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lisazena
07-14-2011, 06:53 PM
I have a thoracolumbar curve that begins at T12. My major curve is 60 and I have a compensating curve of 30, both of which sounds small in this group. I have problems with my leg/foot on the right (a little on left too). I'm 57 and beginning at 52 I had sciatica that extended into my foot and had leg spasms at night. This year this has turned into nerve problems in my foot that have stopped me from walking normal distances (can currently walk four blocks in one direction and back after a rest and am slowly building what I can do) and can only stand for a very short time (also in a neuro check my sensation for cold is reduced lower on my leg/foot). What's unusual is that I have NO back pain. I saw Dr. Lonner to explore surgery, which he thought I would eventually need, but first he wanted me to confirm that the nerve problems are not from another source. The problem is I could have surgery and still have the problem with my leg/foot. I saw a neurologist and he is guessing that my curve compresses the circulation to the nerves of my feet and legs. (I have some neuropathy, but it is only slight.) The only way to prove this is with a CT myelogram, something I will consider when seriously considering surgery. The neurologist stressed that this was only worth doing when I'm ready for surgery as otherwise would need to be redone. But, I'm not ready to do surgery quite yet and am wondering if anyone who has had surgery had the same problem--problems with legs and feet only, and if you did, did the surgery alleviate your problem?
Or actually I'm interested in knowing if anyone has had a similar problem. A forum member kindly emailed me about her leg pain, but she had back pain too. Thanks in advance.

LindaRacine
07-14-2011, 08:51 PM
I work in the spinal disorders clinic at UCSF. We see patients with only leg pain all the time. Curing leg pain is actually far more predictable than back pain. Have you ever tried an epidural injection?

--Linda

lisazena
07-15-2011, 07:57 AM
I work in the spinal disorders clinic at UCSF. We see patients with only leg pain all the time. Curing leg pain is actually far more predictable than back pain. Have you ever tried an epidural injection?

--Linda

Linda-thanks for your suggestion. I had an epidural last fall and it didn't seem to do much. I seem to have problems with L5/S1, the doctor thought it might be L4/L5, but the doctor who gave me the epidural injected at L3. I since was told that it wouldn't matter--that it still should have helped. It didn't seem to do anything; though it might have done a little. Did make me feel worse at first, which I know can be typical. Also, when i say pain, I mean nerve issues, like my muscles twitching after I walk, or my leg getting uncomfortably tight after walking, etc. Any thoughts?

And do scoliosis surgeons usually require a CT myelogram before surgery if nerve issues in the leg are concerned? Thanks again.

loves to skate
07-15-2011, 02:33 PM
It is my impression that you need to have three epidural injections before you write them off as not helping. My first and second one didn't help much, but I got about seven months of relief from the third one.
Sally

tata
07-15-2011, 04:37 PM
Lisazena, I had surgery in August 2010, T10-L5. My 70 went down to 30. I had leg pain. It started as pains & needles and, if I continued walking, it usually ended as an awful pain that made me drag my leg and cry from the pain. However, I had back pain too.

I had MRN done for my whole back to check for spinal clamping. It wasn't clear but it looked like there was one at L4-L5 from the vertebrae torsion. It has disappeared after the surgery, since my spine's been untwisted quite a lot.

It's taken me months to regain muscular tone, especially on the other leg (which I don't quite understand) but I'm getting there now after long days of walking, swimming and stretching.

lisazena
07-15-2011, 09:17 PM
Tata, Thanks for the very interesting post. Can you tell me more about MRN? Sounds like it is less invasive than a CT myelogram, but I believe the neurologist was suggesting a myelogram for me because it shows everything in the spine including the circulation to the spine.

Also, I can guess what spinal clamping is, but can you explain. One similarity we share re the leg is that my symptoms correspond to activity. Who did you surgery? Glad to hear that your surgery went well and that you are gaining back your muscle strength.

Sally, Thanks for your thoughts re the epidural. I guess I got discouraged about the epidural as I didn't like the doctor I went to and I started to get better any way, but then relapsed after overdoing it with yoga, and trying core exercises. I can't seem to do any PT or exercise except for tai chi, which is very gentle and a couple of simple yoga stretches. Good to hear that you got seven months of relief from an epidural.

I will ask the neurologist I saw recently if he thinks either of these ideas might work for me. I appreciate.
Lisa

loves to skate
07-16-2011, 09:55 AM
Lisa,
The Doctor can make a BIG difference when it come to doing an epidural. Insist on the best Doctor at the pain clinic. I did and what a difference. The first Doc brutalized me (a woman Doctor). After that I got a male Doctor who was very gentle and painless.
Sally

tata
07-17-2011, 12:33 PM
Lisa, my apologies, I should have written MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) instead of RMN (which corresponds to Spanish, my mother tongue).

As for the nerve clamping, it's probably the same thing as before. You must have a different way of saying this in english. What I meant is that two of my vertebrae seemed to have one nerve trapped, at least partially, at a level in my spine from which various nerves start and go down to my legs.

Yes, now I'm doing quite well but I've had to learn to work out every single day and to keep in mind that I'll have to do this for the rest of my life. Once one makes that a daily habit, a way of life, it's not difficult to cope with the situation. Mind you, I guess other degenerative problems will arrive with time...

lisazena
07-17-2011, 04:52 PM
Lisa, my apologies, I should have written MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) instead of RMN (which corresponds to Spanish, my mother tongue).

As for the nerve clamping, it's probably the same thing as before. You must have a different way of saying this in english. What I meant is that two of my vertebrae seemed to have one nerve trapped, at least partially, at a level in my spine from which various nerves start and go down to my legs.

Yes, now I'm doing quite well but I've had to learn to work out every single day and to keep in mind that I'll have to do this for the rest of my life. Once one makes that a daily habit, a way of life, it's not difficult to cope with the situation. Mind you, I guess other degenerative problems will arrive with time...

Tata, No apologies needed. Now, I understand. Working out every day in a trade for a living a normal/full life sounds great to me. I have always been disciplined and probably stopped my problem from getting really bad earlier by exercising in the past.

Explaining my pain, it's from activity. My muscles twitch, and the bottom and top of my foot gets sore from walking, and my leg also gets gets painfully tight, also from walking--not quite pain, but very uncomfortable afterwards, and it stops me from walking distances as I need to do living in the city. It's as if my foot (the right foot that really bothers me) can't handle/doesn't like the weight of my body and doesn't like too much movement. But, no back pain. That's why deciding about surgery is extra difficult for me, but I know it's a difficult decision for everybody. Glad you are doing well all around--including with the diminishing of problems with your leg. It's encouraging to hear.

And yes, Sally, I agree that a good doctor means the world. Every time I try to improve my situation I make it worse and I have been slowly working on my walking and gradually building my tolerance as my past physical therapist showed me. I am also taking Lyrica and it helps me sleep and be able to sit, just hasn't made as much of a difference as I would like with walking and standing. But, I'll keep the idea of another epidural in my back pocket.

My plan is to stick to this approach and see how far I can get for a little while, but I posted as i realize that I will probably need to explore other options.

Thanks to you both.