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Nerve Pain question

MsHumptyDumptyMMsHumptyDumpty Posts: 1,567
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Chronic Pain
I have been a member here for a few years, so this question may seem pretty silly ;)

What is the difference between nerve pain & disk, joint, etc. pains?

Is nerve pain like sciatic pain? I had sciatic pain for years that never never stopped hurting..it went on & on for 24/7. It finally "died". A disk pinched it off completely and now my leg is about fully numb but no more 24/7 pain, so I am not complaining :)

That is the only type of never pain that was ever mentioned to me.

But sometimes I wonder if some of my pain isn't nerve pain but I am pretty uneducated on that subject.
L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.


  • I have nerve pain in both my legs below the knees. Sometimes it feels like the sciatic pain from a pinched nerve but mostly its just this deep down burning feeling that will never go away.
  • Nerve pain is like the sciarica pain shooting pain and burning feeling traveling down the leg usualy 1 side,

    Disc pain is more like deep sore feeling in the lower back if its lumbar, nerve pain comes on as it pleases vs disc pain you usualy have to be standing or siting or doing some acriviry to put pressure on the disc and agrivate it and usualy will get beter laying down and resting,

    I know cause i had disc pain for close to 18 years thats gone now and was replaced with nerve pain, I would take the disc pain any day over the nerve pain,

    Nerve pain can make you go crazy i dont care who you are, Nerve pain once its severe messes with your nervious system, Its like having a bad tooth thats flared up in your spine that wont stop hurting and stabing,

    Nerve damage and nerve pain is like having the worst tooth ache you ever had in your life but you had tooth removed before it drove you crazy, And people who have this kind of pain from nerve damage are expected to live with it with taking medicarion which of course is not close to controling it,

    There are diferent nerves with diferent functions and will of course depend what nerve is affected and how severe pain will be, As 1 person may have nerve damage and pain with slight discomfort, Another might have diferent nerve affected with pain severe enough to be totaly dissabled and feel like taking a bullet to there spine and bullet is never removed because they cant fix the nerve if it never heals,

    Nerve damage is the worst fear having surgery by both dr and patient,
    Dr,s know nerve can be damaged where it will never heal and it will be a life long battle for the patient vs if its just a structure issue that can be corrected with posibly a 2 nd surgery,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I have constant nerve pain in my right leg. It feels like I am being electrocuted coupled with muscle spasms. Sometimes I expect Alien to jump out. Because I have allodenia, light touch is very painful, but hitting my leg will sometimes give me some relief. Weird stuff, but it appears my system is stuck in a pain loop...

    It is pretty much daily un relenting torture. I also have nerve damage so my feet go half numb.

    Would not wish this on anyone! Ok, maybe my ex ;)


  • You are not the only one that is unsure about the difference with nerve, disc, joint pain.

    I never know exactly where my pain is generating from ie nerves, disc. I know with my leg problems it was nerve pain, but with my back I am never sure.

    I have now had an adr put in, so you would think that the pain that I have around the disc and down into my butt couldn't be disc pain, since it is a new disc? I don't know...it is a constant burn that never lets up, whether I am standing or lying....hmmm nerve pain? Does disc pain and joint pain come and go, and nerve pain always there? Is disc pain only right at the disc site, and nerve pain can be more widespread?

    Great question Beth, I too would like to hear more about the differences...all I know for sure is that my pain (whether disc,nerve,joint)...HURTS.

    big >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • There are so many different types of pain that comes from our lumbar spines: nerve, stenosis, disc, facet, spondy, and that's just part of the list.

    Each one can be different, but generally nerve pain is like a lightning bolt that shoots out when you move, although some have it 24/7. I remember standing at the washer loading clothes feeling just fine then *BAM* a lightning bolt shot down my legs almost bringing me to my knees.

    Disc and facet pain is generally a deep, dull pain that is unrelenting. Same with disc pain, but like Alex said, it can come with movement and be dormant at other times.

    Stenosis mimics nerve pain - because it is nerve pain. It's where the bone exit area is wrapping around your nerves and causes the lightning bolt pain, but usually constant and only relieved with certain movement like bending forward or backward, usually forward for lumbar, but never totally relieved.

