Hips, low back, numbness in toes

by Natalie
(Los Angeles, ca)

I have been struggling with back pain for over two years. I have seen several doctors and chiropractors who have told me many different reasons; from Sciatica, trigger points to a tilted pelvis. My legs are only a different length when I am in the seated position. My toes are constantly numb. I live with pretty intense pain in my hips and low back every day.

My hips constantly snap when I pivot my legs. When I pivot forward on one leg my upper back legs pop. Sometimes when I lay with my back straight I can feel painless clicking in my low back near my spine.

I am desperate to find a solution. At this point, I see a chiropractor who adjusts me bi-weekly, but I am losing hope and feel that the adjustments are only a temporary fix. When I leave the chiro I still have back pain, but feel more stable and after less than 5 days I'm back to feeling the same way. I've been to treatment for about 8 months straight.

My goal is to find a solution. Many doctors give me a shot that relieves pain for less than a day (lidocaine) or suggest their physical therapy. Last I tried their plan, I threw my back out during treatment and my PT trainer suggested the same stretches and excersizes to treat a "strained back".

I'm 28 years old and very frustrated with the chronic back pain. Do you have any suggestions?

Hello Natalie,
You are indeed in a frustrating place. A few questions:

1. Lie on your back and pull each knee to the chest and rotate the hips. Any pain in the groin or significant stiffness?

2. If you bend forwards, is the pull in both legs the same?

3. Ask a friend to stand behind you when standing and place their hands on the top of the iliac crests; what you might call the hips. Do they appear to be level?

4. Go to the Search function at Chiropractic Help and type in Slump Test for Sciatica. Do the test and let me know what you experience.

5. Have x-rays been taken and what do they show?

6. Are you doing any exercises for your lower back every morning before getting out of bed? If not, you'll find some in the navigation bar at Chiropractic Help.

Obviously I can't examine you, Natalie, so all of this is very speculative. Perhaps it will contribute something; let me know.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

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.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

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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.

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