Does anyone have any suggestions for self-monitoring tests on muscle weakness due to a compressed nerve? (And if there's already a forum on this topic, my apologies for reposting.)
A little back story is probably in order. I had a massive L4-L5 herniation in 2011 (one of the largest my neurosurgeon in Baltimore had ever seen), and, unfortunately, I was in the 10% of people who needed surgery to correct the problem (I had consultations with 2 neurosurgeons, 2 neurologists, 1 physical therapist, and 1 chiropractor--all agreed that surgery was required). My left leg had gone largely numb below the knee, and I had screaming sciatica pain going down my right leg--in other words, the nerve compression was so severe that my peripheral neuropathy was bilateral. In spite of that, I had no problems walking, but my left calf and foot muscles had started to weaken. I had an L4-L5 microdiscectomy on January 4, 2012, and although the numbness never receded in my left leg (and is still with me today), the muscle weakness stabilized, and that was the primary concern in my case. Well, that and the possibility of developing cauda equina syndrome. I've never had any major problems since then, with the exception of some new patches of numbness that occur about once a year. Per my neurosurgeon's orders, I usually take a high dose of ibuprofen or 7-10 days, rest, maybe use my inversion table, and then the numbness recedes. True to form, a new patch of numbness occurred about 2 weeks ago, so I started the same routine again to eliminate it. However, not only has the numbness not receded, but the muscles around my left knee and in my foot feel strange, almost like they're in the most preliminary stages of falling asleep. I've done all the usual tests that my doctors have used in the past for testing muscle weakness: walking on my toes, then switching to my heels; doing sets of 10-20 calf raises; jumping; squats without weights, etc. I can do all of that. Nevertheless, the muscle responses just don't feel normal. I don't live in Baltimore anymore, so I would need to find a new physician to test all of this out, but my situation is made worse by the fact that my new insurance doesn't kick in for another few weeks. At the moment, all I have is emergency insurance, and I really don't feel like paying out of pocket for another MRI or specialist consultations, which would likely run into the thousands of dollars.
Has anyone been in a similar situation with a (possible) relapse of muscle weakness? I know some physicians say that you can wait upwards of 6 weeks to determine muscle weakness, but I don't want to wait until it's too late to reverse the damage, especially since I'm in my 30s and generally pretty active.
Thanks for any anecdotes or advice in advance.
All the best,