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Sciatic nerve damage?



  • I know everyones situation is different.
    I just wanted to share my experience so others with same type of problem don't rule out what happen to me.
    What bothers me is that she said the pain continues to get worse! She also said the second EMG is showing pinched. The emg test uses a scale to determine if there is nerve damage. That doc should beable to tell if there is damage by a certain percentage they formulate.
    If they tell you he is on the border between possible damaged or not damaged.
    I would think there is something still in there. Scare tissue or objects. Docs can also clean up scare tissue. To help the nerve glid better. Which they also did for me.

    I would also like to add before any of my surgeries I had 3 different opinions. Every doc I went to said there is a 20% chance of what happen to me can happen to anyone. So it's more common then one might think. Doc's just don't want to do x2 unless it's the last resort.

    EMG's don't lie! If they say there is something wrong then there is! Scare tissue or not if the EMG sounds off, a problem is still there!

    Nerve damage is another story. All I'm saying if the docs are telling her only time will tell and second emg is positve for nero tension or nerve damage. I would think twice about just sitting back and waiting for what the doc says might just be a healing issue.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,562
    on the person performing the tests and the equipment being used. Since this can vary, the results of EMGs can also vary. Hopefully, the results of an EMG will prove something that the doctor is looking for. When the results are not conclusive, the doctor needs to look at additional tests.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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  • I agree, Lets hope the EMG tells all.
    As a side note: My right leg areas decreased in size after surgery also. I was told it was caused by me constently over compensating on the left leg. Which caused the right leg to weaken.If he continues to have pain in the right leg he might be doing the same thing and not even realizing it. PT has started to help that.

    I was told and don't know how true it is but. If you take a nerve pain med like Lyrica and the pain decreases then the pain is caused by nerve being ticked off and is healing.
    If you take a nerve med and doesn't help the nerve is being interfered with.

    I commend you in helping your son! Please remember mentally over coming life changing conditions is very tough. He will need your support there to just as much as trying to find his solution.
    God bless.
  • Thank you everyone for the replies as I am learning a lot!

    The neuro-surgeon called as she got all the test results in. She said that the CT Scan and X ray both looked fine. She said that the EMG showed mild irritation. She said that the EMG doctor said his left leg is NOT weaker and that if he can't lift it up, it is because of pain. She went on to say that she didn't think another surgery would help him since the CT Scan and X ray did not show any impingement. She said that there is NO NERVE DAMAGE!!! So, that is good news. She said that she though he was sensitive to pain where other people would tough it out.

    But, I am puzzled by some of this. I'm puzzled because he had no feeling down his left leg when the did the shocks during the EMG. I am also puzzled because his left leg is obviously weaker and thinner than his right leg. My son said that the EMG doctor had him go up on his toes and walk, and lift his leg from a laying down position (which of course hurt).

    I reminded the neuro-surgeon about the PT report showing marked weakness and abnormal gait, but the neuro completely dismissed it.

    The neuro then stated that after surgery my son had sciatica pain only in his buttock and then it traveled down, but that is not true. The pain was there after surgery just like before.

    I want to be relieved that there is no nerve damage, but something doesn't seem right here. I have this gut feeling that his pain should not be blamed on just scar tissue. Could it be that the neuro-surgeon just doesn't want to admit that the surgery was a failed surgery???

    I think I had better work on getting copies of all the reports and tests and so forth. This message board just might be my new best friend. :)


  • It's ok to see other doctors. You don't have to take what this one said as set in stone. Seek other opinions from maybe a Ortho instead. I would ask what others say.

    Here is a question for your son.. Is there times when the pain almost feels like a jolt or shock type twinge? Or is his pain more like a normal hurting pain.

    Example: if he roles over in bed is there times where even though it's painful does he get a jolt type pain down the low back and leg. Or if he bends a certain way does he produce that same jolt pain. The jolt pain I refer to is a different pain then what he feels in his butt or calf. This is bend over tears type pain that only last a second or two then back to normal pain.

    I ask because that extra jolt is what happen to me. It felt like the nerve would get hung up either by scare tissue or bone then snap when it was able to freely move. Like a rubber band. Which to me is what caused that bad sentation.
    Now after my 2nd. I don't get that jolt pain anymore. So for me there was a difference when I had the bone pcs. and extra scare tissue involved.

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  • My son's herniation was at L4 L5. I don't know why I thought it was at L5 S1. Well, I know nobody on here can diagnose or anything. But, of course, thoughts and opinions, along with the experiences of others help to educate us all! So, please share any thoughts you may have! Thanks. :)


    Here are the results of the EMG from yesterday:

    1. Abnormal EMG/nerve conduction velocity study of lower extremities consistent with mild irritation to the left L5 nerve root (left L5 radiculopathy).
    2. There was no evidence for peripheral or proximal neuropathy at this time.


