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Incredibly Tense Calf, Thigh and Hip Muscles after Surgery? Normal?

SamTaraSSamTara Posts: 2
edited 12/09/2014 - 2:45 AM in Recovering from Surgery

I've looked though the site and Googled "tense muscles" "herniated disc surgery" and I can't find a lot of info about this.

I had surgery on Dec. 2, 2014 for S1/L5. It was a discectomy, I believe. I suffered from severe sciatica in my right leg for 3 months prior to my surgery and didn't feel any discomfort in my left leg. I'm 33, not overweight, and prior to sciatica, I was very active - I'm a mom of 3 kids so I have to be.

My question to you is that I have incredibly tense muscles. My right calf, both thighs and my hips get tense at different times throughout the day. I'm doing what I should: increasing my walking times, not sitting for too long, resting, not bending, etc. Is it common? It kind of freaks me out that I'm feeling it in my left leg when before surgery I didn't. It doesn't hurt, but it feels like I worked out for hours. I ice my muscles for 15 minutes and it helps while I'm doing it, but then comes back. I also had a cortisone shot on November 6 so sometimes I feel that that could be masking pain - it masked the pain prior to my surgery too.

It's very hard for me to get a hold of my surgeon to ask these quetions. I'm seeing my family doctor and have a follow up appointment at the hospital on Feb. 2, 2015.

Thank you for any ideas you may have.



  • se7enw00dsse7enw00d Posts: 11
    edited 12/11/2014 - 1:16 AM
    I can share my experience as well. Had sciatica on both legs due to a large herniation. Prior to surgery, there was pain, of course, but I don't remember my muscles being so tight. Post-surgery, I too had extreme muscle tightness on hamstrings, calves, glutes. They feel as if I went for a long run and didn't stretch after. Believe it or not, the tightness is actually caused by the nerve, not the muscles per se.

    Nevertheless, they can be stretched out gently, several times a day. Both my doc and physiotherapist told me that it's important to stretch out the big 4 "grand slam" muscles : gluteus (buttocks), hamstrings, quadriceps and calves, as they're all connected.

    For gluteus, sit on a chair, place your ankle on the opposite knee and gently rock your torso forward, back and forth. Remember to do this gently.

    Hamstring stretching involves lying on your back, both knees bent, tie a strap around your foot, straighten that leg (though not fully) and try and point your heel towards the ceiling, keeping the strap pulled.

    You can stand facing a wall for calf and quad stretches.

    The stiffness starts to go away after a few days usually.

    Warning - Never take the recommendation from another member regarding exercises. One is good for one person could be trouble for another. Only do exercises that have been approved by your doctor
  • Of course, remember to check with your own doc or physiotherapist before beginning any stretches or exercises.
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  • Pixie1016PPixie1016 Posts: 12
    edited 12/15/2014 - 5:01 PM
    I am 3 1/2 weeks post T12-L4 fusion and XLFT L2-3 and L3-4. My first 2 1/2 weeks were horrible, too, and then I turned the corner. Now I can't believe my progress in the last few days, so there is hope! I also had severe leg pain in both legs following surgery, much worse than at the surgery site. I actually read on this site that it is quite common and goes away eventually, and my leg pain is now all but gone. So just try to wait it out. I also think Gabapentin has helped with that, and my therapist has told me to use ice, just as you are. I use it on the surgical site, not the muscles, since the therapist explained that it is referred pain (and nerve pain, not muscular).
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