Pain predominantly in back of right leg

by Dorothy Stewart
(Lockerbie Scotland )

Normally fully active doing walking and jogging yoga etc aged 77. About two months ago pain in back of right leg below the buttock and struggling to find improvement. No back pain but an X-ray suggested I had a degree of wear and tear !

When I get up in the morning I have no pain for about ten minutes and then it starts to radiate down my right leg and sometimes my left as well. Trying to keep up with yoga but lifting arms above my head and bending backwards gives me pain in my lower back.
Full range of mobility in my hips and no hip joint pain.
I have been using a tens machine for a few days with electrodes on my lower back. This provides pain relief while switched on but pain returns when it’s off.
Have watched your videos with the back pain exercises and will get started on those.
Are you able to pinpoint the likely root of this problem and have you recommendations for ongoing treatment ?
Many thanks
Dorothy Stewart

Dear Mrs Stewart,
I'm terribly sorry to have missed this, and I hope it's resolving by now.

The back of the leg points to what is known as the S1 dermatome, it comes from the lowermost disc in your back probably. And normal at your age to have some degree of wear and tear as you say.

The big sign is that you get pain on bending backwards; usually that means that the wear and tear they are talking about concerns at least in part the facet joints. When you extend your spine it closes down the foramen where the nerve emerges.

Does (or did) bending backwards give you just back pain, or did it also go down the leg?

A key test is, sitting on a kitchen chair, does straightening your right knee, making the leg parallel to the ground feel very much tighter, even painful, compared to the leg leg?

Yes, exercises, gently done will most likely help, and hopefully have helped.

This is a condition we treat all the time; if you are still in pain, see one of your local chiropractors.

Again, my sincere apologies for the long delay.

Dr B

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Jul 27, 2021
Update on leg pain !
by: Anonymous

Hi there Dr B, thank you for your answer I thought my message had got lost in the ether !!
I am still having a problem but am much improved. I have started to attend a local osteopath. She diagnosed a compacted SI joint and compounded by generalised pelvic inflammation. Probably due to working during the winter on a treadmill doing jogging not content with just walking.
I am better and can now walk reasonable distances again. Still have burning pain at the base of both buttocks. Pain doesn't go lower down my leg now which is good. Latest advice from osteopath is to work on various stretching exercises and also stretch my thoracic spine. Seems that this will take a long time to heal and my winter cardio this year will probably be on a low impact rowing machine !!

Great news that things are improving. Remember the purpose of gym is to improve your health, not threaten it with injuries. The Olympics are over! Take it gently.

And there's no substitute for daily exercises at home.

Wonderful you found someone you click with. Send her a bottle of red wine!

Dr B

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