Diagnosed with cluneal nerve damage and pain down the front of the thigh

by Tricka
(Indianapolis, IN)

I had three injections so far for my low back pain. I was pain free for two weeks after the second injection.

The pain is in my right low back / buttock area. The pain radiates down the front of my thigh and into my knee - sometimes the leg.

The pain is worse when I lift anything heavier than 20 lbs and after standing/sitting for a while. I also can't lay on my right side.

The orthopedic has dismissed me with a "you may be like a construction worker who works in pain all day and gets home and can do nothing else."

I'm a flight attendant and this is unacceptable to me even if I had a desk job.

Can I benefit from chiropractic care or surgery?

Hello Tricka,
Mostly medication and injections brings only temporary relief of symptoms particularly for chronic conditions.

There are two cluneal nerves, superior and medial, and neither fit with pain radiating down the front of the thigh to the knee. There are two common causes of this pattern:

1. A hip condition. Lie on your back and pull your knee to your chest and then rotate the hip. Is it inordinately stiff, or painful. Then drop your hip into the lotus position; what do you feel? Run your thumb from the ASIS, see the enclosed graphic, using a little oil down through the groin, lighten up over the femoral artery and nerve and down the inner thigh; is it much more tender on the right thigh?

2. Then the femoral nerve from the mid to upper lumbar spine supplies the front and inner side of the thigh and lower leg; it's more difficult to test for, but does bending backwards and to the right radiate down the front of your leg?

3. The sacroiliac joint can also supply the groin area.

If you often have pain when standing or walking slowly as in window shopping, then a short leg should be considered; sometimes an insert in your shoe can be miraculous.

What's needed, Tricka, is an accurate diagnosis and only a very careful and thorough examination can achieve that. If pulling the knee to the chest hurts then I'd recommend an x-ray of the pelvis taken standing.

Do you regularly, by which I mean daily do lower back exercises? I recommend those you'll find in the navigation bar at Chiropractic Help, done faithfully every single morning before getting out of bed; that alone will likely improve your condition by 50% within a month or two; they take less than two minutes.

Any pain on the side of the hip when lying down may be from the trochanteric bursa and a sacroiliac fixation.

Let me know how you get on. Surgery should be your very last option, in my humble opinion.

Dr B

» Diagnosed with cluneal nerve damage and pain down the front of the thigh

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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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