Surgery Did Not Help Sciatica

Hi everyone.  I'm 6 weeks post-op from having my 2nd lumbar fusion and first time laminectomy, I'll try to be brief.  I was a flight attendant for 35 years before I had to medically retire. About 10 years prior, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. Many people have this. Over those last 10 years, I had hip replacement, shoulder surgery, knee surgery, carpel tunnel surgery, and the back fusion of L4-5. The fusion did not take. So I was in pain all the time, and with the g- forces of take off and landing at least 6 times a day, I was lucky to walk off the plane.  Ok. I retired in 2012, been on pain management ever since.  

About a year ago, I noticed that my right leg started feeling funny when I drove for long periods of time. More than 30 minutes and if I sat in one place, the same thing happened. Over time it got much, much worse that after 5 minutes in the car, I was in excruciating pain. The same thing occurred with any type of sitting. Those were the only 2 times my leg would bother me.  Except if I did a hard day at my little part time job and I was on my feet for too long. 

Anyway, through my pain doctor, I did the PT and the series of steroid shots and even some other shots. Nothing worked.  So back to the surgeon. He took an MRI, saw that L3-4 were pinching the sciatic nerve and he also thought a laminectomy would be a good idea, as well.

Ok,  last Friday at 5 weeks post op, my back is feeling pretty good, I've been released by the doctor to drive, so I decide to go to my daughter’s house. She lives about an hour away. I thought that I'll stop half way just to be safe. Plus, I'm really anxious to see how my leg was going to do.  Well, about 20 minutes into the drive, I thought I was going to die.  I felt the pain coming on at about 10 minutes, but I just kept saying “No, this can't be happening”.  I was so upset. It was actually worse than before the surgery. I got off at the next exit and couldn't get out of the car fast enough and then called my daughter and told her that I was going back home.  

Does anyone know, is this normal?  The surgeon told me that he released the nerve and made more room for it. I just assumed it would be back to normal. Please, if anyone knows differently, I would love to hear from you. Right now, I'm very discouraged.  Thank you and have a great night.

- Susan

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