Loss of function in left leg, so much that it gives way with no warning.

MRI shows herniated L4/5 disc and osteophyte trapping nerve. Pain in back buttocks and thighs mostly gone, but left leg is weak and will not support weight, cannot climb stairs, and descending causes my leg to give way and I fall down stairs. I have been told that injections will not help and that delay in treatment will result in permanent nerve damage. Can chiropractor help?

You're between a rock and a hard place. The answer is a guarded yes, but you will have to be very patient, and work hard with your chiropractor, and not expect miracles. It will take hard work on his/her part.

It depends on how much you want to avoid surgery. The upside of surgery is that the pressure on the nerve would be reduced quickly, but depending on the size of that osteophyte there are immediate risks in the surgery. The surgeon will be using his chisel in the immediate proximity of the nerve root.

And in the long term, fibrosis often sets in, and that is very difficult to manage, leading to a chronic sciatica or femoral nerve lesion.

We call these "hard neurologic" signs. In my first ten years in practice I wouldn't have touched a case like yours. I would only consult a chiropractor with a lot of experience, who is careful and thorough. Do your homework before choosing someone.

And accept that back exercises are your lot for the rest of your life, EVERY morning before getting out of bed. There are some exercises at Chiropractic Help, but I'd get the support of your chiro to learn and do them properly. And in choosing the appropriate exercises for your condition.

I'm leaning towards the surgery. Likewise, do your homework before choosing a surgeon, it's certainly not straightforward.

How much do you want to avoid the knife?

I hope this has contributed. And, and make sure you are not diabetic - it also goes for the quadriceps muscle.

Dr B

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