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    EMG = Chronic Radiculopathy L5 S1
    yikesithurts posted:
    Hi everyone - This is my first post and am a newcomer. I just had an EMG / Nerve Conductor Test last week and today the report came back showing Chronic Radiculopathy at L5 S1. What does this mean? I have been going through this severe pain for the last 3 years while I have been subjected to lots of facet joint injections, S1 injections, L4-5 Injections,nerve blocks, MRI (showed 2 bulging discs and torn disc at L4/L5), 4 bouts of Physical Therapy with no relief or change, Pool Therapy (exacerbated my pain) etc. I was in an automobile accident March 2007 and have been dealing with this severe pain, numbness in my left leg (feels like my leg is dead sometimes) and tingling.

    I swear up until this point - when I talk to my doctors it seems like they think I am making this all up - it's very demeaning. I have been married for 8.5 years and now for the last 3 years my husband has had to physically get me out of bed because of the pain and numbness. I actually have resorted to using a walker some days in order to get my kids off to school on time and get them dressed / fed (they are 6 & 7 now but were 3 & 4 when this began).

    I guess at this point the pain has taken it's toll on me because I can't function unless I take my pain meds to help me move through the pain and I just basically hope to get through the day. I am overwhelmed and this is coming from a person that people used to call the "Energizer Bunny" before the accident.

    Is there treatment for Radiculopathy that's chronic and if so - what's involved? Will I ever have my life back and be able to enjoy activities with my children again? I hate to think I will lose their whole childhood not being able to play ball, play in the pool, walk the beaches etc.

    I had a discography done last November which was positive for L4/L5 and have an MRI scheduled again on October 20th.

    Any help would be really appreciated.

    Thanks for listening and your input.
    PapabearJay responded:
    First Welcome to the Board. Over here you'll meet the nicest people. I don't know what that is or means but someone on this board will be able to help you. Yes the pain will slow you down but i'm sure you will be able to have a good life with your children. Right now it's just a little bump in the road of life.Listen to what your doctors tell you. You might be able to check out what Radiculopathy means on the Disease page of Web MD

    davedsel57 responded:
    Hello and welcome.

    I'm sorry you are in so much pain. If you click on my user name and read my profile you will see that I have been managing moderate to severe chronic back pain for over 30 years.

    What type of doctor or doctors have you been seeing? I am presuming that since you have had the proper diagnostic testing that you have been seeing a spine specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Be assertive with your health care - insist your doctor do things to help you or find a doctor who will.

    In the meantime, you can use the internet to research your condition and all treatments available. Here are some links to good websites for spine information:

    Praying you can get the treatment and relief you need soon.
    orangetabby responded:
    Yep yikes,

    I know it hurts. So does everyone else here. We can certainly empathize with your pain.

    Radiculopathy stems from the Latin word? radix? if my memory is serving me correctly. The word basically is stem or root or something like that. So, radiculitis or radiculopathy is inflammation or pathology of the spine. As far as I know all it means to us is that we have some proof that there are pinched nerves somewhere along the spine with the consequent pain and numbness and burning and tinging, etc. I do not believe that there is any special treatment for this other than what you have already been through. Perhaps if there was total or close to total lack of nerve conduction, then surgery might be warranted.

    Personally, I have spondylolisthesis of L4 and L5 over S1. This means that these discs have slipped out of alignment with the rest of the spine. Also L5 and L3 are herniated and I have stenosis and arthritis, etc. There is other stuff which I still do not exactly understand. But what I have had done is the epidural cortisone injections to reduce the inflammation and thus help with the stenosis and muscle spasms.

    I've looked for information about radiculopathy and radiculitis but not found much. Here is one reference:

    Keep us posted,

    curlie11 responded:
    I am sorry to hear about your horrible pain. I know how unbearable and exhausting it can be. I just had a similar result from my EMG test: "Chronic L2 through S1 polyradiculopathy". I am still waiting for my neurosurgeon to call me back and explain these results. I've been suffering from pain and numbness in my front and lateral left thigh for a year now. In June 09 I had a discectomy at L2 to remove a disc bulge which was pressing the L2 nerve root. I thought that would solve all my problems. Instead the numbness and hypersensitivity in my left thigh is still all there, even though the pain is less. My guess is that the nerve stayed compressed for too long and suffered an irreversible damage. (hence the word "chronic"). Also, even though the disc bulge was removed, I have now scar tissue in that place and that may still irritate the nerve?

    I will post some more info as soon as I have a chance to talk to my NS and discuss the EMG results and possible treatment of the symptoms.

    I am not a fan of surgeries, but have you discussed that option with your doctor?
    Crapamoli replied to curlie11's response:
    I have had L5- S1 radiculopathy and bilateral tibial neuropathy for 10 years, and now have more damage to my cervical spine but without health insurance and not being able to work I did my own kind of rehab. With children in the house you tend to do whatever you have to to take care of them and they aren't going to love you any less if you can't play all day. The best advice I can give to anyone is start the right way, make sure when you walk, both feet are moving and your knees are bent and your are in a nuetral pelvis. if you start out favoring one side (which is common) your other muscles weaken even further.I have just had to restart this process because I didn't start right and now my whole inner right side belly button to thigh doesn't really work at all. The first few days are killers.
    Children adapt to everthing just like animals. if you need to use a grabber to do things at first and ask them for help, they are willing to please but don't exploit them. just do your best and use your time wisely. when you move be aware of how you are moving. challenge yourself and compromise with yourself. get up early to do thing right and lay down after they leave. Trust in your own feelings. You are your best diagnostion! Good Luck and it can and will be better! Everything worth fighting for is worth the pain! But go slowly!
    bj1208 replied to Crapamoli's response:
    hi Crapamoli and welcome to the support group -

    I just wanted to welcome you and also let you know that you are responding to a post from 3 yrs ago!

