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Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: 6 mo post op L4-5 Fusion, increased nerve pains need help


 willowcat - Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:20 am

Hi, I am 1 yr post op L3/4, 4/5 microdiscetomy, which the L4/5 reherniated largely immediately after surgery, 5 months later I had a L4/5 PLIF w/ instrumentation, I have a disc bulge at L5/S1 that was left alone, as well as the L3/4 still intact after the microdiscetomy.

I am now 6 months post op PLIF, been thru 3 months PT and aquatherapy, and am having increased severe electric nerve pains intermittently thru the day that stop me dead in my tracks, constant 'tolerable' nerve pains, and ALOT of back pain.

My 'bad' leg is the right one. I get one strong nerve pain down the front right of my leg to my knee, down the back of my entire thigh, and to my piggy toe or next toes sometimes big toe, as well as two lines of nerve pains up my ankle. Across hips, and jolting in my left hip, and down the front of my left knee, as well as down the back of my left calf. I also get waves of softer numbness on my right groin, and my but.

I still have no achilles reflex or knee reflex in my right leg. I was bedridden for approx 9 months total and finally walking and moving (sortof) 2 months after the fusion, but its 6 months since that surgery, and I am still tremendously limited on what I can do in a day, I can only sit for MAYBE an hour and doing so causes increased nerve pains. I also get on a few occassions when I sit, one or both legs go DEAD numb, to the point if I try to stand my ankle will roll cuz the leg is dead and it takes 5-10 minutes for it to come back. It feels dead in sensation, then comes back like when your hand goes to sleep and pins and needles horribly til it comes back.

What could be the reasons I have terrible increased nerve pains, surgeon stopped PT, wants EMG and MRI, awaiting scheduling. What is the likelihood of reherniation of the L3/4 now that it has added stress due to the L4/5 fusion?
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:14 pm

User avatar Hello,
Herniation of the disc or nerve impingement at any levels below L4 would be the likely cause of the pain. MRI and EMG are indicated to help with diagnosis.

Nine months in bed is too long post op. The muscles become weak and takes at least 4 months to recovery some strength.

We recommend a walking program post op in most cases.

Take care.

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