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Old 04-26-2004, 08:28 AM   #1
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Mobity HB User
Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

Hubby had an EMG on Thursday and the doctor's first impression is that he has a damaged nerve at L1. We will be talking to the neurosurgeon next week. An MRI has already determined that he has extreme narrowing at all levels and that is what is causing a multitude of pains in his hips and legs. An Xray from the front looks like an S. It is very unstable. We have been told that the only option is surgery. The pain doctor couldn't even get the needle in with his last attempt at epidurals. My guess is that the neurosurgeon is going to suggest a couple of fusions and some cleanup work. (There is a lot of scar tissue from a previous surgery as well as growth.) So my question is.....what questions should we ask the neurosurgeon and what is the implication of the damaged nerve? Does that have any influence on the doctors decisions?
Thanks everyone.
Hugs
Mo

Last edited by Mobity; 04-26-2004 at 08:30 AM.

 
Old 04-26-2004, 04:19 PM   #2
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Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

Nerve damage is likely to be irreversible. Im going through the same thing. Having nerve damage Im surprised no one has told you how imperative it is to be treated immediately. Ive had damage for only 4 weeks, and am told by one of the best neuros there is, that it may be too late already. Hes cutting me open first thing tommorow morning in an attempt to fix it. Let this neurosurgeon you are to see about the nerve damage and ask if you should go to the emergency room. Good Luck and let me know how he is. Ill keep ya posted on my surgery and recovery too. I wish I had done something sooner.
Kevin

 
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:33 PM   #3
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jettsmom HB User
Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

I guess I'm a little confused about nerve damage, when I herniated my disk at L5 I waited 3 months with leg pain with my surgeon also agreeing that I should take conservative measures before we did surgery and nobody seemed to be worried about permanent damage, the research I have done in many different areas has always stated it's actually hard to do permanent nerve damage with nerve compression, yes it can take years for the nerve to heal but how does one know the difference from permanent damage and a nerve healing that just takes time. I've heard of people waiting up to 2 years with siatica and had surgery and ended up healing ok. Does anyone know what I mean? I am 4 months post laminectomy and am still dealing with hip calf and leg pain daily but am not concerned that this will be permanent or at least I hope not.

 
Old 04-26-2004, 09:38 PM   #4
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Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

[QUOTE=jettsmom]I guess I'm a little confused about nerve damage, when I herniated my disk at L5 I waited 3 months with leg pain with my surgeon also agreeing that I should take conservative measures before we did surgery and nobody seemed to be worried about permanent damage, the research I have done in many different areas has always stated it's actually hard to do permanent nerve damage with nerve compression, yes it can take years for the nerve to heal but how does one know the difference from permanent damage and a nerve healing that just takes time. I've heard of people waiting up to 2 years with siatica and had surgery and ended up healing ok. Does anyone know what I mean? I am 4 months post laminectomy and am still dealing with hip calf and leg pain daily but am not concerned that this will be permanent or at least I hope not. [/QUOTE]

You bring up an interesting point. When I had a herniated disc in 1999 I had severe "nerve compression"; I noticed almost immediate relief from the nerve issus post microdiscectomy. I am now dealing with nerve related issues once again; and just had an EMG. I am hoping these nerve issues are not permanent; my orthopedic surgeon has basically said surgery is inevitable; but I haven't heard the results of my EMG as of yet. Maybe there is a point when nerve compression becomes permanent? I'm not sure; I have tried to research it because like you I am very concerned and the thought that this would be permanent is horrifying. Any input is appreciated.
-MJ

 
Old 04-26-2004, 10:50 PM   #5
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Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

Mo-
I was remiss not to tell you I wish your husband all the best -- I'm sorry he is having to go through another surgery, I hope this will help relieve the pain he is in. You are both in my thoughts.
-MJ

 
Old 04-27-2004, 02:07 AM   #6
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lori j HB User
Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

One of the things I learned in PT is that PT can help prevent scar tissue, post op. The PT's told me that not all surgeons recommend PT to their patients post op & they should be. I never had the surgery, luckily for me, the PT helped with my herniated disc. I think the nerve can heal, mine did. I know quite a few people that still are in pain after several back surgeries. Many have sought relief from pain management doctors with some results, but sounds like your husbands problems are beyond that now due to previous surgery, but do encourage him to seek PT after this next surgery. All good luck to him.

 
Old 04-27-2004, 08:11 AM   #7
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0348golf HB User
Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

Hi Mo:
I am a 56 year old male who has had 6 fusions a lamenectomy and a dorsal column stimulator implanted over the past 15 years. My issue was caused by inhumanity only. Forgetting that issue, my strong advice to you is to follow your neuro - waiting can only lead to more issues with fewer options. The fact that you may indeed wish to see a second neuro is certainly something to consider - and you may indeed wish to consult someone at a local teaching hospital. The reason for this is that they are the ones who are working with the latest technology and are best suited to explain fully what those options are. Then, and only then will you really have a handle on what your husband and you - for this really needs to be a team effort - should do.

