I had Spinal Stenosis Surgery and my back still hurts can you help me?

by Paul
(Florida)

I had back surgery six months ago for spinal stenosis and my back still hurts. What can I do?

They did surgery on my L4 and L5 vertebrae to remove bone that was pressing on the nerves. My legs are doing better and the horrible sciatica is gone but now my back hurts. Did I just trade one pain for another?

My doctor tells me that I should learn to live with it. I need help what should I do?
Thank you for your help.
Paul



Hi Paul,
I am sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time after your surgery. You don't say exactly, but it sounds like you probably had a decompressive laminectomy at L4 and L5.

During the surgery the surgeon removes some bone and then cleans out around the nerves to relieve pressure. That is why your legs are feeling better.

It is common after back surgery to have pain for several months as you try to return to regular activities. Some people will grow painful scar tissue that attaches to joints and nerves. This may cause pain that never goes away completely.

There may be some pain that you do need to learn to live with, but there are some things you can do. First, have you been back to the surgeon?

If you are still having pain you need to be seen by the surgeon and have xrays to make sure that the surgery has healed correctly and completely. Your pain may be from displaced bones, residual infection, or other problems that can develop after surgery.

One of the problems that can develop after spinal stenosis surgery is the abnormal motion. Removing the bone that is pressing on the nerves does relieve the pain in your legs but there is a risk that your spine will become unstable.

In some cases people require a second surgery to fuse the vertebra together. Hopefully, this is not your situation. Your surgeon can make that determination.

If the surgeon tells you that everything is healed and you are doing fine you should ask for a referral to physical therapy.

Sometimes after surgery you can develop weakness, muscle imbalances, or changes in your posture that can cause pain. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to correct these problems.

You should also ask for pain medication, or a referral to a pain management doctor. Many doctors are not comfortable prescribing pain medications for long periods of time but if you are having pain it needs to be treated.

The pain management specialist can prescribe medication to make you more comfortable while you are healing and trying to get back to your life.

Good luck with your recovery, it might not be easy but we know you can do it. For more information check out Back Pain After Surgery and Spinal Stenosis Surgery.

We care about your progress. Please check back in with us and let us know how you are doing.
Dave



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