Nerve Testing

I had my nerves tested the other day, and I have decided that there are many other things I would rather do.  At least the pain is over pretty much when the procedure is.

nerve_conduction150First electrodes are placed on my foot and an electrical current is put through it.  When the current is strong enough, the nerves react and the muscles spasm.  It is a nerve conductive velocity test; this is not so bad.  But the further up the leg the testing goes, the more it hurts.  I have a scar on my knee from previous surgeries, and the test around it was especially painful.  I lay as relaxed as I can on the bed feeling the electrodes being placed.  An increasing tingling runs through my toes and the ball of my foot before the doctor explains what she is doing.  She moves the electrodes and the tingling increases and makes my leg jump harder each time.  “Relax and it won’t feel as bad,” she tells me.  But knowing what is coming next makes it difficult to relax.

The next part is to use a slender needle with wires attaching the computer to it – an Electromyogram.  She shows me the needle – a big mistake, I don’t like needles – and tells me she is just going to put it under my skin.  This didn’t seem so bad at first then the doctor moved it around scratching the muscle.  She fails to tell me about the movement and scraping of the muscle.  Again it starts out with minimal pain, but the pain neck_pain_diagnosisincreases the farther up my legs and back she goes.  By the time she reaches the third place on my back, I am tense.  She tells me to relax again. But how do I do this?  I take a deep breath and let it out slowly each time that she scratches my muscles, but that only helps a little. The pain and discomfort grew.  It was most uncomfortable on my back and even a day later my back had painful spots.  This test makes noises that are computed into responses of how the nerves are responding.

What she found was that there is some nerve damage in my calves, but not enough for the numbness I have been experiencing during the 5Ks.  Since I get the numbness when I walk, she thought I might have compartment syndrome.  That is caused when the legs cramp up while running or walking.  They swell too much and cause numbness or pain.  The rest of the pain is from the nerve damage at the sciatica.  The best thing I can do is loose the weight and strengthen the core muscles.  With that she thinks I can find relief.  This is good news since I want to do some big hikes.

I have hope that if I continue to keep working out, my body will be able to handle these hikes I have planned and I will lose weight as I get healthier.  I am looking forward to physical therapy, so I can learn to strengthen my core and get help with my legs.  I have learned that I don’t get the numbness while I am hiking which to me seems to be that I don’t walk as fast and that is what is really causing the numbness.  There is extra stress on the muscles when I am walking faster.

As I lay on the bed allowing this doctor to poke me with needles and shock my nerves, I hope that I won’t have to do this ever again.  But alas, that would be too good.  I have since talked to my doctor about the results of the MRI and X-rays.  There is a nerve problem only in my neck that is affecting my shoulder and arm.  I am going to be getting an epidural and have been referred to a pain management doctor.  This doctor turns out to be the same doctor who performed the nerve test and now she wants to do one on my upper back, neck, and arms.  So much for wishing to never face this again.