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Thread: Sciatic nerve pain- scar tissue question

  1. #1
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    Sciatic nerve pain- scar tissue question

    I have been suffering from debilitating sciatic pain since approximately 7 weeks post-op. My surgery was April 20th so I am not quite 5 months post-op. My question is how do you know if scar tissue is causing sciatic pain? I have had a CT myleogram which looked "normal", a piriformus injection that provided no relief, and recently a L-5 nerve root block. I am currently on Gabapentin and Percocet but am still unable to function. Anytime upright exceeding 30-45 minutes almost always causes excruciating pain. Most days I struggle to try to walk 2 miles but some days not even that much. The only relief comes from lying down. Any insight into sciatic pain relating to scar tissue or the situation in general would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by TwinmomTN; 09-07-2012 at 09:52 PM.
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

  2. #2
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    New Bern, NC
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    Pam,
    Boy, can I relate to your pain. As soon as I started weaning off of the Oxycontin, I could feel the sciatic pain return. Fortunately, I don't have such debilitating pain as you do, but I don't even try to walk 2 miles each day. I'm lucky if I walk one mile a day. I am able to do Zumba classes twice a week and Line dancing once a week. I am on Neurontin 1800mg/day and still have pain. I don't know if it is caused by scar tissue, but my Doctor tells me that I probably have permanent nerve damage from the nerves being pinched for so long before I had surgery. Whatever caused it, I wish it would go away. Now I can't even take anti-inflamatories because they were causing kidney damage. I am going for cortisone shots in the SI joints, because now I have arthritis in those joints as well and a lot of my pain comes from there.
    I hope you can get some help for your pain. You are way too young to have to suffer debilitating pain.
    Sincerely, Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  3. #3
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    Sorry to hear about your awful pain, Pam. I am unable to help but my thoughts about walking 2 miles when something's not quite right, is that perhaps the walking is exacerbating it. Normally, I think walking's great for practically anything but I'm sure there are conditions for which walking is unhelpful. Would you be prepared to give it up for a week and see if there's any improvement? Or cut down to half or less? If there's no improvement, you could easily increase it again. Might be worth a try? Wishing you the best of luck.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  4. #4
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    Jennifer,

    Thanks for your reply. Sure, at this point I will try anything. My concern and reason for walking is to try and prevent total muscle atrophy since I am in bed all the time now. If I give it up for a week and it helps, then at some point I'll need to start it again probably?

    Pam
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

  5. #5
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    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    that's true but if it helps, you may find whatever is causing the pain, heals, and you may be able to eventually go back to walking without it adversely affecting you. It's an outside chance, but one that would be easy to test. Perhaps swimming would be gentler, something else to test? Of course, ideally, it would be best to know what's causing the pain first, but that's the hard part. Good luck!
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  6. #6
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    reno,nevada
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    Pam

    It took me a year to get up to 2 miles....I did many short 300 foot walks throughout the day, like every 2 hours. 2 or 3 houses and back. In my Redwoods thread, I was around 10 months walking on the soft pine needles with ski poles, doing a mile and having to have to lay back down after each hike. You can see the pain in my face in the photo. I was thrilled at that stage....my gall attacks were also complicating matters, which I thought was an incisional hernia. Wrong diagnosis on my part. No surprise.

    If you are inflamed, which is what this sounds like, its so tough for this area to settle down. Its almost like a burn on your finger that you don’t want to touch at all.

    If you say that your pain is triggered by standing for 30 minutes, you might try limiting your standing to 15 minutes at a time, laying back down for 15 minutes and seeing if this works. Have you tried any water therapy? The hot water worked well for me before and after in my recovery. Hot water does work for bone and nerve pain. 106/107 degrees. You have to measure it. I took 5 hot baths per day for 3 months in my recovery. I don’t know how I would have made it without. I also built up an immunity to my meds and the baths helped pain control while weaning. I drank plenty of water doing this as you lose quite a bit submerged in hot water. 2-4# in 20 minutes. Its water loss that needs to be replaced. Very important!

    Hot water therapy is also weightless, it has an effect where gravity is no longer a factor and relaxation can truly happen. Hot water therapy is not using a hot pad. I threw out my hot pad 20 years ago because I fell asleep on it and it triggered spasms. Hot tubs are usually 102 degrees and not hot enough. I did own one during my recovery but didn’t use it. I found that the water needs to be 106 degrees to work. I would get relief in 30 seconds after immersion. I used my large master bath tub and cranked up the hot water heater.

    Your recovery should be your total focus....you only get one chance at this and its your body, your most valuable asset. Having a rough recovery is essentially being in a survival mode, where it takes everything you have to maintain. It needs 100% effort and other things like jobs, they really don’t matter much when comparing to your health. Your inner circle needs to understand this, scoliosis surgery is serious surgery. The body is extremely complicated....

    I hope this fire passes soon. I have had the fires in the past and they did pass.. the body does heal, it really does.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  7. #7
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    Pam,
    I wish I had a magic potion recipe or at least some helpful information, unfortunately I do not. I do however have an abundance of empathy and understanding. I've had minor bouts of sciatic pain and boy oh boy, I am so sorry you are dealing with so much of it. I truly hope you find some relief very soon and can start feeling like yourself again.

    Sending healing thoughts your way,
    Becky
    Becky
    51 years old
    Married 28 years
    3 kids ages 23, 21 and 17
    Fused T-10 through L-5 June, 2008
    Developed junctional kyphosis, flat-back and sagittal imbalance
    Revision Surgery June 27, 2011
    Fused T-4 thru S-1 with pelvic anchor screws
    Take 2 revision October 15, 2013 to locate source of continued pain
    Pseudoarthrosis at L-3, 2 screws removed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    Thank you so much Sally, Jennifer, Ed, and Becky for your knowledgeable feedback
    and empathy.
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

  9. #9
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    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    Pam

    Through the years when something went wrong, the docs always asked me “what did you do?” Of course, my answer was always nothing, then eventually realized what event triggered it off....

    Did you have a fall at 7 weeks? Did you bend over, or pick up something wrong?

    I had an extreme pain event at 22 months and realized it was from bending over pulling down clipping my toenails. “Soft tissue injury” was diagnosed, it was 9-10 level pain. It did pass....

    Just wondering...

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  10. #10
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    Nashville, TN
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    Ed,

    No, there was no triggering event like bending over or falling. The only unusual thing would have been my increase in the sitting time. I sat for almost an hour one day a few days or the week prior to this pain starting; whereas I was sitting for a period of about 40-45 minutes. I have wondered if the heigth of my car seat, my bed, and some of our chairs causing me to "scoot" into and out of might have caused this. I mentioned this to Karen at Dr. Lenke's office as well, but she didn't seem to think this alone would have caused it.
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

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