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L5 S1 Spinal fusion Pain Left leg pain after surgery

I had surgery 1 month ago and on my L5 S1. I have had very bad pain in my left leg since surgery and now thhey think that perhaps a screw is hitting on a nerve causing this pain. I go for a CAT scan tomorrow, and if this IS the problem, I AM NOT looking forward to another surgery. PLEASE help! I am taking 2 Tramodol, 1 soma, and 2 Oxycodone/APAP 10/325 every 4 hours. Even this does not take the pain away but takes the edge off some so that I can stand it.We tried another pain regimine with time released Oxycontin and they were a joke. I am really frustrated that I have so much pain when I went into this thinking once surgery was over, I would be pain-free after approx. 25 years.
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Hi,

Thanks for posting.
I am really sorry to hear that you are in so much of pain after back surgery. Back surgery can result in a lot of pain which is often referred to as Failed back surgery syndrome. Technically speaking, if the pain persists even after 3 months of surgery, the surgery is considered to be a failure.
It is pertinent that you undergo a CT scan to find out the exact cause of pain. Most common causes are improper patient selection for surgery, technical errors during surgery and recurrent disc herniation after surgery.
Since you do not want to undergo another surgery, you can discuss medical management of pain and rehab therapy with your treating doctor.
Good luck!



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Thank you for replying.
I am not looking forward to another surgery if that is what needs to be done, but, I could never live with this pain, or the thought of having to be on these meds for any longer than I have to. I tried not taking them, and waiting until I absolutely could not stand the pain any longer, and that was a big mistake. I am hoping that the MRI tomorrow shows that something can be done. I will know next Tuesday.
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Hi,

Thanks for writing back.
Yes it is advisable to wait for the MRI results to know exactly what is causing these symptoms and then decide on the future course of action.
Let us know the results and questions if you have any.

Good luck!
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Here it is Feb 21st almost the 22nd and I am still with the leg and foot pain. A CAT scan has been done and so far all of the results have showed nothing, not a nerve hiiting a screw,,, nerve hitting the cage,,,,On Meds Tram, Oxy, Tizanadine, and Neurontin. No matter how they are taken, there is still pain, shooting hot pain, very bad  muscle spasms, feet hurt after walking. knee gives out, never know when this is going to happen. Have to walk steps using both feet. VERY distessed at this point. Any answers as to what could be causing this? ANYTHING would help! Thanks Patricia
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I know how hard the pain of the back fusion is I had a fusion done in 2003, I to suffered terrrible pain dwn my right leg and had spasms um I was put on valum percaset oxycotin and some others but eventully i got steriod shot in my back that seemd to help i eventually found i take longer to heal and it is a very rough surgerie mine actually took 7 hrs. it probly took a a year or 2 for the pain to completly leave and i even had a baby after that. I hope your in physical therapy that is a must for recovery. Also i have permanant brusing at site of scews all is well today dont worry so much not good for healing and be very careful of pain meds. its going to take long than they say to heal or no one would want to get the surgerie. I hope this helps
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144586 tn?1284669764
There is a new protocol involving intradiscal injection of ozone-oxygen into the space between the vertabrae. It shrinks the tissue, relieving pressure on the nerve.

For a number of complicated reasons this procedure has been used in Europe, but not in the United States, with the exception of the State of Nevada.

Ask your physician about this.
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Sorry to hear you are still having pain after your spinal fusion. I have to say though, you are still relatively recent. I would give it more time.

I had my spinal fusion (S1-L4-L5) January 2004 and had similar symptoms with pain radiating down right leg, unable to sit or stand very long. My back didn't fuse for 2 years. It can take a long time. And even though it fused finally the pain was still there. I tried everything. I have had tests galore. The most recent tests show another herniated disc one level up. I will not have another surgery. What has made my life manageable and liveable was a good pain management clinic. I have been on MS Contin for 2 years now with percocet for break through pain. It has made all the difference in my life. I am not drugged out or anything like that and am able to get around to some degree. I will never be like I was before the back injury but I accept that and have learned to deal with it.

Every person is different and I think the key is finding what works for you.  
Good luck!

