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L5 Radiculopathy

Background info:
I'm a 20 year old male suffering from foot drop and intense pain in my foot. How exactly it happened is unclear to me. I got extremely intoxicated and passed out on a hard floor for a good 12 hours.

I was admitted to the emergency room because I had fluid in my lungs, with life threatening pneumonia. That's when I first noticed the extreme numbness and loss of motor control in my foot.

A week later I was released and sought out help for my leg and foot. I was prescribed Gabapentrin by my family doctor and then referred to a neurologist. I had an EMG done and the results were 'Acute L5 Radiculopathy" which to this day I still don't know what that means. I didn't have a lot of my questions answered the way I wanted. My treatment that prescribed is conservative pain management and physical therapy. The thing that scares me that this isn't the right route of treatment for me.

I'm a little over a month of this. I have no pain in my thigh. It only starts in my calf down to my foot. My calf was very numb and tender at first and could not put pressure on it. But that has improved and most of the numbness has subsided and now it just feels weak. My foot is the worst part. Coupled with the pain and foot drop it's torture. At first my foot felt like a block of wood but now I have better control and can walk decently. The numbness in my foot subsided greatly about a week ago. Now it is ultra sensitive to touch, putting shoes and socks on feel like my foot is being lit on fire. I don't know if pain is better than numbness in this case. Sleep is hard and the pain is unrelenting.

I'm 20 years old and I'm not sure why exactly I'm posting this. I'm scared and do not want to live my life like this. Maybe just some second opinions to put my mind at ease.

Thank you


  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971


    You might want to look up Radiculopathy on Wikipedia which gives a pretty short and simple explanation of the condition, treatment, etc...  The fact that you are seeing changes/improvements in the pain and numbness in your leg/foot probably means your condition is getting better.  PT is usually the first course of treatment for radiculopathy and if that doesn't work then other treatments or surgery might need to be considered.   One month is a very short time to have or expect the condition of radiculopathy to be fully resolved.  Nerve root healing and recovery is a VERY slow process.   Also if you have doubts about your doctor/treatment you might want to seek a second opinion.  

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Hello myfoot11 !
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    I may have missed it, but how long ago did your symptoms appear?

    This site has a search, upper right on page, and typing in your concerns ..ex..fooot drop, radiculopathy, burning feet etc.....may  lead you to the medical side with articles and videos. Very informative!

    For me, when I began researching my symptoms, it helped me to discover questions I had for doctor that I had not thought of before.
    I also was better able to understand my symptoms when I better learned how the healthy spine works.

    It took awhile for me and doctor to learn areas of injury and then treatments.
    I find it to be trial and try again....needing to have clear communication with doctor for effective treatments.

    Previous to my spinal issues being discovered, I had had frequent fall. But I would always get up and not feel any pain.....for years.
     Eventually it was discovered that my falls did cause injuries.
    Mine were to cervical, thoracic, and lumbar areas.

    Lumbar and thoracic were most problematic.
    My pains also included burning...my thoracic back area, rib cage, my feet burning.
    My pain and burning continue on, but have lessened since pain management care.

    Even after discovery, my cervical issues were not symptomatic until years after doctor's care.

    My primary doctor tried to handle my pain two years before referral to pain management doctor.
    That best thing for me?

    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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