pain in lumbar spine, sciatica in left leg and throbbing in right leg with pins and needles in right foot

by amanda matthews

I had surgery three years ago to remove a spinal cyst and underwent subsequent lumbar laminectomy at level 2/3.

I was doing well for 18 months and then over time the pain returned and became worse. I currently suffer severe back pain and sciatica which is worse in the mornings and relieved by two tramodol and one co-codomol(which gets me into work and through the day)

Six months ago I was diagnosed with disc bulging in lumbar 4/5 and encouraged to strengthen my core stability.

I have tried to do this but haven't really kept it up.

I work as an Occupational Therapist and my day involves community based work ie home visits and periods of up to 2 hours on the computor. I occasionally cover traige duties and sit at a computor throughout the day.

For the past week I have been experiencing pins and needles in my right foot coupled with a cramp like throbbing pain which makes me feel occassionally sick.

The symptoms I currently experience are all made worse after periods of inactivity ie sitting in excess of 45 minutes or first thing in the morning however they are aggravated by walking or prolonged standing. I used to take my border collie on three hour wallks, now I am lucky if I manage 45 minutes.
Why has my Gp not mentioned Chiropractic intervention and do you think it would help.

Hello Amanda,
There's nothing simple about your tale of woe, I'm afraid. When you have symptoms in both legs, it's going to be complicated.

1. Accept that you are going to do back exercises EVERY morning for the rest of your life BEFORE you get out of bed. You give your teeth that amount of attention, why not your back?

At Chiropractic-Help you'll find some lumbar exercises. Start slowly, listen to your body and forget the core stuff for a bit until you're feeling a little better. Do the gentle stuff. Faithfully.

We Dutch have a nasty little saying: Those who not hear, must feel. Comprehendo? Every morning for the rest of your days. They take less than two minutes.

2. It's not coincidence that you have more problems when you sit. Lots of research confirming that sitting is the greatest enemy of the lower back. So sit less, especially when you don't have to sit. Don't sit and watch TV for example. Get on the carpet and do the exercises whilst you down there.

3. The fact that standing and walking cause pain suggest you may have a short leg. Ask someone to stand behind you, place their hands on your hips and compare. And insert in the shoe may help. See our Leg length inequality page. AGain, Sitesearch.

4. Don't bend. If you have to pick your shoe up, go down on ONE knee. One is usually better than the other.

5. Avoid the vacuum cleaner and broom, and absolutely no moving furniture or silly buggers. Be sensible.

6. Try and walk even if it's difficult. Hopefully an insert in the shoe may help. Regularly. If the dog tugs, and wants to chase cats, leave him at home.

Do all of that religiously, with great fervour, for a month or so, and see what happens. If there's zero progress, gather your scans, and start hunting for an experienced conscientious chiropractor. Be patient, Rome wasn't built in a day. Let us know you get on in a month or two.

I hope this has contributed.

Dr B

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