Twenty yrs. ago I had problems with my back. I was diagnosed with a herniated L5 disc. Through numerous therapies I would feel better, but on this one dreadful night I sneezed and the disc shot out of place and rested against my spinal cord. I could not move and the pain was very severe.I arrived at the hospital by ambulance. I had surgery and felt good however, I suffered nerve damage in my right leg. I could no longer stand on my tip toes or complete a full step bending my toes without limping. I was given exercises to do but I never regained full strength in my leg. The back of my leg is still numb behind the knee. Now I am experiencing tightening and pain, and at time the pain generated all the way to my foot. I was never told by my Dr. that he could look further into this.
Is it to late to rectify nerve damage? If not, what are some of the things I need to discuss with my "NEW" Dr.?
I have a similar issue. If you've had the nerve damage for 20 years, whatever nerve damage exists is probably permanent. I've been told that nerves heal at a rate of about 1/2 inch per month, so for the sciatic nerve, you are looking at up to 2 years for recovery. After that, what you have is what you have. Now, that assumes that your problem is entirely resulting from the nerve damage. I don't know what type of strengthening you've tried.
I have had spine problems for a long time, too, and last year had a similar situation where a disc that had been bulging for a long time totally herniated...very badly. This was L5/S1. I had excruciating pain. It was two months before I was able to get surgery (I did not go to ER, perhaps I should have). Anyway, almost 8 months after surgery, I still cannot raise up on my toes on the right side, have no ankle reflex and diminished knee reflex. Calf is atrophied, and is concave on the inner-upper portion. That area does not flex AT ALL. I have seen zero improvement with this despite swimming/pt for several hours a day.
I hope you'll post an update...I see you posted this a long time ago.
Its really impossible to speculate on whether or not the nerve damage you have can be rectified. After 20 years I'm inclined to think that it can't. I have permanent in numbness in my leg too, after a PLIF at L4-5 eight years ago, I waited too long to have surgery.
You really need to have an MRI to see what's going in there and I think a EMG would be usefully too.
I've had an EMG which showed a compressed nerve followed by an MRI which showed DDD and stenosis. I have no pain but do have nerve damage radiating into my left leg which interferes with my walking. I've been treated by a neurologist who has advised against surgery -- I'm receiving PT and balance therapy -- and it's helped. As far as surgery my feeling is that you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. I wish I felt it offered me a cure but I've seen too many people who continue to have the same or worse degrees of nerve damage post-op.
I second Jo427 and feel you should have an EMG and MRI so that you know exactly what you're dealing with and can make informed decisions.
I had a disc L4, L5 S1 bulging (I wasnt aware of the severity just thought bad back pain) and when on a holiday in spain Aug 2009 it fully prolapsed onto my spinal cord causing numbness in my saddle area and i could not use my left foot. All my nerves where twitching an moving on their own on my left calf muscle. I was rushed to have a n MRI scan they said I need immediately operating on to remove the discs to free the spinal cord. After the op I couldnt walk without a zimmerframe, had no feeling on the left side of my buttock and vagina.I was free from pain but told I had nerve damage due to the severity of the prolapsed discs. Now today 1 year and 4 months later I have improved so much I can walk, move my toes, cant stand on tip toes yet but determined to do so. The buttock has partially come back to life. Have faith, believe miracles do happen. I read the book The Secret at the time and refused to be a victim of the nerve damage and am doing much better than the doctors in the UK said I would. Have faith :)
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