    It's nice that you posted to let us know how you are dealing with radiculopathy/neuropathy problems - I do have nerve damage in both legs - and I wear a leg brace on my left leg as it's worse than the right and also have foot drop.

    When my pains returned (worse than before surgery) I was 3 mts post op and I started walking with my left foot outwards instead of proper posture standing/walking as I could no longer handle the pains if I tried to walk "normal" - it's been 4 yrs since my surgery and I still walk this way - If I try to walk "normal" the pains are just too great - one part is my facet joints on the left side at L5, L4, T9, T11 and T12 are completely shot - I can't put any pressure straight on the left leg as it shoots a sharp, burning, stabbing pain right in the middle of L5 where my plate is -

    I've had so many treatments and therapy that nothing helps - actually makes it worse -

    again, welcome to the support board and thanks for your tips - take care - Joy
    daneice replied to orangetabby's response:
    Hi, I have recently diagnosed with chronic L5 radiculopathy. I am currently going to physio, but I find the pain getting worse. I try searching for every piece of information I can find, but there isn't a lot of info out there. The numbness in my right leg is very upsetting and frustrating. I have fallen because of it..and it lags behind me at times, causing embarassment at work. I am trying to get back to work, but the pain I have every day is making it seem impossible. I am a nurse and I have suffered a while through the pain, just chalking it up to "a hard days work". I cried myself to sleep one nght with the pain, thats when I decided I needed help. I guess my main question is, have any of you gone back to work? Have any of you gotten better?? and mainly, has the sensation returned to your legs??..the numbness is frightening to me. Any advice will be help right now
    bj1208 replied to daneice's response:
    Hi DaNeiCe - welcome to the support group -

    first wanted to let you know you are responding to posts from 10 months to a couple of years ago.

    Second - what doc's have you seen? it's best to see spine specialist for proper diagnosis either Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist.

    Also, seeing a good PHYSIATRIST Pain Specialist -

    having a two part test done, EMG and Nerve Conduction Test, can show if there is any nerve damage in your leg(s) which from what you describe it sounds like what I have. Drop foot, dragging, numbness, tingling etc., I have nerve damage in both legs (my surgery was in 2/08). Sometimes nerve damage can repair itself but may take up to a year - provided some type of surgery has been done to remove the impingement. And there are times that the nerve root cannot be repaired and permanent nerve damage sets in.

    I take Gabapentin (generic for Neurontin) and this has helped a lot. I also wear a leg brace on my left leg as this is the one that drags and drops (can't lift it going up stairs etc). I would be sure and ask your spine specialist or pain specialist to have this test done. If they are reluctant then I would demand it as it is your health and your final say.

    Please let us know what you find out -
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    daneice replied to bj1208's response:
    I have seen a neurologist, had an EMG and a needle EMG, outcome was chronic L5 radiculopathy. I have been going to physio for a few weeks now, was supposed to go back to work, but I couldn't right now. My physiotherapist also recommened I take a few more weeks off and my Dr agreed. What I am worried and confused about is this..does the word "chronic" mean the pain and numbness never goes away??..and am I being realistic when I say I will be returning to work shortly after the new year??
    daneice replied to daneice's response:
    I should also add the neurologist found nerve damage to my L5 and I am now on Gabapentin
    bj1208 replied to daneice's response:
    HI - thanks for letting us know the results.

    Here's a site that helps explain -

    Chronic refers to the severity of pain being felt and can either be permanent or may get better as healing process gets better (i.e., ,after surgery pain can be chronic and then gets better).

    Gabapentin should be started out on a low dose (usually 300mg daily) then increased slowly til a therapeutic dose is found. Example: I started out at 300mg daily and increased slowly over a couple months period. I take 3600mg daily and this dose really helps with the pains/numbness etc.,

    You really need to ask your doctor what the outcome is for your diagnosis.

    You indicated you saw a Neurologist. It's best that you see either a Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist as they are the best at examining, diagnosing and offering the best treatment options.

    I see a PHYSIATRIST Pain Specialist as they go deeper into pain management control and work with the patients as far as what their needs are:

    Seeing the right kind of specialist is vital in the best care for spine problems - even when dealing with leg problems as the root of the problem more than likely revolves around disc problems.

    Hope this helps. let us know how you are doing and what you find out.
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    daneice replied to bj1208's response:
    Thank you so much for your info. This is all so new to me and no one I know has been diagnosed with this. I sometimes feel crazy and its good to know I'm not alone. I really need a follow up appt because the Gabapentin 300mg daily just isn't helping with the pain, its so hard trying to do physio, when I'm in so much pain. Thanks again. I will def be back to this site many times
    bj1208 replied to daneice's response:
    Hi DaNeiCe, again~~ LOL

    Please do keep us posted what you find out and also let us know if you have questions. There are lot of us that suffer with some form of chronic pains so we share what we have been thru.

    Let us know.....
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    daneice replied to bj1208's response:
    HI there....update on my condition. I found out I also have osteoarthritis in my spine, and now being investigated for possibly having it in my hips as well. I am still going to physio, which I am now focusing on strengthening my inner core. I was told the pain may not get better, that I would have to find ways to cope and live with it. I'm still not back to work, which I am having a very hard time with, I miss it so much. Everyday is a struggle, and sometimes I get so tired of all this, and yes I admit I feel sorry for myself at times. But that quickly passes, because I always tell myself it could be allot worse.
    I was precribed Naprosyn (naproxen) 250mg every 6 hours as needed for 15 days. Thats just until my xrays come back about my hips.
    I am also starting to have a increase of symptoms in my left leg, where previously it has only been my right leg.
    This is an ongoing battle. Hope everyone on this page is doing well. Talk soon.

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