Numbness and weakness in feet and legs

by Valarie
(Timber, OR USA)

Numbness and weakness in feet and legs

For about 6 months when I wake up I feel pinched in lower left back - right above the buttocks. It loosens up within a half hour and I'm fine until the next morning.

25 days ago I picked up something heavy and it pinched bad - had pain for 4 days and then just back to the morning pain.

Then about 10 days ago after carrying a light 35lb box upstairs and setting it down I had the same pinching feeling. The pain grew and grew and within 1 hour I couldn't tolerate it. I tried every position possible.

I was also having numbness especially in my left calf and toes. I went to the ER - they gave me strong pain killers and still had no pain relief - went home and was back in 2hours for a shot of dilaudid and more pain killers. I passed out at home for the next 2 days and then the pain was better.

Now I have pain intermittently - some days better than others, but I am extremely concerned about the numbness and weakness in my leg and feet. It is slightly numb in the back of the thigh, bad in the left side of calf and foot feels very numb in all toes, but especially the big toe.

I have strength when doing the lift up on the big toe but can not stand on my toes on that leg. I am very worried. The numbness has not gotten better once during this whole time - but as I said, the back pain has.

I have seen a chiropractor once and used an inversion table once. Please help.

Hello Valarie,
It's water under the bridge, so no point stressing over it, but your back has been warning you this has been in the pipeline unless you make some changes.

You're right, it is of concern, serious concern, and the fact that the pain in the back has lessened, but the leg not, may make you feel better, but it is in fact not a good sign. A lumbar disc protrusion /prolapse means increasing leg pain, numbness and weakness and lessening back pain.

Particularly seeing you can't lift your heel, we call that paresis of the gastrocnemius muscle, the S1 nerve root.

You have a big decision to make. You can't leave this, so what are you going to do? The medical route will probably mean surgery, or the chiropractic route.

Surgery will fairly quick relief of symptoms, but it's a risky, expensive business. You've probably heard of FBS. Failed Back Surgery.

The chiropractic route will be arduous. That prolapsed disc has to be reduced and you have to be very strict with regard sitting, bending, sneezing, exercises and modified massaging bed rest

I would follow these slipped disc rules to the letter if you want to escape surgery.

An MRI scan would be very useful to rule out a "sequestered disc" in which case the chiropractic option only helps sometimes, and great skill is needed on the part of the chiropractor.

I would talk to various people. Family, friends, your GP, your local chiropractor and then make your decision. Either way it's going to be difficult. Minimum six weeks at home. No sitting! Ice, exercise, treatment...

Lower back exercises ... choose the disc option.

Good luck, let us know in a month how you get on. Don't leave it. You must do something.

Dr B

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