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Old 06-17-2007, 10:00 AM   #1
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one leg shrinking from sciatica

well its been almost 4 months since the L5-s1 disc herniation and severe sciatica. Since I have had 2 epidurals ,accupunture , and alot of pt. 80 percent of the pain has gone away but numbness and some weakness still exist. wife was rubbing my right leg last night and noticed it is alot smaller than the left leg, from the calf up.... I have been trying to avoid surgery as much as possible but after 4 months I am not quite where I want to be in my recovery I still walk with a slight limp and at times my calf cramps up especially at night while I am sleeping feels like sciatica all over again. Has anyone else had there leg shrink on them? I am so ready for surgery, but my pain is gotten better but is still there feels like a bruised muscle or kinda like you feel after working out, from my but to my foot.... well just had to rant a little bit sorry.... not to mention these meds they are giving to me I have become somewhat dependant on them

 
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:01 AM   #2
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

I have lost calf muscle in both legs due to compression of the sciatic nerves.
You are losing muscle because the nerves won't fire the muscles efficiently. I have been in PT for over 9 months and the therapist has told me that until the nerves heal there is no way to actually build up the muscles. We are working on strengthining my upper body and back to compensate for the loss of strength in my legs.

 
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Old 06-17-2007, 02:57 PM   #3
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

One Dr. told me when my first surgeon did my Laminectomy/Fusion they had me crooked on the operating table when they drove them screws in my spine which left my left foot shorter than the right..screwed up huh ?

 
Old 06-17-2007, 04:54 PM   #4
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

thats interesting stuff guys. Since I got my discectomy my nerve pain 100% gone but every now and then i get a HORRIBLE cramp in my calf. I always wondered why. But I will take this pain over the pre op sciatica any day.
That sciatica from a herniated disc must be the worst pain in the world.

 
Old 06-17-2007, 05:59 PM   #5
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

Bass11, I am having the same thing you are having. My right leg is smaller than my other. At times, I think my calf muscle don't even work. Night is when I have the worst pain in my leg. One day I went to my job to visit and the first thing they all notice was how much smaller right leg from my left. I had not really notice til that point. I try work on it just to keep it from cramping so much. I rub it alot to try to keep the nerve alive in there. I have a limp also and I use a cane to make sure I don't fall.

Bass11, during this time have you been able to work? I have not and I am getting worried that I might have to much damage to go back to work. I am a paramedic and I know I well never be able to go back to that, but I would like to work, but as of right now it is to hard to sit for any period of time without pain.

 
Old 06-17-2007, 06:31 PM   #6
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

I am not a doctor but play one on here, I think its called muscle atrophy...

 
Old 06-17-2007, 06:40 PM   #7
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

[QUOTE=yvette777;3050105]I am not a doctor but play one on here, I think its called muscle atrophy...[/QUOTE]

Yep...thats the name. People get that way when the muscle does not work or they don't use them.

 
Old 06-18-2007, 08:08 AM   #8
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cythren HB User
Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

This happened to me too. My left leg is still smaller than my right, although the strength is mostly back and all my other symptoms are gone.

I am wondering if it will ever return to normal size? [B]Has anyone here had their muscle return to normal after shrinking from sciatica?[/B]

My sciatica started Nov 30 2006. The pain lasted until mid Feb 2007. The weakness and limping lasted another month after that.

Now I can walk without a limp again, the numbness and tingling went away, and my leg is strong again - at least it is strong enough to do all the normal daily activities and walk, climb stairs. It may not be as strong as it was before the injury though.

I do stretching and core strengthening exercises every other day, and walk 3-5 miles every day.

 
Old 06-18-2007, 04:20 PM   #9
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

hey BIGBAY,

Fortunately I have been able to work and have only missed days due to doc appt. I really think I need to have surgery but am totally scared to death. I do know one guy that did well without surgery but most I have talked to say surgery was there only option after trying everthing. I just want to walk normal again, not to mention my knees are taking a beaten from the limping. I wouldnt wish this on my worst enemy...

