Continued numbness in left leg mostly inside of calf muscle and loss of strength in left leg
About two months ago I injured my lower back pulling out wisteria. At first, I had no pain, the left side of my back was very tight - and I could not bend. About 10 days in my tightness left and that night I had excruciating pain in my left groin and down my left leg. I went to my doctor who gave me muscle relaxants, which helped but the improvement plateaued. I then was referred to a back specialist who gave me predisone and I started physical therapy.
I have lost strength in my left leg and still have continued numbness, mostly in my calf. And I can tell my lower back is still weak so I am extra careful how I move.
I can raise my big toe, stand on my toes without pain (although numbness seems more noticeable, walk on my heels. I started low level workouts 2 weeks ago - walking in place, body weight squats, light weight lifting for upper body, planks (only front not side) and pushups (note: Prior to my injury, I did interval training 5 days a week and could do almost any exercise including burpees)
Is there a time frame that I should look to where the numbness goes away?
Is there a time frame when my lower back will get back to normal?
Will I be able to get back to my exercise training I did prior to the injury?
How can chiropractic visits help my condition, vs physical therapy?
Hello Eric, The inner calf is supplied by the femoral nerve, either L3 or L4, so mostly the sciatic nerve is unaffected and you can raise the great toe and stand your heel. But what happens if you take weight on your left leg, and bend the knee? Does it feel like the knee is going to collapse?
Did anyone take your reflexes? How was the knee jerk?
As a general rule if the pain in the leg diminishes, the numbness will gradually go away. Of concern though, in your case, is that the leg still feels weak. That's an ominous sign after two months. You may never recover the strength of the leg. Does the knee give on stairs?
Q1. The numbness may never go away entirely, but you can live with some numbness. It's pain and weakness of the leg that you should not allow to become chronic.
Q2. Generally it takes about six to eight weeks to recover from a disc injury with chiropractic care, but in your case, I'm unsure.
Q3. You almost certainly had a large tear in one of the midlumbar discs. I doubt your back will recover entirely it's original strength. Back exercises done every morning before getting out of bed will be a great help.
Q4. To be honest I'm not sure what physical therapists would do for a condition like this, so I'm enable to comment.
I personally have had what I suspect is this exact injury though it could be one of two levels. With chiropractic help from a colleague, I've had a 90% recovery. I can lift beehives, dig in the garden, bend and twist, but I'm careful, and do the exercises very faithfully. The weakness in the quad has recovered completely but I occasionally have numbness for a few days on the inner knee. You can read about it below at femoral nerve damage.
You've started on a journey of enquiry into what is going to work for you. Continue it, it's a very encouraging sign. What I would say is that you've had a serious injury, one a surgeon would love to get his knife into, and a chiropractor his hands. That means accepting that you may not regain all the territory, but you should try to. I have. Knowing that this or that is beyond one, and accepting it has been important for me. I only lift beehives with two people now.
Is the Slump test negative?
I hope this contributes. Let me know how you get on. I would get an MRI scan if your quad is weak by the way.
1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.
2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.
3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree.
Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.
4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.
He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.
5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.
6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.
7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.
8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.
9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.
10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.
11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.
12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.
13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback
since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he
has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments
he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?
And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.
Greetings, Dr B. You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.
Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.
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