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Old 01-07-2006, 09:33 AM   #1
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happyhome HB User
Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

Hello, A year ago I woke up, and when I went to walk, my left food was like DEAD, and I fell flat on my face, I thought it was a mistake and again I tryed to walk and the left foot just drug......I went to a Neurologist, not thinking anything bad was happening...

They stuck needles in back and I got a report saying L5-S1 , and diagnosed with LEFT LEG DROP...it would not come upward to take a step and a brace was put on it to keep it from dropping further. I had no accident, no back injuries, just woke up with this....in months..........it got better, and I was able to take off brace for over a year and a half......

Yesterday I tried to wake up, and again, the left foot drug and was completely numb and I am know scared to go to sleep, and there is pain in the back.......again no known injuries etc. I have diabetes but they ruled that out with the test of L5-S1 radiculopathy.......all he gave me was pain medicine and exercise for a dead foot....

What do they mean by radiculopathy, is it curable?, and painful in the left foot ? Anybody get this out of the blue ? I don't even know what radiculopathy means.....that doctor was in Texas, and now I am in La. and got hit by Katrina, and can't get a doctor, to re-evaluate me, but is there a cure for radiculopathy ? Does anyone else have pain and a left foot drooping that sends me back to a brace ? Some one told me I slept on a nerve wrong....and I bought that pillow that lifts your legs.........but once you have this is it curable ? Does it get worse ? Scared to go to sleep since it always happens at night, and I wake up king of having to pick up left foot ?

Thanks, worried and sleepy.......

 
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Old 01-07-2006, 02:34 PM   #2
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Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

Radiculopathy is nerve damage and yes, it is painful. As far as cure, well, I can't tell you that. However, you need to see a spine specialist. Not a neurologist, not an orthopedist, but either a neurosurgeon or an ORthopedic Spine specialist. They should have a spine fellowship which means they do not work on any other part of the body other than the spine.

Nerve damage can and will become permanent and so the sooner you find a specialist the better, even if you have to travel to do so. There are things that can be done to help with the pain and physical therapy might help with the leg drop but the longer you wait, the less chance there is of regaining use of that leg all the way. Please find a doctor as soon as you can. That neurologist in Texas should be sued for negligence and stupidity!

Please stay in touch here and let us know how you are doing. It is slow on the boards over a weekend but you will get lots of responses on Monday.

Carol
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2 lami's, 3 fusions
bone spur removal
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Old 01-07-2006, 10:29 PM   #3
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Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

Thanks Carol ! Oh my, I didn't know all of this, and since doctors just seem to test and write reports you never see. I had NO IDEA....that it was this serious ! You might know I am on disability for diabetes and lost my health coverage on 12/31/05 until I get medicaid in Feb 2007....I can quickly pay my last month of health coverage and run to a spine specialist ! I am very heavy due to diabetes and thryroid problems, I figured my weight just kept me almost homebound....

But then I see people even larger than me, shopping, walking, standing, jogging, and I don't understand why I can't stand more than 5 minutes in a store before I have to sit on the ground ! So I stopped shopping years ago thinking it was just the weight.... I am very shocked, and scared, this was part of my disability reason, and the doctor didn't even tell me to come back ?

I am only 48 and have had it about 3 or so years off and on, as I went from weighing 133 my whole life until I got diabetes, and thyroid stopped functioning and gained 150 pounds before a doctor said I finally was diabetic borderline........they always say everything is borderline until it is too late !

I have bought those back, waste bands which help, but still dosent help me walk much.......thanks for the information, and I see all the surgeries you had. Were you in an accident Or is it degenerative ?

I am in shock that I have this serious condition, and from what you have said it sounds like I better get moving to a doctor..........to get anything for pain from a doctor is almost impossible .........he told me to take Tylenol.....and that sure dosent do it.......thanks, will write back.........its hard to sit and write...thanks again Carol, I HAD NO IDEA.......this was nerve damage.....

I pray for you a good night, with your condition and THANKS FOR RESPONDING....when you live alone, this sounds scary.....I do everything in stages........was h a dish, sit down, sweep, sit down.....so it is getting worse..
Thanks again......I will start looking in yellow pages now.......