 
Old 06-18-2007, 06:40 PM   #10
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

[QUOTE=bass11;3052045]hey BIGBAY,

Fortunately I have been able to work and have only missed days due to doc appt. I really think I need to have surgery but am totally scared to death. I do know one guy that did well without surgery but most I have talked to say surgery was there only option after trying everthing. I just want to walk normal again, not to mention my knees are taking a beaten from the limping. I wouldnt wish this on my worst enemy...[/QUOTE]

Thanks, My knees are taken a beaten also. My left knee is shot, I was suppose to have surgery to replace it, but my back went out before I could. My job won't let me work with my back, even though I have a sit down job. I have been put on FMLA, I don't like it, but now I am glad I was. There is no way I could work with this pain and numbness. Also my job doesn't like you taken pain meds on the clock.
I know I need surgery, but I have to lose some more weight before I can have back surgery. I am just worried, I well not get better and can't work anymore. My wife wants me to stop, but I just can't see being home all day.

Last edited by Bigbay; 07-16-2007 at 10:26 AM.

 
Old 06-19-2007, 06:54 AM   #11
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

when you have a noticable "shrinking' of muscle,it is usually one of two things or even a bit of both.when that nerve/muscle connection is lost there is nothing to trigger it anymore so it does atrophy from lack of use,but on the other hand,when we are suffering pain in a particular area,we don't tend to even try to use those muslces either just because they trigger pain.when we are walking,we tend not to take the full step anymore,limp?(i only know because my legs are a huge problem)but his alone will cause some level of atrophy because the full muscle is not being excercised and maintained as normal.you know what i mean?i tend to actually lift and limp now not take the actual step like i used to just because of pain issues in my knee.and it IS showing itself,and this is my good leg too.

muscle cramping can also be caused by nerve issues or even a depletion of potassium or magnesium.it wouldn'thurt to just try taking a good vitamin suppliment to see if things change at all as far as the cramping goes.or just eat a bannana a day,that would work for the potassium thing.i live with a certain level of spasticity in both legs from SCI and one of the best things i do for this before i go to bed is to take a nice hot soak in epsom salts?this is basically pure magnesium(natures little muscle relaxer?)the mag actually gets absorbed thru the skin itself and right into the musles.this helped alot with my night spasms and simple muscle cramping.it is very relaxing for alot of reasons.just a suggestion for you.it really does help the muslce relax.if you have any trouble sleeping at night,i would highly recommend trying the epsom.they are pretty cheap and can be found in any drug store.its always worth trying anyway.Marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 07-16-2007, 06:41 AM   #12
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Question Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

[QUOTE=bass11;3049475]well its been almost 4 months since the L5-s1 disc herniation and severe sciatica. Since I have had 2 epidurals ,accupunture , and alot of pt. 80 percent of the pain has gone away but numbness and some weakness still exist. wife was rubbing my right leg last night and noticed it is alot smaller than the left leg, from the calf up.... I have been trying to avoid surgery as much as possible but after 4 months I am not quite where I want to be in my recovery I still walk with a slight limp and at times my calf cramps up especially at night while I am sleeping feels like sciatica all over again. Has anyone else had there leg shrink on them? I am so ready for surgery, but my pain is gotten better but is still there feels like a bruised muscle or kinda like you feel after working out, from my but to my foot.... well just had to rant a little bit sorry.... not to mention these meds they are giving to me I have become somewhat dependant on them[/QUOTE]

Hi there, This is my first post so I hope I get it right. I,m 40 and suffered for 12 months with "pure" sciatica...so they say. I had no back pain to talk of, just excrutiating pain from above my left buttock/hip and all the way down my left leg, ankle and foot. I believe it is unusual for sciatica to affect ONLY the front of the leg? Eventually I had MRI scan followed by double sided discectomy at L3/4 at the end of January this year. After battling with morphine addiction eventually the recover was good and I felt like a new woman but only for 3 months...when I began to get cramps in my shin which worsened and now the butt/hip pain is back as well as the shin. I would say its at 85% of the pre-op pain. I'm limping again and in pain. - I'm sure my left leg is thinner and shorter now. Will this pain ever go away by itself, or is another op on the cards? I don't know if I can take much more of this. It's wrecking my life.

 
Old 07-23-2010, 10:49 AM   #13
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Re: one leg shrinking from sciatica

I have that too. It has improved from swimming a ton. If you can get in a jacuzzi and find a jet and put that on your calf that helps a bunch too with the tightness. Its just atrophy it will improve after surgery, but just shows you have muscle weakness and that's one of the doctors indicators for surgery. try to continue to stand on the bad one rather and massage that cramps in the leg. eat bananas to for potassium that avoids muscle cramps

 
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