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How long before nerves are badly damaged?

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Old 04-22-2005, 07:14 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 361
kaybee HB User
How long before nerves are badly damaged?

Every single night my husband can't sleep due to cramping legs, spasms, shooting pains and the worst seems to be numb butt. This has been going on for months. He has a multilevel lumbar fusion scheduled in a few weeks. The real concern is that he had a successful microdiscectomy last July and has gone down hill fast since then. So, essentially, he's had nerve involvement since. At what point can it be permanent?

What really concerns me is that he could have opted for a spinal stimulator first then the fusion later or visa verse. How can the nerves stay compressed that long and then even longer with a stimulator and not suffer permanent damage? Would a stimulator have prolonged the damage or helped the nerves to recover? Or is the actual purpose just to cover the pain?

Anyway, dh didn't even consider it. The neuro was talking about it lasting several years and only needing to go in there to change the battery every few years. With his dx and most importantly an unstable vertebra, we think he's basically been backed into the corner with his only option being the fusion. Especially since it is inevitable. Why put it off and risk further damage, KWIM?

Last edited by kaybee; 04-22-2005 at 07:16 PM.

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Old 04-22-2005, 07:33 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,291
Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: How long before nerves are badly damaged?


Last edited by Quietcook; 07-16-2005 at 06:48 PM.

Old 04-22-2005, 08:09 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 463
TexasWildRose04 HB User
Re: How long before nerves are badly damaged?

Kaybee.... from what my Pain Management doc told me, basically the stimulator is a cover up not a fix for a compressed nerve.....the stimulator basically keeps the pain from traveling from the area of compression to the brain to cause the pain.... but the nerve is still compressed so therefore the damage is still happening...

Good Luck

Old 04-22-2005, 08:32 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Alabama
Posts: 155
tammys HB User
Re: How long before nerves are badly damaged?

I went to the neuro yesterday and had a nerve test done. While they were doing it and not getting a reading below my knee, I asked the neuro about time frames for damage and how long before the damage was permanent. He said that the first stage of nerve damage is where the outer layer of the nerve is damaged and most likely does regenerate. The second level is below the surface of the first layer and can heal, but is time consuming and can take months or even years. The third level is where the nerve on the inside of the layers is damaged and most times never heals. I am at the third level and it took me about 8 months to get to the point that I am now. I would not put off having something done to relieve the compressed nerve because nobody can really pinpoint when the actually nerve damage will actually get to the point of a level that will not heal. If I had known then what I know now, I would have had mine taken care of immediately instead of trying to brave the pain and keep working and trying to live normally. I am sorry that your husband is in so much pain and wish you and him the best.

Good Luck!!! Keep Smiling!!!

Old 04-23-2005, 07:18 AM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 361
kaybee HB User
Re: How long before nerves are badly damaged?

You all are great and have provided so much needed information! I think we can hope for a great deal of pain relief but dh isn't getting his hopes up for a cure because he feels in his heart the the damage has been going on for too long. We don't even know how much is caused by his back and how much is caused by the awful condition of his knees.

Thanks, you guys!

Old 04-23-2005, 04:09 PM   #6
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 1,186
jdlfmc HB Userjdlfmc HB User
Re: How long before nerves are badly damaged?

Hi, Has your husband had a EMG done yet to test the nerves in his legs?

I injured my back almost 6yrs ago long story but because of wrong diagnosis ect. I now have permanant damge to my S1 nerve and the pain and symptoms are unreal and none of the meds really help the nerve pain.
I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted, this is only to cover the pain and in NO way going to improve the condition, all it does is send to the brain a different sensation instead of the pain.You are right though with my SCS I have to go in about every 5yrs to have the battery repalced, if he can have the surgery and relieve the pressure on the nerve I'd do it, the SCS will be around later if he still has the pain, I can't understand why the drs would option this first and risk further damage.

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