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Old 03-01-2012, 10:55 AM   #1
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Stretched L-4 Nerve Root

I will give you a history of my injury to start. I wrecked an atv in August of 2011. I landed on my back and the atv rolled on top of me and handlebar jabbed me in the stomach. I fractured my L-3 and since have had pain down my right leg. After 2 epidural steroids and a nerve root block, my doctor has come to the conclusion that when I wrecked I stretched the L-4 nerve and that is what is causing the constant pain down my leg. He told me that the pain may never go away and there is no procedure that will help me. He gave me a prescription that will help to mask the pain, but not treat it. Has anyone else ever had a similar injury? Also if I should go to a hospital that specializes in nerve treatment, or if it is a lost cause and I should learn how to deal with the pain. Thanks for anyones help. Mike

 
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:39 PM   #2
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Re: Stretched L-4 Nerve Root

Hi Mike,

I normally hang out on the Back board but just happened to notice your post. I am sorry that you had an accident and that is has lingering effects.

Spinal nerve pain is very tricky and difficult to resolve. Anyone who has herniated a disc or cracked a vertebra, etc. often ends up dealing with a situation involving either nerve irritation or nerve compression.

First let me ask you if you have seen a spinal specialist for an opinion?

Have you had a lumbar MRI recently? It may be that a nerve is affected in some way that you are not aware of...perhaps a disc has herniated since the accident, or something similar.

Spine surgeons are neurologists are not very helpful when it comes to trying to resolve nerve pain. What you mostly hear is that it takes the nerve a LONG time to calm down and or heal, depending if it has been mere irritated or if it has been compressed.

The main issue as I see it is that these specialists can run tests and tell the patient which nerve is damaged, but they cannot tell if the damage is permanent or if there is a chance it will regenerate. Once there seems to be damage, there is almost nothing that can be done about it.

If the nerve has been almost-severed, there are some surgical procedures that can attempt to re-attach it, but if it is just malfunctioning, for whatever reason, other than removing whatever might be causing it to be compressed, there is little else to be done, other than to treat the symptoms of pain.

Most of us with spine issues live with some degree of nerve pain.

Sorry to be discouraging. If you haven't seen either a neurosurgeon or an ortho-spine surgeon for your original injury, I would suggest making an appointment. Then you could rule out any other issue that might be causing the pain.

Where does the pain go in the leg? Is it on the front or the back? In the buttock? In the big toe? Is it constant or do certain postural positions make it better or worse?

 
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:07 PM   #3
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Re: Stretched L-4 Nerve Root

I have been seeing a neurosurgeon since the accident. They have done all the necessary scans, mri, ct, xray and ct myleogram. The myleogram showed that there is nothing pushing on the nerves. That is why he came to the conclusion of a stretched nerve.
The nerve pain that I have starts in the lower back, goes through my butt, around the front of my thigh, down my shin, into my foot.
Do you have to go to a University hospital to see a spinal specialist or is that the same as a neurosurgeon? Can the nerve centers at a University hospital treat anything like this?
Thanks for your time. I appreciate all your help.

 
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:05 PM   #4
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Re: Stretched L-4 Nerve Root

Yes, we typically refer to a "spine specialist" but it is either an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon who limit their practice to issues of the back and neck. You need to be sure the specialty is in the spine as you don't want a neurosurgeon who prefers to do brain surgery or a general orthopedic doc, sports medicine doc, or ortho surgeon who does joint replacements, etc.

Your pain is following a typical L4 "dermatome" pattern. You can look up a dermatome map and you will see a diagram that shows which spinal nerve innervates which part of the body. Obviously there is some overlap, but the dermatomes provide a good starting point when investigating a spinal problem.

The fact that the EMG is not showing nerve damage is a good sign. You may just have to be patient and give the injury more time. You can try visiting a neurologist, but in my experience you won't find it very helpful. They are more useful when there is a disease of the nervous system that can be readily diagnosed, like MS, Parkinson's or a stroke. A nerve injury is more problematic. Or they can diagnose a neuropathy but then, either than offering a drug like gabapentin or Lyrica for pain relief, there aren't many treatments available.

I know when spine patients have a decompression surgery, sometimes it is necessary to tug on the nerve to free it up. This almost always results in some nerve pain that lingers...sometimes for many months. I am 20 months out from a 3 level lumbar fusion and I am still regaining feeling in my feet...meaning the nerves are still regenerating/recovering. But my nerves were compressed for a long time and my surgeon thought I would most likely have permanent nerve damage.

I suppose it wouldn't hurt to talk with someone at the university hospital, but I wouldn't expect too much from the visit.

 
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:52 PM   #5
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Re: Damaged L-4 Nerve Root

I am still looking for an answer. I am looking into going to a major hospital to see if they have any answers for me. Does anyone have any reccomendations of hospitals that deal with nerve damage. I know that Mayo Clinic is the best, but if someone has any thoughts, I would greatly appreciate them. Thanks

 
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:40 PM   #6
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Re: Stretched L-4 Nerve Root

I have a strecthed nerve in both L3 and L4 and have the same exact symptoms with pain also down the side of my quand and inside my quad next to my knee also. I'm currently on Lyrica, oxycodone, and sevral other medications including patches. My neurosurgeons say the nerve damage is irreversible so I have to live with this pain and constant spasms to my lower back and right leg. Going on three years now, no improvement.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:37 PM   #7
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Re: Stretched L-4 Nerve Root

Sorry to hear you are going through the same thing as I am. I have seen no relief in the last year and a half. I am now in pain management and have come to the conclusion that this is my life now. I can no longer work on our ranch, and do not know which direction to go next. I am trying to get on SSD and am still dealing with work comp. Dealing with all that at least keeps me busy.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:14 PM   #8
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Re: Stretched L-4 Nerve Root

Hey buddy I was just forced to retire because of my condition and while I'm on SSD and WorkmanComp, I have no idea what is going to happen. I miss my job darely. I was a Shift Supervisor in an Electric Power Plant and living with this pain and not being able to function as I used to has me depressed. I was also the clean up hitter for Virgin Islands National Team and I'm unable to do sports. Just hang in there and be strong minded.

Last edited by isodine; 03-07-2013 at 08:17 PM.

 
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