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  • nosleephernia
    Post count: 1

    Hi Dr,
    Thank you for the wealth of information at your web site as well as the youtube video explaining how to read an MRI. I used your information to understand my own MRI images better.

    I have a small to moderate central and left posterolateral disc protrusion indenting the anterior thecal sac and compressing the L5 root in the lateral recess. (This is the report from radiologist)

    For five months I’ve had pain in the buttocks and sometimes thigh if I sleep on my back or side. It is a 10 at night after lying down. Once I get up the pain slowly goes away. If I sleep on my stomach I would only get tingly feelings in the foot up until about 6 weeks ago. Now I get pain in the ankle when lying on stomach it is a 10. 95% of the pain goes away if I’m standing/walking or even sitting with lumbar roll. I usually limp in the morning or sometimes during the day if I sit in a poor chair. I limp because it is painful. I do not believe I have any real weakness except from pain.

    I have three questions, One is do you think I’m causing permanent nerve damage because every night I’m compressing the nerve?

    Do you think I am getting worse since now I get ankle pain rather than just the tingly feeling?

    Any thoughts on how I should be sleeping (I’ve tried a lot of positions and the stomach sleeping is the least painful so far with pillow under stomach)

    Thanks very much!

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Post count: 8468

    I cannot answer the permanent nerve damage question as there is a possibility but this possibility is not high. The fact that you have no weakness is in your favor as there is no rush at this point. Could you be getting worse? Increased pain and further radiation of pain is an indication of increasing nerve root dysfunction. As long as there is no weakness, I generally don’t become too concerned.

    The nerve seems to become more inflamed with flexion (bending forward) and less irritated with extension (bending backwards). However, sleeping on your belly with a pillow under the belly causes more lumbar flexion. You might try sofa cushions under your knees when you try to sleep on your back. This will flex the knees and the lumbar spine.

    I think you should consider an epidural steroid injection to reduce the root inflammation (see website). Medications might also help you to sleep through the night. Finally, if nothing works, you could consider a microdiscectomy.

    Dr. Corenman

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