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Sciatica Pain after Fusion Surgery
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Sciatica Pain after Fusion Surgery

I had back fusion two and a half weeks ago - L 4-5, and now I'm having severe sciatica pain.  The surgeon says it's from stretching my sciatic nerve during surgery.  I feel as if I've finally gotten rid of one back problem, and developed a new one.  He said it is normal, and will go away.  In the meantime, can someone suggest exercises to help alleviate the pain.  I can't sleep at nite.  
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14 Comments Post a Comment
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182474_tn?1223954159
3 weeks after back surgery, one could have many aches and pains, and it would be normal.

Stretches that could help sciatica include:
- knee to chest raise
- pelvic tilt
- half sit-ups
- elbow props
- lower back rotation
- hamstring stretch
- hip hyperextension

With your recent surgery it's important to get professional advice about which of these are appropriate.  Ask your surgeon for a referral

Enoch Choi, MD
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Avatar_n_tn
Had fusion / laminectomy L4, L5 and S1 5 days ago.  Also have sciatica pain mostly down the left leg which worsens at night and can only lay on right side.  How long is this going to last?  Also on norco 10/325 for so long no pain meds work any more including the morphine in the hospital.  Has that happened to anyone?
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Avatar_f_tn
I had L 4&5 lumbar spinal fusion Des 8 th. I had severe sciatic nerve pain also the second week after getting home. I couldn't sleep at all it was so bad along with the muscle spasms.So I went back to my surgeon the second week after. First he sent me home with pain meds an muscle realaxers I take every eight hours  an then he put me Lyrica C which is a nerve ( neuropathy) pain medicine an it has helped me alot. But it will take weeks to get threw the pain.I do excersizes an have started them the day after surgery.I still have alot of hip pain on both hips an now I have Bursitis in my left hip.So this week I start out patient P.T .
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Avatar_n_tn
I feel your pain!!  I had L4/L5 S1 Spinal Fusion on Feb 13, 2009.  I had Sciatica very bad after Surgery. It lasted for about 3 weeks and then went away.  I thought - wow I am so lucky for that to have gone away so early on. (as I hear it is common) I am about 6 months out and now have it SOOO BAD I can hardly stand it.  I am at the end of my rope. I also have the Bursitis very bad.  Sleeping is horrible. I feel like no one is paying attention to me when I tell them how bad my pain is.  I am back to work and am SOO Miserable.  I, in no way want to not be working but it is so hard. I am finding it really hard to handle. This has been such a long haul!!  I feel for all of those who are going through what I am going through.  I can not believe that this is where I am 6 months out.  Thanks to all for sharing your stories....as it is comforting to know I am not alone.... ~ Kim - Pittsburgh
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Physiotherapy is advised to relieve the sciatica pain.
You are advised to discuss with your surgeon to ask for all the informaition of the post operative Sciatica pain and which physiotherapist to consult?
You can take intermittent pain killers for the intense pain. Take care!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi everyone
I too am having problems with new right nerve root pain after lumbar fusion. I had a fusion of L4/5 in Oct 09 for back pain only and had severe new right nerve pain down my leg afterwards. They eventualy found out they had malpositioned one of the screws in my nerve root instead of the vertebral pedicle, and so they took it out in another operation Dec 09. I was better until 3 weeks ago and now i have SEVERE right leg nerve pain, especially across the thigh and lateral calf. Nothing seems to help inculding lyrica. I cant sleep on my right side at all. Has anyone else had this sort of problem ? I wonder if the screw somehow 'damaged' my nerve but noone seems to know if it will get better. Im really upset about this as I cant get a minutes relief and have to start back to work tomorrow with the pain as otherwise I wont be pain any more :(
MY best wishes go out to all of you with these sort of problems. I hope we all make a good recovery in the end!
Best wishes,
Clio
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Im a 32 year old who has just had interfusion on L5/S1. Found this site and was really intersested in what this forum was saying. I had suffered with a prolaped disc for 3 years and finally had to give up my job over it. Ive had a discecomy, and a decompression and none of these worked for me. I suffered with severe sciaitca pain down my left leg and followed by loss of relexes and numbness. Finally i was offered a fusion to solve all my problems. Hooray I thought!!!  Well shoulnt have really done so. I had my operation on the 8th of feb, and felt great, That was untill the epidural was taken out. Well the operation had taken all the pain out of my left leg and my back But omg was my right leg in pain No one warned me this could happen!! I just sat and cried After being in pain for so many years here I was in even more pain!
