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1.5 Yrs Post L5 Fusion | More Pain?

Started by sethadington on 10/03/2016 9:17am

Good Morning Everyone,

This is my first post in this community. I'm hoping my story might relate to some of the others on here. I could use some feedback and support.

I'll make a long story short. I'm a 31 yr. old, healthy and fit male. Had a Micro-D/Laminectomy/Foraminotomy L4 & L5 in November 2014. Just woke up one day and had this problem. No accidents or warning signs. Had severe right leg sciatica/nerve impingement/drop foot before the first operation. 3 Months post-op L5 blew out again and I had right leg foot drop. Got a new surgeon who was great. Ended up fusing L5 in April 2015. I am very proactive in rehabbing my back and building my core. I never stopped doing all my PT exercises. I do them 3 times a week, still, to this day.

Since the fusion I have had such a rocky road to recovery. My back tweaks easily and I find that my right leg still experiences weakness and pain. It varies depending on how tweaked it is. Some tweaks have lasted months. When it is tweaked bad I could swear that something is wrong with it by how much pain I have. I go through the motions of trying to wait it out and then eventually calling the doctor to let them know and request an appt. to see my doctor and get imaging. Every time I have done this and gotten a new MRI, everything looks fine. My doctors office is getting tired of my calls. I can tell they are annoyed.

I have had a few spinal epidurals since fusion. They thought that maybe the tissue around my nerve was getting inflamed and putting pressure on the nerve, causing the symptoms since I had the first and second operation so close together. I suppose this could just be nerve damage. But if it were nerve damage I would think that it would be consistent?

Has anyone had a similer experience with bad tweaks after fusion resulting in sciatica symptoms reoccuring? Could this be nerve damage even though it's not constant? I feel like I have plateued with my recovery at this level of discomfort and reoccuring/re-emerging pain. I just feel like my recovery has been so up and down to extreme levels even a year and a half post L5 fusion.

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2 Responses


I had level 4-5 fused 4 years ago. I had chronic back pain since but i could deal with it. well then 4 months ago I got terrible sciatic pain down my leg and it also made it feel like I had a broken ankle. the first neurologist told me that my Mri did not show any problem and that perhaps the fusion was loose and when I moved a certain way and was irritating the nerve. after that appointment I had to wait a long time to see my other original doctor that did the fusion (due to vacation time on top of the usual backup.) well when I did see him he said I had stenosis right under the fusion that was hitting the nerve. are you sure your doctor is not missing something like the first doctor I saw did? Good luck.


I had a fusion of L4-5, S1 in 2008. Never went thru PT. I am on meds so at least I can function most days, Function, not live or thrive. I recently had what I called a "hitch in my get-a-long". A kind of gimp in my left leg/hip area. It felt like Sciatica pain and it went from constant to horrible real quick. I went to my Primary Dr. not my Pain Mgt. and he did an xray. He found fluid in 2 areas. He said it had been there for a while. He prescribed steriods and because there were calcium deposits present, Calcium 3 times a day. I just finished the meds so I don't know yet if it will help. You may want to get just an xray at they sometimes show things and MRI doesn't.. Also you may ask your Dr. for a Mylegram. It is very painful but it does show things that an MRI can skip. They usually follow up with an xray. Good luck and I'm proud of you for the PT. I am afraid to do it as I already hurt so bad that i'm afraid it will just make things worse.