Nerve root compression

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9661
   Posted 1/4/2009 11:26 AM (GMT -6)   
This might seems funny or weird (as I am) but my recent MRI still shows, nerve root compression S1 thru L4,
bi-laterally, so how come, it hurts more on the left side? Wouldn't the pain be felt equally on both sides? Anyways,
I feel the pain more badly on the left side. Anyone else have had this happen too, where you feel pain
more on one side verses the other? was just wondering, for me my left side seems more painful.
Soft Hugz
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd, Enlarged Pituitary Gland
******** "We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world" from Helen Keller *********


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 1/4/2009 12:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Char; I too have nerve compression at S1-L4 and it hurts more on the left side then it does on the right. I do get some pain down the right leg but my left leg is the worst. Don't know why this is happening to us and when I tried to ask about it I get a big medical mumbo jumbo of words that I don't understand. Hope you get your doc to explain it a little better then mine did.


HEALTH ISSUES: Herniated discs at S-1-L5, L5-L4, L4-L3. Two level fusion (2000); one level fusion (2002); Revision at L4-L3 (2003). Slight herniation at L2-3 but Neurosurgeons will not operate because of previous failed surgeries. Diagnosed with Failed Back Syndrome, Permanent Nerve damage and Chronic Pain


Kadian, Lexipro, Percocet, Lunista, Topamax and Robaxin.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 1/4/2009 3:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Char,
Makes me scratch my head, too. I had a lumbar fusion L4-S1 to supposedly free up the nerves, but the symptoms persist. Most of my problems are on my right side, but I have the neuropathic symptoms (with no other cause) in both feet, even though I don't have pain down my left leg, just down my right. I never get a clear answer for that either. I know nerves and the spine are complex, and I guess I just tell myself that since I've done about everything I can do treatment wise.

Wish I had better answers for both of us!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1235
   Posted 1/4/2009 3:18 PM (GMT -6)   

I might be able to help with this. It may be because the nerves are compressed more on one side than on the other.

I also have a similar problem but from L3 down....and it really depends on the degree of compression and how long the damage has been occurring. At least that's what I have been told from numerous surgeons and physiatrists.


PLIF/TLIF Fusion w/Instrumentation L4-5 Spondololysthesis L4-5.Laminectomies L4-5, foraminal stenosis L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, herniations L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, central canal stenosis L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1
POST OP CES 3/30-06
Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel, bilateral numbness legs and feet
Revision for failed Back surgery, pseudoarthrosis L4-5, hemilaminectomies L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, bmp added to revision fusion, replaced two bent screws that were reversing out of vertebrae - August 2, 2007
On going back pain and neuropathic pain, failed back surgery, consult for scs, decided not to do that at this point.
Adhesive Arachnoiditis also......just what I didn't need..9/08- adding bilateral ulnar neuropathy with severe compression to the mix. They want me to see a surgeon for ulnar nerve surgery, but I'm not biting.
I've seen enough surgeons over the last few years.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 1/4/2009 4:44 PM (GMT -6)   
It depends which side the compression is worse on.
The discs in my neck are degenerating and it is worse on the left side.
So only the left side nerves were compressed. Had a laminectomy on
two areas to release the nerves and open the foramin area.
Meanwhile the degeneration continues, still worse on the left.
Some of my ongoing symptoms are from Myofacial Pain Syndrome.
When the facia tightens over the muscles it also tightens over the nerve
sheath (may be the wrong worf). Anyway that causes symptoms, neuropathy
even when the nerve compression has been resolved.
You can't win......
Stretches do help.
So does Gabapentin for me.

Hope you all will have a better year this year than last..........

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 1/4/2009 6:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Bonnie,
You know I'm absolutely convinced many of us (well I'm convinced for myself at least!) could at least manage better, with a better quality of life, and maybe even fewer meds. if our insurances would pay for regular massages and things like acupuncture. I know they're wouldn't be curative for me, but I'd love to have the money to find out what a weekly massage from a good, trained massage therapist would do for my symptoms. My insruance doesn't pay for anything but PT, and I've almost used all those sessions. And it doesn't pay for acupuncture at all. Sad, IMHO.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9661
   Posted 1/4/2009 7:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Awe PAlady if only...Then I would be second in line with you...
I was also, wondering if it could do with me being right handed and having my right side
a lil stronger as to why it hurts more on the left...
Thank you for your many replies and I might try to find out more and so appreciated your answers Bonnie
might be the compression is stronger on the left side too...
Sure is something to think about and doctors should know more of this to give us better answers!
Wishing everyone a pain free days and lots of soft hugz...
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd, Enlarged Pituitary Gland
******** "We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world" from Helen Keller *********


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 1/4/2009 11:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Char,

I don't know much about the back, but, it I wonder if even though you have bilateral nerve compression, if your left side could be more compressed at some level (maybe an "undetectable" difference by our current technology, but enough to cause the increased pain on that side)? Just a thought, but I might be completely wrong. As I said, I don't know to much, but that thought just popped into my mind when I read this.


Pamela Neckpain
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1821
   Posted 1/5/2009 12:08 AM (GMT -6)   
ohhh ... Accupuncture. Ow ow ow double ow. It made my neck and
back feel like red, raw hamburger. I had three different practioners -- same
results. I KNOW it's supposed to work. Mine just didn't.

I never wonder anymore why my nerves do what they do. It's always a
thrill ride when I wake up in the AM and don't know what's gonna hurt.

I've done really good through the move. The distraction has been great
for me. (I HATE to say that, you know) By saying that I'm putting my
self and my pain in the psychosomatic category.

I don't know. Do you. Could this pain be in my head? Maybe I'm just
experiencing an Adrenal rush because I don't want my husband to have
to do all the work. I don't want HIM hurting himself.

Time will tell the answer to this psychosomatic thing,
Stay warm boys and girls,

Skeye ... I'm not sure if you're a boy or a girl. The little holes on the
face of my computer are too small and I can't see through. I'm kinda
embarassed about this but I need enlightenment.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 1/5/2009 9:44 PM (GMT -6)   
haha Pamela, I guess we all need webcams so we can really see each other, huh?! I'm female. Don't worry about the acupuncture not helping you. Just like anything, it doesn't help everyone. I hope the move goes well! Are you moving far enough away that you have to change doctors, or are you staying the relatively the same area? Be careful with the move & tell you husband to be careful too, so neither of you overdo it & get hurt! I'll be thinking of you! Good luck!

Your friend, typing from an uncomfortable hotel bed & in pain from not taking most of her meds today & yesterday in order to be as coherent as possible while giving my presentation to some world renowned biologists today,

& Char, hope you are feeling better today!
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