Leg numbness chiropractor

Leg numbness chiropractor urges prevention in the early stages of sciatica or femoral nerve pain. 

The vast majority of folk with serious symptoms radiating down the leg admit to the fact that they've been having warning signs for weeks, and often months. It's fairly rare for a full blown sciatic or femoral nerve lesion to come on overnight.

The key is to take it seriously before an operation looms at great cost and uncertain outcome. Medicine itself coined the phrase failed back surgery. Don't let it happen to you.

The progression from lower back pain >  leg pain and tingling > actual leg numbness or weakness is a very worrying trend in your back.

Grade I: Lower back pain only.

Grade II: Lower back and leg pain or tingling.

Grade III: Lower back pain and leg numbness.

Grade IV: Lower back pain and leg numbness and weakness.

Grade V: Minimal low back pain but severe leg pain.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

— I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost


So, where are you on this journey from simple uncomplicated low back pain to the surgeon's knife? It's a sobering thought that almost every spinal operation started with a small, simple, curable problem.

But, if you are having troublesome low back pain, research shows that folk who regularly bend and try to touch their toes are likely to get worse. For your lumbar spine, you can achieve the same stretch by lying on your bed and pulling your knees to the chest.

But, whilst we are on the subject of bending, I'm sure you want to know if you are at grade one, or five. Flex slowly forwards; does it hurt only in your back, and is the pull or pain the same in both legs?

Then, if you are a youngish person, read less than 50, then you are probably at grade one.

But if one leg is much tighter, sore, tingly than the other, beware. You have progressed to grade two or more.

Research clearly shows the more you sit, then the worse your back is likely to get. There are exceptions. And when you sit, use a cushion in the small of your back, like granny does. She may be old, but she's not so dumb!

But, seeing you are sitting, here's the way to see if you are really progressing from grade one, towards the surgeon's knife. Don't get me wrong; I'm a chiropractor and every day we are treating patients with pain in the leg. Leg numbness chiropractor is what we excel in. But even better, prevention. Don't allow your back to progress from one to five.

Sit less

Lower back pain

Lower back pain is in epidemic proportions in the Western world.

Old injuries not properly cared for at the time and, worst of all, folk who continue with their daily lives with no change of lifestyle by taking anti inflammatory drugs over an extended period, almost invariably end up with severe nerve impingement; pain, tingling and numbness in the legs. Leg numbness chiropractor doesn't just happen to other people.

The Slump test

Leg numbness chiropractor

The Slump Test for sciatica is done whilst you are sitting; it's a very useful tool that can use at home to see how you are progressing on this journey from a grade one in the direction of the surgeon's knife.

Whilst sitting, a friend raises first the good leg, and then the naughty leg, adding progressively more stress on the sciatic nerve. The interpretation of the test is not straight forward, but it will give you a good indication of where you are on this journey. Are you on the way to leg numbness chiropractor, or even worse leg numbness surgeon?

So, let's assume when bending, the naughty leg is much tighter, or painful compared to the other leg. When you do the Slump test, it's not only your back but your leg that hurts.

Have you progressed from grade one to three on this road more and more frequently travelled? Do you have actual numbness in your leg?

Take a clean pin or needle and prick your leg, comparing the normal and the naughty leg. The sciatic nerve is mostly likely to affect the back of your thigh and calf and the side of the foot, or the area in the web of the great and second toe. L4 L5 S1 S2 S3.

Femoral nerve

Femoral nerve is likely to give you numbness on the side of the thigh, groin, front of the upper leg running down to the knee and inner lower limb. L2 L3 L4.

In the early stage of the condition, the leg becomes MORE sensitive than the normal leg. Ignore the sensory change, and it switches over to leg numbness.

Grade IV: Weakness

Now we are getting into the serious stuff. You've established that, yes, you have numbness. It's still not too late for you to consult a chiropractor, the road less traveled, but you are well on your way in the other direction; the one to the surgeon. An MRI scan would be very useful at this stage.

These tests pertain mainly to sciatica; however there is another large bundle called the femoral nerve coming from the mid to upper lumbar spine that produces very different signs and symptoms. This will affect the front of your thigh and the leg numbness extends down the inner shin; the Slump test will be negative.

Femoral nerve injuries tend to affect the older person whereas sciatica affects young and more elderly patient alike.

Is your leg also weak? What in anatomical terms, we call paresis. The question is, can you raise your heel, your big toe, and bend your knee without the knee giving way.

Follow this short video.

Ominous lumbar signs

Whilst most acute episodes of lower back pain will resolve, 5% go on to the full blown nightmare. If you have any of these ominous lumbar signs then you would do well to heed them, and in particular make sure you are doing these lower back exercises faithfully.

"Luckily, fifteen minutes a day spent doing back exercises have taken away almost all of my pain. But I have to do them every single day; there are no short cuts with back pain."

Hamilton Wende

Help for sciatica pain

Help for sciatica pain is a daily business in the chiropractic clinic. Difficulties arise when the symptoms and signs do not fit with a typical pattern.

Chiropractors treat lower back and leg pain successfully on a daily basis; in fact, medicine's own research acknowledges that manipulation is more effective than taking anti inflammatory drugs.

Whilst manipulation too has its dangers, they are nothing compared to the danger of an intestinal bleed; it's one of the known and not uncommon side effects of NSAIDs. Around fourteen thousand people die every year in the United States directly from an ulcer caused by medication.

But to achieve something even vaguely approaching a cure requires a commitment to the treatment, slowing down for a period and religiously, with great fervor, doing the lower back exercises.

On a fairly regular basis, I have a patient who comes for an examination for lower back and leg pain; they feel perhaps sixty percent better after five treatments, and then cancel the next consultation because they feel they cannot afford the care, or other reasons. Three months later I get the surgeon's report.

Maigne's syndrome

One of the less common conditions in the practice, and so it's so easily missed when it comes up, is irritated superior cluneal nerves that supply the buttock and some authorities say the groin area also.

Named after a French surgeon, Maignes syndrome is the referral of pain from the upper lumbar spine down to the buttock and sometimes groin area.


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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

CLS writes:

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.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

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.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.