Extreme back pain, Femoral nerve pain, numbness

by Frank
(Toledo, Ohio USA)

I have had back problems since 1999 but with the exception of a few very bad flare ups I have seemed to manage to live a somewhat normal but careful life.

Last summer I woke up one morning with middle and lower back pain. As the day progressed the pain had become so severe that I was unable to walk. The front of my my thigh was on fire and totally numb. To make a long story short I ended up getting an MRI and the results were devastating. My family doctor jokingly said that there was nothing they could do for me short of putting in a new spine, (I didn't find this funny at all).

The MRI read, degenerative disc, spinal stenosis, multiple old fractured discs, herniated discs, a severe bulge at S1-L5, and others that I can't think of now.

I found a chiropractor that worked on me VERY GENTLY which seemed to eventually help with the pain. It took months for the thigh pain and numbness to ease up some.

Now it seems I moved, bent over or somehow did something to aggravate it again. My lower and middle back is killing me and the thigh pain and numbness has returned. I'm afraid to go back to the chiropractor because my spine is so bad I'm afraid of what manipulation could do to it. I've had injections years ago that actually made things worse so I won't do that again. I don't want to be on pain medication and have refrained from anything besides Ibuprofen through this whole ordeal but the quality of my life is beyond terrible and I am thinking about pain management.

I am a recovering opiate addict and have been clean for 16 years. The thought of opiates for pain terrifies me. I'm LOST and need some advice on what I can do.

Hello Frank,
It's obviously not easy, but my advice is to go back immediately to the same chiropractor who helped you before? Why the fear? S/he obviously really helped you. You yourself said how gentle the treatment was, and the likelihood of making it worse are not high. In any case, what other option do you have?

You make no mention of exercises. My experience is that every patient with chronic back pain absolutely shall do daily back exercises before getting out of bed. You'll find the lower back exercises in the navigation bar at C-H. But first, I'd see you chiropractor, and get some direction on which exercises would be best for your back.

Yes, it's not easy, Frank. I sense your pain, and panic. This too will probably pass... I too have back problems and never miss those exercises before getting out of bed. They take less than two minutes. Right now, I'd be doing them every half an hour...

Using ice for pain control?

I hope this has contributed.

Dr B

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