God Bless you were an for writing

 
Old 01-08-2006, 10:58 AM   #4
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Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

I'm sorry I scared you, but glad that I got you moving! I hope that you find a great doctor on your first try rare as that is. But at this point the main thing is to have the MRI and start the process. If you don't like the specialist, you can switch to a different one once you know what's going on.

Please do let me know when you get an appointment; I hope you will stay in touch!

Carol
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bone spur removal
cerv. fusion, 1 level
morphine pump

 
Old 01-09-2006, 09:12 PM   #5
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happyhome HB User
Re: RADIOCUPATHY L5-S1 MEAN ?

Hi Carol,

Well I have an appt tomorrow with a neurologist surgeon, and hopefully he will help me figure out what is going on ? I paid the $702 insurance premium and bought insurance for another month, to see if this is serious.

Have you ever had electrical shooting pains in your foot from L5-S1 radiocupathy ? Before my foot looses feeling, sometimes in the night my toes go into a spasm that is horribly painful....? They actually go a different way......I hate to get leg drop again, you can't drive when your foot won't go forward on the gas pedal... I still have neighbors that swear I am sleeping on a nerve wrong, since I am so heavy.. but like you said it is nerve damage...

Thanks for the advice.....hopefully they won't have to do one of those EMG's again, did you have to do more than one, where needles are stuck in the back.. ? Once was bad, twice is scary..since I live alone...What medicines for pain did you take before your morphone pump, that sounds serious.....I got very sick on Bextra and those kind of drugs, and Tylenol did nothing. These darvocets, I am not sure what they are doing?

 
Old 01-10-2006, 05:28 PM   #6
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carol632 HB User
Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

Darvocet is really a mild pain killer. If your pain isn't helped much, maybe your dr would let you try something a little stronger.

I have never had an EMG, thank heavens. Before my pump I was on several different things to try to break the pain,,I took ms contin, oxycontin, lorcet and nothing really did much to help. Has anyone suggested that you try a medication like topomax? That helps with nerve pain, though it takes a while to build up a high enough dosage to start working. It also sometimes causes weight loss, so you may want to ask you dr about it.

I sure hope you find a good, caring, spine specialist very soon.

Carol
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2 lami's, 3 fusions
bone spur removal
cerv. fusion, 1 level
morphine pump

 
Old 01-11-2006, 02:27 AM   #7
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duttin HB Userduttin HB User
Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

Happyhome,

Sorry to hear that you suffer from radiculopathy.I agree it's very painful and unbearable.I have radiculopathy chronic and accute in the spinal nerves ,lumbar and thoracic.I have had several EMG's in the last year.I have a great Dr. that does this testing ,only a little discomfort.I wear leg braces,modern technology,I can wear them under my jeans.I go to physical therapy and that has helped.
I have had several MRI's and a mylelogram and they have indicated no nerve impingements.I have had 2 back surgerys in the past but they were 7 years ago.
I am now seeing a neurologist,they have ruled out diabetes and focusing on multiple sclerosis.I was told by a neurosurgeon, mine was do to not weighing enough.I have weighed the same amount the last 20 years.112 pounds.My step father is a diabetic and the insilin he is on has made him very heavy.I'd rather have him that way than not here at all.
I do not take any pain meds,I have had allergic reactions to many and not willing to take a chance.I do take zanaflex,for chronic muscle spasms associated to the radiculopathy and possible ms.I have learned limitations,I have found when I'm fatigued and don't get my 3o afternoon nap I am in a lot of pain the remainder of the day.Good luck with your DRs. appointment

Toni

 
Old 01-13-2006, 04:46 AM   #8
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happyhome HB User
Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

NUFF3

What caused your radiocupathy ? Nerve damage...I really can't remember how I got it.....the doctor I have is terrible...realy donkey butt, before I bring the MRI back to his office, he has already decided my left leg drop is not from the old L5 S1:...........

If he thinks it is my diabetes which is under control, I haven't heard a person yet that had leg drop from diabetes.....do you go to a neurological doctor or an orthopedic..?

