Pain in upper thigh and outer calf/shin

by Pamela
(Washington, USA)

Slump test for sciatica

Slump test for sciatica

I started having leg pain that caused me to buckle over...it was a weakness/shooting pain in front inner thigh. It was on and off over a couple of months. One week, the pain was annoyingly present each day/night. Took Motrin to relieve to no avail. On the 5th day I was watering the yard and my back went out. Low back pain causing buckling over and hardly able to move. Iced my back and used more Motrin while lying down for a few days. Visited the dr, who suggested it was sciatic and low back issue. Received prescription pain meds and an order for physical therapy.

First pt appt was about 11 days after initial back incident. Slow moving and pt said hips were out of alignment. Adjusted, gave exercises, and massage. After approximately 7 of these appointments, back does not hurt, but some lower leg numbness is present and pain in thigh has come back (it had decreased during back incident and has remained present, but now increased to the level just before the back incident).

I have not had an X-ray, and am unsure who to see. Someone recommended a back specialist. The pt seems to be guessing, the dr seems to be guessing, and I am frustrated and agitated because I have never had chronic pain and cannot seem to get to the root cause.

Hello Pamela,
Yes, it is frustrating, and now you have to stop, otherwise you going to end up under the knife.

Everyone has different guidelines, but one of mine is always take an xray if there is leg pain; that is especially true now the leg pain has returned.

There are some unusual features. The outer calf definitely suggests the sciatic nerve, but the inner thigh the femoral. Occasionally one can have two different lesions. Because of this I would push for an MRI at the same time.

Everything is dependent on the examination. Are there sensory changes and if so, which dermatome. Are the reflexes intact and is there any paresis? Can you raise your big toe, raise your heel and bounce on the knee? Is the sciatic stretch test positive, or the femoral stretch? Where is the tenderness? At which level in the lumbar spine, and which joint feels fixated.

These are questions you can't answer, but your doctor should be able to, or is he just giving you painkillers? If you broke your arm, Motrin wouldn't be the treatment of choice; well he did send you to the PT.

For me gut feel is important; if you really feel that your doctor and FT are at sea, then perhaps it's time for another opinion.

Are you doing the exercises faithfully? Perhaps using the search function, follow our slipped disc rules.

I hope this contributes; let me know how you get on.

Dr b



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