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Numbness but no pain, should I have surgery?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I have a unique situation in that I do not have any back pain whatsoever but both feet go numb after 10 minutes of walking or standing. I am 56 years old and up to a year ago played racquetball 6 days a week and backpacked the mountains of Montana yearly. My MRI indicated stenosis in L3,L4,L5, and S1 with L4 and L5 being severe. My surgeon wants to perform a laminectomy on each verterbra so my question to the group is this necessary or can the offending nerve be identified by some manner? I just hate to have so much bone removed unless it is necessary. Thanks in advance. Bob


  • Hi Bob,

    I am not sure about stenosis and whether it would cause a detrimental effect long term but own surgeon says "numbness = no pain...whats the problem?"

    I guess you may just get worse??? and from my own experinece, the fitter you are going into surgery, the better your odds. What I am trying to say is, perhaps if you leave it, you may find it a harder struggle post surgery later on?

    thats just my thoughts. Good Luck
  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! i see this is your first post. we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. have you gotten a second opinion? or even a third? the more information you have the better! good luck and please keep us informed of your progress. Jenny :)
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  • HI Bob,
    I'm with all the other comments...get a 2nd or 3rd opinion. I have moderate lumbar stenosis that causes me a lot of pain. I also have severe cervical stenosis that doesn't cause me much pain but is far more serious than the lumbar because it is causing the numbness and also some loss of function. From my understanding the longer the nerves & spinal canal are impinged, the more chance that the damage may be permanent. I'm looking at surgery but am insisting on nerve conduction tests to see if I can wait. I will also get a 2nd opinion. Problem is that the surgery is effective about 60% of the time and doesn't cure you. Meaning that if the dengenerative process continues surgery may be required again 5 or more years down the line. Get another opinion and look at all options!
  • Personally I would rather have pain. I know that sounds funny but with pain you know what is going on, with numbness you dont.
    I was like you BOB, previously I had had pain but that did go and I was left with this numbness. After 5-10 minutes of standing or walking I would have to sit down or I would start to stumble as I couldn't feel the ground properly.
    I once decided to shave my legs and sliced right up my leg without realising it till I saw all the blood.

    I had previously had a laminectomy & discectomy at L4-5 but6 yrs later the MRI showed like you stenosis, ddd and other things at L3-L4-L5-S1.
    I was left with no alternative but to have a multi level fusion. We tried other things first such as injection but nothing made a difference. I did however give myself time to get as fit as possible before surgery, so I booked it for a few months ahead.

    So like the others have said get at least 1 other opinion and ask the Dr if there are any other tests that can determine which disc is effected.

    Since my surgery in May, I have had almost no numbness, only very occassionally if I have sat for too long (hr +) or in a bad chair.

    Blessings Sara O:)
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