View Full Version : Extreme Leg pain

08-05-2007, 03:05 AM
I am almost 12 weeks post op for my original surgery and just a week shy of my second surgery – to remove the screw that was pressing up against my spinal column.

At week 5 I felt like I took a major turn for the better, this lasted less than a week. At my 6 week ck up I was in tears from the pain that I was experiencing that had just come on that very week.

I have severe pain in my left buttock, thigh and shin. The surgeon sent me for steroid injections in two different locations to try to alleviate the pain. Neither injection made any dent in the pain. After a CT scan showed a screw pressing up against my spinal cord at T12 we agreed to go through another surgery to remove the screw and part of the rod. Luckily this would not affect my correction.

Now I am still experiencing this same pain and just today noticed that the top of my left foot hurts as well. I am stuck in bed 24/7. I get up to go to the bathroom, shower (wow that hurts) and get myself a coke. Side note: I have a 19 yr old daughter who is in college, working a part time job to pay for college and living at home. She has been an incredible help through all of this.

The surgeon said that I might still experience “some” pain even after this second surgery for “awhile”.
I don’t know what any of this means, and yes, I plan on asking him. But I think it all goes back to that he just doesn’t know. He doesn’t know if the screw was the true source of my pain and he doesn’t know how long it will take me to heal after the screw has been removed. OK. I understand that intellectually, but emotionally I’m falling apart.

SO – to get to my question for the forum – has anyone found that there are other causes of this pain besides sciatica or stenosis? I mean, it’s a pinched nerve and I understand that, but I am scared to death that the longer this drags out, the higher the chance that I will end up with permanent damage to this nerve. So I'm trying to find out if anyone has had experiences like mine, especially concerning long-term nerve pain.


08-05-2007, 03:54 PM
Lori- I don't have an answer for you about the leg pain but have you thought of getting a second opinion? Everyone here can help in offering suggestions of good doctors in your area- it may be worth the trouble.

Karen Ocker
08-05-2007, 03:57 PM
Recovery from this type of surgery is very painful because the whole trunk with its nerves, tendons, muscles, blood supply AND internal organs are rearranged with spine straightening. It really takes months to recover. Proper pain management by a qualified pain doc will actually aid your recovery by enabling you to keep moving and enable you to sleep better. That is what I did.
I see you had a significant pre-op curve of 80 degrees. This was the same as mine pre-op.

Another factor is age. The older one is who has this type of surgery the longer the recovery. Naturally the curves were in place longer than an adolescent so the body was used to being that way. Bouncing back is longer and seems forever.

Another thing which happened in recovery was that whenever I tried a new exercise, stretch or activity I got all sorts of weird pains including sciatica which passed as my fitness increased. The sciatic nerve passes through each buttock down the legs after leaving the spinal column. When I stretched my hips or even squatted in the beginning my sciatic nerve made itself felt.

Try not to go crazy with every new pain, ache, jab or nerve twinge otherwise you will go nuts. Do your best to gradually improve your fitness by walking and appropriate physical therapy when medically indicated.

I could not tolerate any hands on work such as massage or myofascial tissue release for a long time because of intense pain when touched in the surgical areas. This helped later.

All the above has been my personal experience.

08-06-2007, 07:44 AM
Ask your doctor for a blood test to rule out infection. I started experiencing very bad pains in both legs and right hip at 3 months post op and thought it was part of the recovery process. At 4 months post op I went in for a check up with my surgeon and he seen how much pain I was in, he order blood tests, and found out all the pain was from an infection.


08-07-2007, 09:25 PM
Thanks to everyone for responding.

Karen: I understand that excercise (after your fusion has healed) is highly recommended and I can't wait to get to that point. As for walking and moving about - the pain only increases to unbearable points when I do move around. My biggest concern is that I will damage this nerve to the point of no return, so to speak, by not "resting" as prescribed. I've read about this, and my dad even has a friend who did not rest the nerve and continued to push thru the pain and now has Dropped Foot syndrome and regrets it terribly. BUT if the surgeon determines that PT is the best method for recovery then I will participate whole-heartedly. :)

Bsprings: I would love to get a second opinion - but I feel that I have to give my surgeon his due and wait until these last two tests are run....then I will DEFINITELY get another opinion. So yes, another opinion is something I'm going to pursue. In the mean time, I am going to encourage (strongly) that my surgeon move forward with these last two tests that he mentioned. I'll keep you posted on that one! And I'll definitely seek out guidance from the forum when/if I need to look for a new doc. So thanks!

Suzyjay: Blood test sounds good....wonder if they would have run that prior to my second surgery? I suppose it's doubtful since they didn't mention it.
My question to you is....what KIND of infection? I've read about some users getting infections on/around their hardware....hmmm, I'm going to mark that one down and ask the doctor about a blood test to look for something like an infection. So thanks to you too!

Again, thanks for letting me vent my frustrations and the feedback I'm receiving.

I came here looking for ideas to present to my surgeon when I next speak to him - so I appreciate the input, that's all I can ask for!

And I think we ALL need as much help through this as we can get and this forum is a wonderful resource.


08-09-2007, 02:54 AM
Hi Lori,

I had so many different pains for several months after my surgery. With each new pain I felt a sinking feeling that something may be wrong.

Please don't get discouraged in your recovery, although I know how easy it is to do!!! I had all kinds of expectations of how I was going to recover and when I wasn't doing as well as I thought I should have been, I got very depressed.

I had to keep remembering that my doctor told me "that I would hate him for the first 3 months"!!! Nothing that we say here can take your pain and frustrations away, but I just hope you know that you are not alone in this struggle!!!

And I can honestly say after many months of a rough recovery, when I can't even count the number of times I asked myself, " why did I do this", I am not only glad that I did it, I am proud of myself for doing it!!!

I hope you realize how strong of a women you are!!!

Keep in touch,