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Thread: Sciatic pain has returned!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sciatic pain has returned!

    At five months and about one week after my surgery (fused T4 to sacrum with one cage between L4 and L5) my sciatic pain has returned! My surgeon (Dr. Lenke ) put me on a Prednisone dose pack for a week. It helped the arthritis in my fingers but did not relieve the sciatic pain. This has been very disappointing as I dealt with this for about 18 years before my surgery and it was great to not have it for 5 months after surgery. Dr. Lenke is surprised at this returning and said maybe it is due to scar tissue formation. I saw a neurosurgeon locally today and he said that was a possibility and could refer me to a pain management doctor for a possible steroid injection if it gets worse. I never had injections before surgery, just felt I had to tolerate it. I also have been given a new diagnosis this week by my rheumatologist of Psoriatic arthritis. I will start a new treatment this week for that. I am still glad I had my surgery and would do it again as my lumbar pain is gone and my rib is no longer pressing hard on my pelvis. The sciatic pain in my right hip mainly hurts most when I sit so I now stand or walk most of the day. Anyone out there with a similar return of sciatic pain after surgery?
    Jane

  2. #2
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    Oct 2012
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    Jane, make sure your doctor checks your hip well, particularly if the pain doesn't go below your knee. Dick

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Thanks for the suggestion, Dick. The pain does go below the knee though. It goes down my entire leg into my heel.
    Jane

  4. #4
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    I have L4 stenosis with butt and anterior thigh pain. Unfortunately the medical literature and my doctor say that sciatic pain may not be cured by the surgery. I am bummed at this prospect but unfortunately that seems to be reality.

    Hope that you find relief. Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  5. #5
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    Thanks Susan. What puzzles me is that my sciatic pain did disappear for slightly over 5 months and Dr. Lenke did think that the surgery would take care of it. He did not think it would help the burning/ tingling feeling on the top of that thigh but it has left and not returned.
    Jane

  6. #6
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    I am sorry Jane as I know how debilitating that can be. When Dr. Hu said that she wasn't sure that she could cure my sciatic and leg pain, I almost said, "then why are we doing this big surgery?"

    I hope that your 5 months of relief returns. Meanwhile, you might want to try some local steroids.
    Wishing you the best,
    Susan

    PS: I timed my butt and leg pain. It starts 7 minutes after I have rested and is full blown by 10 minutes. Ugggggggg
    Last edited by susancook; 02-05-2013 at 03:41 PM.
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    Jane,

    My pain does not go all the way down my leg, but it did get worse at five months. In my case, I think it was because 1. That was when I finally got off all prescription pain meds and muscle relaxers and 2. I started pushing myself harder at that time (walking more, driving more, sitting more). At 6 months I did scheduled Aleve for 2 weeks, which helped. I also started physical therapy. Honestly, I think just time and trying to rest more has helped the most. The pain still comes on, but not as badly and not as soon. I can walk 40 min at a time now. I know some others on the forum have had recurrent sciatica after surgery. Doodles, I think? Definitely Naptown78. Sally? Anyway, if you try some searches I think you will see it happens. The good news is that it also seems to randomly go away sometimes. Anything you can do to reduce swelling -- like eat less salt -- can help at the margin, in my unscientific opinion. Best wishes!

    Evelyn
    age 44
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Yes, I have had recurrent sciatica from butt to foot--seems like it's every 4-6 months for a couple weeks. The worst is when I lie down of course. I know many wouldn't want it but my chiro I see on a regular basis but he only uses the Impulser, I think it's called. NOTHING at all with big movements. It is plugged in and it just is the tiniest little click usually around sacrum that frees up the nerve. It doesn't always work right away. I know some use Activator--it's sort of like that but probably even less of a "movement". My massage therapist is good for a ton of things but often doesn't help sciatica. I also take Aleve on a daily basis. I have for years. Might not be the best but doctors in 05, I think told me to take 2 every night. I do 2 and 1 a night. I hope something here might help. From years past when I tried physical therapy for that sort of thing, it didn't work. 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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Hi Jane,
    I still have some sciatic pain five years post op. I am taking 600mg Neurontin three times a day and it has helped somewhat. I probably have permanent nerve damage because of being in pain for so long before having surgery. It was pretty awful before my surgery, but I can do so much more now than I could before surgery. Hopefully your pain is not permanent and will go away soon. My biggest pain now is in my SI joint. I no longer can take NSAIDS because of kidney damage which fortunately is repairing itself.
    Take care, 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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    St. Louis Missouri
    Posts
    48
    Quote Originally Posted by jane d View Post
    At five months and about one week after my surgery (fused T4 to sacrum with one cage between L4 and L5) my sciatic pain has returned! My surgeon (Dr. Lenke ) put me on a Prednisone dose pack for a week. It helped the arthritis in my fingers but did not relieve the sciatic pain. This has been very disappointing as I dealt with this for about 18 years before my surgery and it was great to not have it for 5 months after surgery. Dr. Lenke is surprised at this returning and said maybe it is due to scar tissue formation. I saw a neurosurgeon locally today and he said that was a possibility and could refer me to a pain management doctor for a possible steroid injection if it gets worse. I never had injections before surgery, just felt I had to tolerate it. I also have been given a new diagnosis this week by my rheumatologist of Psoriatic arthritis. I will start a new treatment this week for that. I am still glad I had my surgery and would do it again as my lumbar pain is gone and my rib is no longer pressing hard on my pelvis. The sciatic pain in my right hip mainly hurts most when I sit so I now stand or walk most of the day. Anyone out there with a similar return of sciatic pain after surgery?
    Jane
    Yes my Sciatica pain came back also about the same time. Don't waste your time with nerve root injection because they won't be able to get thru the fusion. My surgery was back in 2006. I had to retire at age 55 due to the pain in 2011. I am currently researching SI Joint pain. I am not sure if that what might be causing my pain now. I've been back to Dr. Lenke many times and have used many meds, PT, and almost everything without any long term luck. So now I am looking into Sacroiliact (bad spelling) Joint or SI Joint. Symptoms are very similar to mine. Plus my pain is getting worse and it's really hard to live with this pain daily.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,795
    There's a new SIJ fusion device on the market (Zyga EvoluSIon). We're just about to start an aftermarket trial on the device at UCSF. Part of the protocol are provocative tests. Thought these might help you get it figured out:

    SIJ Provocative Tests
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
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    Jane,
    I'm sorry to hear this. I hope you find something that works to decrease the pain.
    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/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    Linda,

    That looks awfully painful (the diagnostic test). What is the SI joint fusion device? Are you doing this on people who are already fused to S1? Just curious because I had movement in my SI joint preop (or so a PT told me). Now I have hip/butt pain. Wondering if this is something that could help. Not rushing into another surgery. Just sort of curious about it. Thanks!

    Evelyn
    age 44
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2,755
    I've also been diagnosed with left SI joint dysfunction. I have butt pain that goes across my anterior thigh and sometimes also down the back of the leg. It jumps to the back of my left calf and into my heel and bottom of my foot. Sometimes I wake up and the whole leg is tingling. But as of late, it has suddenly and inexplicably felt better. I'm not going to complain. I just hope it lasts. I have not been fused. I'm not sure if this is a fusion related thing or not. I hope everyone feels better.

    Linda, those test look awfully painful. Ugh.
    Be happy!
    We don't know what tomorrow brings,
    but we are alive today!

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