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Sharp pain in right cheek down through leg.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,002
Hi, my name is Wes.
I am new to this site tonight and was wondering if I could get some feedback from you good people. On November 18, 2008, I was crushed by a fork-lift at work. When the incident happened I was stuck in between the fork-lift and the wall for about 3-5 minutes before they could get it moved. When it was finally moved I fell to the ground in severe pain, not to mention I was crushed so hard it made me have a bowel movement in my pants. Anyways, I fell to the ground with extreme pain and tingling in both legs. I thought I was going to die. I spent a week in the hospital with 2 pelvic fractures and broken ribs. I was in so much pain I could hardly move. They did a ct scan in the emergency room and concluded the pelvic would heal on it's own without having surgery. When I came home I was still in excruciating pain. I went for my first dr. visit to an orthopedic physician. He re-xrayed it and said it was healing nicely, but I still had alot of pain. He said he didn't know why I was in so much pain still after 3 weeks, unless I maybe had some nerve damage. He then said he wanted to see me again in another month which is going to be on the 13th of January. I told this to my PCP when I seen him on December 31. He asked me if I wanted to find out now if that was the case. I told him that I did. He did it and the results said I had a mild L5 radiculopathy and a moderate right L5 radiculopothy and the right sural response was within normal limits. Actually the nurse told me this when she gave me the report to give to the orthopedic physician, so I really wasn't able to quiz him down about this unless I wanted to wait for an hour to see him. My question is What does this mean and what are the chances of a quick recovery? Also what can I expect for (if any) long term problems. After 6 and a half weeks I am still in alot of pain. Sorry for the long question process here. Thanks for any answers.


  • hi wes and welcome to

    radiculopathy refers to a problem with a nerve root, typically being impinged. the pain usually radiates along the nerve that has been affected. for l5 radiculopathy, this would typically show up as pain in the butt and/or radiating down the leg (sciatic nerve).

    yours could simply be that the nerve has been damaged and is taking a long time to heal (nerves do take a long time to heal - weeks to months). or the nerve may be being impinged by, for example, a herniated disk.

    best thing is to see the spine specialist (either a neurosurgeon or an orthopaedic surgeon) as you are doing for a proper diagnosis, including an mri scan if not done already.

    in regard to whether you can expect a quick recovery or not, i think that it totally depends upon what is causing the pain, e.g. was it just that the nerve was momentarily crushed, or is it a herniated disk or is it caused by the broken bone. there are lots of conservative treatment options available before even needing to consider surgery. refer to the following link for a summary.

    by the way, there is good medicine available for dealing with nerve pain - for example neurontin, lyrica or topamax. you may wish to discuss these with your pcp if he/she has not already offered them.

    all the best and keep us posted about your progress... bruce
    Keep positive!

