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Muscle spasms (in calf) and back surgery.
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Muscle spasms (in calf) and back surgery.

I underwent back surgery approximately 8 weeks ago.  I had a laminectomy and spinal fusion (L4-5) performed.  Prior to the surgery I did not have significant back pain, but had neuropathy in both legs, and muscle spasms in my right calf.  The muscle spasms in my right calf have gotten much worse since the surgery, both in terms of duration and intensity.  Prior to the surgery the spasms were problematic, but not nearly as persistent as after the surgery.  There seems to have been no improvement in the last eight weeks, and nothing I do, e.g. rest vs walking, seems to make a difference.  My surgeon recommended lyrica for the spasms, but the reason I opted for the surgery was to resolve the problem permanently, and address the root cause, rather than have to rely indefinitely on drugs.  The spasms have affected my sleep patterns, and I have not had a decent nights sleep since the surgery.  It is also affecting my abiltiy to perform on-the-job.  Is it possible that the surgery has permanently made this particular symptom worse?  If so, what would I do next?
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have your condiitons gotten any better.  If so, how long did it take?  My husband had this same kind of surgery 6 weeks ago.  He had hardly no pain prior to surgery but underwent surgery due to the numbness in his right leg due to a pinched nerve by a herniated disc in the L4-5.  He now has severe muscle spasms in his lower back that nothing seems to help.  He is taking muscle relaxers and pain killers and they do nothing to help with the pain or intensity of the spasms?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.

All types of surgery carry risks, and spine surgery is not an exception.

Among the possible complication is persistence or worsening of pain symptoms, as well as appearance of new pain symptoms post-operatively. It can be related to nerve or spinal cord injury during the operation because of the proximity to delicate nerve structures.

Other possibilities include epidural fibrosis wherein the post-operative healing produces a scar that can affect nerves and cause radiculopathy, as well as non-union or failure of spine fusion.

Although the pain is greater now than when the spine was not yet operated on, there may be more risks involved if surgery was not done, especially in cases of severe disc herniation where there is the possibility of paralysis aside from pain.

You should talk about this with your surgeon.

Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
In 2007, I had to have back surgery, which re-ruptured and ended up having a second surgery 13 weeks later.  I have been left with your exact symptoms.  I have leg cramps at least 3 times a night, which means I have to get out of bed and walk around.  Sitting at night watching tv, I also have them, depending on my position.  I told my doctor about this..and he suggested muscle relaxers... but no answers.  Hope you find some answers... would love to know myself.  
Tracytma.
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Avatar_n_tn
My husband also had his s1, l4&5 fused back in May of 2007.  To this date he still lives in constant, cronic (chronic) pain with cronic (chronic) back spasms.  His spasms are so severe that it causes spasms throughout his whole body, including his face.  I feel for all of you who are suffering with this same problem.  Is there anything or anyone who has an answer to this problem.  We watched discovery health one evening and a guy suffered this same problem.  They diagnosed him, but I don't remember the name of his problem.  Any information regarding this topic would be greatly appreciated.
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Avatar_n_tn
It really ought to be against the law for back surgery except. in life threatening situations. I am 70 now 68 at surgery laminectomy and today I can hardly walk from total spasm's from waste to toe with a dead foot. NOW I really am an old man.
Ron
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Avatar_f_tn
To Raggs and those who read this thread,
I have not had back surgery, but I do have many problems from an old car accident injury to my back.  Raggs, I am almost 60, I should be young, but I am also old becuz of my back.  For those at this thread whose legs spasm and won't quit, pain killers made that part of me tolerable.  Some folks refer to it as restless legs or RLS, and there are several categories of meds to treat it, with opiate derivatives giving the best relief.  Then for the lumbar back pain I have, which happened as a result of my original thoracic spine being compressed and broke in three places, I take Lyrica, stopped the pain overnight.  But nothing stops my original injury site pain in the thoracic spine, and nothing stops my feet from hurting!  I limp, rather I careen and lurch, I am ALWAYS uncomfortable, and of course being medicated takes a person down a few notches more.  But at least my legs don't seize up anymore and part of my spine pain is gone.  So, about all I can offer is to try diff medicines to at least get the symptoms so they aren't so scary.  

Also, on my X-rays, which an orthopedist missed (s--- happens), the first one I had seen in more than 35 years, I've got a new problem with my lumbosacral spine, where it's pushed backwards out of alignment with the rest of the spine according to Franklin's Lines or some name like that, and when I had some wild bruising in that area when it began to hurt significantly worse, my regular doc said it was nothing to worry about.  I still have some bruising there, but nowhere near as bad.  But I wake up in pain.  I SHOULD have surgery on my spine, but I too have heard that sometimes those things can make things worse, which everyone here is a testament, so I'm scared to do it, unless paralysis knocks on my door.

Just wanted to drop in and explain how I handle it, or NOT handle it, in case it helps a little for somebody else who suffers silently.  I also take tranquilizers to keep from screaming.  But when you basically lose the ability to go places and do things, it takes a long while to accept it and move forward with what you have.  And I feel so guilty that I cannot visit family as much as I'd like to.  At least I was in my 50s when I finally got disability.  But even then, I did not know I wouldn't get to do all the stuff I planned.  So, I also wanted to console those who have these back problems, from surgery or not, it's a tough obstacle, putting it mildly.  I cry a lot.  And I'm frustrated when I cannot get comfortable.  Used to like fixing good food, like fried chicken and real mashed potatoes and gravy, but no can do!  I even miss my scrambled eggs in the morning because I cannot stand in front of a stove long enough to have them, because my back WILL hurt even with the medicine, if I don't stand just right.  I cannot sit hardly, mostly I lay down.  You might say things are a tad boring.  

Thank heavens for television and books.  Thank heavens we only had to downsize our home to survive.  And thank heavens for letting me enjoy SOME moments in time when the stars align and I am happy.  Oh, and dogs... everybody who doesn't feel good and has a fenced back yard and can handle a dog living inside, get one of those, very cheery fellows.  Gone too far with this.  But hope it helps.  And thank heavens for the internet, it's like TV cartoons for when we were babyboomer children, I tune in first thing in the mornings.  Smile.
GG
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