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lower back pain after total knee replacement surgery (Page 2)

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April 3rd, 2011
Butt pain and hamstring excrutiating after DKR
OMG I am so glad to see I 'm not imagining this. I had double knee replacement in July of 2010 and returned to work on February 1. I am an itenerant art teacher and one day I have 3 schools the other days I have two schools. I am using a rolling walker which I hate but figured I needed it untill this pain decreases. I have explained my pain as a result of having been wheel chair bound for six years. In my mind I thought well my body is saying, "you want to do what now?" "Walk...... I dont think so !". I also thought maybe a lot of it was in my head. As I said , I love my job but if I cant get this pain under control I may have to throw in the towel. Sad I am eligible to retire in February of next year so I was hoping to make it . Anyway thanks for sharing I know it's not all in my head. I had an MRI on Friday so I guess I will keep reading and take it one day at a time.
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replied April 28th, 2011
constant back pain
I had tkr 2 yrs. ago and for the last yr. I have been going to a pain clinic because of the constant pain in my lower back and right leg. I was seen by a neuro that I said I had nerve damage in the L4 and L5.I am tire of the pain and pills and wish that someone could tell me that there is a way to be rid of the pain. This is hurting my ability to do my job and I cannot afford to not work.
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replied April 28th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
constant back pain,

This is something that you should ask of your neurosurgeon, as he/she is the one who knows your history, examination, and the results of any studies.

Has the neurosurgeon advised you of any surgery that could help? If the nerve damage is due to compression from a herniated disc or hypertrophy at the facet joints, there are surgical procedures that can be done to take the pressure off the nerve roots.

If the damage is due to something that is not amenable to surgery, then are there other things that can be done to help the symptoms? Steroid injections (epidural or facet joint) can often give people a great amount of relief. There are some medicines that are for nerve pain, such as gabapentin or pregabalin. Radio frequency ablation can sometimes help. This is usually used if it is the facet joints that are the problem.

It has been shown that maintenance of proper weight, strong core muscles, excellent cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility all significantly help back pain. There are a lot of alternative treatments out there. You might ask to see a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation).


But, you need to discuss all of your concerns with your surgeon. Advise him/her that you want to do something other than just pain pills. It may take some effort on your part, but there are a lot of things out there that can be tried.

Good luck.
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Users who thank Gaelic for this post: lilyfield 

