Prolonged Nerve pain / tingling after back surgery

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi all - I had successful upper back surgery in early September to release a herniated disc (c6-7)  that was causing  me alot of pain and nerve damage on my left arm.

I was recovering well then contracted zoster virus / shingles in late October (over 10 weeks ago). I then got a rash on my left side near my groin that is basically looking like dark scars and nearly healed.

I’ve been taking my recovery very seriously and doing back  strengthening exercising daily, seeing a physiotherapist twice a week and on my 6th week of acupuncture. Beyond that I am maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle...I have only been prescribed ibuprofen to date. It’s the best I’ve taken care of myself in my adult life. I’m 45 btw...

My reason for posting is that I continue to have bouts of needle like pain all over my legs and soreness in my back. Its not the same issues I had before my surgery and Its gotten worse the past 2 weeks . The thing that affects me most is that I am exhausted constantly and have a terrible temperament - any stress seems to worsen it.

My orthopedist is also doing my acupuncture so I speak to her weekly. She says my rash is nearly healed and the zoster virus will pass with it but she also said it would be over a couple of weeks back.

My girlfriend is convinced my doctor isn’t properly diagnosing me. I’m frustrated, exhausted and in pain and just want to get better...

Anyone out there been through a similar horror and/ or have any advice as to what I should / should not do?  

Thanks for reading! 

1 like, 9 replies

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Johnnie. At this point I wonder if you don't need a second opinion. Maybe back off  acupuncture. Just a thought. Diane 

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  • Posted

    Hi jonnieb

     I to Have had shingles in July. I still have some numbing and tingles in my  back and thigh. The dark rash is still on my leg and groin. My doctor gave me pregabalin for nerve pain as I was told that after two months it is PHN. Which could last up to a year and longer that I heard from others. I stayed on the medication for two months with very little change so I weaned myself off and now take an xstrength tylonal which helps. I take extra vitamins C D B12. I still feel tired on some days but try to rest when possible and not allow stress to overtake me. Stress is the worst thing as it can bring the virus active again. Not much you can do but look after yourself with your diet and rest. This too will pass, some take longer than others.  You will find a lot of help from this forum as you will see the virus is so different on each individual.. Take care 

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  • Posted

    Hello Jonnie, first off keep up your healthy lifestyle, so important when en you contract shingles. Witbout being too long winded, i contacted shingles after a total knee replacement and had nerve pain for 3 months. Also have reoccurring shingles, and have had many outbreaks since March 2015. Shingles vary from person to person and in various degrees. My original outbreak was by far the most severe. The doctor's don't always have much information on this topic as they are general practice, so I have gained far more helpful information on this site. Most doctors have suggested getting the vaccine when you haven't had a outbreak for a year but I haven't made it to a year yet...Lol I know my body well enough now that I always have some valacyclovir on hand and tramadol. As soon as I feel the tingling/tired mood change etc. I take the medication and usually in 3 days I feel much better. My reoccurring outbreak us always on the small of my back and the rash can vary in size. Stress, fatigue and not eating clean can prolong the onset as well as the outbreaks. Sounds like you don't have the rash but internal shingles which can be so frustrating and painful. Many people don't like taking pain medication, however as stress can prolong the issue I highly recommend a few days if less pain to calm your nerves. Your girlfriend may be correct on the acupuncture at this time. A stress free environment or a calming place works well. No Stress, less pain and clean food equals less shingles....Hope this helps and good luck.

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    • Posted

      I wasn’t aware of any medication apart from ibuprofen as my doctor said there wasn’t anything I can take - I will ask about what you recommended. Given my doctor didn’t really relate the stress to it reoccurring - it’s 100% clear now I’m not crazy. Thank you so much! 
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    • Posted

      Your most welcome! This site has been very helpful. I have been relaying this information to my doctor and he approves. He has said there aren't enough specialists in this field, certainly no one in my area. Just an added note, francense oil really works well on the rash and turmeric for inflammation. Heal well everyone!

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  • Posted

    Sorry your having problems. Im on 8 weeks .Rash healed at 6 weeks and im in just as much nerve pain as day one. Just horrible swelling and nerve tingles and tazar sharp shooting pains. Nothing has helped. . im headed to a pain neurologist next. Like you said a little relief just a day would be fabulous! Good luck!
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    • Posted

      Yes I feel for you! Mine lasted 3 months. It was horrible. We do not have a pain neurologist Here. Most specialists are in Vancouver. That's 800 km from here. I'm dealing with other health issues now and I do see a specialist there. After dealu g with this for nearly 3 years, I must say by sticking to a healthy diet, taking lysine and other probiotics, walking a lot and some restorative yoga has made my life bareable. I feel I'm getting stronger and outbreaks are not as severe. Keep the faith and take pain meds if you need them. Best of luck .! Ps a little red wine doesn't hurt...

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  • Posted

    So.. I got shingles about a year after my spinal fusion from S1 to L3. It started off like hives down my left backside and around the front of the left of the genital regions. The first doctor I saw misdiagnosed it. Ended up in ER ...so embarrassed because I didn't know what was going on. Shingles. I was already in pain management. I called them and told them what was going on and they just increased my low dose of Percocet and gabapentin for the active phase and I weened back down a few weeks later. My pain hasn't stopped . It's still worse than before. The only thing they suggest is is more gabapentin (which I don't tolerate well) or injections. I have arachnoiditis and the spinal injections can make it worse. It is odd that the shingles happened alone the s1 dermatone where I had surgery. It's manageable for now with topicals and rest but I don't sleep much either and feel ran down (which makes me fear a reoccurrence). The area where they were still hurts . It would be awkward if I were dating anyone because it still hurts. I'm sorry if this is TMI , I just stumbled on your story and it sounded similar. You seriously need to get some pain management and sleep (easier said than done ) . It's hard to heal when you're not sleeping though. I've been ordering Penetrex from Amazon and rubbing around where my surgical scar is when the burning gets to be too much . It seems to help with inflammation and has a cooling sensation .

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