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Totally confused about nerve damage, please help.

candrews922ccandrews922 Posts: 21
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I have stenosis in my neck and lumbar spine areas. My neck has it on both sides, left side, and right side mainly in the foraminal openings from hypertrophy. I have it at C5-C6 and C6-C7 from bone growth on the right side and it is listed as severe with compression. I have it at L4-L5 from advanced ddd where the disc herniated years ago with infolding now and narrowing bilaterally. I read hear that surgery is rarely done because of nerve damage from stenosis. Yet I have also read that any nerve compression can result in permanent damage. That people vary on how long it takes for compression on the nerves to cause permanent damage. What the crack? I was told years ago when my disc first herniated that I could develop nerve damage in my legs. The neurologist said I would have to watch for changing symptoms. I have permanent damage in both my hands from having carpel tunnel for over 10 years. No one ever told me that not having the surgery could cause permanent damage. They told me they recommended I have surgery, which I took to mean if I could live with the symptoms that it was allright to delay surgery. When I was finally ready to go have it, I find out my hands had damage that was irreversible . I went ahead with the right wrist because I was also having the cervical issue which I felt was double impingement. So my symptoms did improve greatly in that hand and arm when it comes to sensory symptoms. Now I am having symptoms on the left side which based on my MRI I would say is double impingement again. The total release caused my hand to be a lot weaker, and my thumb joint is very painful now in that hand. My thumb in the left hand bothers me also, but not near as bad. I am going to see a neurosureon on the 11th of aug. I am having a hard time walking. My legs seem to start doing their own thing, wobbling, and kind of uncoordinated. This used to take a decent distance to begin, now it is happening a lot sooner when I am walking. When I move my legs when lying down they are shaking and wobbling all over. I don't want surgery, but I don't want to lose my ability to walk. As bad as it is. I have had burning, tingling, itching, and numbness in both arms and legs to my feet in various locations for years. The weakness thing is fairly new, should I be worried? Could this be the symptom my neurologist at the time warned me about? I don't get how surgery to prevent nerve damage is a rare thing, when I didn't even suspect it, in my hands. I had emg's done in 2006 that were okay. My recent MRI's show a lot of new osteophytes and hypertrophy in my neck at 4 levels and stenosis and increased narrowing on both sides at L4-L5, and an annular fissure in L5-S1 as well as disc bulging. The compression in my neck mainly involved the thecal sac, but there is nerve compression also and possible herniation at C6-C7. Could someone fill me in if they have had similar stuff, and did you have surgery? Were you warned about possible permanent damage? I am not even going to get into pain at this point. That is itself a whole other story. I have yet to find a doctor that is concerned about my pain level more than the addictive qualities of pain meds. I don't smoke or drink, yet I can't get a physician, while I have been enduring all this, to give me proper pain relief. Other than offering to shoot me full of steroids all over. Which I did have done one time and all it did was make my buttocks go into complete spasm. No relief, and more pain. Thanks for any follow-up. If this next surgeon doesn't address my pain, I am really going to be angry. I'll tell them they can cram surgery if they aren't going to treat my pain. I am not going to have them cutting on me and my not being able to rely on them to make me as comfortable as they can. At this point that particular concern was been danced around and avoided for years, to where I get angry just thinking about it. But what can you do if they don't want to prescribe stuff that does work, because you could become addicted. That is like someone having end stage cancer and the physician being concerned about addiction and respiratory effects from narcotics. Yeah they are thinking about that even when you are stinkin dying. Thank God for Hospice, or people would have no where to turn when they are really sick, suffering and dying. The regular medical community cares about side effects more than pain control even then. Well now you know why I don't like to get into pain management. For me there hasn't been any. They tried some meds that aren't narcotic. They finally have kept me on the lowest dosage of oxycodone 5mg with 325mg of tylenol up to twice a day. My doctor only gives me 40 tabs at a time not even a months supply. I usually only take it once a day, because it makes me feel like I am itching, if I take it twice. It still gives me little pain relief, and the itching I can't stand. My physician wouldn't even discuss anything stronger. Thanks for any help.


  • First thing that comes to mind is the type of doctor you are seeing? If you are counting on your primary care doctor to prescribe meds, I am sure that is not going to happen as it is rare for long term issues. I would look into finding a good physiatrist whom can run all the test, medicate you, and manage your over all symptoms. There is goal is to keep someone out of surgery, so they typically use all the tools they can. So your not just looking for a pain management doctor but one who specializes in treating spine conditions and is a physiatrist.

    As far as the nerve damage, yes it is true if a nerve compression goes on to long with no treatments it can cause permanent damage. I can attest to it as it happened to me. Once the nerve is damaged there is nothing they can do. But I vote you look for a doctor that can help you more and explain everything to you and set up a game plan to get you treated appropriately.
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