Phantom back pain after spinal fusion


Q: I had a 360 spinal fusion 1 year ago. After initial pain from surgery, I was practically pain free for 10 months. I was at work in a preschool, a child was holding my hand and was upset and pulled me very unexpectedly, very rapidly down and to the right. My foot went numb immediately, my back started aching and a pain running down my right leg. Every day since I have felt exactly like i did when my disk was herniated. The pain is severe. My surgeon ordered a mri without contrast, said its all fine and I am just having phantom pain. After 10 months pain free is it possible to have such severe, constant phantom pain?

Symptoms:  Lower back pain, pain down leg, severe foot pain and numbness

A:   Thank you for your question. Yes this is possible. However, your description may indicate that you may have sustained an acute reinjury of your neck. The sudden pulling motion that you described, may have lead to a pinched nerve somewhere along your spinal column leading to your symptoms. Since it is in the lower back, it could very well be due to an injury to the lumbar spine. We do recommend that you go for a second opinion from another doctor, and be thoroughly evaluated for a lower back injury. You may need to have x rays and and another MRI of your lower back to assist your doctor in elucidating the nature of your possible injury. If you are having phantom pain, then there are special pain alleviating medications, or neuroleptic medication which can assist in treating these symptoms.

Thank you for consulting

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