    He had an MRI with & without dye on February 2nd (6 weeks ago). This was one month after his surgery. Here are the results:

    1. Abnormal study revealing extensive enhancing postoperative scar formation from recent surgical intervention at the L4-5 level, left paracentral hemilaminectomy region. Scar abuts the lateral posterior aspect of the thecal sac and slightly anteriorly. Central residual or recurrent disc herniation, small in size is present. The balance of the spine is unremarkable.


    An MRI he had before surgery also noted: There is intervertebral disc space narrowing noted at L4-5 and L5-S1.


  • Let me know if you know what any of this means! I don't know if it's bad... not that bad... a big deal, not a big deal... a sign of worse to come, etc. Thank you so much.

    Here is my son's Physical Therapy report from March 11, 2009:

    S: Patient reports that his pain is the same. He feels like he has got shin splints and pointing to lower anterior compartment of his lower extremities. Patient states it is a poking sensation and describing like pins and needles in back part of his left thigh and going from midthigh to calf area, more superior calf. Patient states that if he moves his back a certain way he feels weird. He is unable to lift his foot off the ground by himself. Patient describes it as an uncomfortable sensation, and he states that he is starting to walk funny. Every now and then he gets a jumping sensation in his posterior thigh.

    Patient reassessed as follows: Left knee extension: Negative 30 degrees and having pain. Active-assistive: Negative 20 degrees of motion. Passive range of motion: Negative 10 degrees of motion. Knee flexion: 120 degrees of motion. Patient is painful with left hip flexion, both active and passive and less than 5 degrees of motion for active to approximately 10 degrees for passive range of motion for left knee flexion and pain, and patient having weakness even for left ankle joint. Dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion/eversion: 3+. Straight leg raises: Positive, between 30-70 degrees of motion. Patient's strength for left hip abduction: 3 to 3+. Adduction patient is unable to perform against gravity, and patient initiating strength in a sitting position and barely lifting leg off mat for extension on the left and the right very weak mid range. Prone knee flexion on the right: 4-; left 3 to 3+. Prone knee extension: 4- on the right; left 3 to 3+.

    GAIT: Patient ambulating with external rotation noted on right lower extremity, as well as left, and patient having leg drag with left lower extremity. Patient presenting with hip shift with the left side and trunk and no hip flexion on left lower extremity. Patient presenting with hip hiking on left and anterior shift on left side. Patient is having elicitation minimally with left hip abduction and lateral trunk moving to the right, and patient experiencing pain in left posterior thigh and midcalf area.

    A: Patient is having difficulty with participation with exercises. Patient is having difficulty with ambulation.
  • would be happier if your doctor was taking your son's current complaints/condition more seriously.

    I would be getting a 2nd and a 3rd opinion, quickly. Just for peace of mind. I wasn't told my nerve was pinched - was told I had permanent damage. Seems like a pinched nerve could possibly be fixed. It is also common to have MRI's and such that do NOT show problems but other tests do, such as the discogram, for example.

    I personally was told to go home and be patient, give my nerves time to heal, a centimeter a month. No matter what I said, no matter how much I complained, they blew me off. And now I have permanent damage. My excuse was that I was so worn out, so beaten down from 3 surgeries......I just couldn't put myself through more. Wish I had now.

    Good luck!

  • Thank you, Cherish. I'm sorry that you have permanent nerve damage, but at the same time I'm happy for you that your programmer is working and that your pain is less. :)

    My son is going to try a cortisone shot and we'll see how it helps. If it doesn't help, we do have a name of another neuro-surgeon that has been suggested for us to get a 2nd opinion.

    If his continuing pain is from scar tissue, does that mean that the next step is pain management? I am still holding out hope that he will get better, even though we are approaching the 3 months mark since his surgery.

    I think if the weakness in his left leg continues, and his leg continues to get thinner or he develops foot drop, that will be the real indicator that there is more going on here than scar tissue. Does that sound correct?

    Does anyone else have any thoughts on his reports?

    Thank you everyone.

  • Hi SixMurphys,

    From what I have learned looking into Vax-D myself, it is fine to have done if you have built-up scar tissue, and can actually help with nerve damage.

    I know that you can't have it done if you've had a fusion, but not all surgeries disqualify you.

    It's not for after surgery, per se, but as a surgical alternative. Spine surgery can be really dangerous, but Vax-D is more like a form of physical therapy.

    Hope that helped! Sorry it took me so long to answer you.
    sixmurphys said:
    Hi VLK,

    My son had a diskectomy and laminectomy. I do not know if anything was "micro" or not. He incision looks to be about 2-3 inches long.

    We are leaving in just 25 minutes for his test. He is having an EMG, CT Scan and X Ray. We are hoping to meet with his doctor on Friday if all the test results are in.

    I guess I am to the point where I just want to know what is going on so I can help him plan his future.

    I will look into the Vax-D, but is it for when surgery is already done? Does it work for nerve damage, or scar tissue?

    I have a feeling I have a lot to learn! Lots of reading in my future, I'm sure!!


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