KB32ParticipantMay 19, 2021 at 5:10 pmPost count: 13
Hi Dr. Corenman,
6 weeks ago I had an emergency microdiscectomy and laminectomy surgery on my L4/L5. The rushed surgery was due to the fact that I had lost movement and feeling in my left foot and toes. My left foot became paralyzed. Neurosurgeon said it was one of the worst cases of foot drop he had ever seen.
The surgery immediately relieved my sciatica pain and most importantly brought movement back into my foot!
After six weeks, I am still battling extreme pain and tightness in multiple muscles in my butt as well as my hamstring. I can walk on flat ground fine, but I have to reduce my stride length and walk at a slow pace. If I tried to walk at a normal pace I will tighten up right away. I have been working weekly for the past 3 weeks with an acupuncturist as well as a massage therapist to help with relief.
I’ve been wondering how long can this muscle tightness in the butt and hamstring last for after surgery? Have you had patients where these muscles continue to be tight for 3-4 months after surgery? How many months after surgery would you start to be concerned again if no more progress is being made?Donald Corenman, MD, DCModeratorMay 21, 2021 at 7:58 amPost count: 8460
you obviously had a severe compression of the L5 root that resulted in emergency surgery. The could mean that recovery could take as long as 6 months. The fact that you had motor recovery so soon is an excellent prognosis sign.
Your stride length is a direct result of further stretching the sciatic nerve with the end-point excursion of your hip. If the root is swollen or irritable, the length of stride will be diminished as you innately don’t want to stretch the root too much.
You could try a short course oral steroid or even an epidural steroid (after a new MRI to make sure there is no seroma, recurrent herniation or infection which is unlikely). The longer the “tightness” is present, the more likely a new MRI would be considered.
Dr. CorenmanKB32ParticipantMay 21, 2021 at 2:10 pmPost count: 13
Thank you so much for your quick and helpful reply. I really appreciate it!
A couple more questions for you. What are you thoughts in regards to starting Physiotherapy now? My surgeon gave me the go ahead but I am hesitant because I still feel that the nerve root is very sensitive and if I do too much activity it seems to get aggravated rather quickly. I am a 32 year old female who has always been very active and there’s nothing more that I want than to get back to doing what I love to do. But every time i try to walk uphill or walk too many miles my muscles retighten and I’m back to laying down for a few days.
For instance, for the past week and a half when i drive in the car I feel sciatica pain in my left leg again. The sciatica pain only seems to reappear when I’m driving and if I sit too long in the car I tighten up and have a limp again when I get out of the car.
Should I wait another few weeks and see if these symptoms disappear before starting physiotherapy?
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