My surgeon is apparently one of the best in the line of work and is well known around the world. I have been told my nerve may have been twinged but hopefully recover.
Well 1 and a hlf weeks on I am on so many pain killers and opiates but nothing is working I feel so down and just pray everyday the pain will go But I have no promises.
I feel for all of you who are suffering the same and just hope one day they can actually find a proper cure for this nasty thing
Best wishes
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Avatar_f_tn
I am scheduled for L4-L5 fusion. I have been warned it its very painful surgery. Are there any alternatives to this surgery? Neurosurgeon says my vertebra are rubbing together and I can feel my back pop when I walk.A few years ago I went to a physical therapists for back pain and the last time I saw her she put a belt around my rib cage that was attached to 40lb weights  and had me walk on a treadmill with the weights lifting me up from my rib cage. I had no back pain for 6 months. is it possible with exercise to strengthen your back and maybe avoid surgery?
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Avatar_m_tn
Sometme I wish I didnt go fer e Spine Fusion.....
;.....0(
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Avatar_f_tn
Just had spinal fusion @ L4-L5 and L5-S1 for  vertebral collapse, and severe arthritic hypertrophy on rt side @ L5/S1 with facet laminectomies on both sides and bilateral Sciatic nerve decompression on Oct 25th. Only first 3 days were painful and it got better each day with regular pain meds and walking while still in hospital. Monday will be one week I'ver been home and sorry to say, I started experiencing sciatic pain on Thursday that has grown steadily worse to point where I have trouble sleeping and can have trouble walking. Since I went off all pain meds on Thurs cept xstgth Tylenol and Baclofen for back muscle spasm (nite and first thing AM only), I am reluctant to touch the stuff again. Doc tells me too that it will go away but gave me a Medrol pac to get some relief now. Everyone tells me that really works too. In 2 weeks he is going to start me on PT. There is lots of help out there for follow-up problems and I am still really glad that I had the surgery. Most important thing is to totally trust your Dr. and his skills, which I do.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there i noticed your comment and also going in for pretty much the same ooperation. It has been almost a year for u and i was wondering how you are doing i am really nervous about it'
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Avatar_f_tn
Me too! I had surgery a month ago and the pain in my right leg is so severe that I don't know how much I can take.
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3112530_tn?1342559764
Oh do you tell the truth! I understand your pain, I have some of the same issues myself. The nerve block treatment I had 'was' supposed to help but not this time. I had a LONG talk with my doctor after she put me on morphine for the pain. I explained to her, that I am not here for the drugs, just a few shots to alleviate some of the pain and finally she has agreed to trigger point injections. (She claims I have had my steroid shots for the year) I will take anything for the pain and the morphine helps but the drugs only work on the perception in the mind. My pain is in my hip and does not stop! The drugs only dull the senses but I need real treatment so talking to you doctor might help focus on where and how intense the pain is. (Don't yell at them, they become defensive and want to drop you, I tried that already) Get them to listen to you anyway you can, with a spoon full of sugar if necessary but get them to LISTEN! Treat do medicate!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi, I had similar after an L5S1 fusion in 1992.  Prior to the op low back instability with no leg pain post op leg pain and unable to stand on toes.  My consultant said it would go, and yes the pain did get better after 3 months but I have been left with weakness in both calves and walking has got worse over the past twenty years.  I have just had L4/L5 fused due to severe stenosis.  Really good this time round with very little pain post-op.

However my consultant this time recommened a NCS/EMG study to investigate the longterm problem from my first op and the results were very helpful and looking at the literature this test can assist in the diagnosis and tracking of nerve damage.  So much so that I cant understand why such standard, cheap, non- invasive techniques are not used to monitor post-operative nerve flare ups following fusion rather than just saying it will get better.  Hopefully this would help identify situations where it is not likely to get better and on the otherhand reassure patients when it is getting better.

Anyone else out there been offered NCS/EMG post operatively?
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