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Does Anyone Know How Long

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

Does anyone know how long a nerve needs to be severely compressed before significant damage is done?

I know that there are several mechanisms in place and if the nerve is starved of oxygen then it is more serious. I wonder if anyone has information or experience on damage or recovery and time frames?

I had a significantly compressed and subsequent inflamed nerve for 6 months. I am 3 months post-op for sorting it and my pain issues and foot numbness etc has not really changed much. I am better than I was but still severely restricted by a very irritated nerve and reactive back.

I would really appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.


  • a comment back to you on my thread of "is this normal" you might want to check that out. As far as how long it takes for a nerve to die or get permanently damaged I have no idea. I would think it varies by nerve, and person. A good question for a doctor or nerve specialist.
  • Are you doing physio excercises yet? I haven't had surgery yet but I did have foot drop and numbness and the physio excercises helped. I hope it's only a matter of time before you get better. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • Hi - yes i am having physio - not a huge help really, none that is noticable anyway.

    One of my exercises is pelvic tilt gently teasing the nerve through the nerve sheath to encourage oxygen and blood flow. Sadly if I do too much or too jerkily I end up with bad back pain and spasm and send my foot off in a hyper sensative state.
    I am going around in circles.

    I just wonder after 9 months of numbness if it will heal?
    Is it realistic?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,349
    only a qualified physician can really answer. We can all give our inputs based on personal experiences. But there are way too many variables involved when it comes to the nerves and the spinal column then to venture a guess would just be a stab in the dark.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks!
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  • My nerves in my lower back were badly compressed due spondy - level 2 which created what was described as extremely severe stenosis. The nuerological issues were progressing very quickly. First saw the doc in August and surgery on Nov. 18th in an effort to stop the compression and hopefully avoid permanent damage. Unfortunately, once "in" the doc also found a HUGE (his words) synovial cyst attached to the nerves, further complicating matters.

    Result - I am 6 weeks post op and am showing signs of fusion but I also continue to have burning/tingling in both legs and feet. I will say they are improving. But my doc said in my case there was sooooo much nerve compression that he expects it to take a full year to heal.

    Don't give up but be prepared to give your nerves lots of time to heal. Take lots of vitamens - I've read that vitamen c can especially help but there are others on this website who are more informed than I.

    You are still early in your recovery. Try not to focus too much on the stuff that is still bad but rather all the improvement! Good luck to you. Kathy in Atlanta
  • Hi Zachback and Kathyy

    I am 3 months post revision now still with bad symptoms but they are better than say 4 months ago, which I can only now describe as insane pain. I do not know how I survived.

    But I am still troubled - leg is still numb and hypersensative, no significant cahnge from the surgery. My back flares very quickly when I try and do stuff which is very upsetting having come so far.
    3 months ago I had a decompression and removal of the interbody spacers, both and the one that has slipped.
    My surgeon has ordered a CT for March. He says it is early days and I am to try Lyrica.
    I am silly - i forgot to ask how long did he thnk but, I am equally scared to ask for fear of the answer. How crazy is that. However, he did indicate it could take a year.

    I have searched for info on the nerve damage and duration but found nothing.

    Zach - Good Luck with your surgery. >:D<
  • was also worried about this, and docs just kept telling me to "give it time". I have the same pain today that I had in the beginning, before the 3 surgeries. Although much much worse. So for me, delaying medical treatment a mere 4 months was all it took to give me permanent S1 nerve damage, although no doctor took it seriously nor tested me with an EMG until last November (a year ago). As a result, I am very pro-getting it checked. Not wait it out like I did. (I just knew I would get better, the chiropractor would help, mind over matter, etc. Always worked in the past for other things, but I learned best not to mess with nerves.)

    I hope your pain and numbness is just temporary. Keep hope but also stay on top of it.

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