I’m 13 months post fusion at L5/S1 (after two discectomies and two reherniations in the two years prior). My motor strength has completely returned since surgery, but at about the six month mark I began having recurrent pain in my right back and leg, with the worst of it on the outside of my foot. The pain can be almost absent for weeks at a time, then become triggered and really impact my quality of life.
I had an MRI (results: At L5-S1, compatible with successful fusion surgery. Fairly extensive epidural enhancing scar tissue is again noted adjacent to the right S1 nerve sleeve) and an EMG (There is electrodiagnostic evidence of chronic right S1 radiculopathy, with no evidence of ongoing denervation.), and have been told that I have irreversible damage to S1 causing the pain.
My question is–is it normal for this kind of post-op irreversible pain to be dormant for a while (sometimes many weeks) and then flare up and be almost completely debilitating? I am on neurontin, which doesn’t help much during a bad flare. The pain seems worst when I’m doing a lot of physical activity, so I’m trying to wrap my mind around what exactly is causing this–inflammation or true damage? They are talking about the possibility of a spinal cord stimulator and I wondered your thoughts on those?