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14 months post-op L5/SI discectomy and something new going on.

Started by mgroeger on 01/19/2017 10:13am

Here's the scoop...

- 44 year old male, active - walking, hiking.
- 11/13/15 had a L5/S1 discectomy on right side to remove large and small fragment which broke off disc and was crushing sciatic nerve. (This was a ton of fun as it happened while on a business trip in India!!!)
- No pain when lying down or reclined sitting but extreme pain when walking (needed to use crutches) before the surgery.
- Surgery was a success and fragments were removed and disc cleaned up.
- Still have mild annular tear in L4/L5 with mild central disc bulge.

I have had extreme low back tightness and deep ache for 10 years. Prior to surgery I had a herniation in the L5/S1 right side which would put mild pressure on sciatic nerve and the only time I had upper butt sciatic pain was when sitting. Never had pain radiating down leg. I wear a low back brace to help with the upper butt pain now after surgery and also before the surgery.
Once disc blew apart I had pain all the way down to pinky toe and a feeling of stepping on a large object in my shoe. I say “it feels like I’m standing on a golf ball”. Doctor said two things: A: The pain in the small of my back will not go away after the surgery since it is a disc fragment we are dealing with. B: You will have nerve pain for up to 18 months as it takes that long for the nerve to heal and you had severe compression of the nerve for two weeks prior to surgery.
Here we are 14 months post-surgery and I still have nerve pain though it is not at all debilitating. I still feel like I’m walking on a golf ball ONLY when I wear shoes, not when barefoot (or just barely feel it then). Now a new thing is happening. I am getting strong leg cramps in my calf and lower hamstring muscles when I stretch in bed in the mornings or when I am laying down sometimes. Also tightness of calf and behind knee. Very odd, not sure what to think about this.
I did have an MRI w/ and w/out contrast five months after surgery and everything looks good as far as the surgery went. I went to a McKenzie based physical therapist and as expected all the stretches are backwards, i.e. no bending over, only “scorpion stile” stretches. My low back muscles are so tight that this causes them to mildly spasm and then be in pain. Ironically the muscles are not “tight” in the sense that I can touch my toes with knees locked. At this point I don’t care and stretch only forward as it is the only thing that offers some relief.

Does anyone have any ideas as to the following:
- What the heck is going on!
- Why the cramping now?
- Ideas for relieving upper butt sciatic pain which has been there for years.
- How to get relief from low back pain. Walking and hiking helps but then I’m a little tight afterwards. Standing still KILLS my low back, sitting hurts, lying down feels good.


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