Left side pain starting from middle of back that radiates down to my big toes. Numbness from knee down.

by Joanna
(HDG, MD)

I am 27, and was an active, on the go kind of person until I had my daughter in October 2011, and my back was never the same. I ended up having surgery in July of 2013 for a L5-S1 fusion. Then I had left side pain that continued and worsened.

So I had another surgery in November 2013 for bolts and screws and rods.

After awaking from surgery, I had extreme left side pain. They found that one of the screws was slightly touching my spinal canal. They went back in and screwed the screw back properly.

I still have left side pain and it has gotten worse as time has went on. My femoral nerve is very painful and swollen. My left side is so tense and sensitive. I can not perform any activities without being down for several days following, even simple activities such as vacuuming.

MRI's and CAT scans have shown SI joint deterioration, and unremarkable fusion hardware. EMG study shows L5 nerve damage. Pain medicine helps a little bit but I continue to be in such extreme pain all the time.

Please help if you have any advice or things I could do to make things better. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Your desperate writer

Hello Joanna,
A sad tale, FBS or Failed Back Surgery is a recognised diagnosis.

What can I suggest? A few thoughts.

1. Accept that the days of vacuuming and perhaps sweeping are over. Your daughter too, I'm afraid.

2. At Chiropractic Help, in the menu bar, you'll find a page leading you to some YouTube basic back exercises. You WILL do them every day, before getting out of bed, for the rest of your days. In fact, I'd do them several times a day. They take only one minute. Because of the severity of your case, it might be an idea to get professional help as which are the best exercises for your. There's not thing such as one size fits all.

Then there are more advanced exercises that you would need to try, slowly and carefully, in about a month's time.

3. Get into the habit of going down on one knee when you need to pick things off the floor. Bend much less.

4. Choose your chairs carefully. Listen to your back. Perch or lie down instead of sitting when you can. For example when watching TV.

5. Get someone to evaluate whether you have a short leg. Even a small lift in your shoe of a couple millimetres can make a big difference.

6. Now for the difficult part. Is there a place for chiropractic treatment for a back like yours. The answer is yes, but you need to find the right person. Someone gentle and unrushed. The activator technique might be the best.

Good luck, Joanna, say your prayers, things can be done. I'm right now treating an older woman who was where you are until four months ago. Astonishing improvement despite all those screws and plates.

Be careful. Avoid falls, and obviously no heavy lifting, difficult when you have a small child.

Let us know in a couple months how you get on.

Dr B

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