I need a doctor who wants to wait for the xrays before he make a diagnosis, he just seems disappointed I won't be a "surgery".......so he said , oh came back next week.............I said what about the pain......he said take Tylenol........a neurological surgeon wants a surgery, and he seemed almost disappointed I wasn't going to be one..........

Do you have shooting pains down your legs, and toes, and sometimes they go in spasms ?

I think I learn more here at the Healthboards, than I do from 3 minutes with a doctor... Thanks for helping

 
Old 01-13-2006, 05:53 AM   #9
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duttin HB Userduttin HB User
Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

Happyhome,

They once beleived that my radiculopathy was from 2 previous back surgery's,but I have it at the l5-s1 ,but also in thoracic,possibly cervical.Mine they are leaning towards Multiple Sclerosis I do however have a herniated disk in the thoracic area, 3 bulging disk,and a bulging disk in the cervical area,with no cord impingment anywhere.
I have seen several Doctors from the cleveland clinic to the Ohio State Medical College.I have found a fantastic team of Doctors nearby.I see a neurosurgeon with a spine fellowship for the spine only and a neurologist for the neurological effects and the MS.I see a neuromuscular Doc.(She's awesome)she takes care of all my EMG's,Physical therapy and all my meds and my family Doc I just keep him informed.
Surgery is not always the answer,Diabeties can have a factor in radiculopathy,remember radiculopathy is a disease of the nerve endings,caused by imflamation.If there is no impingement,surgery will not help.I have had radiculopathy for 10 years now.It can relapse.
Yes, I get severe leg pain and chronic muscle spasms ,it has affected my walking,I wear a leg brace on the right leg and I go to physical therapy 3 days a week to keep the legs stretched.The only meds I take for it is zanaflex, a muscle relaxer to stop the spasms and asprin.Asprin is a natural anti-inflamatory.I hope this helps some.
If your not happy with your Doctor continue your search,I have had 3 nuerologist and 3 neurosurgeons,when I pay good money for professional service,I expect that,I seen one Doc for 7 minutes put me on elavil,anti-depressent and billed me a 600.00 bill.Just to look at a set a films.Their is great Docs. out their ,keep looking,find one with a spine fellowship.
Toni

 
Old 01-14-2006, 06:39 PM   #10
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happyhome HB User
Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

Thanks for the response ! Wow, I never considered MS, I sure it would be my diabetes, but it is totally under control for about 4 years ? I have had a bone spur removed that totally failed that filled my foot with scar tissue twice and now noone will help me , again remove the scar tissue....I guess there is just not much heel left.......info for all you considering bone spur surgery, it was painful before surgurey, but now I am cripple with scar tissue?

Gee, all you people with surgeries, I feel like a whimp with a little left leg drop...except, that if I don't wear the brace, I feel like I am marching ! picking up my left foot ! I just wish the doctor had been a good one on my plan for $702 a month, when I only get $900 disability.........

I didn't wear the brace to his office because most of these doctors or in hospital suites in a hospital with a tunnel to go through and greath lengths of a walk, so I put the last one in my purse , and I shuffled up....looked ridiculous, but I did it....he then said you can't be that bad....

I have a wheelchair, the new AT;m for $3000 but I still can't pick up the 40 pound base and put it together, but it seems wonderful...my MRI's are still sitting in my car, since he was so rude to make me wait since I needed an open MRI because of my weight , versus him getting me stuck in the MRI machine...and I had one day service....

Maybe it is the diabetes, because when I got insulin for the FIRST TIME WAS THE HOSPITLIZATION FOR THE FOOT DROP WITH MY BLOOD SUGAR OVER 400.......but I couldn't understand how it affected my back. That was the first insulin given to me ever. I had a glucose monitor was on the ATkins diet, and don't know how I woke up with such a high blood sugar count and dead footl...

I have it under control now and woke up with the left foot dragging again until I almost fell on my face, it seems to only HAPPEN AT NIGHT, and when I get up it is numb and drags, unexpectably ???

I wish I could find a doctor that wasn't a quack before he sees the film and actually I got stuck in the regular MRI machine, HE INSISTED THEY JAM ME IN IT AT 264 POUNDS, and I had to get an open MRI , which then he pushed back my visit until this coming Tuesday ?

