Left leg nerve pain

Hello, after suffering a rupture and ICU stay for 3 weeks, I noticed a persist pain in my left leg. The pain was similar to a cramp and seemed to be in my lower leg/upper left ankle. Blood clots were ruled out by my primary care physician and I have visited a orthopedic surgeon. None of them seem to have a good diagnosis, as my back X-rays seem to show all normal signs. The next visit it to physiatry regarding nerves. The only time my leg pain increases is when I’m sitting for 2-3 hours at a office desk. Physical Therapy and stretching helps but the cramp and leg pains are still noticeable.

Curious if anyone has a similar history.

Welcome again Elliott! Thank you so much for posting. I can relate, I’ve had pain in both tibias for a long time now. When I ruptured, the pain in my tibias was as intense as the pain in my brain. A doctor came in, introduced himself as my doctor, asked if I was in pain and I told him about my lower legs. He pressed on one, said nothing was the matter with them. It hurt tremendously and I told him he wasn’t my doctor and demanded he leave my room, calling him an uneducated nitwit that shouldn’t be touching patients that were not his. It was the first time tears came out, the pain was that intense. He didn’t take kindly to it, but he never entered my room again. Apparently he was over the Critical Care Doctors that were part of NSICU. My Neurosurgeon was told and she ordered those devices that are put on the lower legs and pump up with air, release and pump up again. I do not remember what they’re called, maybe @oct20 knows the name. All I know is that they decreased the pain significantly, so much so, I wanted to take them home with me and have asked every doctor I’ve seen since then to give me a prescription for them lol.

I have had a complete MRI of my spine, all three sections, as well as a nerve conduction study. I had 18 dislocated vertebrae back in ‘75 due to a Ranchero hitting me and my horse, so I knew that was already bad. And one of the vertebra in my neck had almost severed the nerve to my right arm. Fortunately, I didn’t have to have any back surgery until the year before I ruptured and then it became a choice of walking or not. The nerve conduction test showed everything was fine. No medical professional I have seen knows what’s causing the pain. Maybe I haven’t seen the correct specialist yet.

For cramping, I drink more water. I find activity helps subside the pain but sitting or even laying in bed increases it. It’s a conundrum for sure. I hope you can find what’s going on. If I ever do, I’ll be sure to let you know!

The pump they use on the legs is called Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices.
@salmone I stayed in the hospital for two weeks after my aneurysm rupture. I had some similar issues with pain in my lower back and sometimes in my legs after I came home from the ICU, especially when I was sitting.
I suppose I had the same problem in the hospital, but I don’t remember much of what happened during that stay. My husband told me that I never wanted to sit in the chair when the occupational therapist was there, I just wanted to get up and walk. Maybe it was because the pain, I don’t know….
After I got home, I slowly started to walk outdoors again with a family member. I noticed that the pain started to feel better after a short walk.
It gradually went away but I don’t remember how long time it took, but at least some weeks, maybe longer.
I have my own theory about the pain, I’m not a doctor so this is my personal theory. But I think it had to do with blood circulating around in the fluid around the spinal column after the initial bleed. I know that the spinal nerves doesn’t like blood in this area.
There are some articles about this that briefly mention the problem.
“The presence of blood circulating in the subarachnoid space also may lead to neck stiffness and low back pain due to irritation of nerve roots in the lower back “

It’s a good thing that you have been in contact with your doctor about this and ruled out any blood clots. Maybe you will get an answer with your next appointment. As you already know, in this forum we only share our own experience and we don’t give any advice.
Good luck with your recovery. It takes time to heal, longer than you might think. But don’t give up. Remember that slow and steady wins the race.
All the best to you and all of us.

oh yes, How did Dr determine it was not clots? Personally I cannot sit for long without swelling. I bought a nice managers chair but was saddened to find legs throbbing in pain. My friend recommended a “sit up in bed” cushion that worked great. Prayers you find answer! tc

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You are simply the best! Thank you so much. I’m taking your theory to my Neurosurgeon when I see her this Summer. In fact it’s the top of the list of questions I’ll take. I have a pocket of blood next to my spine and they don’t know if it was from the rupture or the spinal repair, they just know it’s not going away.

