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Severe disabling back pain

  I have had a total of 9 back operations stemming from the original laminectomy/discetomy in 1990.  Subsequent to this I had a L5/S1 fusion (Oct 1992) which took quite well at first until a staph infection set in.  Following the diagnosis of the infection I was operated on a total of 7 times in an 18 month period to try and alleviate the pain  and and rid me of the infecttion.  I had 4 pedical screws and the plate removed from my back which was where the infection had settled.  I had a long term course of Vancomycin to control the infection.  Eventually everything settled down with the infection but I am now constantly in chronic pain due to the large amount of scar tissue in my back.  I have nerve compression of the L5/S1 nerve root and have sciatica pain radiating down my right leg with some parts of my leg becoming numb.  My most recent problem is that I have recurrent episodes of total leg numbness (right leg) which have caused me to collapse on several occassions.  I am at my wits end trying to get some help for this.  I have had a recent MRI scan which showed some nerve compression and nerve impingement of the L5/S1, L4/L5 and L3/L4 nerves but no one has come to my aid as yet.  I am under a pain specialist but I have been put in the "too hard basket" for the time being.  Any suggestions?????
Thanks for your questions.  I am sorry to hear about all your complications
and tribulations from your back problem.  Given all the surgical interventions
and the latest results from the MRI scan, the logical next step would be
to obtain an electrophysiological confirmation/evaluation of potential
nerve root compression with an electrodiagnostic test, such as an
electromyogram (EMG).  If the EMG confirms further active lesion/compression
of the nerve roots, your physicians should definitely consider another
surgical intervention (despite all the complications that you had with
the prior ones), and not simply symptomatic/pain management, because of
the risk of motor impairment.
I hope this information is helpful.  Best of luck.
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only.
Please consult your doctor regarding diagnostic and treatment options.

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