 
Old 04-28-2004, 05:32 PM   #8
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Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

Thanks all,
We still haven't been to the neuro but he sees the pain doctor Friday and he is having a consult with the doctor that did his lumbar surgery tomorrow. We are both convinced that he needs surgery and a lot of it. There isn't just one thing wrong with his back. The sooner the better now. He is in so much pain he can't stand it much longer. Both our nerves are shot. He says the pain is as bad as the pain he had post surgery. Not looking forward to all that again. I will let you all know what the neuro says but the guy is really conservative and looks like one of those doctors that wants to test you for something then talk to you then test you for something else and on and on. The previous doctor isn't in our insurance network and we can't afford to have him do anything. We have suffered financially because of the two previous back surgeries.
Will get back to you all soon.
Thanks for the kind words and input.
Hugs Mo

PS
Golf!!!!
You have GOT to tell us your story. Inhumanity!!!
Please share.
Hugs Mo

Last edited by Mobity; 04-28-2004 at 05:35 PM.

 
Old 05-03-2004, 05:11 PM   #9
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Penmaker HB User
Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

I had a callapsed disc in my neck (C5-C6) 3 years ago. I had a well respected Surgeon who advised me to wait until the pain outweighed the risk of the fusion. At the time, I had very little neck movement without severe pain down my left arm (somtimes feeling like a lightning bolt!) plus constant pain and numbness.

The surgery was scheduled a week later. The fusion was done early in the morning and later that afternoon I was standing and moving my neck more than I'd been able to in years. The pain and numbness were completely gone with no permanent damage.

I don't know if this situation applies to all nerves but just wanted to offer my experience...Thx

 
Old 03-29-2005, 01:20 PM   #10
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Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

Hello all!
Hubby had his surgery on November 3 2004.
They fused from L1 thru S1. What a miserable experience. Since he'd been on high doses of Oxy's for so long his tolerence was really high. It took three days for them to get the pain under control. Not exactly taken care of...just under control. If you are going to have a surgery like this....make sure the doctor understands what you need in the line of medication and make sure his office staff is informed. We had a PA that kept trying to use cookie cutter medicine on him and it just doesn't work that way. After we got home we asked our PM to take over.

The surgery itself, I am really happy to say, was a success. All the pain he had in his legs is gone. There is one spot on his thigh that is numb. All the pain is in his back now from all the abuse the cut nerves and muscles went through. The neurosurgeon told us that nerves heal at about a 1/2 inch per month so however many half inches of nerves need to heal that is how many months it will take before Hubby has reached is max recovery. I have heard it takes as much as three years to get there. The last Xrays indicated that the fusion is taking place and everything is "better" than the doctor expected.

I am sorry to say that since Hubby has extensive degeneration all up and down his spine, that this isn't the end of his journey. The neurosurgeon told us that he will continue to have problems. His cervical spine has been giving him trouble during the last few days. Hopefully a morphine pump will help with that but we have to wait for the fusion to take hold. Sigh. I wish I could take on his pain for a while so he could have a break. Poor guy.

Luck to all.....keep those prayers coming.
Hugs
Mo

Talk to ya all later
Hugs
Mo

 
Old 03-29-2005, 01:45 PM   #11
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mydogsobe HB User
Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

Wow I must really going to be screwed because I have had a compressed nerve l5-s1 for over 5 years now and just now getting ready for the surgery.

 
Old 03-30-2005, 01:49 PM   #12
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JoeD617 HB User
Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

I had my 1st surgey dec. 16 2003 and my redo Jan 9th of 2004. I am still having nerve and muscle pain. I also have been having trigger point injections that seem to hurt like hell for a few day's and then it seems better but after 2 weeks the pain is back. I also have a loss of sinsation in my buttock area <I recently found out when they were doing electric muscle stimulation> She had the machine up to 150 today and I felt nothing.. sooo I'm waiting for this nerve to heal and it's been 15 months now.. soooo a waiting I'll will do .. some never eh.

Good Luck

 
Old 04-01-2005, 10:29 AM   #13
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Mobity HB User
Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

What I have heard (and forgive me if I'm repeating myself.) is that the healing doesn't stop before a year is over and you may still see improvements in your overall condition for up to three years. A friend of ours has had the same fusion my husband has had. After a year he went on vacation and couldn't carry his own lugage but he noticed this past summer that he was carrying in without a even thinking about it. I thought that was great news considering the relief the sugery has already given. Now if we could just get the rest of his back fixed............