Daisy
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Hi Patricia. Sorry to hear about your continuing pain issues. Being a T-12 Para, and having dealt with pain for the past 10+ years, I have tried just about every med you can think of. My doctors tried me on everything, as did my neurologist. Nothing would work. I went to see a pain specialist, and they finally figured out a good med, and I have been relatively pain free since. Talk to you doctor or specialist about using Methadone. I have been on 10mg tabs 5 times a day since 2004, and it has worked great, with little side effects other than the occasional drowsiness. For any break through pain they have me using Hydrocodone (generic Vicodin), but I rarely use it. I have been on very high doses of Neurontin, was taking 2400mg 3 times a day, it did nothing. I have had great luck with Methadone to control my pain in my leg, quite severe pain. You may want to bring it up to your doctor. But be warned, it is considered a Class C drug, and some doctors are extremely leary and picky about using it. Since it is a Class C drug, you will also need a hard copy each month to get it refilled, meaning you will need to get a hand written script every month. Good Luck, I hope maybe this will help. Worked wonders for me.
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I had a L5-S1 fusion in 2004, did the cage and pulled bone from my hip to build it. 2 titanium rods and 6 screws. The surgery took 12 hours, I have an incision scar from my lower back to mid back. A neurosurgeon performed the operation after consulting about lower back pain and numbness in my left leg. I have no complaints about the surgeon that did the surgery, from follow up visits with other doctors and surgeons, they say he did a 1st class job. However I have permenant nerve damage in my left leg and foot, from the sciatic nerve being compressed from a ruptured disc  compressingg the nerve too long. I have not had the mobility and agility I had before the injury, nor did I expect too. I am writing about the ongoing & increasing back, leg, and chest pain I have been experiencing for the last 4 years. I have been on Gabentin, which does seem to quiet down the shooting nerve pain some, but not enough to help when I get a severe one. I have been on Vicodin-no help, Percocet which does give me some relief at 10/325 MG's. But I do not think most of these doctors understand what daily life is after this type of surgery, it is life altering. I have to stop and think about a situation with physical activity before I ensue! I have a job that requires some physical activity, even standing for 15 minutes sends me into agony. I do not beleive they are going to continue me on the pain meds due to addiction, but I cannot function without agonizaing pain without them. Anyone in the same situation with advise???
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I am 2 weeks out from surgery, fusion at L4-L5. My life is a living hell. I even postponed the surgery once, trying to find a doctor that would do a disc replacement. After driving 100's of miles and numerous phone calls and internet searches I had no luck. So I called the original surgeon crying begging to reschedule the surgery because I couldn't take the pain anymore. Now I am sitting in my chair in horrible pain, not just my back but shooting pains up and down both legs. So bad I am considering the emergency room. Needless to say I am worried that this was a big mistake. I tried all the alternative stuff like chiropractors, spinal shots, therapy.. you name it, it just continued to get worse. If any one else is considering a spinal fusion, DON'T! I could just kick myself for not being able to hold on long enough to get a disc replacement.  I just want to sit in this chair and cry.  I am also filing a formal complaint against the Doctor and hospital for the lack of care I received after surgery.  After I was brought down to my room I was not given anything for pain. The nurses never showed up to help me to the bathroom. If not for my sister-in-law, I would have wet myself. I waited five hours for them to get me 2 little oxycodone pills and I was in screaming pain. I waited 3 more hours for someone to finally remove my surgical IV, which was so huge it ate a hole in my hand and now I'm on antibiotics because it gave me phlebitis. When I was unable to eat lunch after surgery (it was at 7:30 am) They brought me the same tray of food for dinner. my sister-in-law also suggested that they give me a vallium to help calm me down and I waited hours for that. I think it was dark by then. Apparently the vallium made my blood pressure drop so low in the middle of the night that I almost died. They woke me up and my first reaction was surprise, to actually see a nurse at all. The whole experience was a nightmare. But it actually gets worse. They would not give me any pain medication to leave the hospital with. I was so mad, they treat dogs better than I was treated, and this is supposed to be one of the top Hospitals in the country. So please do your research first, and if you can stand the pain look into getting a disc replacement. And don't think that these doctors won't lie to you, because they will. They lied to me right to my face. I am hoping to get better but I am very worried. My doctor said I could go back to work after 2 weeks and 2 weeks later I can barely get out of my chair. I had to put my surgical socks back on just to ease the pain in my legs, not to mention that my back literally feels broken.  We really need to form as a group of citizens who deal with chronic pain, because unless you've been there, you have no idea what it's like. I am only 46 and I have been dealing with this and other issues for almost 7 years now and I still can't get the correct medicine to help with my pain. Good luck to everyone.
