i woke one morning an got up screaming in pain from my back, it turned out that i had a prolapsed L5 disc, after nearly a year the doctor i seen told me i needed an operation an should have had one a long time ago, an he said with it being left for so long my nerve might never recover. Last march i had a lumber discetomy. After the op my left foot was numb, after months i was sent for a nerve test an was told the nerve running to L5 was damaged an would proberly never recover the pain is in my back on i find it so hard to walk, i also suffer with terrible cramps in my left leg, i am on pain killers all the time an in agony trying to walk that i have been given a crutch please can someone help, i am only 34 an feel like a cripple
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.
It sounds like you have been diagnosed with L5 nerve root damaged and it sounds like the physician who has evaluated you has told you this may be permanent. I can not comment on whether or not the damage is permanent since I have not seen you, obtained a history and examined you or reviewed your nerve test study. However, I will try to provide you with some information about how chronic back pain can be dealt with and some other similar information.
Controlled exercise, meaning physical therapy that you first undergo with a physical therapist then continue on your own, may be one of the best things for you. It may sound counterintuitive, it is difficult for you to move around and painful, I understand that, but the idea is that if you strengthen muscles besides those that are involved in the nerve distribution, and you move around, your pain should improve. The physical therapist can help you find a regimen that is useful to you without being too uncomfortable, and with time it can be built on. Swimming is also an exercise that does not put too much strain on you but is useful. Finally, yoga has been helpful to some.
When chronic pain occurs, the goal should be to minimize use of short-acting medications such as narcotics which really dull the pain and silence it only temporarily. They are addictive, and with time you will need higher doses to achieve the same effect. In a case such as yours, medications used to treat neuropathic pain (pain from nerves) that are non-narcotic are important to explore. These include mainly several medications that were originally developed to treat depression or epilepsy but were later found to be very effective in the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain.
Depending on exactly where the damage is, sometimes local injections of anesthetics or steroids are helpful. This would best be evaluated by an anesthesiologist specialized in pain.
Finally, you may find benefit in evaluation at a chronic pain program. These types of programs try to optimize your treatment and in the unfortunate circumstance when the pain can not be completely abolished, teach you how to cope with it. Also, it will be important to treat any anxiety or depression that should arise as these can make the pain worse, leading to a vicious cycle.
Thank you for using the forum I hope you find this information useful, good luck.
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