Then I told the receptionist why did he push me back from one day until next week, she said because he decided it wasn't serious, BEFORE HE SEES The FILM.... I don't wan't serious, but why did I get an open MRI that I didn't need to pay for , If he is a magical geni, and knows what it is not already before the films.........some doctors don't realize we all have great health insurance, a husband to pay them, I am a single mom of 20 years and now he decided I didn't need them ?

I hate to sound like a baby, but I don't think I need pain medication all the time....but there are times at my Weight 270 pounds that no amount of moving, sleeping, standing sitting can I stand the constant pain......which is not all the time ?

Thanks guys for all your help....after I hear what this donkey has to say before he sees the films, he destined I don't need already, but I will pay for, for years.....maybe I can find an orthopedic or somebody who believes me.
If I could put my wheelchair together I would...if I don't wear the brace to go down and up stairs to his office, he said then you must not need it....it's horriible, if he only knew what it took for me to get down and up those stairs!...in La. allot of doctor still don't have handicapped situations ! I thought it was against the law, and called in advance...

The lady said we have no parking garage so I was totally relievied...when I got there I was two parking lots away from the main building in the cold with all the handicapped spots taken??? It was a painful haul....its hard to find a doctor "handicapped", with a handicapped parking space...? even at the grocery ? Well thanks for listening, gee I Hope I don't have ms. what is that symptoms of that......I drop a few things, and my memory after an insulin shot is a little shot....but I seem to be fine other than that dragging foot, and the as time goes on it seems to get better. ?

Does any of you with a brace on leg drop " improve and get better " ? Mine did the first time, and I could march along, "not smart" but it did get better or is your totally dead and gone forever ?

Thanks scared happyhome...

 
Old 01-15-2006, 01:46 PM   #11
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duttin HB Userduttin HB User
Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

Happyhome,
Sorry to hear that your DR. is such a jerk.
Remember Radiculopathy effects the nerves when they exit the spinal canal.So there can can be several causes.Impingement is the main sourse.Dengenerative disk Disease,Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis are just a few.Talk with your DR.I see a neurologist for my radiculopathy,beings it's connected to my MS.If it was do to the disk I would see my neurosurgeon.
My foot seems to be a little better but will wear the leg brace for a very long time.With radiculopathy it can go into remission,but also can come back with avengence.I have learned daily limitations and when fatiqued I slow down.I have not found one med yet to stop the pain,spasms yes pain no.Talk to your Dr. and if you don't like hime find another.
Call the diabetes association in your area,they should be able to get someone to help you with your wheel chair.Have you tried physical therapy?It does help.

Best Wishes
Toni

 
Old 01-15-2006, 04:10 PM   #12
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Wink Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

I too am sorry that you are going through so much. I know the pain from Radiculopathy is real and can be very sore. I was hoping your Dr. appointment would be a good visit. Unfortunately, it is often the case that you have to shop around for a Dr. Was this Neurosurgeon a spine specialist? That is who you need to look for. They do more than 75 % of their work on spines and they are on top of all the new techniqes etc.

There have been a number of great ideas posted already. I would also add that you could also contact a local church to find someone to help put your wheelchair together. You don't need to be a member or even have the same beliefs. If you find a larger church (I say larger because they will have a larger congregation which means they would have more ministries and outreaches. It also means many more people who love to help others). Any way, if you call their office and let them know you are homebound and unable to put you wheel chair together and wanted to know if they knew anyone who might be able to help you out...I can not imagine they would not either come out quickly or find someone who could.

As far as having a Spine specialist look at you MRI w/o prejudging you, you can call and make an appt. with a new specialist and tell then you need a 2nd opinion and you want to make an appt. for their Dr. to view your MRI and get their interpretation of it.

I hope it all works out for you. I take Neurontin (rather the generic version of it) and it works for my nerve pain. There are several other meds. for nerve pain as well. (Each seem to work differently among different people).

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers,
Lorie
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Last edited by lfoster21; 01-15-2006 at 04:15 PM.