replied May 20th, 2011
Thanks everyone for posting your info. Most helpful! I had bilateral TKR in December 2010, was back to work full-time on April 1 2011. My physical therapist said that 100% of her patients with bilateral TKR complain of lower back pain.
We're not alone! It's just so difficult to deal with surgical recovery pain in the knees AND lower back pain.
Lynn
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replied May 27th, 2011
lower back pain after TKR
I had TKR 5/10 and did really well until 7/10 when I had 4 episodes of intense pain that left me unable to weight bare and I didn't walk further than my car for months. 11/10 I had intense pain in buttocks and back of thighs and saw a Physiatrist who immediately recognized it as a back problem. I had 2 epidurals which created (the steroid) a whole new situation. The ENG/nerve conduction test suggested femoral nerve atrophy as well. Has anyone else had this combination? At this point I am unable to describe what hurts. It is a pattern that occurs nearly everyday. Wake up fine, walk to bathroom (fine) then ankle starts to hurt and go weak, a tight band begins both front and back above the knee and then the back starts. Then a knife like pain begins below the knee (lateral) but is expanding it's range to above the knee. Stretching the hamstrings provides a few minutes of relief. By late afternoon I am in real distress. The Physiatrist said it was 3 separate things; the knee the back and nerve damage. She said alignment is my worst problem but after 70 PT sessions, I am no better off. We just moved to Maine and I need to find someone to treat me. Where should I start? At least no one has suggested that I'm imagining this although my husband's patience is wearing thin.
I am glad to find this thread but would like to hear more success stories.
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replied July 14th, 2011
Finally decided to look up back pain associated with knee replacement. I have left lower back/hip buttock pain and the right knee was replaced also ACL on left knee. So glad to know just as I suspected it is the shorter leg from the knee replacement causing the back pain. I work retail and am on my feet at least 45 hrs with work alone and ? the rest of life who knows. Better living through Lortab? Hardly, I may die of liver failure if this keeps up. Anyone considering disability? I can't take it anymore and my boss is a witch,she gave the seated position to another oldie with good legs!
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replied August 2nd, 2011
I had both knees replace within a 6 month period. I had a knee revision surgery one year after the first knee. My back is so bad that sleeping is a nightmare & trying to bend, sit, walk - you name it - is borderline excrutiating. I do believe that the spinal injections wreak havoc. Docs disagree with this, but between the trauma of surgery and the puncturing of the spinal column with anesthesia, my knees, back and hip all hurt most of the time. Keep exercising & try to limit pain meds (they create a host of different problems.) I am going to ask my doctor for cymbalta - I see that it's supposed to block pain & a nice by product is that maybe I won't be so depressed.
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replied November 2nd, 2011
After my 1st knee replacement I had to have steroid injections in my SI joints. Now after the 2nd tkr I will be scheduling injections again. But not until 8 -10 weeks post op. I am an X-ray tech so I am familiar with tithe positioning cutting and pounding a body takes during surgery so I totally understand why my sciatica and SI joint are hurting but even understanding shoes not make the pain lessen. Good luck to all and don't hesitate to get an injection to give your back time to calm down!
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replied November 28th, 2011
lower lumbar and leg pain after TKR
nov.5th2010 , I had a bilateral knee replacement.
while in the nursing home I laid in bed alot , but could not turn over , my back began to hurt. in addition
to this pain , I felt as though my knees were constricted , sort of like a strap around them that was being tightened , as the months went on I developed sciatia pain down both legs accross my ankle and down to the outside edge of my big toes. I feel like someone is grabbing my calf muscles and are pulling on them. I cant even stand my small yorkie to sit in my lap.
Finally I have decided to go to the Cleveland clinic.
explained my simptoms, the Ortho said this is not comming from you knees , it is a back problem. Had an MRI last Fri. 11/26/11 they say there is a problem
Now seeing a spine specialist this thursday. I bet he suggests surgery on my back. I personally think the first doctor damaged my nerves by all the pulling a stretching of my muscles and cutting through the major nerve in the leg during the TKR. We will see , I hope to keep you posted as the the results.

Sincerely
Dani
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replied November 28th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
dani1950,

The tibial nerve is in the posterior aspect of the knee and is well protected during a total knee replacement. If that nerve had been transected or injured during the operation, the muscles below the knee would have been paralyzed and the leg and foot numb. It is extremely rare for there to be nerve injuries in a TKR.

Also, that would not cause back pain, nor pain down the back of the thigh. From the symptoms you have described, it is more likely to be a herniated disc pressing on a nerve root in the lumbar spine. There are also some other disorders that can cause pressure on the nerve roots in the lumbar region, such as stenosis or facet joint hypertrophy. Sensation changes on the medial side of the great toe are usually the L4 or L5 nerve root.


