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Members with nerve damage

thenadetthenade Posts: 137
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Chronic Pain
I have a question for members who have been diagnosed with nerve damage. Neurologist says that could be my problem since I still have the same pain in my leg 9 months after L4 L5 fusion. When I sit down the pain lessens and if I lay down it pretty much goes away. Wouldn't nerve damage cause pain to be there all the time? Also can anyone comment on the idea that nerves get a memory of pain and don't let go of it. Its like they have been reprogrammed. This was another possibility he mentioned.


  • i agree with huggy i also have neuropathic pain but mine comes from my c spine but affects different parts of my body--hands feet arms...
  • Thenade,

    As huggy suggested, search neuropathic pain and its causes. Some kinds of neuropathy (damage to the nervous system or select areas) are positional in how they manifest. Other types are constant in pain delivery. Sometimes it takes a long time for an irritated nerve to regenerate and heal, and as such you can have pain long after the surgery. Others of us have found upon waking after surgery all pain gone. It all boils down to the nerve and its reaction in our own bodies. I hope you find your answers. Take care.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi - I'm no expert on the subject, but I do have neuropathic pain, and it isn't necessarily there all the time. It can come and go at random, or be evoked by various stimuli (change in temperature, contact with clothing or sheets, etc.). The nervous system can be altered following injury, so that the way nerve signals are transmitted is 'rewired'. This is what the neurologists I saw told me, at least, and I've read the same thing in various books on pain.
  • I guess I just can't let go of the thought that I may still have some nerve compression, even if the surgeon says no. My pain basically has not changed since surgery. I had severe central and foraminal stenosis, a grade 1 slip,facet arthropathy etc. Because of the compression when I walked or stood I had leg pain. The same thing happens now. Seems strange that it lessens when I lay down or sit if I have permanent damage. Neurologist says he does not think it is ongoing damage. Just wondering.
  • have permanent, severe nerve damage on both S1 nerves on both legs. The only position I can get where I am mostly pain-free is reclined. That usually even feels better than laying flat.

    To prove nerve damage, request an EMG and nerve conduction studies. I was "put off" and told to give the nerves time to heal until these tests. Then everything about my care changed - docs looked sad and empathetic, told me I had to have a spinal cord stimulator of an implanted pain pump were my only options.

    With the S1 nerve, that is the motor nerve, which means without it, I'd be in a wheelchair. That said, any movement triggers my pain - sitting, standing, walking.....

    The SCS has made a great difference and I can do so much more, but when I get my nerve(s) flared, I suffer still. Just made 2 16 hour round trips in 2 weeks and I'm struggling recovering. That was just too much, even though I travel in a recliner in the back of the van. Too much walking, too many different beds, too much activity. I really pushed it too far.

    Prior to the SCS, I could stand/sit/walk about 30-45 minutes until I was DYING of burning/searing nerve pain 24/7.

    Have the doc do the EMG and NCS and find out exactly what and where the problem is. It will let them know if it is acute (short term) or chronic (long term) problem.

    I'm sorry you are suffering - nerve damage is pretty terrible.

  • Yes I did have an EMG. His report said abnormalities in the tibialis anterior muscles(shin muscle) which suggests L5 nerve root involvement. That was the nerve that had moderate to severe compression on my right side. But I don't feel he has pinpointed what the problem is exactly. Based on his experiences, my history and imaging studies he does not think that ongoing nerve damage is happening. As I understand that is something they can test for, if damage is ongoing or old. Is that right? I have followed some of your posts and I am so happy you are experiencing some relief with the SCS. You don't hear much about them in Canada.
  • I to have nerve damage and I agree with cherish22 SCS is a life saver.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    Many of the patients who have nerve damage have had some type of disc that was impinging on a nerve root.
    That can come from any spinal area.

    Many times you will here that when you do have a situation where a disc/bulge is hitting a nerve, doctors tend to perform surgery sooner than later.
    The reason being, the longing a nerve is being impacted, the longer it will take to heal.

    Nerve damage/pain can take a long time to heal. You may feel relief from the original symptoms that led you up to surgery, but the nerve pain can last much longer.

    In some situations, it may take up to a year to heal and in some cases it can become permanent.

    After my third spinal surgery, I had nerve damage that eventually became permanent. It mostly effects my right leg and part of my foot.

    But I do not feel that all patients with nerve damage need to go the route of a Spinal Cord Simulator. For many people this is very helpful, but I've read so many times where people want to rush into this.

    There are many nerve medications that can be helpful to people dealing with nerve pain.

    Talk it over with your doctor(s)
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I had nerve damage after my L4-L5 fusion. The nerve at L4 was compressed and had to be freed up during the surgery. I could almost draw a line and show you exactly where it ran down my leg all the way to the foot.

    Though I have other issues now from different levels the nerves damage from L4 did eventually heal. They were not sure it would. It took almost 18 months but it did.

    So yes, I do believe it can take a long time but nerves can heal themselves after being compressed for long periods of time.
  • I had an L4-L5 fusion in Dec and woke up with burning pain down both legs and drop foot in my left foot. My NS kept saying give it time for nerves to heal etc. My family Doctor ordered an EMG last month and it showed permanent damage in left leg at L4-L5 level and also damage in right leg that neurologist said may heal. I went back to Neurosurgeon last week and his tune changed, he was much more sympathetic. However, he said to wait 3-6 more months before persuing the SCS as it may possibly regenerate. I have constant burning and aching pain down both legs and feet, buttocks and back. My question is does the nerve damage cause the low back pain? I get back pain that can leave my in bed for several days at a time. I am currently taking Nucynta for the leg pain, but the releif is minimal. Thanks, backpain3
  • scotiasscotia Posts: 1
    edited 07/22/2015 - 10:31 PM
    Can relate entirely to the report of cherish. My trouble began with unrelated surgery 25 yrs ago. Nerve block a few years later did nothing to relieve pain. Today had nerve conduction studies again and still shows injury to the L5/S1 nerves. Waiting for full report. Being referred to an Orthopedic Pain Clinic, but the wait is approx. 6 months (Canada). Weary of the pain and limitations, and now having additional complications, but not sure if related to the original injury. An MRI to be ordered.

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  • onmiweioonmiwei Posts: 1
    edited 07/25/2015 - 10:24 PM
    I have intercostal neuropathy from a car wreck. It has been nearly 3 years and sometimes I think it might be gone but then I have a flare up. I am either getting used to it or it does quiet down quite a bit for a little while or until I move wrong. Unlike what you all seem to have they can't find why the nerve was damaged. There is a problem with one disc around the area from where the nerve originates from but it shows no nerve compression. It somehow was damaged from the seat belt during the accident. The pain was immediate, so much so they thought the seat belt broke my rib. It can be very frustrating having the pain but have no clear reason as to why so we can try to fix it. Epidurals didn't help, I have to take neurotin which helps a bit. I would ask your doctor about meds that can help never pain. there are quite a few that they do use.

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  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,807
    There are many different types of neuropathic pain. Some may heal , some never will . Some are based in the CNS and from all manner of things. Some are just single nerve root that is affected. EMG is not the only way to diagnosed nerve damage, that test is only for large fiber nerves. Punch biopsy or sweat test show small fiber damage. When the nerve pain become central it's an entirely different anaimal vs just nerve impingement . It's an unbelievably complicated subject
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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