Pain after spinal stenosis surgery

by Anonymous

I had spinal decompression surgery the fifth of June this year; I had a microdiscectomy in the L4-L5. I am not in too much pain but still have pain when i stand up from sitting. I feel my lower back tighten up and my legs feel tight and feel a pulling sensation in my thigh muscles, and my legs feel numb more on my left and also my ankles and feet feel numb. I drive a forklift at my job which requires me to sit for long periods at a time. So I think some of my problem has to do with a shortened psoas muscles, because I feel a pulling of the abdomen and groin region making it hard for me to walk.

sorry to hear you are having such a hard time after your surgery. I want to commend you for getting back to work. I know it must not have been easy, but the exercise is good rehab for your back and having something to do is good for your mental outlook.

I think your assessment of the problem is probably correct. The psoas muscles are the muscles that flex your hip and when they get tight your hip cannot extend, or stretch out, the way it needs to when you stand upright.

When your activity is limited, both before and after surgery, many different muscles and tendons can get short and tight. This makes it difficult for you to resume your normal activity after surgery.

I think evaluation by a physical therapist could be very helpful for you. They could assess your posture and the range of motion of your joints as well as check for muscle imbalances. They will develop an exercise program designed for your specific condition. Stretching exercises will improve your range of motion and make it easier for you to stand and walk. Correcting muscle imbalances will improve your posture and allow your muscles to relax while still holding you in a comfortable position.

You also mention numbness in your feet and legs. Was that there before surgery? If it was not there before surgery it is most likely from residual inflammation irritating the nerves in the area of your surgery. As your back continues to heal, eventually the inflammation should resolve and the numbness should improve, but it may never go away completely.

If the numbness was there before surgery, you may have permanent nerve damage that hopefully will improve over time, but it just depends how tight and how long the nerves were squeezed before surgery. In both cases it will be several months before you know how much the nerves are going to recover. Most doctors will wait 2 years after surgery before they tell you that your back is completely healed and whatever numbness you are experiencing is most likely permanent.

Overall it sounds like you are doing very well and getting back to living your life after a big surgery. My advice would be to get referred to a physical therapist and learn an exercise program that you can do at home, and keep working, that is probably the best therapy of all.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress, we would love an update in 6 months or a year.

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