I have another question for you, if I may…have you ever read anything that says how long it takes for the CSF to cleanse itself of the blood following rupture? I’ve looked many times over the years and simply can’t find anything. I may be searching incorrectly…

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I don’t know the answer of your question, but I searched for articles from my native country and found this. I will translate;
“We have approximately 140 ml CSF cerebrospinal fluid circulating around the brain and spinal column, the production of CSF is approximately 500 ml on a daily basis”
With that information it seems that it shouldn’t take that very long for the CSF to cleanse itself from the blood…
But I also think that it might take longer time for the nerve roots to heal from the inflammation. But that’s just my guess I don’t really know….
But what I do remember is when I went to the nursing school we were taught that blood in the cerebrospinal fluid was very irritating to the nerves especially the nerve roots in the lower lumbar and sacral area, the “horse tail roots” “cauda equina “. Maybe my memory is not correct as it was 40+ years ago :laughing:
If this knowledge is still the truth, I don’t know.

I found this article in English Physiology, Cerebral Spinal Fluid - PubMed

I’ll look into the cushions. I’ve been using a gel as seen on tv pad and that has helped. Clots were ruled out due to the location of the pain and the numbness I feel in my thigh. The sensation also seems to radiate from my lumbar and terminates at my upper ankle. Thank you ronk for your comments. The biggest improvement came from my physical therapist adjusting my leg. When I passed out from the rupture, I fell on my left leg (paramedics noted a bruise). As a result, my left leg was sitting higher in my pelvis by 3/4”. After the adjustment my circulation in my left leg has substantially improved but pain is still there.

My orthopedic surgeon is also not ruling out that as I continue to strengthen my core and activity gets back to normal, it might go away with time.

Thanks again for everyone’s input. Community engagement helps.


I’ll ask during my next visit. The next Dr visit is to a physiatrist and many of the doctors also specialize in spinal injuries. It’s interesting you mention that. During my stay at the ICU, for the first few days I couldn’t sit in any of the chairs due to posterior pain. Later a nurse told me it was from the internal bleed and my body was reabsorbing. It did later subsided and I could sit for 30-45 minutes without discomfort.


Who knows, maybe we have found an answer for this problem. Or at least one possible explanation, maybe there are other reasons. I’m delighted to hear that your nurse in the ICU had the same explanation that I remember from my own nursing education ( a looong time ago). I also remember that when I came home from the ICU, my bowel was very backed up, the nurses at the ICU did what they could to prevent it from happening, but it didn’t help. The pain in my lower back subsided slightly when I got that problem resolved.


Thank you for your feedback. I’m also sorry that I didn’t mention…I had a spinal tap during my ICU adventure. Probably the most painful experience of my life when they first inserted it. The nerve pain I experience now is not as sharp but it also lives in the same neighborhood as the pain I experienced during the initial install.
To be continued…


A spinal tap is certainly not a pleasant experience.
I hope your problems with the pain will gradually disappear.
I noticed myself having another symptom the night after I had my second surgery with a stent and more coils inserted into the artery . I was staying overnight in the ICU, as soon as I started to talk with the doctor and the nurse, my left leg started to twitch. As soon as I was silent it went away. My aneurysm was in the right side of the brain. When I got home I never experienced it again.
How long time ago did you have the rupture?

Going on 4 months. Mine was also on the right side of my brain.

The only thing I can say based on my own experience is that you will continue to recover.
Let’s hope for the best.
I’m glad you found this site, it’s a good place for information for all of us.
Take care.

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Thanks so much! My lumbar repair was for Spondylolisthesis and Cauda Equina Syndrome. I was able to tell my brother he was right all those decades ago when he would tease me that I had a tail🤣

Those spinal taps are painful! I had one and it was one too many. It causes my foot drop to be really bad for a couple of weeks afterwards. He must’ve aggravated some nerves when he went in through the scar tissue. My Neurosurgeon couldn’t use it as her NP said he forgot to do something prior to let them know whatever it is they needed. I told BH and all the folks in that wee little room I was never having another and informed the Doctor he was not an expert and lied when he said it wouldn’t hurt. BH said I would if they thought I needed another, which aggravated me to no end. I have since read that he could have put me in the fetal position and I think it was to do an IV push of saline to help.

After having my burst aneurysm my left leg hurts if i sit r stand for to long. It is pain and numbness and it had a lot to do with after having surgery. Which my surgery was done a year ago. I still have no answers.

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