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  • L5/S1 - Leg muscle atrophy?

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    Old 06-21-2013, 09:50 PM   #1
    tradeof1jack's Avatar
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    L5/S1 - Leg muscle atrophy?

    Hi - I have a 6 mm ruptured L5/S1 -- and am currently "holding off on surgery" as long as possible.

    The only doctor I trust told me that with the horrible leg pain and calf muscle cramping -- the biggest concern for me in waiting on the surgery was muscle damage/atrophy because of the nerve impingement.

    Has anyone had any experience with muscle atrophy or muscle damage? Are there warning signs of when you're pushing it?

    It's nerve wracking to just try and make a judgment call, I have no idea if I'm doing permanent damage or not.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Old 06-21-2013, 11:58 PM   #2
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    Re: L5/S1 - Leg muscle atrophy?

    I had a L5-S1 herniated disk that was 2.5 Cm. My leg was numb and calf felt like I strained it and had alot of burning. It did not go away and opted for surgery 3 months later. I'm practically sitting is the same boat I started if not worse. The nerve has to take time to heal but if something is pinching your nerve there is always that chance of permanent nerve damage. As for me it looks like permanent damage as my right leg in the back all the way down to my toes are still numb! Everyone is different and has a different story, it just matters how your body reacts. Did the doctor give you any nerve pills? Good luck and hope you heal!

    Old 06-22-2013, 09:54 AM   #3
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    Re: L5/S1 - Leg muscle atrophy?

    I tradeof1jack, I'm I'm kind of the same boat except its in my neck, affecting an arm instead of a leg. My left tricep muscle was weak and i couldn't lift myself out of the tub as easily. I was told that since the nerve is compressed/ damaged it does not 'fire' correctly to the muscle and that is what causes the atrophy. I too asked for a set of exercises to build it back up but was told it just doesn't work that way. It's all about the nerve and that has to be working to send signal back and forth to the muscle. (Or something along those lines)Not sure how long you have been holding off, but I'm 6 months in without surgery. At about 3-4 months my strength came back. Pain still there but manageable. Still hoping for complete recovery without surgery and hope you can get there as well. Take care!

    Old 06-22-2013, 10:29 PM   #4
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    Re: L5/S1 - Leg muscle atrophy?

    You hit the nail on the head when you said you had no idea if you were doing further damage. No one, including the neurologist, can tell you the answer. We are all different...and nerves react in an entirely unpredictable way.

    I don't really see how you would hurt anything by doing exercises to strengthen the affected leg muscles, if you are able to do so. And you might look into acupuncture to see if it might help. I had lower lumbar issues to, but had numbness rather than muscle I can't say from personal experience whether acupuncture might help your situation.

    When there is muscle atrophy it means that the message the brain is sending to move the muscle is not getting through, or is garbled. The recruitment of the right muscle is not happening, and other muscles take over or pick up the slack...Once the nerve is decompressed, it may be possible to build up the affected muscle...but there are no guarantees.

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    l5-s1, leg pain, low back pain, muscle atrophy, nerve impingement

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