Leg pain after lumbar arthrodesis: What connection?

intermittent claudication

If you are one of the many people who suffer from leg pain after one lumbar arthrodesis, you are not alone.

This type of surgery is often performed to treat disc disease or other disorders of the lumbar spine, but it can sometimes lead to pain in the legs.

In this article, we are going to take a look at what may be causing your leg pain and what you can do to fix it.

Lumbar Spine and Leg Anatomy

La spine lumbar (lower back) and the leg together make up the largest part of the human skeleton. The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae, each separated by a disc of cartilage.

The lower back contains five vertebrae, which are the largest and strongest in the spine.

The leg consists of the femur (thigh bone), tibia (tibia bone) and fibula (smaller bone below the tibia). The foot contains 26 bones, including the astragalus (ankle bones) and the metatarsals (foot bones).

Together, the bones of the spine and leg provide support for the body and allow movement.

Lumbar arthrodesis: Definition

Lumbar arthrodesis is a type of surgery that fuses together the bones of the spine.

This surgery is generally performed to relieve pain caused by, among other things, a degenerative disc disease, a spinal stenosis or a spondylolisthesis which do not respond to conservative treatments and limit the quality of life.

THElumbar arthrodesis can be done using different techniques, but the most common technique is to use metal rods and screws to hold the vertebrae in place while they heal.

There are several types of arthrodesis for the lumbar region. The surgical approach will depend on several factors, such as the general health of the patient and the symptoms present. L'anterior lumbar arthrodesis and lateral are often used because they avoid severing the muscles of the back, thus promoting recovery.

This type of operation generally requires a hospitalization several days, and full recovery may take several months. However, spinal fusion can provide significant pain relief and improve quality of life for patients who suffer from debilitating back pain.

Leg pain following lumbar arthrodesis

The pain are common after spinal arthrodesis – at least temporarily – and can often be the result of pre-existing pain that has not been fully corrected by surgery.

In many cases, this pain is due to nerve compression or irritation caused by the arthrodesis itself.

In addition, the leg pain can also be caused by continued degeneration of the facet joints or disc above or below the level of fusion.

Although leg pain can be a significant problem after lumbar arthrodesis, it is important to remember that this surgery is generally very effective in relieving lower back and lower extremity pain, with a high success rate.

This operation is often performed to correct spinal instability or to relieve pain caused by degenerative conditions such as spondylolisthesis.

The hope is that by fusing your spine the pain will go away. However, this is not always the case. In fact, some patients report persistent pain even after the operation. They can appear in the legs, but also in the hips or elsewhere.

Causes of leg pain after lumbar spine surgery

There are several possible causes of leg pain after leg surgery. Lumbar spine. One is that the nerves in the leg may be irritated or compressed as a result of the operation.

This can happen if the surgeon moves or removes bone or tissue during the procedure. Another possibility is that scar tissue from the operation is putting pressure on nerves in the leg.

Finally, it is also possible that the pain in the leg is not related to the operation at all, but is simply a side effect. anesthesia or any other medicine used during the operation.

Postoperative consequences of lumbar arthrodesis

Si lumbar arthrodesis can be an effective treatment for some conditions, it also has a number of potential complications and consequences. This is also one of the reasons why driving is not recommended immediately after the operation.

One of the most common consequences of this surgery is inactivity. This is because the fusion restricts the movement of the vertebrae and can make it difficult to perform certain activities.

In addition, patients may experience a loss of range of motion and muscle weakness. Therefore, it is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of spinal fusion with your doctor before making a decision whether or not to have this operation.

Muscle weaknesses

One of these consequences is the muscular weakness. The lower back, gluteal, quadriceps and hamstring muscles can all become weak after spinal arthrodesis. This muscle weakness can then lead to indirect pain.

In other words, the patient may not feel pain directly at the operation site, but rather in the surrounding areas due to the muscular weakness. It is important to be aware of these consequences before undergoing spinal arthrodesis.