    I can't speak for the cervical as I had it all and only got relief with surgey, but my cervical pain was constant, severe and uncontrollable.

    I think in general, you could say that nerve pain is a shooting, stabbing, lightning bolt pain whereas other pain is more intermittant and can be temporarily relieved by moving in different positions.

    This is not a hard and fast rule, but from what I've seen through reading others' posts and my own experiences. They both suck.

  • Thanks Ouch for helping me not feel totally alone in my lack of understanding this :)

    Cath - your post describes my new pain to a T.

    When my sciatic was alive (for lack of better word) I had it 24/7, never 1 minute without the pain. I am a bit dramatic I guess, as I actually asked my Dr to cut my leg off or cut what ever needed cut even if I had to live in a wheelchair forever. It was driving me nuts!

    So even though I had suffered from sciatic which I know is a nerve, I was unclear if all nerve pain felt like that.

    My nerve/new pain now comes & goes. If I have to work extra hard I am screaming in pain. The white fire lightening type of pain shoots through me.

    Why does nerve pain like this come & go? Does something swell up and then lay on the nerve, making it act up?

    I am so thankful to each who is posting here. Everyone's posts helped me understand this all a bit better :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Here is my theory on why some nerve pain comes and goes.... I have been playing with my muscle relaxers since my change being taken off of zanaflex which I loved by the way and put back flexurile and a small dose of Valium. The Valium is 5 mg which is nothing for me and I have chose to try and break this in half so I am getting 2.5 mg about 6 hours apart during business hours in hopes that I will be more coherent during the day and less sleepy since I needed to go back on Topomax due to the nerve pain in my arm. I am taking the flexerile in the evening 6 hours apart since it is the only way I can get anything out of it.

    The arm pain has been getting worse and worse where I am finding myself crying periodically throughout the day and night. I am using my lidoderm patches, heat, ice, heavy pain meds, tens unit. I am was really starting to get concerned that I damaged my neck again. Until last night when I had hubby massage my arm and he hit my trigger point in my scapula. I have such intense muscle spasms that they are cutting into one of my large nerves that runs down my arm. I can feel it from my shoulder, through my elbow all the way down.

    So at my next pm appt I will be changing my anti spasmatic again. Hopefully going back to the robaxin. I took it before and it was ok.

    My point is muscle spasms can be responsible for nerve pain. I had forgot about but that is one of the reasons we go to massage therapy.

    Just my $.02

  • Ms. HD, I don't know why it comes and goes. It could be swelling, it could be being in a certain position if it's relieved by switching positions, but I really don't know. It could be what Julie says and muscle relaxants could help or anti-inflammatories, but each situation is different and caused by its own special reason.

    Sorry I can't help you on that, but I know it's no fun and can be extremely painful.

    Since you say that when you work extra hard it hits you hard, it could be positional, but again, only your doc could tell you - if they even know.

    Lately I've also been having intermittent nerve pain in my legs, mostly my left one. This is new since my surgery two years ago. I've got an appointment with my surgeon on May 30, but I believe that mine is caused by mechanical pain happening above and below my L4/5 fusion. My job is fairly strenuous and like you, when I work too hard or lift too much, the mechanical pain kicks in and I'm laid out of a day or two with an aching lumbar and now some nerve pain.

    Keep us updated on how you're doing.
  • Seem like they all told you the truth about nerve damage Most people have it in one leg Bvut I had to be odd one and have it in both legs. Yes pain is 24/7

  • i am a new member to this forum, i have DDD of L4/L5 and L5/S1. the nhs refuses to treat me. this is my story.

  • cali1954ccali1954 Posts: 1
    edited 07/25/2015 - 10:31 AM
    Since I had a 3rd back surgery, the last to remove fusion hardware, due to chronis pain, still have lumbar pain, leg pain, numbness and skin numbness. Is this damaged nerve? Is there anything that helps with pain? Norco doesn't, sometimes lorazepam keeps me from freaking out but makes me tired

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