I had surgery in Nov.2006. The levels were L4-L5,L5-S1 with a Laminectomy. Right out of the procedure I experienced severe numbness and pain in the back of my right leg from the buttocks midline all the way down my entire leg. At the back of my knee total numbness on the entire calf and the whole foot and toes. On my left foot the two little toes were numb along with the outer side of my foot. I have swelling in my right foot when I wake up in the morning. I have some back pain but not as bad as it was proir to surgery.Til this day everything has remained the same I have not got any better. I'm 40 years old on worker's comp and it is really frustrating trying to get your doctor to understand what it's like living like this. My doctor doesn't seem to think this can be possible and I'm making all this stuff up. I reviewed my medical charts and he states all my leg and foot issues are questionable. I have since requested a EMG to be done to find out if the nerve is regenerated or is there nerve damage and to what point, but it has not be approved as of yet. I really need a second opinion and a doctor that is willing to help with some kind of answers. Can anyone help me with what can be causing this type of problem that I have explained?
First off let me tell you I feel your pain and your frustration! I am 52 (female) and had a laminectomy (without fusion) on L5 in Jan07. My leg pain has NEVER subsided. The only relief I get is Bayer Back and Body and Norco. I was scheduled for a fusion this past Thursday and by Wednesday morning I was an emotional trainwreck. I felt awful about doing it but I cancelled my surgery about 20 hours before I was to go into the OR. I just could not go into surgery in the frame of mind I was in. I work in the healthcare industry and have had a few surgeries that were successful. My mental attitude was very different for those surgeries. I was mentally prepared for them, had no fear and had successful outcomes.
But the spinal surgery was a huge disappointment to me as I am sure yours is to you. So for me to go back into the OR for a fusion and in hopes of getting rid of the pain was impossible. One failed back surgery was enough for me. I am seeking other options which include laser spine surgery in Florida.
What I really wanted to tell you was that I have found that the Spine Health website is a great place to get to know others who have the same experience as you do. I wish I had gone there months ago. You aren't alone in this spinal mess we seem to be unable to solve. Please go there and join myself and others who are supportive and understand how you feel. You will find people like you who understand what you ae going through. It really helps to be in touch daily with a group of folks like us. I know that the feelings of isolation and not being understood or "believed" by family, friends and surgeon on top of being in pain can make you very very depressed. I know I have run the gamut of emotions, especially sadness and anger. I haven't reached hopelessness yet as I believe that there are options out there can can pull us out of the painful mess we are in. Even my Gyn who had a laminectomy told me not to fuse. He said, 'they will come up wth something else". It isn't your surgeons fault as I am sure he did all the procedures he was "trained" to do. Well, I can accept that but what I don't accept s their tendency to tell their patients that failed that there is nothing else I can do for you. I would never go back to a surgeon that told me that but it seems there are a good number out there that say those exact words to their failed patients.
As for your foot being swollen every morning I would be very concerned about having a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). When I first had the leg pain in Mar06 I was so bad I had my son drive me to the ER. The first thing they did was have a Vascular Ultrasound done on both my legs to rule out DVT. Once they ruled that out they came up with the Sciatica diagnosis. The rest is history. I think that if you have told your surgeon this and he he just waves it off it is time for you to either demand one or go to the ER and have it done there. Don't wait Theresa - get an answer so you can move on to the next phase of figuring out what you need to do to get better.
Thanks for the quick response. I am on the spine health boards and it is helpful. I just can't get use of feeling this way and it's been 8 months and no change. I guess all I can do is pray about it and leave it alone. As far as the swelling it's not a big difference but i can notice the difference. I believe it happens overnight or after being on my feet to long. I'm unemployed due to this back thing and very scared about another hospital bill without insurance.
I certainly understand as well, my dr never believed me either, but all my problems started about 1 month after surgery, in your MRI results it should show if you have scar tissue around the surgery area, that can and will ceratainly cause many problems as well. at least that was my case, and its very hard to treat and diagnose.
When I read your letter it sounded exactly the same as my problems, I am only 6 weeks post op so its early days for me and I live in the hope that things will improve. I had fusion at L4 L5 and from the minute I woke up from the op I couldnt feel my feet or the backs of my legs and buttocks, I still have the numbness to butt and backs of legs but the feet are slowly improving except for the two toes on my left foot and tingling sensations in both feet. I questioned the surgeon when he came to see me after the surgery if it was normal and he said it certianly was NOT, but then later told me it can be due to swelling around the nerves and may take a long time to settle, in your case you would think it would have by now!! Id say the nerve may have been damaged or there is scar tissue around the nerves. Did you have posterior bone graft from your hip?? as I did and have since been told that there are a lot of nerves that can be damaged in the process of cutting through the muscles to get to the crest where they take the bone from, hope you get some answers and help. I have a lot of pain in the graft site and it feels like a hot burning knife going through the muscle, hard to explain but horrible. Would like to hear from anyone else whos had the grafting as to how long to expect this pain??? the specialist says it could be anything from 6months to a year before it improves. Hope its not that long.
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