Re: Can CES happen without compression of the nerves?
Only a neurologist can fully answer your questions; this might ease your mind. An MRI is the gold standard by which CES is reliably identified.
One suggestion you might try that often brings relief even to those with lumbar stenosis and cauda equina syndrome. Surprisingly, few will try it because it sounds too simplistic. Look at it this way, it costs no more than many prescriptions, never wears out, doesn't need batteries or electricity, so what is there to lose by giving it a try? I refer to thera bead pads, which are available at many pharmacies, some Walmart's and through Amazon. The pads are filled with tiny beads that emit steam when zapped in the microwave for a minute or two. For some reason, pain at the base of the spine or the lumbar region responds more to the steam heat than to dry heat... certainly a lot faster. The pafd do not hold heat long so as they cool off they no longer emit steam. The way to benefit by their use is to wedge a heated pad tightly between your back and a padded chair or preferably a recliner. That way the pad stays hot longer and really has a chance to relieve the pain. Often you can be in agony and just feel the pain recede as the steam calms the agitated nerves. The pads do have to dry before being re=heated. Mine is always near at hand so it is quickly available when pain becomes intolerable. My first thera bead pad has been in use since the 1990's and works as well as it did the first time. Use of the pads has allowed me to cut back on pain medication so I consider them a very worthwhile investment, no more expensive than a cheap wedge shaped seat pad. The pads are useful for many other things but I am referring to the relief they can bring to those of us who suffer from lower back pain and/or CES.
I hope that you can gain peace of mind and that the magic of thera bead pads might bring relief to those agitated nerves. I am mot a doctor, am only suggesting you try a method that has helped me and others get on with life.