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Why is the medical community so wishy washy on this topic of pain meds? I understand that there are those who abuse them,but MAN when your hurting your hurting!
I had been in a car accident in 2004,a girl ran a stop sign hitting my car in the side.I totally saw her coming,so I tensed up.I was 8 wks pregnant at the time and a brand new believer in the Lord.I was way more concerned over my baby than my body so I never bothered with MRI's or X-rays(dangerous while pregnant)& I didn't want to go after anyone legally,just forgive.Well after the birth of my son via c-section in Feb.2005 I had more pain but a really bad numbness in my upper back.We thought it could've been from the c-section.
No     &      the pain just got worse, some days I couldn't even walk.I would be bent over but I wanted to keep having kids,so I had 2 more girls within 3 years & after the last c-section I had horrible pain in my abdomen right under my rib cage.It wouldn't go away.So I continued meds from the c-section.
I intially believed it was a hernia(i have had them before)& asked for a referall to a surgeon.I couldn't have surgery right after my c-section so I waited a few months.They didn't find anything when i finally did have the surgery!!!
Then as this was unfolding I started having pain down my left leg.
I found out I had a herniated disc, which I went into the chiropractor,physical therapy had numerous epidural shots & shock treatment)which now the disc is now resolved but I have so much pain in my lower&upper back&my hips kill me alot.
I've seen 2 surgeons.The first said no way would he do surgery on me.I don't need it.***BUT*** He would refer me to 6-7others who would.    ?????
Also after he said that there was nothing wrong with me   he pointed out that i have 2 completely black vertebres(meaning no fluid) spinal stenosis & my right legs S1 nerve is being rubbed(which by the way I'm not having to many issues(pain wise) with,like hardly at all).What the deal?
So I wanted to see the same surgeon who worked on my moms back for the 3rd surgery she had,&also my sisters neck.This is a huge issue in my family,ALL of my 7 siblings have major back problems!!This guy said he doesn't want to do anything because it would actually cause more pain than I'm having now.He wants to put a tens unit in my body.I'm not exactly excited of that idea.He also wants to do something with a nerve test.He said he couldn't see what was causing my pain.I know I'm having pain.....well because I hurt!!!
I now have 4 children and tons of stress because I'm basically a single parent.I need to have help from meds or I'm a piece of garbage to my kids. I don't smoke,drink or do any drugs.I just need help to live.Just because they say they can't see doesn't make it not there.I even wanted to stop the meds because I am a christian & honestly was worried as to the effects it was having on my walk with Jesus.
I couldn't believe the pain!!!! I ended up in the ER. I didn't know how bad my pain was,because the meds don't take all the pain away.
It's not funny.
I've only been on 5 325,& asked for a higher dose - was denied.That's ok though I know my Doctor doesn't want me a zombie for my kids sake.He knows our whole family issue as of right now & is just such an understanding guy.
I just don't know what I can do anymore,the meds are not working as well.I'm taking 10 a day now.I know if they decide to stop giving me the meds I'll have withdrawals.
NO THANK YOU
I had those when I stopped the pain meds.
You know God created these meds to help us who are in extreme pain.Not to abuse them...just use them for relief.Why doesn't our medical community see it?
We do need someone who has been in chronic pain,that hasn't had "proof" as to where the pains coming from and who is a well known Doctor or someone who is highly esteemed by the medical community to speak up for us "common folk".
Please someone respond to me,I have been trying to get the pain under control,done almost everything you can do.What do you think?Why is my back still hurting so badly?
Like right now my abdomen is like a stretching burning feeling&my spine hurts.I've already have had 4 pills since 8 this morning & it's a little after 2 now.
I'm in pain all the time,I don't want to be stuck on meds,but what are my options?Lay in bed,but not for to long or I hurt,don't sit to long or I'll hurt.Oh & do not stand or walk to much or I'll hurt.Someone has had to experienced this,I can't be the only one!!
Thanks!!

