Neuropathy in feet post-laminectomy

Posted by domiha @domiha, Sep 30 9:38am

This is my first post! I'm 72. I was diagnosed with lumbar stenosis in Sept. 2021, at age 70. Symptoms such as heaviness in feet and pain in legs showed up overnight. I was sent to an orthopedist who recommended PT. I then saw two other orthopedists and two neurologists for other opinions, all of whom suggested surgery but with slight variations. I finally went with an orthopedic spine specialist and after a year of PT and epidural injections and meds like Lyrica and Gabapentin that made me loopy, I had a 4-level laminectomy (L2-S1) in November 2022. Surgery went very well and I eventually went for more PT. But after several months, I was still experiencing some balance issues. So the surgeon sent me for an MRI of my neck, and found a disc was pushing against my spinal cord. He said this could be the cause of my balance issues and it was not something I needed to wait and watch. So on May 1, I had a one-level discectomy and fusion. That surgery also went very well. I noticed some improvement after the surgery, but I am now back to PT twice a week… and still have some weakness in my legs and core… and I wobble a bit at times.. Thankfully, I have NOT fallen. I still have the tingling and numbness in my feet…. I take Benfotiamine and R Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements daily. I am doing everything I possibly can to get back to where I was before all this started. It is beginning to affect me psychologically, as well, and sometimes I just want to give up. 🙁 The last time I saw the surgeon he looked back at my lumbar MRI and said I have NO disc left between L5 and S1… and if he went back in and did a fusion of L4-L5-S1 that would likely put an end to the neuropathy in my feet. He said I have some spondylolisthesis that may be still compressing the nerves there a bit. Obviously, there is no guarantee…. But I'm wondering if anyone with neuropathy in the feet had it go away after a lumbar fusion. Anyone here had surgery that fixed the neuropathy?? I just want my life back!! I can walk…. and I can drive… but I hesitate to travel far with the balance issues. I have searched the newsgroup, but many of the discussions are several years old and those people may no longer even be here… thus, I started with this new post. Thank you for any suggestions, tips, pointers you might give. Best to ALL!!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Neuropathy Support Group.

Welcome @domiha, I'm sure you are not alone with your questions. I have degenerative disc disease along with idiopathic small fiber peripheral neuropathy along with balance problems. I'm not sure if you've seen these newer discussions that might be a good place to connect with others sharing some of your symptoms.
— Two Stage Fusion/Laminectomy – Anyone Have Perspective?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/two-stage-fusionlaminectomy-anyone-have-perspective/
— Lumbar stenosis and C spine stenosis: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/lumbar-stenosis-and-c-spine-stenosis/.

You mentioned you are back to doing PT twice a week @jenniferhunter started the following discussion which you may find helpful – Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) for treating compression and pain: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/.

Have you heard of or tried Myofascial Release Therapy?

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I had an L5-S1 fusion that was supposed to take the pressure off a nerve that was supposedly causing my back pain ansdneuropathy in feet. Surgery went fine, but never helped with the oain. Tread lightly when it comes to surgery, Get multiple opinions. Check around (like here). I am convinced that surgery can be helpful if it is truly going to fix the proble. Too often, it seems as if these surgeons are just making "best guess" diagnoses.

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@johnbishop

Welcome @domiha, I'm sure you are not alone with your questions. I have degenerative disc disease along with idiopathic small fiber peripheral neuropathy along with balance problems. I'm not sure if you've seen these newer discussions that might be a good place to connect with others sharing some of your symptoms.
— Two Stage Fusion/Laminectomy – Anyone Have Perspective?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/two-stage-fusionlaminectomy-anyone-have-perspective/
— Lumbar stenosis and C spine stenosis: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/lumbar-stenosis-and-c-spine-stenosis/.

You mentioned you are back to doing PT twice a week @jenniferhunter started the following discussion which you may find helpful – Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) for treating compression and pain: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/.

Have you heard of or tried Myofascial Release Therapy?

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Thank you, John!
I will be sure and check out the links you shared.
I've not heard of Myofascial Release Therapy and will also look into that.
I appreciate the welcome….. and thanks again for sharing all this info!

Mike 🙂

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@heisenberg34

I had an L5-S1 fusion that was supposed to take the pressure off a nerve that was supposedly causing my back pain ansdneuropathy in feet. Surgery went fine, but never helped with the oain. Tread lightly when it comes to surgery, Get multiple opinions. Check around (like here). I am convinced that surgery can be helpful if it is truly going to fix the proble. Too often, it seems as if these surgeons are just making "best guess" diagnoses.

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Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sorry to hear the surgery didn't provide relief. Both of the surgeries I had "helped," but the neuropathy is still there. And it was not there before the initial diagnosis of stenosis. And I agree, the surgeon's suggestion that a fusion might help is certain no guarantee.

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I had neuropathy after laminectomy. I have had 3 laminectomy surgeries over 12 years, my neuropathy has only gotten worse but I am not sure those surgeries caused my problems. I am also exploring the possibility of stating induced neuropathy. I just recently discontinued my stating to see if there is any change.

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@26sabrina

I had neuropathy after laminectomy. I have had 3 laminectomy surgeries over 12 years, my neuropathy has only gotten worse but I am not sure those surgeries caused my problems. I am also exploring the possibility of stating induced neuropathy. I just recently discontinued my stating to see if there is any change.

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I have been on a statin for 25+ years. I never thought about that being a possible cause of my neuropathy. Please post a follow-up if you notice ANY improvement from stopping the statin, @26sabrina . Best wishes!

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Sounds a lot more severe than my issues. I’m 82, 3 back surgeries with lingering discomfort for which I am now depending on “pain management” (core PT, stretching, CBD, Tens, brace, and occasional massage). But my 20year treatment for preventing the foot shock/tingling is cinnamon pills twice a day. If it flares up I take another cinnamon.

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@cotuit

Sounds a lot more severe than my issues. I’m 82, 3 back surgeries with lingering discomfort for which I am now depending on “pain management” (core PT, stretching, CBD, Tens, brace, and occasional massage). But my 20year treatment for preventing the foot shock/tingling is cinnamon pills twice a day. If it flares up I take another cinnamon.

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You're 10 years ahead of me @cotuit …. I, too, use TENS, go to PT twice a week, do stretching, try to walk regularly, use an electric foot massager that helps a bit, and have an occasional expensive massage. But I've not heard of using cinnamon. What brand, what dosage, and where do you buy, please…. ?? THANKS!!!

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I'd tend to agree with what others say above: surgery can cause problems, even months later. You have had several back surgeries so you know what to expect. I have had one major L2 disc replacement due to an accident. The surgeon told me he used some electronic device to sense if he was damaging nerves during the operation. And thanks to @cotuit for the tip on cinnamon. Never heard that one. Will try anything to avoid surgery.

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I just researched Cinnamon tablets. Be sure you check out the health issues related to them and the possible side effects. I don't want to create more problems for myself, so I will forego them for now. I also read that Ceylon Cinnamon is the purest.

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