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Lumbar Surgery and Neuropathy

Today let's talk about post surgical neuropathy. I had a patient come in today having numbness and tingling in her legs. She had developed these issues 5 years ago after having back surgery. She had a lamenectomy performed at L5. Ever since then she has had the back pain plus issues with her legs. This has gotten so bad that she has to watch every step she takes and cannot walk long distances. When she asked her surgeon about the issue originally he told her that give it 2 years and it might get better. In the mean time he sent her to a pain management doctor. There she was getting Gabapentin and Tramadol on a regular basis.

My patient was concerned because she saw a decline in her ability to walk and to sleep. Her issues were waking her up at night regularly now. She was irritable and did not want to be around people. She was gaining more and more weight. She was depressed that her problems were getting worse and no one seemed to care. She was left alone on an island.

It is very sad to hear this story. Unfortunate this is something that I have heard a thousand times. Surgery is a very uncertain process. Surgeons are tremendous at what they do but, what things look like and what patients feel are two different things. Just because the damage has been repaired does not always equate into the patient not being asymptomatic.

I felt sad for her especially when she started crying because she had no other options. I went through my process and determined that she had a chance. It would be work, but her neuropathy had a chance of getting better. We discussed what it would take and agreed that doing nothing was way worse than doing something. She told me she was skeptical, which I completely understood. I would be too if I were her.

Fast forward 4 months I am excited to tell you that her pain is 85% improved. She has gained muscle strength back. She has feeling in her legs and feet again. She is mobile agile and now ready to live life again. She told me in tears that the other day she was able to get down and play with her grand kids for the first time ever. It was all worth it she said.

Nerves can be healed. It just takes a different approach that has been proven to work. Have faith and keep working, only good things will come.

God Bless

Dr. Thai

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