Low back pain/ numbness in right hip, bum and right big toe

by Porter

The great toe is controlled mainly by L5 nerve root; L4 is a possibility too.

The great toe is controlled mainly by L5 nerve root; L4 is a possibility too.

Low back pain/ numbness in right hip, bum and right big toe sounds like a classic L5 nerve root sciatica.

I hurt my low back about 2 months ago now from lifting a heavy bag (25lbs) soiled linen. When I bent back up and twisted that's when I felt it. Went to ER and they gave me Baclofen and put me off 3 days. I've been working ever since but not performing heavy linen runs. Since then the pain has come and gone, often flared up from bending, or twisting, or sitting too long. The pain isn't always in the same exact spot. Still always the right side but some times it's a little lower, some times it's in my butt too.

Yesterday I did linen again and about 45 minutes in I bent up with a bag and instantly throbbing or maybe stabbing pain in my lower back. I iced it. Rested for maybe 20 minutes or so then I did some light duties, iced it, and then it was paining in my right bum and down my leg. It hurt to walk. I took a couple T3's and the low back pain went away but my hip bothered me something terrible and again this morning my hip is burning and my right bum cheek is numb.

Any ideas what's going on? I can't get into my doctor until the end of the month. The only diagnostic test done so far was an X-ray to check for arthritis in one joint. I've been going to physio. I find heat and tiger balm some times takes the edge off for a brief minute. I feel like I'm going crazy because I don't know what it is.

The ER doctor said it was probably a lumbar strain. Physio thinks it's psychosomatic and was a strain too but physiologically it should be healed. Some days I feel great, other days there is a dullness but irritating pain there, other times it's bad after a certain activity. I find too it's often a culmative thing where I can do something for so long then all of a sudden I'm in a flare up.

Hello Porter,
Yours is an all too familiar tale, I'm afraid. It's why for example in Japan, 62% of the whole work-related disease and injury is due to LBP.

It's an ominous sign that the pain started only in the lower back (grade 1) and has now progressed down the leg to your great toe; that's the L5 dermatome. Soon now you may not be able to lift your toe off the ground, or with difficulty.

It all goes back to a wrong diagnosis (a strain would not likely cause pain radiating down to the foot), to the cop out that it's all in your head, and to thinking this is an inflammation and should be treated with anti inflammatories and it should be healed in three days. It would be like treating a fracture with NSAIDs.

Whilst I have not and cannot examine you, and so it would be presumptuous to make a diagnosis, there is clearly something far more serious at work. I would start by insisting on an MRI.

Sit in a kitchen chair; flex your head slowly onto your chest; ask a friend to raise first the left leg parallel to the ground, and then the naughty leg. What's the difference? This is called the Slump Test for Sciatica.

Has anyone taken the medial hamstring reflex; it's behind the knee? Did anyone check if you could raise your big toe, and raise your heel off the ground?

Start now by doing our gentle lower back exercises EVERY morning before getting out of bed; they take less than two minutes; you really need direction to make sure you are doing them properly; it shouldn't hurt. You'll find them using the Site Search function at Chiropractic Help.

And then you have to make a decision; are you satisfied with Medicine's handling of your back, or are you going to see a chiropractor? See if you can get an MRI first. Don't be bullied into an operation.

Good luck.

Dr B

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Sep 07, 2017
by: Porter

Thank you for your response! The doctor is sending me for an X-ray of my lumbar spine but I'm told that won't show much of anything. They continued to push me to do as much as possible and be as active as possible. So I've been working and walking the dog for an hour afterwards. I average 16,000-26,000 steps a day. I'm normally very active but I am exhausted. Every day my hip burns after I take so many steps. And then at that point I feel my hip every step I take and some times find myself limping. I don't know what to do. I'm frustrated with the terrible healthcare we have.

Thank you for listening and helping. Do you thing I have a new issue or is this relate. It burns and pains in my bum and outside hip and deep in he hip. It's not a severe pain it's a burning deep that is irritating and depressing and tiring. And it prevents me from walking normally.

Hello Porter,
Please re read my first post, and answer my questions. Have you started the exercises?

It's true, the x-rays may show nothing; they won't show anything early in a disc injury. You need an MRI.

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 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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