I went to the GP because my left thigh was killing me in pain. I said "my thigh hurts" and she said "your back is the problem" and I repeated "my thigh hurts" and she repeated "your back is the problem".
After an xray, I have a marked decrease in disk space in the L2-L3 area - I would say less than half the distance of any other lumbar spine spaces. I'm going to be getting an MRI, and I have an appointment to see a Chiropractor and with a physical therapist.
What would be the single most effective exercise to build up support for that area of the back? It's higher than most people have trouble with. Another question is whether I'm doing too much to go to both a chiropractor and a physical therapist?
Your doctor is probably right, but did she examine your hip? In the absence of back pain, or a history of lower back pain, my first thought is the hip joint; it routinely radiates down the distribution of the femoral nerve towards the knee.
Lie on your back and pull your knee to the chest, then towards the opposite shoulder, then make a circle and finally drop the knee down into the lotus position. Is it inordinately stiff and painful compared to the other hip?
It's possible that the loss of disc space is an "incidental finding." True, but not relevant to your anterior thigh pain.
Does bending forwards, backwards and to the side provoke no back or leg pain? Is the knee jerk present and does the knee give on the stairs?
Finally, a femoral nerve stretch will help determine if this is a hip or back problem.
Younger folk tend to have problems lower down affecting the sciatic nerve, but the older person is often troubled by a mid lumbar spine lesion which compromises the femoral nerve and causing anterior thigh pain. How old are you?
Certainly manipulation by both a PT and a chiropractor would not be good. If they are doing complementary treatment, that should be fine, but talk to them both.
The best exercise that I know is a pelvic tilt, with your overlapping hands moving up and down the back, moving the fulcrum. You'll find it if you scout around at our lower back exercises page.
I hope this contributes. Let me know what happens in your hip with the above tests.
Dr Barrie Lewis