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Can pain and heaviness occur after spinal surgery?

Q: I had gone through a spinal surgery (L4-S1) last year. Before 15 days of the surgery, I had two quick attacks in my left leg. But after the surgery still I am feeling heaviness and pain in my legs; can you tell me why?

A:If you had heaviness before the surgery, it may take a few months for the heaviness to subside as it takes time for the nerve to recover. If you did not have heaviness before the surgery and you feel that it has come after surgery, this is a known complication in some cases due to handling of a stretched nerve. This again would take a few months to recover. Pain can occur due to a variety of reasons, including:

  1. bruising of the nerve at surgery,
  2. scar tissue formation,
  3. so called recovery pain related to recovery of the nerve after removal of the pressure on it by a slipped disc. This pain is characterised by pins and needles.
  4. pressure points unrecognised at surgery and therefore not taken care of
  5. recurrent slip disc.
In some patients, it does take time for the pain to settle down, as much as 5-6 months and it is wise to wait for the natural healing to take place.

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