 
Old 04-01-2005, 12:56 PM   #14
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ladybird988 HB Userladybird988 HB User
Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

Blessings to your husband. That is wonderful that he is feeling better in the leg. He has been through so much.

I had a microdiskectomy on L4/L5 for a compressed nerve 9 months ago and still have very sharp and frequent leg/foot and toe pain, but the leg pain did come down in intensity at 6 mons post op and i suddenly went from 20% strength in the leg to 50% overnight. Just prior to that, I went through two weeks of increased pain in the back/leg and then it stopped and my leg suddenly got stronger. Unfortunately, a month later, I got increased toe and foot pain, from level 8 to level 10. Ugh.

I too have researched this nerve damage issue and asked questions of the doctor, as I don't want to limp forever and can't continue in that kind of pain.

I was told the same thing that the nerve heals at about one inch a month or less. that most healing takes place the first year but continues for 3 years and even longer.

My PT said that Christopher Reeve proved that by getting on a recumbent bike (I guess one that moved his legs for him) and that blood supply through exercise did heal some of his nerves. Before that, they didn't know nerves could regenerate that much. Before he died, he was doing PT in the pool and I heard he was actually moving even more. My PT says water walking in the pool is the best thing you can do.

I was told by the doctor and PT that you need to provide blood supply to the nerve for it to heal (as in walk) and build up muscle (which also helps the nerve to heal). My PT said that even if a nerve is damaged it can create Other pathways (in other words go around) and strengthen those so the signal gets through. She said that nerves are "unforgiving" and "slow to heal" and "you never know what they'll do or how they work exactly but the body finds a way to heal."

What else....oh...since my nerve pain has gone on so long and it increased, my doctor put me on Neurontin to get the nerve to stop being hyperactive. I was getting stabbing level 10 pain. I was concerned about taking a drug that would "slow" the nerve signals, as I read somewhere that the nerve needs to send those signals to heal.

As I understand it (and I';m probably misguided as i got it off the web) the nerve keeps trying to send a signal across that damaged area and the signal builds up til it "stabs" you. So I told that to the PT last week and said, "Should I be on neurontin if it's slowing my nerve signal?" and she told me that they have found that nerves will get stuck in hyperactive mode and you need to break the cycle otherwise they can go on hyperactive like that indefinitely.

So she explained to me that they need to calm my nerve and break that cycle and that it will still heal. My doctor also said that stopping the hyperactivity in the nerve will help the nerve heal. I hope they are right...it's so hard to know what is correct...

Any one else chime in here????

the problem wiht this drug is it slows my brain as well...but it has taken away 95% of the leg/foot pain and I can stand longer and walk easier. Prior to that my doctor had me take a percocet to ease the pain enough to take a walk.

I don't know if any of that helps, but it has taken me over three years to get that information. My doctor told me most of the time a person's nerve is only bruised and they are the ones who wake up and have no more pain. Others, like me, have a punctured nerve sheath which takes longer to heal. I was told i will need a full 3 years to recover. So there are different levels of nerve damage, and frankly, I think they figure out what level by watching you over time to see how you heal unless they can phsycially see the nerve.

So, I guess what I have learned is EXERCISE to within tolerance. I do so under the guidance of a PT so that I don't do further damage to my back. Like others on here, I have been close to giving up due to pain but the doctor keeps telling me to "hang in there" and "keep doing the therapy" and "keep walking one hour a day." He said he has seen severe cases much worse than my own who one day woke up with no more pain. Just like that. So he is very hopeful.

It's very hard to keep the "hope" when you are dragged down by pain and disability and don't see much progress over a long period of time. It's also hard to learn when to exercise and when to stop due to pain. I have found that continuing to walk once I've reached a level 6 pain in the leg/foot/toe will take me right to a level 9 if I don't stop and lay down, and then I'm down the rest of hte day. Or 4 days. So you walk a tightrope, learning to listen to your body which will tell you when to do what.

I hope that helps someone out there. This is a good thread. What has anyone else heard about nerve regeneration?

 
Old 04-01-2005, 01:08 PM   #15
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Bionicwan HB User
Re: Nerve Damage question. Looking at another surgery!

Hi Mo,

I wish your husband all the best!

I've read the other replies and they're great - I had severe sciatica and pain prior a Lami, immediately upon awaking in recovery my sciatica and intense leg pain was 100% gone. The surgeon said when he got in there he spent a long time picking disc debris out. The sciatic nerve was successfully decompressed. But the manipulation of nerves during the procedure has left me with what I know consider to be permanent nerve damage and neuropathic pain in the entire left leg. Fortunately it is not severe or disabling and I am on neurontin for it. This surgery was in 2001.

 
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