Severe pain in the back of both thighs

by Carolyn `
(Ponchatoula LA USA)

My husband suddenly had a bad sharp aching pain in the back of his left thigh. It was so bad that I ended up taking him to the emergency room one night at which time they did nothing but give him a shot for the pain. The next night I took him to a different ER with a pain now in both of his legs. It was determined not to be related to his heart, he has a good pulse in his legs and was checked for blood clots and there were none found. He can get some relief by sitting in his recliner and raising his feet but when he stands the pain in his legs gets unbearable. Any ideas?

Hello Carolyn,
Yes, classic sciatica. Don't know why they were looking at his heart...

Do a simple test. Have him sit in a kitchen chair, and YOU raise first the leg in which the pain started later. Have him remember what he feels in the leg, back, and opposite leg.

Now repeat with the naughty first leg that hurt. What happens?

If he bends SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY forwards and then backwards and then to the side what happens?

Do coughing, sneezing and bearing down on the toilet hurt? Does flexing his head onto the chest hurt? Where?

Can he stand on his toes on one leg at a time? In other words can he raise his heel normally?

If he has no back pain then it is nasty. Well, it's nasty anyway, but in the absence of back pain it means that the chances of a prolapsed disc are faily high. Does he have a history of lower back pain?

Plug Slump test into the "Search this Site" at C-H. Gently, try this test. Gently.

An X-ray of the lower back and pelvis are indicated and probably a scan. There are other possibilities... is he in good health? Prostate okay?

I hope this contributes. You need to get to see someone who specialises in the lower back, not a cardiologist!

Dr B.

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Mar 17, 2011
The diagnosis
by: Carolyn

The reason we were checking his heart is because he has a history of problems with his aorta going to his lower body.. which then cause leg problems.. and he was scheduled to have an angioplasty within a week for abnormalities...

We finally did narrow down the problem.. the nerves at the L5-S1 level are obviously irritated.. so he will be having a nerve block in the near future.

It took a CT scan of his lumbar.. along with aggressive pain management to relieve his pain so he could be diagnosed.. this is the first time we have had to deal with an injury such as this.. and did not realize that the pain he said he was feeling in his bones.. were actually in the back of his thigh due to the nerves..

I'm just glad we finally got things diagnosed and are on our way to recovery!

Hello Carolyn,
A whole new lifestyle is called for. Smoker? Cholesterol, atherosclerosis, overweight?

And lots more exercise, both specific for the back and legs, and general, like walking or swimming.

Chiropractic is not contraindicated for a patient with an abdominal aneurism / severe atherosclerosis but you should certainly warn your chiropractor about them. S/he will have to use other techniques. Chiropractic is more likely to help that lower back pain and leg pain than nerve blocks, that's symptom treatment. Treat the cause... not the symptoms.

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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.

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