Hope your problem can be easily treated, so that you can get up and going on your new knees. Good luck.
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replied February 26th, 2012
How do we get physicians to pay attention to this? It seems like they are lost(and in denial) when it comes to this pain. The pain in my hip/buttock/back far exceeds the pain I had in my knee pre and post replacement. There is no relief. I've done all the exercises, stayed active, ice, heat, lifts, injection, I'm on pain meds, a muscle relaxant and ambien. Now they want to add Gabepentin/Lyrica. You cannot function and take all this medication. I rely on work and horseback riding for my sanity and both are now extremely painful. We need a solution and an education plan for future patients. This seems to be a common complication that no one talks about before surgery.
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replied April 29th, 2013
I had TKR in the left leg 6 months ago. I have never had a back pain in my life and I am 62 . Know I have the severe back pain on the right side that is worse than the knee pain sometimes. No one told me this might happen but I can see from the posts that I am not alone. When its really bad the pain meds don't even help. Has anyone contacted a lawyer or had any help that worked. This has really put me in a depression because the pain is even more debilitating than the knee was.
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replied April 11th, 2012
Pain in buttocks, hips , hips 6 weeks post tkr
I have the exact same thing. Tnr 6 weeks. Now can only stand with excrtiating horrible pain in hips. Buttock, lower back. Knee feels too tight on outside part. I have no idea what to do.
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replied May 31st, 2012
Minimize back and leg pains...
I have had two replacements on one knee because of a skiing accident 15 years ago..the back pain is what some have stated here. Being an RN, the muscles to your upper leg to your core bones are different...My remedy has been getting in a pool...It is amazing. Have worked my back muscles and my leg muscles...Strengthening your core and back easily without the weight pressures (gravity is obviously different in the pool Smile and will make you feel much much better!! The town we live in has a Center and we love it.I swim 3-4 times a week and walk in the pool as well at waste deep water or higher...Hope this helps!!
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replied May 31st, 2012
Minimize back and leg pains...
I have had two replacements on one knee because of a skiing accident 15 years ago..the back pain is what some have stated here. Being an RN, the muscles to your upper leg to your core bones are different...My remedy has been getting in a pool...It is amazing. Have worked my back muscles and my leg muscles...Strengthening your core and back easily without the weight pressures (gravity is obviously different in the pool Smile and will make you feel much much better!! The town we live in has a Center and we love it.I swim 3-4 times a week and walk in the pool as well at waste deep water or higher...Hope this helps!!
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replied June 24th, 2012
Back pain after knee replacement
I had a right tkr 12 years ago. I had an epidural which was left in for 4 days. I was up walking 3 times a day and was on the passive motion machine 3 to 4 times a day.
I had 6 pt sessions and it was over. I never had to take a pain killer.
On 5/8/12, had same surgery on left knee. They started my pt the second day after surgery, no passive motion mach- ine, no epidural and lots of pain medications.
Now, 6/34/12, the knee still feels tight, still swells, still hurts and to add insult to injury, now my left hip and across the lower part of my back just plain hurts when I am on my feet for a while.
When I sit or lay down the back is relieved. I need to be on my feet and moving around to regain my strength. I have lost 20 lbs. because Idon't get enough exercise to build up an appetite.
I just have to wonder what is next.
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replied June 25th, 2012
You people are scaring me! I've had both knees done- it's been 5 years since the first, 5 months since the second. I have a lousy gait and lower back pain and sciatica. I really am afraid I will always be in pain and disabled for a different reason. Here's what I'm going to do: I am going to see my chiropractor to get adjusted, then I may need new orthotics or lifts. I also know that because I was dibilitated for so long, my core is weak. Problem is.. I need to strengthen my core and lose weight, but how can I do this when it hurts to move? Aquafit helps a little, but I work full time and can't always get there. I know it takes a long time to recover, but I'm starting to worry.
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replied August 23rd, 2012
Don't be scared! As you point out, your gait and balance were adversely affected by you having to constantly shift your weight with each leg to compensate for the bad knee. Now that you've had both knees replaced, DO get the arch support inserts and you will find that you will walk more evenly balanced and "normally". Your back issues may kick up a notch for a bit until your brain realizes that you are now walking normally and balanced. Post bilateral TKR (which I had a year apart), my long developing serious back problems reared their ugly heads, because my entire body mechanics had now changed. My Ortho surgeon who did my knee replacements, and his spinal expert partner, sent me to a pain management doctor (anesthesiologist) who gave me lumbar region nerve block injections on both sides in my lower back, and just yesterday (8/22/12) did the same for my sacroiliac nerves. I have one more round of injections to go for my upper spine where I have two bulging discs. But I have to wait at least a month because of yesterday's injections. I have severe scoliosis, and spinal stenosis (compression of the spine) so I am not a good candidate for spinal fusion surgery. My knee surgeon and his spine partner said fusion surgery would actually make these problems worse! The injections are easy to tolerate with the right skilled pain management doctor. I also do get chiropractic therapy. My chiropractor said he thinks he can move my lumbar spine back about 10 degrees from the 25 degrees that it is off the center by now. If he can move it back to 15 degrees off the center of my lower spine, I'll be happy! (It's never going to be absolutely straight, but at least this would take significant pressure off my back.) Plus, after my first TKR in April of 2011, I lost 40 lbs and have kept it off! You have to really keep up the exercise at PT and that will help you lose. Just know that for every pound you lose, that's 5 lbs of pressure off your knees! And in turn, your back and hips!