Column stiffness

One of the most common causes of leg pain is stiffness in the spine. Although it may not seem like it, the spine and the legs are interconnected, and when one is out of alignment it can have a significant impact on the other.

When the spine is stiff, it puts pressure on the nerves that run from the spinal cord to the legs. This pressure can cause your leg muscles to tense and irritate, causing pain.

Additionally, stiffness in the spine can also lead to compression of the discs between the vertebrae. This can lead to a sciatica, characterized by throbbing pain that extends from the lower back to the legs.

By maintaining the spine flexible and without stiffness, you can help prevent leg pain.

How can the body compensate?

The body can compensate for pain by potentially putting more weight on one leg. This can lead to uneven wear on the joints in that leg, which can cause even more pain.

Initial lameness

A potential cause of leg pain after spinal fusion is the initial lameness. If the patient is not able to walk properly after the operation, it may cause hip pain.

This is because when one leg isn't working properly, it puts more pressure on the other leg, which can lead to joint pain and other problems.


The first step in treating the Chronic Pain is to consult a health care professional to determine the specific cause. Depending on the origin of the pain, different treatments may be necessary.

For example, if the pain is due to compensatory mechanisms, rest and ice may be recommended.

If the pain is caused by inactivity, gentle exercises may be prescribed. If the pain is of nervous origin, drugs or therapies targeting specific nerves may be recommended.

Finally, if the pain is caused by vascular problems, treatments such as blood thinners or surgical intervention may be needed. By accurately pinpointing the source of pain, chronic pain sufferers can develop an effective treatment plan and finally find relief.

To avoid any problems, it is important to continue doing therapeutic exercises. These are often prescribed in physiotherapy (physiotherapy), and should be performed ideally even after recovering from surgery. This will help keep your body healthy and prevent further pain.

In addition to the treatments mentioned above, there are several products and accessories available on the market to relieve lumbar and leg pain related to lumbar arthrodesis.

On the one hand, it is essential to obtain the green light from your doctor before using your products, especially if the surgery was performed recently. Next, remember that these tools usually provide temporary relief, and should be used sparingly.

Among the products recommended by our professionals, we have:

Acupressure Kit Acupressure Mat Cushion - Massage Ball + Pillow + Bag Relieve Back and Neck Pain Muscle Relaxation Acupuncture Post Sport Recovery Anti Stress
  • 【Multifunctional Physiotherapy】The acupressure kit set includes an acupressure mat and pillow, and 2 massage balls. You can use the acupressure set in different ways and on different parts of the body, such as lower back pain, insomnia, chronic stress, fatigue, tension, circulatory disorders, etc.
  • 【Safe and Premium Material】The acupressure mat massager, cushion cover and storage bag are made of 100% cotton, the inside is 21D high-density eco-friendly sponge. The massage nail is made of non-toxic ABS plastic. 100% natural without side effects, hypoallergenic.
  • 【Natural Ancient Indian Healing】 The acupressure mat has 230 massage nails, 6210 massage points, the pillow has 73 massage nails, 1971 massage points. Your weight is evenly distributed into thousands of small pieces to stimulate countless acupuncture points. Ideal for relaxation and promoting circulation. The size of the acupressure mat is 68*42cm, the size of the massage pillow is 37 x 15 x 10cm.

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

Comfier Heated Lumbar Belt with Massage - Back Heating Pad, Vibration Heated Massager Belt with Auto Shut Off, Gift for Men/Women/Parents…
  • 🔥BODY WARMING – The heating pillow lumbar consists of a built-in heating pad that heats up quickly to provide warmth to treat symptoms, menstrual cramps and stomach ailments, arthritis, leg pain and more.
  • 🔥Vibration Massage - The back massager is integrated with 4 powerful massage motors to deliver a soothing vibrating massage. It helps reduce tension and strain in the neck and shoulders, lower back, lumbar region, thighs and legs.
  • 🔥Customizable massage - This back pain wrap has 3 massage modes, 2 adjustable vibration intensities and 2 heating levels. Allows you to customize a setting for yourself to achieve the ultimate comfort. The heating pad is equipped with overheat protection and automatic shut-off functions to ensure safe use.

