Pain in my lower back radiating down the right buttock and leg.

by Sandra
(Christchurch New Zealand)

I am a 55 year old female in pretty good health.I have had this pain for two and a half years now with little or no help from twenty three different doctors/ specialists.

I injured my back and knee while doing step exercise in 2008. Slowly my right leg started to feel cold and this changed to lots of awful sensations over the two and a half years. I have: pain, cold, over sensitivity, and prickly sensations.

Some days are bearable and others I just lay down with a heat or cold pack to help with the pain (depends on the weather. Cold on a hot day and heat on a cold day.) I cannot sit for any length of time but can sleep well because I am straight. Bending or sitting can be very painful.

I have just found a doctor who has diagnosed this as regional neuropathic pain of the cluneal and posterior femoral nerves. He has started injecting these areas with glucose injections. The relief is fantastic but however it does not last. I still have lots more appointments to go to apparently my good days will get more and slowly my bad days will get less until the condition disappears.

I have been told I can exercise again but on pushing myself I am now feeling worse with the area around my lower back just at the top of my bottom area giving me some really sharp pain.
This has been very expensive and because I cannot sit I cannot work. Life is becoming a chore.
My questions are:
1) should I be exercising?
2) Am I on the right track to a cure?
3) Can it be cured?
4) will I re-injury myself if I do exercise?
Thank you

Hello Sandra
Before I can give an answer, I need some information:
* Where precisely in your leg do you get these pains?
* If you bend forwards and backwards, do you get pain in the back, leg, where in the leg? Which is worse, forwards or backwards bending?
* Have you had X-rays taken? Could you email me digital copies?
* Do you have pain in the groin? Run your thumb down your inner thigh. Does it hurt?
* Rub your hand gently down the outer side of your thigh, and compare with the other leg. Difference? Prick with a pin. The same?
* Can you stand on the naughty leg: can you bend at the knee without a feeling it's going to give? Raise your big toe? Stand on your toes?
* Go to and in the Search this site function type Slump Test. Do the test and give me the result.
* Was one of these doctors you've consulted a chiropractor? No response to treatment?
* What's your gut feel: is the problem right at the base of your spine, or high in the lumbar spine?
* Are there no changes in sensory function, reflex and muscle power in the leg?

Quite a bit for you to think about, but yours is obviously a difficult case, and I don't want to give a superficial or misleading answer. Please be specific in your replies to ALL of these questions.

Look carefully and thoroughly at this page:

And yes, I would certainly recommend exercises, but vital they are the RIGHT exercises.

Dr. Barrie Lewis

> > Pain in my lower back radiating down the right buttock and leg

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Nov 12, 2011
Exercises and Prolotherapy help
by: Sandra Pilet

Hi, After 3 years of pain after injuring my sciatic nerve I have some hope of pain relief from my prolotherapy injections (glucose injected into the nerve areas)using the McKenzie Method (back exercises) and an osteopath's treatment. I'm still in pain but I am having some good days with very little pain more often.

Sep 13, 2011
Answers to your questions
by: Sandra Pilet

1)Pains are:
Lower back( just above the buttock cheek area)
Around the side on the hip.
Down the back of my leg to just above the knee.
Down the side of my leg to the knee.
Sometimes all the way down to my foot along the outer side.
The odd time I get a niggle in the groin area.
On a good day just the top of the knee and on a bad day all of the above.
2)Bending backwards and forwards?
For both movements not much pain but burning sensation begins after moving in places described above.
3)Yes I have x-rays but don't have these:
x-ray of back-results all good
x-ray of hips- all good no arthritis
MRI of back- all good
Scan of buttock area for burstitis- all good
4)Pain in groin? The odd time not much.
Run thumb down? Hurts a little only.
5)Hand on side of leg? Bad leg sore/ over sensitive.Pin prick? Not as sharp as good leg.
6) Bend knee? Leg is slightly weaker. I can lift toe okay and stand on toes okay.
7)Slump 1: No pain but burning sensation down side of leg and back of thigh.
Slump 2:Same but sensation is wider spread.
Slump 3:Same but more intense.
Slump 4: Same and Slump 5: sensation is worse.
8)I have seen a chiropractor more than 10 times with no help.
9)My gut feeling is at the base of my back to the right side just above my buttocks.
10)The odd time my leg feels weak but still works like normal.

Dr. Barrie Lewis Dr. Barrie Lewis

Hello Sandra,
Firstly a big thank you for contacting Rev C. We've been in contact.

It seems that you are doing the right things, go on with them, don't change! Stick with the osteopath who is helping you. Do your the exercises faithfully.

Digest this page carefully:

It's looking like a double nerve-root problem, one in the lower back, hence the very positive Slump test. But also a higher nerve.. your osteopath is clearly helping! Send me a card and bottle of red wine!


Take your camera with you, and take digi photos of the X-rays on the viewbox with flash off.

Ask about a short leg, often the underlying cause of double nerve root problems.

Dr. Barrie Lewis

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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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