Femoral or sciatic?

by Pattie
(Port Saint Lucie, Fl, USA)

I am pretty sure I have Piriformis syndrome but the intense pain is in the front of the leg, not the back, and goes to my big toe and the bottom of the foot as well. My leg feels heavy and numb and pins and needles. It feels like a wooden leg.

The muscle in my butt will not relax no matter what I do. My hip hurts a lot as well.

I have 2 herniated disks L4 and 5 but I had no injuries of any kind. Been in so much pain for almost 4 mos now. I have been going to a Chiro without much pain relief. I am so depressed.

Hello Pattie,

Yes, I understand your despondency. First a few questions and then some recommendations.

Have you had an MRI? If not, I think it's time; they're expensive.

On no painkillers do the following?

Bend slowly forwards, backwards, and to the side; carefully, this can aggravate your condition. Tell me exactly what you feel and where with each movement, and which is worse.

Sitting, bear down like you are trying to have a bowel movement. Pain? How are coughing, sneezing?

Sitting in a kitchen chair, have someone raise first the good leg parallel to the ground, lower and then the other; tell me exactly what you feel.

Using the search function at Chiropractic Help type in leg pain muscle testing. Go to the Youtube page. What do you find?

Are you doing any disciplined, EVERY morning before getting out of bed back exercises? If not see our lower back exercises page; don't pull hard with both knees.

You must take this seriously now; you must be on the verge of surgery.

1. Sit much, much less.
2. Don't bend. Go down on one knee to pick up a toothbrush on the floor.
3. Go for several, short daily walks.
4. If you are working, take sick leave.
5. Wear a corset in the car and if standing for long.
6. Think about seeing a different chiropractor; a different technique might be more effective in your case.

Good luck, let me know.

Dr B

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Jan 16, 2015
Thank you
by: Pattie

I should have said that my Chiro is an excellent one. When I had first went to her I could not stand up straight and had a bad limp. She could barely touch me as I was in so much pain. Within a month she got me standing and i wasn't so sensitive to the touch; so she did help me. She has tried several diff approaches to help me. She even sent me to a pain management doc.

I did have an MRI on 1/13/15 and have to go back to the doc to discuss the results on 1/20/15. For 3 and a half mos now i have tried all the stretches, used a heating pad and sit on ice and take Advils. So what I am saying is with all I have done, it just won't go away.

And the answers to my questions? Enclose a copy of the MRI report please.

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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 have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is 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 is 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 pain-free. 

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 is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has 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 stroll 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; he has a short leg.

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. X-rays 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 few months 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 is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year 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 could not 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 should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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