“What does it exactly mean when they describe the left L5 nerve root appearing “slightly flattened”? How severe is this? Is surgery necessary to relieve this flattening”? Flattening is a physical description of the affects of compression on the root. Roots are not designed to allow too much compression and flattening of the root can cause intermittent or constant nerve pain and malfunction. The only two ways to relieve this compression are with surgery or if you’re lucky and can tolerate the symptoms, time.
“Yesterday I went for a short walk and I started to get some shooting nerve pain into my left calf. I’m almost 7 weeks at this point with symptoms and I feel like I’m not getting better. I feel like I’m in “limbo” and wondering if I should just schedule surgery”? It sounds like you would be a good candidate for a redo microdiscectomy.
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.