Mid and lower back stiffness with aching legs

by Tammy
(Blmgton, IN, USA)

Hi doctor, I just found your site typing in my ailment; most informative site ever!

I'm 53 and have had herniated discs in the past causing year long pain before, but this new pain is very different and affecting my life TREMENDOUSLY.

Here's the rundown; I feel pressure in the middle of my spine occasionally and then the lower mid back at times.
Both thighs ache horribly, legs feel stiff and sometimes I will get an added, random shooting pain down the outside of both thighs. I also have pressure, burning and tingling in lower back at times between hips.

My lower ribs are tender to touch as well as the outside of hips bones.

My left knee feels like it wants to give out, sometimes, and is very painful into the knee joint as well as my muscles in my thighs/calves.

My entire legs will twitch all over for entire days. (My arms and back will sometimes twitch, as well.)

I've been miserable everyday for four months now and my son's wedding is soon. I recently came off an immune suppressing drug, so at first I thought it might be related; hence, the waiting of four months. However, I now feel my back is the culprit. :( Any advice would be so helpful!

God Bless! Tammy
PS My hamstrings are very tight, and I'm trying to stretch the way I was taught from past chiropractic treatment.

Hello Tammy,
This is complex, and there may be different things going on; what's needed is a careful and thorough examination; in fact I'd ask for one from a neurologist too. That tingling and twitching in arms and legs invites questions.

What were you taking immune depressant drugs for? That could certainly be at the root of your problems and explain why they are so widespread. Look up the side effects and Drugs.com. Tingling in the limbs is one of them.

Lower back pain may radiate up into the midback, and down the legs; you seem to have both. Then in the thoracic spine it may travel along the ribs, under your armpits and towards the breastbone. I suspect this is what you're getting.

Ask your chiropractor or doctor about the knee reflex; a pinched femoral nerve causes quadriceps muscle weakness.

Ask too if it could be radiating from your hip; pull your hip to the chest, then to the opposite shoulder and then drop it into the lotus position. Do any of these cause groin pain, or on the side of the upper leg?

These are all conditions that your chiropractor will look for and consider, but it may be complicated by the condition needing that medication, or a side effect of the meds.

Are you doing any lower back exercises? Every morning before getting out of bed is a good place to start. They only take a couple minutes.

I wish I could be more helpful, Tammy, but in the absence of a thorough examination, there are so many possibilities.


Dr B

» Mid and lower back stiffness with aching legs

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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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