Just keep at it. I know it sounds cliche - but it's really true - "No pain, no gain!"

Suggestion - go back to your Ortho surgeon who just did your recent TKR and ask him to send you to a pain management doctor AFTER he sends you to an Orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spinal issues. Nerve block injections have really worked for me - they may for you too!

Hope this all helps! Keep me posted!

bionicknees2012
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replied July 22nd, 2012
I suggest you folks watch a YouTube video showing a total knee replacement surgery. It shows the surgeon hammering the upper portion of the hardware into the upper thigh bone. The impact must be absorbed by the hip joint, and that cannot be beneficial. It may explain the pain some are describing here post-operation of TNR.
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replied August 22nd, 2012
I'm also working on various new ailments including back and hip pain. You have to realize that for X number of years you developed bad posture habits because of your knees. Now you have to retrain all your muscles and ligaments to work differently. Also, get to work on your core muscles in your abdomen. Strong core muscles help prevent lower back pain. I have had to start from scratch after limping for 10 years and becoming sedentary because of my knee pain. I'm starting slow- stretching and yoga moves, walking short distances while concentrating on my gait, rest, anti-inflammatories, new orthotics and a visit to my chiropractor for a couple of adjustments. If you are post surgery, getting through that will misalign your entire body. Remember the effort and contortions getting out of bed? Just don't give up.
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replied August 23rd, 2012
Re: lower back pain after total knee replacement surgery
redraider wrote:
After having total knee replacement (TKR) surgery on both knees in separate surgeries, I am experiencing severe pain in my left buttox and lower back. Physical therapy hasn't helped much and the prescribed exercises don't seem to help. Sitting for any length of time is miserable. Has anyone who had TKR surgery experienced this problem? Prior to my TKR sugery I had no buttox or back pain The pain is excruciating at times.
Red


Yes, I have been having the same problem. I had my TKRs done a year apart (right knee - 4/5/11 and left knee - 3/23/12). Not long after my left knee had completely healed in June, my long developing back problems started in earnest. (lumbar spinal pain, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, sacroiliac pain, etc.) My Ortho surgeon told me that because I was constantly shifting my weight to compensate for my bad knees, my back issues remained dormant. Once I started walking normally and balanced with the TKRs, it changed my body mechanics and my brain wasn't getting the proper signals that I was now walking normal and so it sent pain messages to my back! I've since been treated by a pain management doctor (anesthesiologist). He, so far, has done nerve block injections of cortisone in my lumbar region (lower spine - both sides) and my sacroiliacs on both sides. (8/22/12). I still need one more set of injections in my upper spine for two bulging discs, but will have to wait a month for that. So far though, the injections I have gotten have really helped! (I cannot have spinal fusion surgery because my scoliosis and spinal stenosis would actually make my problems worse! So the injections are my only option.) Go back to your Orthopedic surgeon and have him or her refer you to a pain management specialist.

Good luck and keep me posted! Hope this advice helps.

bionicknees2012 Razz
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replied September 27th, 2012
Pain after knee replacement surgery
I too had excruciating pain after TKR - it ended up being some sacro-iliac problem and lumbar degeneration - and the uneven length of my legs put the whole structure off - it lasted almost 4 months for the first knee - Just had knee no. 2 done and here I am again - barely slept last night - I did some exercises today and the pain is gone 90% - don't do exercises for sacroiliac if it is lumbar pain because the first makes the lumbar problem worse - good luck to you all (and me).
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replied January 20th, 2013
Hi all had tkr 20/11/2012 got septic athritus infection was in hospital 2 weeks worked really hard got well over 90 bend which I never had before because had accident 42 years ago went back to work as mechanic on 2/1/2013 gets better every day but back pain is bad all time hope it will go soon . Charlie
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