Chronic sciatica with no low back pain

by Jordan
(Big Spring, TX, United States)

Which of these describes your pain pattern?

Which of these describes your pain pattern?

Hi, for about a year now I have had severe pain in my right leg. When it started out I was able to take one Aleve tablet and that would last me for about three days. I have been taking Aleve on a regular basis since and I have built up a tolerance and now two tablets barely last 24 hours. I have been to the chiropractor and went through electric stimulation and none of this seems to be helping. Did he do no manipulation?

I recently purchased an inversion table and have seen slight relief. Although, when I get off the table my joints slam back into place and severe pain shoots down my leg; to the point where I am rolling on the floor in extreme pain. I am only 19 and I feel like relief will never come.

While on my inversion table tonight I realized that pain was radiating from my coccyx. I have bruised it before since I was an avid softball player in high school. I was wondering if there was any possible way that a fracture to my coccyx could cause this sciatica like pain? My tailbone is tender to the touch and it has been for quite sometime but I rarely notice. I am so tired of this pain and I just want to know if there is a certain stretch or a specialist I should see.

The pain in detail:
When laying down it circulates laterally on my mid right thigh and around my knee-cap. Sometimes the pain reaches my calf almost like shinsplints. I rarely have pain in my lower back, it is mainly from my hip down. Laying down makes it worse, and sitting in cushy seats aggravates it as well.

Also, I do not know if this is relevant but I believe my hips are out of alignment. My left leg is probably a half-inch or more shorter than my right. I was a pitcher for my softball team and I always landed on my left and dragged my right. So I think this may have affected its growth, or just messed up my hips' alignment. Like I said I do not know if this is relevant, but I felt the need to share that.

If you need more information I am more than happy to provide it. I am desperate for help. At 19, I should not be having problems like this. Anything is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your time.

Hello Jordan and thank you for a very clearly written account. Some Americans it seems can write in English!

Yes, I'm not surprised you are frustrated; rightly so and if I may so, you should have pursued this more vigorously a long time ago; you now have chronic pain, and that's a lot more difficult.

Firstly a few questions.

1. How many times did you consult the chiropractor and do you feel he gave you a good examination and explain where the pain was coming from?

2. Did he have anything to say about your short leg, and make any recommendations?

3. Have you had an x-ray taken, and what did it show?

4. Did your chiropractor give you any exercises, and are you doing them faithfully every day?

Then, off the Aleve, have you read the side effects by the way, would you spend the next few days, as accurately as possible noting what seems to provoke the pain in your leg and reporting back to me.

There's much to be done, and it's important; otherwise you'll have this for life. At this stage I'm not convinced you have sciatica, but the next set of questions will establish that.

Dr B

» Chronic sciatica with no low back pain

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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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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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