    Bruce old timer here and ex-moderator

  • :H
    Bruce is great isn't he? He's sort of been through most of it and has heard and seen it all. I wouldn't be so sure about a cortisone shot when you see the doctor ask but I'm pretty sure they will put you on a better cocktail of meds to match your symptoms. Which would probably give you much more long term relief. Believe me. I've begged for shots in my shoulders. Anything that would get them out of the knots they're in after surgery.
    P.S. You are my worst nightmare come true. I work in a mfg. plant and I am scared to death in our receiving dept about walking past the forklift drivers. Some of them are really cautious and some of them aren't. I saw the imprint of a woman's outline in a wire mesh cage one time when a forklift driver backed into her and pinned her to the cage. I've been petrified ever since.
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  • You all are great, I appreiate you guys tatking the time to reply to my message. Bruce does seem like he has been there. I just don't know how long it should take my injuries to heal. It drives me crazy. I believe I seen somewhere where it said I should heal in 6-12 weeeks. I don't know that sound like it's not going to happen. Ya the fork-lifts are abslutely dangerous, except I was the operator this time. I was on a stand up fork-lift and the brakes went out on it. It was one of the worst things I've ever been through. I still have nightmares about it.
  • Hey Bruce,
    Thanks for the info. The pain I am having feels just like it did when I fractured my pelvic, just a really sharp and unbearable type pain. One of the things that's confusing to me is the nerve test I had said I had mild left L5 radiculopothy and moderate right L5 radiculopothy. The thing is I don't feel any pain in my left leg, it's all in my right leg. What do they mean by moderate? It sure feels painful. Also they do have me on neurontin 800 mg. 3x daily, as well as oxycontin 10 mg. 2x daily and percocet 10 4x daily and warfrin 7.5 mg. 1x daily. What do you think about getting a cortisone shot when I see the orthopedic? I have heard some bad things about them, but I want to do what I can to get better, but I don't want to make it worse.
    Thanks again.
  • Yikes, I was horrified to hear what happened to you. I am so sorry. We are happy to have you join, and wish it wasn't under this type of circumstance. I hope that you recovery from this and get the best treatment available. Don't let workmen's comp push you around, they have a terrible rep. This is so irrefutable that if they try to deny your case, get a lawyer. I hope that it doesn't come to that and that you are treated fairly and with respect. Take care of yourself.. :)
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  • I was also injured at work, ran over by a truck. It took 4 months before they did an MRI and discovered my l5/s1 disk had been "obliterated", doctor told me if they had done an MRI sooner the disk material could have been removed before it did damaged to my sciatic nerve. So my advice is to insist on a MRI.
  • Wes, regarding your mild left radiculopathy the thing is that conditions don't always match symptoms. A patient can have a really bad looking MRI scan showing major issues but have very little pain. Conversely, someone can have significant pain but very little shows up on an MRI. In my case I was diagnosed with severe DDD and severe bilateral spinal stenosis so according to my MRI the problem was similar both sides, but I only ever had pain in my right butt and leg/foot.

    If your ortho is suggesting a steroid shot then I would try it, but they are not that nice and often don't help too much. They often don't seem to provide long term relief, rather they can provide short term relief is what I understand. However, I have never actually had one in the spine (but have had quite a few in other joints).

    Keep positive!

    Bruce old timer here and ex-moderator

  • I agree if you haven't had an MRI to get one. I also have radiculopathy mostly the leg opposite my herniated disc. I've been off work from February and it's probably a repeatitive strain that caused the herniation. I've had 3 epidurals and had alot of relief of pain. I still have pain in my back and going for a second referral to an Orthosurgern. I can imagine the nightmares you're having and it's something like PTSD and hope you're getting therapy for that. I wish you the best with your healing. 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
  • Thanks to all of you. Bruce are you sure you're not a doctor? I go in on the 8th of January to my orthopedic surgeon, rather than the 13th like I originally thought.I don't know what to expect when I see him. I am very nervous about this whole situation. I will definitely be asking him for an mri. It seems like workers comp is doing all they can to be helpful, which I'm thankful for. I should, under normal circumstance be healed from my fractured pelvic at this point. I believe my work is expecting me back soon. I wish I was. I love my job and don't want to lose it, but hell I can't even put weight on my right leg. I am at a loss. I will let you fine people know what happens at my appointment on the 8th. Meanwhile if anyone else has any more feedback, I'd love to hear it. Thanks again. Happy New Year.
  • So sorry to hear of your terrible accident and your issue with pain. I had foot surgery and developed leg pain during recovery and then two months later found out I had a herniated disc (L5) -- I'm having an epidural injection in a week to help with the pain. I know how frustrating it is to go through the maze of doctors appointments -- it would be great to find someone who is compassionate -- that's what we're here for -- I have found from my experience that pain takes a long time to go away and you have to use every resource you can to try and alleviate the pain. You may try acupuncture or massage to supplement your meds -- once you get the clear from your doc for the pelvic fracture -- I would also look into supplements (vitamins, etc.) Just wanted you to know that they are people here that care about your recovery and hope you are feeling better soon.
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