ALL4HIM
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Hello,
My name is suzanne. I have four children and am married to a wonderful man.I have been having these back problems for the past 10 yrs and my disc finally degenerated to the point of no return..and I was in bed all the time.. Three weeks ago I had a spinal fusion (TLIF) on my l5s1. My recovery has been for better words unpleasant, I have extreme leg pain in my right leg all the way down to my ankle and its concerning me, I don't want to go through surgery again. My surgeon has put me on steroids and this is the second round of them( I am also on pain meds as well), they are also concerned It could be a screw or something to that effect. To say the least I am very concerned and would love some feedback, Thanks, Suzanne
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Is There anyone out there who has benifitted from fusion sugery ????
Why would they do it???
Someone must have
Richard
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I am wondering if anyone has a similar problem (a problem shared is a problem halved), I have had problem with my back for over fifteen years which I have managed with exercises, and streatching , however now I have a lot of problems and pain in my calf  muscles, they feel tight and as if they keep getting torn , and are imposible to streatch .I have had an MRI on my back which shows lateral spinal stenosis at L4 L5 with disc degeneration , the doc say that this is causing the problem with my calfs, (and suggest decompression and spinal fusion ), it is hard for me to believe that the calf pain comes from my back , it feels more like achillees strain (sorry about the spelling) has anyone else had these symtoms???
Thanks for your time
Richard
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Might look into pain management anesthesiologist implant of spinal cord stimulator if not ruptured (danger in disc fluid release into spine protective layers) sources are ANS (Advanced Neuro Systems) stim from St Judes and Medtronics *** stim.
Good chance of less pain and less meds with trial options. Also, Medtronics is recruiting for a clinical trial is a note from recent TV  ads. Good luck. I understand that physical therapy, med management, and fusion or laminectomy are all standard operating procedures and should all also be considered by patients in consultation with their PhD.
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The nerves which transmit messages to the muscles in the legs run near and emerge from our lower vertebrae.  When these nerves become inflammed or impinged, pain and spasms often result.  Spinal surgeries often help in relieving pressure on spinal nerves.
I had a T12-L4 spinal fusion about 9 years ago and immediately felt relief.  I have also been dx with spinal stenosis/ degeneration of L4-L5 about 10 yrs ago.  I  had nerve pain and weaknees in my left leg immediately after the surgery.  Over the period of a few months this resolved.  
Sometimes I still experience spasms, numbness, tingling, and pain in my right leg; especially when I neglect exercising and the weather is extremely cold.  But overall I feel much better, did not take any medication since 1 month post surgery.  Life is much better without pain.  Just research your surgeon really well!  Good Luck!
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On December 15, 2009 I had a Gill Laminectomy and a L5 S1 posterior spine fusion for spondylolisthesis. This was due to unbearable pain down my right leg.  Well my right leg is pain free but, about 2 weeks ago I started feeling pain down my left leg.  This pain is very similar to the one I had experienced on my right leg.  I'm going to see my Dr at the end of February.  Has anyone had this experience?
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Hi All-
I had a Antier (stomach) interbody Spinal Fusion on Dec 1 -2010! L5/SI where fused with plating and screws! I am in the same boat it seems as every other poor soul! I had a door fall on my head at work. This will be 2nd surgery in one year! the first surgery I had was for my neck. ACDF c6/7. Now folks the pain was unbearble with th first.  Then one day it all stopped. Now it is like I never had it! Currently I am having horrible pain in my back, muscle spasms galore, pain down legs! I am taking Loratabs and Lyrica! The lyrica works wonders for nightime! Knocks me out! And throughout my recovery taking care of a 5 and 3 yr old!    My best advice to all is to stay positive! Its a living hell but what choice do we have! Pray Pray Pray! Take hot baths, get involved in something anything that will take your mind off the pain! For some reasonwe all have to go through this! We can do it together, keep writing I think support is the best thing we can do for eachother! Until you have walked a mile in the shoes of someone with chronic pain you just never know! I have found just taking it minute by minute day by day, my state of mind gets a little better!  It is a slow healing process! I am start warm water therapy and have been doing physical therapy! A lot of Surgeons are against it! But My Neurosurgeon just had Back surgery! Hes been having a hard go! And this is what hes doing! Get those muscles strong! If you can live through the pain you live through day to day! You can do this too!!!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL
