve back to its original shape.

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Hi

I completely understand and empathise with anybody who is going through this and there fears/concerns that manifest as a result.  A bit of War and Peace follows, but I hope I have covered everything and hopefully given a little assurance to those in a similar situation to me.

 

I was at work on an offshore support vessel when I was unfortunate enough to encounter a Slipped Disc, or prolapsed disc as the experts say.

The initial treatment of a Steroid and Anaesthetic cocktail injection (in an attempt to reduce the "bulge") failed.

I therefore underwent Lumbar Decompression and combined  therapy to treat the prolapsed disc L5-S1.

(Rhizolysis is a term used to describe a procedure in which a special probe is placed down close to a nerve that comes from the facet joints of the lumbar spine. By using radio frequency stimulation, the nerve is heated which stops it sending signals back to the spine)

The symptoms were classic. Excruciating Cramp pains in left Buttock, almost complete lack of feeling from my left knee downwards apart from stabbing pains in my foot. Numbness/Tingling/Weakness in my whole left leg.

There are a lot of issues/concerns connected with spinal surgery and the risks are real (Paralysis, Spinal Bleed resulting in Migraine Headaches, Blindness (believe it or not), temporary or permanent loss of continence), and all very concerning. The Surgeons do make this clear, however to those that are in complete agony, the choice as to whether to resort to surgery or not is academic as the pain is so bad, any kind of relief possible is all that one wants for. Besides, the technology supporting spinal surgeons these days is very good and surgery has become almost routine.

Anyway, surgery it was for me. My only complaint is that at the time the surgeon really didn't prepare me for what was to come after the procedure was complete. He implied that once the surgery was successfully concluded, the Back pain I was suffering would be gone immediately, Sciatic (Nerve Pain) symptoms should improve fairly quickly and I should be ready to go back to work after a month.

Reality...

My initial "systems check" after waking from the Anaesthetic seemed to be pretty good. I had no pain or numbness to speak of apart from a little in the extremities of my left foot, there was evidence also, that the strength was returning in my leg and foot. I felt relief and gratitude for the surgeon. I was only in hospital for the one night, and the next day, the physiotherapist came to visit and got me out of Bed to fit me up with a back brace. She asked how I felt and explained all was well apart from a little numbness in my left foot. She responded "Oh, the feeling will return in a few months..." I was taken aback as this was not in the plan. I asked  her to repeat it just in case I misheard, but she confirmed what she had said by adding "The Sciatic Nerve is one of the slowest healing parts of the body, and depending on how much and for how long the nerve has been compressed, the longer it will take to recover". I accepted this at the time and she briefed me on the use of the back brace, made sure I could get up and down stairs and then discharged me from the hospital.

Over the next few days, I tried to take it easy, but was becoming increasingly alarmed that a significant amount of Sciatic pain had returned. I found myself calling the support staff at the spinal clinic (I was fortunate to have had medical insurance and was treated in a leading facility in the country). They explained that due to surgical swelling, it is expected that Sciatic symptoms may return for a while.

A week later and I found myself at an out patients appointment with the Surgeon. By this time, I was almost back to square one and was quite concerned and disappointed. I explained how I felt and he responded by saying (now this is an important statement), "Everybody is different when it comes to spinal surgery, but in most cases I expect a significant improvement in lifestyle post op". He told me to continue to take it easy and for the very first time told me that I could have symptoms for up to 12 months!!! I was very disappointed, but he told me to work with the Physiotherapist and be patient.

I had 6 follow up Physiotherapy appointments and by the time I had finished the first one, in which I learnt pain relieving stretches, I felt better already. Over the course of Physiotherapy, I learnt that keeping control of Core Muscles during periods of exercise (walking and smooth road cycling are favourites) were just as important as the exercise itself. Also breathing deeply and modifying how to pick things up whilst keeping a straight back. These visits to the physio combined with a phased return to work I now consider as essential and are an integral part of the recovery process, I was fortunate to have them paid for. It is imperative that you consider at least one appointment with a physio to learn the right way to do the stretching exercises and to discuss a recovery plan.

I had to get a back to work medical examination which I underwent with a slight limp 6 weeks post op. The Doctor who examined me was stunned that I was there at all. He was convinced that the speed of recovery was due to the Rhizolysis part of my operation. He told me that he wouldn't normally expect to see a person who say worked in an office until 3 months after Lumbar Decompression, and, for a Seaman, at least 6 months. Nonetheless, there I was and I passed the Medical.

I am back at work now and have just the minutest of tingling sensations in my left little toe. I am 3 and a half months post op now, and wouldn't say that there is an improvement on a daily basis, but, there is an improvement certainly on a weekly basis. After a very painful start and some very doubting moments, I am finally confident that a full recovery will be made.

 

Remember:

If you are really in agony, you need this operation,

Don't stress - This just makes it worse

Stretching and Deep breathing as instructed by the Physiotherapist WILL help

Exercise and breathe regularly and do not sit for longer than 20mins at a time to start with. Standing or laying, but keep moving.

Do not rely on the Back Brace!!! Wearing it too often will make your back (core) muscles lazy and  eventually they won't support your spine

Long term consider Yoga or Pilates as these activities can strengthen core muscles

EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT AND SO IS THEIR RECOVERY TIME, UNFORTUNATELY THERE IS NO CHOICE BUT TO BE PATIENT IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE ON THE SLOWER RECOVERY PATH. IN THE LONG RUN THOUGH, THE PROGNOSIS IS PRETTY GOOD.