 
Old 01-15-2006, 04:21 PM   #13
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Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

There are, unfortunately, a lot of docs out there who are jerks. They want to just get on with a procedure and not take time for sympathy and tea. See if you can look around, ask around for one with a good bedside manner.

Or, take a list with you of your concerns and don't leave until you have stated all of them and feel comfortable with your answers.

I saw one doc, said I had myofascial pain, another radicular, and then another who said that it was muscle pain. I think that with each doc we get different opinions unless they can actually see the problem. Pain is so subjective.

I wish you luck in your search for answers.

 
Old 01-20-2006, 10:38 AM   #14
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happyhome HB User
Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

[B]RADICULOPATHY L5-S1 MEAN ?[/B]

Hello,

I have had my appt with that doc/dud, I don't like to say that, but after all the spinals, and MRI, stated you have diabetic neuropathy, which is a given and previously diagnosed 4 years ago........nothing new except the bill

Not knowing where to go....because that is it....its not curable...he ordered another "needle test" and 3 days a week of expensive physical therapy on a foot 2 years dropped ? I felt sorry for him in a way because that is all he had to offer, more tests, more pain, more physical therpay and have done all that.....Sometimes the answer is, diabetes is damaging the nerves in your back, which affect your feet ?

At first, being a Katrina victim and single mom, lost job with State Farm I agreed to the repeat.....then when they called, I said No......I do not need to undergo, more needles, more therapy, on a diagnosis of diabetic neurorapathy....I was just shocked he said it ate the nerves in my back ?

Making my left foot go dead, drop , or numb......I felt sorry for him because he could not look me in the eye, and just say, this is it ? Your diabetic and this what happens to diabetics.......and I am bankrupt from diabetes, loosing my home in the storm, and loosing my health insurance next month....

He even admitted there was nothing to be done....it happens........I guess it is hard for them to say.....but to hurt me further, and put me in debt further for $1600 in cash in 16 payments of 10 months, when I have no home, and on food assistance is just ridiculous. What is done is done........

I refuse to have any more tests, because he said no matter what we find it is diabetic neuropathy? I was shocked that it ate at your BACK ? I have been insulin dependent only about 3 years, and I have it under control, so I was a little shocked it did nerve damage in the back......

Actually going from 133 pounds to 272 pounds I think is what is hurting my back, and I cant seem to loose weight, even if I starve, or drink Glucerna.......what's worse I have to live with people, and I am a burden to anybody at 272 poiunds, squishing their couches, and beds.....even to friends and family......I don't know why diabetes has made me gain so much weight, because I see skinny diabetics........

Thanks for all your replies, the appt , was solemn actually, as the doctor said it is diabetes, and I see no herniation, but a little arthritis at the back, causing you pain.....and kept his head down, ordering new painful tests...
I actually felt sorry for him ? Has anybody had radioculpathy in the back from diabetes ? Thanks for all your support............kind of down today, as I have to choose to pay $702 insurance cobra per month and co pays.......or eat............electricity and live ??????..........thanks

 
Old 01-20-2006, 01:48 PM   #15
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Wink Re: Radiculopathy L5-s1 Mean ?

I am sorry your appointment wasn't better, but I guess the fact that you don't have any herniations is a good thing. I know how frustrating it is though, being in so much pain and not much that can be done about it.

I have a suggestion to look into. I ended up having to give up my insurance last April. Like you, I had to choose that or food and electricity. Our county has a free clinic for people w/o insurance. There is no income ceiling on it...you just have to not have insurance available to you or it's too expensive for you to afford. My brother was the one to tell me to look into it. He lives in CA and cant afford the insurance from his company. They actually paid for him to have a knee replacement a few years ago and now he is having the other knee replaced. So, they don't deny problems because it's a free clinic. Any way, you may want to look at what your local town or county offers and if they have these free clinics, that may help you make the decision about the cobra. Will the Cobra end at some point? My county also has several food banks that I can go to each month. I make too much for food stamps (well, I am able to get 10.00 a month in food stramps ) but the food banks are for any one who needs supplemental food.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Lorie
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Last edited by lfoster21; 01-20-2006 at 01:53 PM.

 
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