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Nerve Compression - leg collapses

From: oremins - on 09/29/2011 9:26pm

I had a discectomy and fusion at L5-S1 over 35 years ago; pain and numbness were on left side then before surgery. I had about 25 years of normal legs, back, ability to walk, and largely pain free. I have had varying degrees of pain for last five years, gradually getting worse. On August 19, 2011, I woke up with horrible pain and a spasm in my left side, from sacoiliac, down left side of left leg to knee. Plus I had (and have) numbness (on the skin!!) left leg, hip to knee and just below knee. Within hours of the initial onset, during some pain respite, while stepping off a stool, 12 inches high, I collapsed in a heap on the floor. Now I cannot not lift my left leg in the supine positon (lying face up). I have no stand-up strength in my left leg if I bend it slightly, while for example stepping off a stool, or going upstairs. An MRI I had two days ago shows a fragment of disk pressing on a nerve. My doctor says we should use conservative treatment first. I'm concerned that I may permanently damage the nerve in question if I do the wrong exercises. Also there is a risk of injury as I nearly collapsed twice when I made a quick turn on my left leg. In these two near misses I was able to catch myself on my right leg before I hit the floor. I took massive amounts of pain-killers to get me through the first 72 hours and today I load up each morning and evening with fewer pain-killers than during the first 72 hours. I used to work out regularly at a gym but have been away for some time due to the horrific pain. I have been able to re-start exercises at a low level; helps with mental state and with muscles. Basically I'm like the "falling lambs"; I could collapse anytime I forget to keep my left solidly straight. This is affecting my left knee, of course. Has anyone else had anything this crazy? I have a very hard time sitting still, and not just because of the pain. I have always been an active person. Please help with any and all comments. Thank you.

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on 10/05/2011 10:19am

I had/have very similar symptoms in my right leg and foot. My Family Physician and I assumed it was from my previously diagnosed spinal stenosis. But it kept getting worse and I was unable to step up a curb and had to support myself on something to dress. I had several falls over the past year.

My MD sent me to PT. After 6 weeks of lumbar traction PT sent me back to MD for lack of improvement. MD ordered new lumbar MRI. Phoned me that same day saying Radiologist had phoned her as I had severe spinal cord compression. She made an appointment with a Neurosurgeon for me.

NS stated that my falling and leg weakness were from CERVICAL spine problems and ordered a cervical spine MRI. That also showed spinal cord compression in three spots. He scheduled ACDF surgery which I had on 9/2/11. Prior to the surgery I had two more falls. NS ordered a gait and ambulation assessment and then Rx'd a walker. I am 56 and was working full time up until February when my falling increased.

Do you have a Neurosurgeon? Maybe request a Cervical Spine MRI?

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