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Thread: Sciatic pain - scar tissue?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Nashville, TN
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    Sciatic pain - scar tissue?

    I have tried to hold off posting of my situation for as long as possible hoping it would improve and I hate to be such a downer. 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? And IF scar tissue is the cause is it a hopeless case?? I have read about cases of this internet stating that nothing can be done and you are dealing with a lifetime of pain management. 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 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 any other possible causes would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by TwinmomTN; 09-08-2012 at 10:05 AM.
    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
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    129
    Pam,
    I have a friend going through this as well. She is on the forum and posted about this issue. She also had injections with no relief. She is 18 months post op now and seems to be doing well. I will say I think she pushes through the pain. If she thinks about it, it is much worse. She has gotten back to the dating scene and has thrown herself back into her work. I know this isn't the news you wanted to hear. You are still so early in you recovery. I wish you only the best
    Heidi
    Scheduled for surgery with Dr. Lenke Oct. 2012
    53*T 71*L
    Surgery 10/05/2012 T4-pelvis
    Correction: looks perfect! Will find out how perfect at future appointments

  3. #3
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    Heidi,

    Thanks so much for your reply. What is your friend's username? I'd love to read some of her posts and
    compare her situation to mine.

    You will do great with your surgery. Try to occupy your time with exercise and
    as much walking as you can. Of course, music always helps too.

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,163
    Hi Pam,

    I am really sorry to hear of your sciatica. I did have some odd and unpleasant nerve-type symptoms appear around 6 weeks post-op on both of my surgeries. Both times I developed numbness in the left underside of toes, and foot, with tingling along the lower leg and some pain in the left upper leg. These sensations appeared suddenly and I was very concerned and disappointed. Then after a period of weeks they suddenly went away completely. I am now completely free of this except I do get a little left upper leg pain on days where I have been very active and overdone things.

    It sounds like your sciatica is very severe and debilitating though, and I wonder if you have been in contact with Lenke's office recently about it? What do they have to say about it? Is PT an option, just to try? Sometimes a very skilled PT who actually does body work (not just prescribe exercises) can pinpoint a reversible cause of this type of thing.

    Take care, and please let us know how you are doing.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  5. #5
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    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    Gayle,

    Yes I have been talking with Karen at Lenke's office quite often who suggested the injections. I did try a local p.t., but did not feel comfortable since some of the exercises they had me doing Lenke's office did not approve of. I also spoke to Janet, Lenke's p.t., yesterday who did not recommend anything beyond her 0-6 month regimen. I just feel so hopeless and like my life is over. Unfortunately, I have two 11 year old children that are basically without a mom. Unless there is drastic improvement in the pain in the next 3 months, I will lose my job. My marriage is suffering since my husband has to do everything at home so he has constant demands. Living the last 3 months in bed, I do feel like my life is over.
    Last edited by TwinmomTN; 09-08-2012 at 02:13 PM.
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

  6. #6
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    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Pam--I feel so bad for you. That does seem like an awful lot of pain you are going through at this point. Do they want you to still continue with 2 miles every day even with that much pain. I had pretty much the same surgery and I truly doubt I was close to 2 miles at that time. Plus, I was on meds for over a year. SLOWLY going down. Could it be you need to just give it a rest for a few days? I really am just guessing. It sounds like you've tried a lot of things. I hope you can find some answers. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2011
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    Southern CA
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    Do you have bone spurs that could be pressing on your nerve/s?
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  8. #8
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    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    Sorry to be so ignorant, but how are bone spurs detected? I had x-rays at 8 weeks post and a CT myelogram in July, florescopy with the injections.
    Last edited by TwinmomTN; 09-08-2012 at 09:23 PM.
    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
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    2,262
    Quote Originally Posted by TwinmomTN View Post
    Sorry to be so ignorant, but how are bone spurs detected? I had x-rays at 8 weeks post and a CT myelogram in July, florescopy with the injections.
    Dr Bederman saw them, first on an Xray. I could even see them . I cannot remember if he did any other tests before surgery.
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  10. #10
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    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    bone spurs on my spine were found with MRI...

    jess

  11. #11
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    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
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    1,707
    Pam,
    I feel so bad hearing of your severe pain. I know you've been in contact with Dr. Lenke's office often, but I would persist since you have not gotten much relief. There are others who have had similar issues during the first six months or so who eventually had the symptoms diminish. Obviously, until that hapens, you need some answers and pain relief. Maybe, like Janet (Doodles) said, you should break up your walks during the day and shorten the distance temporarily. You need to vent all of your frustrations on the forum and not be concerned with a post that isn't full of positives. I hope you get some answers soon.
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
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    Thank you everyone so much for your responses! For those that had this and eventually got diminished pain, I'm wondering what helped or if it just got better with time?
    Pam, age 49
    Thoracolumbar curves 80 and 40 corrected to 20 degrees
    April 20, 2012 surgery with Dr. Lenke
    T-3 to sacrum

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,163
    Hi Pam,

    I am so sorry also that nothing seems to be helping. This is a very difficult recovery anyway, and having school-age kids at home adds to the difficulty.

    I agree with Karen to keep contacting Dr Lenke's office and let them know how bad you still are feeling. You are way too young to have to live like this.

    Take care,
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Pam,
    Do a search for "Confused Mom". This is Evelyn's thread, "Facing Surgery-Decisions . . ."who will have her yearly check up with Dr. Lenke on September 19. Go to post #155 and she has concerns about some pains which sound similar to yours and I think is doing much better. Possibly, you could send her a PM. I just noticed that I have 2 PM's. I hate it that I don't get an email notification any more and miss respondig to people.
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    974
    Hi Pam,

    I'm glad you posted. Everyone needs to know about this, and hopefully you will get some ideas. There was a woman in the Tampa area who had severe leg pain for a while who actually tried hypnosis and got relief. I tend to be skeptical of such things, but I also am a believer in whatever works!! Search under Tampa.

    At this point I would call Kelly directly, not Karen, and explain exactly how bad your situation is. Use the words you used on your posts. I cannot believe Dr. Lenke will leave you in this condition. He will do a revision if necessary. If there is scar tissue, can't it be removed? If bone can, then why not scar? Also, I would think more imaging is in order at this point, since the pain is not diminished. If it is something progressive, like scar tissue or BMP pressing on a nerve, maybe new images would show it?

    You have got to fight for yourself right now!!! You will WILL get through this!!!!!

    Karen, Pam and I have been in touch for a while, but I don't think my pain was as bad as hers. I'll be six months at 9/19 appt., just five weeks ahead of Pam. My sciatica is much better, but not gone. But still I would say I'm able to function relatively normally. I cannot walk as fast or as far as I would like, though.

    On that note, Pam, I do think you should ask Kelly about decreasing walking for a while. Maybe give the nerve some time to rest. Also, ask her when you can take anti-inflammatories. You should be getting close. If inflammation is the issue, that could be a godsend.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers!

    Evelyn
    age 48
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Broken rods 12/1/19; scheduled for revision fusion L1-L3-4 with Dr. Lenke 2/4/2020
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

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