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L5/S1 nerve damage-extreme pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
hi everyone, I'm new to the board and maybe one of you can help me. 4 weeks ago, I suffered a gunshot wound to the back, the bullet is lodge between my L5/S1 nerves and has cause my left foot to drop, be numb, painful, and constantly cramping, my ankle and sole are hard and heavy. I am in constant pain and because I'm 3 months pregnant, I cannot take anything stronger than tylenol. I got conflicting prognosis: my neurosurgeon told me that I will never walk straight ( without a cane or walker), while my rehab MD told that in 6 months to a year, I should start feeling OK. I don't know who to beleive and I am extremely frustrated, not being able to sleep with the pain. Has anybody had any experience with that kind of condition?
Any suggestion ???



  • Good heavens. I didn't see your post before now. I am very sorry for the situation you find yourself in. This is one of the more unusual situations I've seen on the board. I must say, I know nothing about gunshot wounds or how they are treated. I gather that surgery is not an option, at least not for now? Have you been told that the bullet can be removed? Has it damaged the nerve root? I suppose they do not want to anesthetize you while pregnant so you could have surgery.

    You are not missing out by your inability to take any stronger pain medication, as the usual ones do not work for nerve pain. Generally something like neurontin, or the newer Lyrica are prescribed for nerve pain. Unfortunately, nerve pain is difficult to treat. I'm sorry that I cannot think of anything that might be of help to you.

    Hopefully someone will be able to relate and can provide some information for you.
  • Very interesting--Yet, I don't know if anyone on these boards can be of much help really with the little information you have provided--that and the fact that your Sciatica is the result of a projectile actually hitting(I'm guessing here) the nerve directly--something that just about no one has ever posted on. The only similar situation would be a Surgeon accidently nicking the nerve during surgery. Most of--if not all of--us who post here have Sciatica as the result of something like a herniated disc, or slipped vertabrae(spondy) or even a spinal fracture. Perhaps if you post on the Surgery forum you will find more help.

    What I can tell is that the human body is an amazing thing and operating under ideal physiological conditions, with time, it can heal itself just as well if not better than any doctor. Although a doctor can surely speed up the proccess! Do not let pain take over your life--do not think about it, and DO NOT STRESS over it. Nerves can heal, it just takes a long time!

    Besides that, the only benificial piece of information I can provide you is many of us if not most of us have been in chronic pain for atleast a year. So take solace in the fact that you're not alone in your struggle, that there are thousands if not millions of us warring against pain.
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  • Wow! I'm so sorry you were hit by a bullet, that must have been pretty damn scary! I'm confused by where the bullet remains...is it in the disc area between the L5-S1 vertebrae or is it lodged against the nerve? Are they unable to remove it? Again, I'm distressed by your experience and I certainly hope you're able to receive some relief...and soon.
  • thank you for your comforting words. SteveA, I'm hoping that it will heal with time and I'll post on the surgery board to see. take care of yourself
  • You got shot and you are pregnant!!!!! Oh that is extreem (I live in a country where to even see a gun is WOW for me, except on a farm)

    Maybe regardless of how the nerves got injured the fact is they are. It hurts alot and causes much mental stress. Look for relief and healing as much as you can. Maybe accupuncture can help you. Good Luck 2U
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  • I'm sorry to hear that you can't take anything stronger for pain other than tylenol. I would encourage you to ask your OB/Gyne Dr for something. There are some meds that are safe to use but I can't say which as I'm not a Dr. although I know there are meds used. Moist heat can help for your leg and back pain. There is alternative treatments your Dr could use such as accupuncture, water physio or relaxation or massage. Finding the right Dr perhaps can only be through your OB/Gyne because of your pregnancy. There will always be conflicting messages with some Drs and that's when you get to have more 2nd or 3rd opinions. Perhaps more therapy and meds can help when you've had your baby. I wish you all the best and glad you're here and still have your pregnancy thank goodness. Take care. 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
  • I am so sorry to hear you go through this painful times. It is really unfortunate that you are pregnant and suffer from a gunshot!!! Thankful the baby is safe. Oh dear. If you have a drop foot, it is quite likely that the nerve is hit or touch, but I don't know the extend of the bullet has injured the nerves. With nerves, it is hard to say if you will ever walk straight again or need a cane or walker. That, you have to wait till the bullet is removed. The important thing is from now, you and your doctors must watch that bullet - it is a foreign body, make sure that it doesn't get infected. I pray and hope that you are ok, and the baby stays fine. Take care.
  • That is awful! I'm a 2c year old male. I had a herniated disc in the l5-s1. For several years I had dealt with sciatica caused from the large herniation. I had surgery to repair the disc and to decompress the nerve root. After the surgery the pain and numbness were substantially worse.(Severe pain, numbness, weakness, ect.) it turns out that the nerve has been permanently damaged. During my recovery I had consulted with several neurosurgeons, md's, and neurologists. They all seemed to agree that after the first year of recovery what is left is left for good. A second opinion is ALWAYS worthwhile. Best of luck.
  • In reply. If you have a burning in that area or down the leg you have nerve damage. You will never get better as my understanding but your walking will improve. I no longer use my cane but have to take it very easy. I no longer work from this type of injury. If you can take a drug called Lyrica 50mg twice a day that will help with the burning pain As time goes on or in a few weeks you may need to increase the drug. But it's a life saver. Also get used to a type of opioid. Just have to learn to live with your injury. Make the best of it. That's all.
  • I suffered from a gunshot to the spine, they were Abel to remove the bullet with spinal cord surgery.from the bullet I have nerve damage in my left foot and foot drop.its been 7months and I still cannot lift my left foot up and I'm still walking with a limp but with physical therapy twice a week it helps. I know some one else who suffered many shots and had foot drop and it went away but it took time. I'm only 25years old. Doctors said I have that to my advantage n healing but spinal cord surgery is no joke.it took exactly 6months to heal in order to just stand up straight again. My left calf is now smaller than my right and the tingles and numbness has not stopped.
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