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Dear Dr. Caraotta,
I had low back surgery four years ago and after the surgery, I was still having left leg pain. I went back to the doctor and he gave me vicodin. I am a painter by trade, and was able to go back to work with the medication. When I tried to get off the medication, the pain returned.
In order to function, I took more medication than was recommended and became addicted to it. I am now off the medication again and I have a lot of leg pain. My left calf muscle is smaller than my right, and I am weaker in my left leg. Is there anything that chiropractic or orthopedics could do for this?
Dr. Caraotta's Response
Unfortunately, low back surgery is a very delicate procedure and sometimes the outcomes are less than optimal. This is one reason it should only be performed as the last resort. Sometimes when a person has a herniated or slipped disc, it exerts excessive pressure on the sciatic nerve. If this is not treated in a timely fashion, and / or if the nerve pressure is great enough; parts of the nerve could die off and this could cause permanent nerve damage.
Even when this occurs, there are some things that could be done in our discipline to assist individuals with problems such as this.
Exercise rehabilitation, physical therapy and spinal adjustments in many cases are extremely beneficial. There is a specialized electrical muscle stimulation called "Russian stimulation", which builds muscle bulk. This is very helpful to individuals who have muscular atrophy. However, until a patient is examined, it is difficult to determine to what extent they could be helped. I suggest that you obtain your medical records and call our office for an evaluation so we could more specifically address your condition.