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

Anodyne® Posture Shirt – Women | Back & Shoulder Posture Corrector | Posture Corrector Tee Shirt | Reduces pain and tension | Medically Tested and Approved | Medium – White
  • POSTURE CORRECTION & MUSCLE ACTIVATION: Patented Neuroband technology activates back and shoulder muscles, reminding your body to align your back and shoulders while providing comfort and freedom of movement.
  • PAIN AND TENSION REDUCTION: Supports and stabilizes tight muscles in the neck, back and shoulders helping to relieve pain and tension without restricting the muscles.
  • INJURY PREVENTION: Helps prevent shoulder and back problems by providing support and preventing harmful movements. Recommended for everyday situations including sedentary or physical work, sports activities, housework, etc. The product promotes beneficial working positions by stabilizing weak muscles and aiding alignment, neutralizing the gap between joints.

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

Everlasting Comfort Lumbar Support - Lumbar Pillow for Desk, Office Chair or Car Seat - Memory Foam Back Cushion - Black
  • Improve unsupportive chairs: The comfort cushion in memory foam material uses body heat to adapt to the curves of the back and provide the lumbar support that is sorely lacking in office chairs
  • Against back pain: Most chairs do not support the back, which causes tension. The ergonomic cushion supports the upper, middle and lower back, for complete comfort
  • Breathable Cover: The chair cushion features a breathable mesh cover that allows air to circulate, preventing heat build-up. Finally enjoy a perfectly fresh seat all day long

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

ALDOM Muscle Massage Gun Massage Device Deep Muscle Massager with 30 Adjustable Levels 6 Massage Heads and LCD Display Relieve Aches and Stiffness
  • 30 LEVELS Massage Gun:ALDOM massage gun Choose the speed and massage heads that best suit your needs can quickly eliminate lactic acid produced after exercise, and for everyday relieve muscle pain, back and neck aches and stiffness, greatly reducing the time muscle recovery.
  • Long Battery Life: Equipped with high quality battery, the muscle massager can keep working about 6-8 hours after charging, while the cooling system can effectively remove excess heat, if the battery is low, there will be a red prompt.
  • Less than 45 dB Ultra Low Noise: ALDOM muscle massager gun which features high performance and low noise. features advanced technology and high-torque non-brushed electric motor, Featuring the high-precision mold which tightly connects the machine head and the body, The high-torque motor rotates 1800-4800 times per minute and achieves your tissue to loosen the fascia (connective tissue)

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

Core Balance Nipple Massage Roller for Deep Muscle Massage – Gridded Foam Massage Roller – Fitness Foam Roller Ideal for Trigger Point…
  • BACK MASSAGE ROLLER TO RELIEVE YOUR MUSCLE PAIN: relieve your muscle pain and tension with the Core Balance pimpled foam roller. Roll the muscle massage roller placed under your muscles to break up soft tissue adhesions and target painful trigger points (muscle knots).
  • DEEPER MYOFASCIAL RELEASE: Our back massage roller features a hollow plastic body with a nubbed foam exterior for deeper myofascial release. The nubs on this back roller act like the hands and fingers of a massager to target, relax and release tight muscle knots much more effectively.
  • IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE: Rolling the back roller over your muscles releases toxins, and increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the target area. Massage your muscles with our fitness roller before or after a workout to boost your performance, speed up your recovery time and protect you from injury.

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

  • Compex
Compex Mixte Sp 4.0 Electrostimulator, Black, One Size EU
  • Muscle stimulator offering 30 programs: 10 physical preparation programs, 8 pain relief programs, 5 recovery programs, 2 rehabilitation programs and 5 fitness programs.
  • The partner of your sports preparation, allowing you to prevent injuries, recover better but also relieve your pain.
  • 4 independent channels allowing you to work 2 muscle groups simultaneously.