 

I am certain that I made the right (only) choice of treatment to resolve this condition. I am now pain free, back at work and looking forward to the future. I wish you all a speedy and satisfactory recovery. Please talk and listen to the experts in Spinal Surgery. I have visited similar forums and have been astonished at how much incorrect information and scaremongering goes on

Such a small scar, such a lot of aggravation...

All the Best

 

Matt B

 

 

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Thanks Matt, that is encouraging.

I am now 10 weeks on from the operation and things are slowly improving. Saw my surgeon at 8 weeks and he ordered another MRI scan as I was still in a lot of pain. Fortunately this showed that the operation had done was was intended so it was just a matter of time for the compressed nerve to heal. He trebled the medication I am taking to aid nerve healing - gabapentin - and this seems to have reduced the level of the intense burning sensation that I found very painful. Still getting cramping, twitching and pins and needles in my foot but its now much more bearable. Endorse the need to keep active and do the stretching and back strengthening exercises recommended by your physio.

 

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I have has sciatica since September of 2012 (it's now March 2013). I have tried the epidurals, chiropractor, and home remedies, next stop a PT. My only fear is that it's not going to work. I have a desk job which doesn't require too much bending or lifting except for the occasional pulling of files. Since it's a desk job I don't really get up and move around as much as I like to because everything I need is in reach. My sciatica is not going away not lightning up in fact the pain just comes in a different way (charlie horse type pain down my leg, then shooting pain down my left, then jumping pain down my leg and complete numbness when I get up). I do wear a brace but sometimes I feel as though it makes the pain worse, but under my chiros orders I wear it when I am out and about. The other day however I ran to the store and forgot to put it on and I feel as though I didn't have much pain at all.

If the PT doesn't work I am thinking about looking into the lumbar surgery. After reading some of the comment I am scared that it's not going to work and just went through all this for nothing. I have had x-ray, CAT scans, MRI done and all say the same thing, dis proportioned disc in L5-S1 region.

I worry is getting the surgery and it not working because I have a desk job. Right now when I sit at my desk I slouch which I know is also not good for my back but it's the only way I am not in pain.

I want to do it but I am scared of wasting my time and having a new pain (like my first epidural) or it not going away. I can't live like this anymore. I feel and fear that I am becoming depressed from the pain because I don't want to go anywhere and I am always crying either in pain or because I don't want to live with my fam waiting on my hand and foot. I'm a very independent person and it kills me when i have to ask my fam to get me something that I can do myself or i can't go anywhere with my fam out of fear of having an "episode".

I don't want to live with pain meds my entire life like I have been since the beginning of the year (didn't take them before this because I was told the NSAID caused my gallstones). I just don't know what to anymore. Surgery seems like my only option but I am afraid.

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I have siatica pain 6 mths after my lumbar lamenetmy surgery i also have swelling in my leg and calf nothing helps! i work 6 daya a week i wish i could tell you it will get better i hope it will
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I had a decompressive lumbar laminectomy over 4 months ago and remain in severe pain, within a month after surgery the sciatica pain returned even worse than before. The back spasms are so servere when one hits me I can't move until it passes, I remain on a walker and unable to drive my car. I tried to drive my car and ended up in bed for 3 days afterward in severe pain, this is a workman's comp. case and until this day I have only had one day of physical therapy, I'm in so much pain I get tired of fighting with workman's comp to receive the therapy. My doctor was not happy with my slow progress and ordered another MRI for which I have not gotten the results. I'm 65 years old and know it would take a little longer to heal but not this long I've always been very active and now I spend most of my time in the house. This keeps me depressed I'm a nurse and use to taking care of others I'm afraid all the time because I don't understand why it's taking so long to heal I just want my life back I want to wake up and not be in so much pain. I would like to know if anyone else is going through the same thing after surgery.

 

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I have just had this surgery after nearly 10 years of on off pain then I suffered a prolapsed disc in the gym, placed ongabapentin and morphine, back required surgery so Docs told me. This is my reality post op, at 6 weeks I can drive, but in a high car which helps, I cannot walk great , I take geisha girl steps in the main, I cannot wear even the slightest heal, I have pain getting in and out of bed , I have been the loo only 3 times since surgery and have to tell myself to go to loo even for a wee, this then exacerbates the pain, so use stool softeners etc and timed wee visits, never had this before mind. Still have some foot drop and fall going up stairs regularly, I am also a Personal trainer so understand core exercises etc which my core was exceptional its now ot so good. I still take gabapentin daily but have reduced al meds as a withdrawal , to aid liver etc, still have back pain daily and nowI note with interest and confusion that right hand fingers are now constantly numb, its not CTS asthat was done years ago, hope the stenosis isnt throughout the spine as theyve only ever imaged lumbar ??? still off work as a prisoner custody officer, wanted to return week ago but then fell going upstairs and the pain has increased dramatically. Hopeful will ee further improvements . only time will tell, in meantime looking for less physical job just in case

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I had same experience, right hip to right foot. worst pain ever. After 14 days and nights of this pain, which wouldn't go away with OxyContin and morphine pills, a scan showed my surgeon inadvertently caught a nerve in one of the screws. Had the screw removed next day and no more sciati c pain! Hope this helps

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