Is this my back

by anne
(United Kingdom)

Started with a little lumbago pain and intermittent numbness in toe and intermittent discomfort in same side of thigh after sitting for long time.
Then progressed to pins and needles and numbness spreading to foot intermittently all on side.

Mild pins and needles then started in other foot on occasions. Then pins and needles started in both hands at night with severe pain between shoulder blades during day which is intermittent but difficult to ease when starts.

Saw neurologist tests carried out nil diagnosed.

Sciatica and explanation for pins and needles in hands was some type nerve compression; he decided no further action was needed. Since then have developed numb bum on sitting; can't touch toes and bum is uncomfortable.

Recently when I sit and m goes numb feel like both feet are warm and a little red. Most of problem is down the right leg.

Am getting 2nd opinion in May but could this be back related? I work as a nurse and my back has had plenty of wear over the years. Can back problems present with pins and needles in hands and feet all bit it one side is the main problem, All bloods ie sugar vitamins etc are normal
I have under active thyroid for many years or
but otherwise no other problems.

Hello Anne,
Yes, this could be your back but obviously there are different areas that would be causing these symptoms. You don't give a time line but if they all started at the same time, then I'd be more concerned about a primarily neurological condition.

From a chiropractic standpoint everything would hang on the examination. Did movements of the lower back provoke the symptoms in the leg? Are there spinal and or sacroiliac joint fixations? Is the slump test positive? Are there objective sensory and reflex changes in the affected limb?

In regards the symptoms in your arm and upper back, do movements of the neck provoke the pain? Is the Upper Limb Tension Test positive and which fingers are affected?

As you can see it's complex. I would recommend a consultation with an experienced and conscientious chiropractor who would examine you carefully and not just adjust your neck and back. Take the results of any tests you've had with you.

Let us know what comes of it?

Dr B

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Apr 07, 2014
Is this my back
by: Anne

I have similar symptoms as you and also work as a nurse. Pain in top of spine radiating over shoulder blades which was present for a number of months and not fully relieved by paracetamol and brufen or voltoral.

This subsided and then initially experienced mild intermittent pins and needles in right hand when driving or using mobile phone followed by numbness and pins and needles in right toe which progressed to foot and burning down leg with mild lumbago.

Then started to experience mild pins and needles in LEFT foot and hand and then numbness in 4th and 5th fingers on both hands with intermittent pain returning in upper spine and shoulder blades. Saw neurologist who diagnosed sciatica and related hand symptoms to nerve pressure in spine after conduction nerve conduction tests and discharged me. Since then have a numb bottom when sitting, symptoms are progressively worsening with pins and needles in hands overnight, pins and needles and numbness in feet predominately still right side when crossing legs or driving and some numbness in hands and pain in upper spine is worsening.

I have also recently started experiencing mild burning in feet and lower legs occasionally. I am really fed up and anxious with this situation and have asked for a second opinion which is 6 weeks away. I would visit a chiropractor if I had a definite diagnosis.

Two things strike me about both of you. You were quite happy to take medication without a definite diagnosis. So why the hesitation to consult a chiropractor?

You have far too ready access to powerful medication. Remember 200,000 deaths per year happen in the USA from the iatrogenic effects of medication.

And secondly, just as you can consult a surgeon for an examination and opinion, but go no further with treatment, so you can consult a chiropractor just for an examination, but no treatment.

You both have symptoms bilaterally, and there I would be concerned that this may in fact not be a "chiropractic condition". Nevertheless, clearly medicine is at its wit's end in both your cases. It's time for a change.

For a condition to be called a sciatica you must have a positive Slump Test and or a postive Lasegues straight leg raise. You can do both these tests at home.

In my opinion a chiropractic examination is in order, and in neither of your cases would I be bold enough to suggest an opinion. There just isn't enough information here to make even a tentative diagnosis.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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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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