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

What about natural remedies?

Although they are not supported by solid scientific evidence, several natural products and home remedies are used to treat various body pains, especially for their anti-inflammatory power.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of plants and essential oils that are effective in controlling pain and inflammation:

  • Turmeric : Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers very powerful, turmeric is one of the most used plants in a culinary and therapeutic context. The composition of turmeric is essentially made of essential oils, vitamins (B1, B2, B6, C, E, K) and trace elements. But it is to its composition rich in curcumin and curcuminoids that we owe them and calm skin of this spice.
Powerful Turmeric Capsules 500mg with 95% Curcumin Extract – 180 Vegan Capsules (6 Months) – Turmeric (50:1), Black Pepper (30:1) and Ginger – High Absorption Turmeric Capsules – Made in EU
  • WHY CHOOSE OUR TURMERIC AND BLACK PEPPER CAPSULES? – Turmeric is a very well-known plant…
  • POWERFUL TURMERIC CAPSULES - Turmeric is an excellent source of Vitamin C, antioxidants,…
  • IDEAL AND PRACTICAL FORMULA – The powders we use are delicately harvested,…

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  • Ginger : In addition to the special flavor it brings to the kitchen and its aphrodisiac properties, ginger is a root well known for its anti-inflammatory powers. THE gingerol gives it its anti-inflammatory action. It is an active component acting on the inflammatory pain related to chronic joint inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, rheumatic diseases, etc. It has been proven that this active element is also effective in acting on the inflammation linked to arthritis and sciatica. Ginger also has other benefits thanks to its high potassium content and its richness in trace elements (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium) and vitamins (provitamin and vitamin B9).
Ginger Foot Patches, Pack of 30 Ginger Detox Patches, Anti Swelling Ginger Detox Patch, Foot Detox Patch for Deep Cleansing, Improve Sleep
  • 【Natural Ginger Foot Patches】: Natural Foot Detox Patch with Ginger and…
  • 【Ginger Anti Swelling Detox Patch】: Ginger Detox Patches are natural,…
  • 【Removes Body Toxins】: Ginger Foot Patches helps reduce the buildup of…

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

  • Omega-3s : Omega-3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids that play a very important role in the functioning of our body. They are provided by food in three natural forms: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Beyond their action on the brain and the cardiovascular system, omega-3s prove very effective against inflammation. Indeed, they have the ability to act on the inflammatory mechanisms in osteoarthritis by slowing down cartilage destruction, thus they reduce the intensity of osteoarthritis pain. Sciatica, being most often linked to an inflammation secondary to a herniated disc, it can also respond to omega-3 provided it is consumed regularly. 

No product found.

  • Lemon eucalyptus: Eucalyptus is a plant most often used in the form of herbal tea or essential oil. She would have anti-inflammatory effects which give it the ability to act on the bone and joint pain in general and the pain of sciatica in particular.
Mystic Moments Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil – 100ml – 100% Pure
  • Eucalyptus Citriodora Essential Oil.
  • 100% pure.
  • Botanical name: eucalyptus citriodo.

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API

  • wintergreen : Wintergreen is a shrub from which a very interesting essential oil is extracted. It is one of the most used essential oils in aromatherapy. This oil extracted from the shrub bearing the same name, is used in massage to relieve sciatica and act like a analgesic. Indeed, it provides a heating effect thanks to its ability toactivate blood circulation locally.
Puressentiel – Wintergreen Essential Oil – Organic – 100% pure and natural – HEBBD – 30 ml
  • DIRECTIONS FOR USE: Refer to the instructions or ask your pharmacist for advice, This…
  • PURESSENTIEL DNA: A range of 55 essential oils essential for well-being in the…

Last updated on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Partners API


  1. https://www.orthopedie-roeselare.be/fr/specialisations/colonne-vertebrale/nevralgie-du-nerf-sciatique
  2. http://www.centre-du-rachis.fr/spdegeneratif.php
  3. https://www.arthrodese-lombaire.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1071
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