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Numbness and burning in foot after back surgery

My story - Male, healthy, non smoker married with 2 kids......2 days before my 40th b-day I had a micro discectomy / laminectomy for a massive disc herniation at l5-s1. I was in severe pain prior with mild numbness in my left foot and leg and very little back pain. After surgery, Which was 9 days after my herniation I have had had severe burning n my left foot and baby toe all the time. I'm now 12 weeks post surgery and still have severe numbness from my left baby toe back to my heel. I saw my surgeons PA at 6 weeks and she said that this was typical due to all the nerves being irritated from the herniation and surgery. I am able to walk only with my with flip flops, as I can not wear a sock or shoe because it makes the burning worse. I have been on both gabapentin and lyrica and neither have helped. I started PT after 6 weeks and that made my symptoms worse and they requested that I call my surgeon to update him. The dr requested me to go for another MRI to make sure that I do not have a reherniation. I had that last week, but have not heard back yet from my surgeon. I'm now starting to get nervous, since I hear that I should have had some improvement by now. I know it takes a long time for a nerve to heal, but I have had no improvement since my surgery and possible worse at times. The worst thing about these sites, everyone is dealing with similar issues and then you do not hear from them again. I was wondering if anyone has gotten better with time or do they just stop posting? I will check back when I get my MRI results. No one understands unless they have gone through this. My wife and kids have been great, but I know they are also very concerned dad is never going to be back to normal.
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Comments

  • Hi! I'm in a very similar situation to you. I too had a massive herniation of the L5/S1. I had a microdiscectomy/laminectomy on May 30th and walked out of the surgery center a new person. I had no numbness or pain (other than from the incision). Five weeks later, the sciatic pain returned and I did reherniate. My symptoms were not as severe and included more numbness this time, but not continual, only when standing/walking.

    I had a second microdiscectomy on Aug. 14th and upon standing for the first time after the surgery, I noticed that my left foot was extremely numb and weak. I had a slight degree of foot drop, but was still able to walk, so I went on home and assumed it would disappear over time.

    As of 3 weeks out, I still have a somewhat numb foot, my ankle and foot are still weaker than they should be and now I have extreme over-sensitivity in my toes and the top of that foot. It's hard to describe, but burning is a fairly accurate description. Even the slightest touch drives me insane. I'm having significant trouble sleeping because every time I move, the pain in my foot takes a while to settle down.

    I am choosing to assume that this is the nerve healing after all the trauma of the last year+. I know it's different than my experience reherniating back in July. I hope for both of our sakes that it's a good (but highly annoying) sign!!
    Christina
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
  • Rods painRods pain Posts: 24
    edited 09/05/2014 - 6:02 PM
    Thanks for telling me your story!! I have Been reading stories for 3 months now and finally took the time to post mine. I'm trying to stay positive, but every day it fets harder and harder. I was at my sons football practice tonight in agony hoping one day I would get back to normal or at least very close to it. I will be sure to keep you updated on my progress and please be sure to do the same, since we had surgery around the same time. Anyone with a success story or signs of getting is always great to hear since there are so many bad stories out there.
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  • Neuro Surgeon called, and said the MRI looks good. He said that there is some normal scarring, but overall appears to be good. He said that due to my massive herniation, I probably damaged the S1 nerve pretty good. With that said, He's going to set me up for a back injection to see if that will help. He did state, as they all do, that the nerve heals very slowing from the top down and it should get better. I'm hoping that's the case for me.
  • That's a good update! Thanks for letting us know and hang in there.
    Christina
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
  • I recently had an ESI a week ago with no success. I also had a EMG & NCS this week, and that showed I have moderate nerve damage. The dr I had told me about his neighbor with almost the same symptoms and surgery that I had and said it took him almost 1 year to get back to normal. I feel that I'm getting my strength back in my leg, and the dr said that was a very good sign, and that shows that the nerve is starting to regenerate. If I can just get the severe numbness and pain to go, I would be very happy!! But at this time it looks like a waiting game.
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  • edited 09/23/2014 - 5:27 AM
    Hi everyone,
    I hope you have room left in your boat for one more ;) I had L5/S1 disc replacement on August 19th. I'm now at the 5 week mark. I was hoping that by this time I would be feeling a lot better (I was in the ER a few times after surgery) but I still have severe numbness and pain in my right foot, going up my leg, into my right buttock. I'm sure this all starts to sound the same to everyone, but to know that I'm not alone helps.
    I've had everything checked post-op to make sure the disc placement was right and that nothing else was wrong. So, it seems like it's just a waiting game. They said I could have a nerve block if the pain and numbness doesn't subside but that it should get better on it's own. Maybe I'm just being impatient and over sensitive. I'm on so much pain medication that it really makes me nervous. Without it though I'm just back at the ER. I feel like I'm putting my husband through the ringer. I'm 41, I thought, I don't know what I thought...that I had more time left? I know my life isn't over but if it's going to be this painful from here on out I can't see how I am going to be able to exist let alone be a partner to anyone.
    Thanks for reading my lamentation. My thoughts are with you. Any tips on coping would be greatly appreciated. My husband and I see a therapist. I'm glad for that.
  • My daughter, 8 years old, is having the same thing, now it is in her lower legs. She is 6 weeks post op for fusion of L5/S1. It just started 2 days ago. Now she can barely walk. I am finding a lot of people having these same nerve issues. I hope you find relief soon, it's hard to swallow the fact that we all have this surgery to get better, not have worse pain.
    Meisha
  • Thank you,
    It has been very difficult. She was started on gabapentin last week for nerve pain in her tail bone area. We are seeing our surgeon in the morning. I hope we can get a handle on it since she is scheduled for surgery in November to place magnetic rods in her back. I have already found this site so.helpful, although it is mostly adults. In a sense it is good to.know she is not alone.
    Meisha
  • Rods painRods pain Posts: 24
    edited 09/23/2014 - 5:12 PM
    Recently, I stopped taking my Lyrica as I felt it was doing nothing for me. Wow I was wrong. I went to a football game and was in severe pain the entire day. I have Now started back on Gabapentin since it's a lot cheaper than Lyrica. This does not take away the pain entirely, but it helps. I would make sure you ask your Dr about these 2 drugs and see if they help.

    Meisha, I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. I can't imagine one of my kids having to go through this at such a young age. Make sure you see if they can prescribe one of these drugs to her, maybe it will help. I have read several posts on here that it can be a wonder drug, so let's pray it can help your daughter. I will keep her in my prayers.
  • Rods painRods pain Posts: 24
    edited 11/10/2014 - 12:16 PM
    It has now been 5 months sine my Micro D surgery for a MASSIVEl5-S1 disc herniation. I had bad nerve pain in my left foot right after surgery which I currently still have. The pain has subsided a little, but Its still pretty bad when I wear a shoe and walk. With that said, I can get almost 100% relief while laying down on the couch or in bed and sitting and driving is manageable. I went back to my surgeon, and he has now given me a referral to a pain management Dr. He thinks I have nerve damage to my S1 nerve root and only time will tell if it regenerates. Along with my nerve pain, I also have some muscle atrophy in my left calf. Has anyone else with similar issues had a successful outcome? I have researched a SCS, but it appears that maybe a little premature at this time. I have been doing my PT / stretches, and at times that seems to irritate my nerves even more. I'm also, still on 1800mg of Gabbapentin and that appears to help a little, but I feel like I'm always in a fog. Any success stories would be appreciated as each day it gets harder and harder to keep up hope.
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