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Femoral Nerve Damage/ Quad atrophy

I posted this very same question in the Degenerative Disc Disease Forum and didn't receive any responses. If anyone reading this is unable to help me, perhaps you can suggest where I should post? Thanks.

My husband, newly retired, herniated a disc at L2-L3 - apparently very unusual. We've scoured the internet and can find very little info on herniations at this level nor can we find many (any?) people who have similar herniations. Pain is not an issue. Left quad weakness/ femoral nerve damage is the problem.

He had surgery five months after the herniation to remove the herniated portion of the disc, all went well, surgeon predicted an 85% recovery of function. Now, ten months after the surgery, my husband still has quad weakness and has developed a knee problem. He doesn't fall anymore and he walks without a cane but he feels he cannot walk far. His confidence is completely gone and he sees himself as an invalid. He is anxious about going out and going places. If I don't force him, we will both be homebound. He has had two courses of physical therapy and seen two psychologists who have told him to do whatever he used to do, with modifications where needed. His orthopedic doctors tell him "to go out and live his life" and relate stories of patients with far greater problems.

I feel my husband is waiting for this nerve to heal and for the feeling of weakness to go away. He was told this could take one to two years, but there are no guarantees I don't know what our family situation will be in other year because this perennial doom and gloom withdrawal from life is affecting us all.

Is there anyone out there who has had a similar herniation, with femoral nerve involvement? Any information about recovery? Any ideas for helping the healing? I read the stories on these boards about people with excruciating pain and mobility issues. I was hesitant to post because my husband's problem seems minor in comparison but for him, it looms huge, and this is why I am seeking information and if possible, hope. Thanks so much and I wish you all well.



  • It sounds so bad when a doc says go out and live your life, not getting or hearing what your husband is saying.

    I can't say I can relate to this type herniation. My sister-in-law had a L3 herniation too, very different.

    My reason for posting is to tell you if you haven't already to get a couple of opinions. The muscle effects and weakness are concerning.

    You might google "dermatomes" that will be a chart that is location specific as to what's affected from what part of the spine.
    Take Care
  • Hi.
    My mom herniated a disc a month ago. She has little to no pain, but her left quad is so weak that she cannot put any weight on it without falling. She has seen two surgeons, both are recommending surgery to release the pinched nerve. She feels hopeless because no one will guarantee that she will walk again. Can you please let me know if your husband has met with any success?
    Does anyone else have a similar situation? We are looking for any hope so that she will proceed with the surgery and give the nerve a chance to heal. She's always been very active and is in good health otherwise - in fact she herniated this disc moving furniture, just to give you an idea as to where she was before this happened.
    It's very frustrating for all involved - Mom, Dad, and me. Mom feels despair. Dad and I have only heard "very likely" and "very favorable" from the surgeons, but Mom isn't hearing that, just that they can't make any promises.
    Thank you!
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