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I had L5 to S1 surgery with disc replacement and fusion on May 20, 2009.  You said your pain took 2 yrs. to go away?  I am still waiting for the swelling, numbness, and muscle spasms to quit.  I have had and MRI, a nerve study, and a CT scan with dye and nothing shows up.  Can I hope that in another year it could be gone?  Anyone else out there had theirs go away with time?
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1260490 tn?1269732892
I am 26 years and have had back and leg pain for years.  Every time I would go into my doctor and she would take X-rays and then tell me that I was constipated and send me home with Darvocet.  This went on for years until April of 2008 when an on call doctor said I was to young to be having this kind of pain and ordered an MRI.  It showed that I had a herniated disc at L5 S1.  I went and had two steroid injections that did nothing but put me down for two days afterward.  Then I did physical therapy for four months.  I had a discectomy in September 2008.  They took a quarter of the disc out.  I had immediate relief of the leg pain, it was amazing.  Then a month later I started having back pain all over again.  My doctor sent me to physical therapy confident it would help.  I was in physical therapy for four or five months and then they just sent me home with a tens unit.  The tens unit did nothing for me at home.  I continued to to see my chiropractor for the rest of 2009.  Then in November of 2009 my doctor said it might be a good idea to start adjusting my lower back.  My next visit I asked her to adjust my lower back.  The next day I was in so much pain that all I could do was cry.  I went to work and I had to crawl to where ever I wanted to go.  I called my chiropractor and she said that that wasn't normal and I shouldn't be in that much pain.  She was amazing in helping me get into my doctor right away the next morning.  My doctor gave me a shot of Toradol and sent me home with steroids and pain medication.  My chiropractor go me in to see the PA of the surgeon she works with.  She tried to examine me to her best with how much pain I was in.  She ordered a CAT scan and sent me home with muscle relaxers and pain meds and told me to take it easy until they could figure out what was going on.  The CAT scan showed something that wasn't good but she need to see a MRI so she could pin point what it was.  The MRI show the same disc as before was herniated again.  It was huge.  She then made me an appointment with the surgeon.  I was to see him on a Friday.  The previous Monday I called her and said that I was in so much pain that I couldn't walk, sit or lay down.  She consulted with him and they said that I would probably have surgery that following weekend and to keep his appointment.  He reviewed the MRI and said that I had severe disc disease and arthritis starting to form around my vertebra.  The disc was completely black from being dried out, and that a huge piece had broken off and was pretty much floating around in there and pushing on my nerves causing the leg pain.  He wanted to remove the disc and put a cage in and then do a fusion to stabilize everything.  I had surgery the following Monday.  Surgery was about 2 1/2 hours.  When I finally woke up I was in so much pain I couldn't handle it.  The nurses had to call him and change my medicine.  I didn't get out of bed until the next day.  I was in the hospital for 4 days and 3 nights.  When I got home I was still in so much pain.  I seen her the following Monday and she switched my meds from what she put me on the leave the hospital.  I was also put on Gabapentin and Baclofen.  The pain seemed to get better after that and I felt a lot better.  Then about 2 weeks after that the pain started to get really bad all over again.  If I was sitting on the couch I had to use the arm of the couch to get up, my knees felt like they were gonna give out and I got very depressed again.  My family doesn't understand and are pretty much sick of me talking about my pain.  I am sick of taking pills to feel better and I don't want my doctor to think that I am addicted to them, but they are the only thing that makes me feel better.  My muscle spasms are absolutely horrible.  I am 8 1/2 weeks out of surgery and wondering when the pain will end.  I don't know what else to do.  They say that everything looks okay, but I don't feel okay.  How do I go about making my doctor understand?  What things should I bring up?
Any ideas would be appreciated.
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