Pain, tingling and burning lower legs, shin, calf, foot

by Ann Marie

I hurt my back twisting and lifting a bed. I got some massage and acupuncture and it resolved. A few months later I started to get tingling in both my legs so I went to a physio. After a couple of sessions of physio my left hip seemed to lock and made a loud noise whenever I walked. Waking up one morning I felt a very sharp pain on the outside of my hip, the hip was still locked, as I went to go to work I felt an extreme sharp pain in 3 places around the upper thigh (front, back and front to the middle), it lasted a few seconds and then I was left with the pain at the back of the leg, sciatica.

Back to the physio and I was referred for MRI. It showed a massive focal herniation at L4 L5 with the disc deviating to S1 nerve root and compressing the left root and touching the right. I saw a neuro surgeon who said there was no need for surgery.

Some physio sessions later and I felt good and back to normal but then I started to get tingling and pain in the groin in my yoga class. Over the next few days this progressed to sharp shooting pain in the genital area. I am now apx 18 months since the original injury and I now have some lower back pain, sharp and aching buttock pain, inner thigh pain, pain behind butt to the middle of the knee, calf pain, shin pain and pain into my foot and big toe. I am also getting pain in the genital area and my period pain was a lot worse than normal last time. I also get lower abdomen pain. I find that I get pain in the genital area and also inner lower leg when I cross my legs. Sitting in general makes things worse. Walking can improve things after a while, the first few minutes might be worse.

GP said my SLR test is good. I've been going to physio and osteopath. One said I need pelvic floor work, another said my sacrum destabilized.

I am starting to think that it is not all coming from my back and that there is something with my hip and pelvic floor. I am considering trying a chiropractor but a physio told me that with the injury in my back I should not have any manipulations done so this makes me nervous to try it. I would be grateful for any suggestions you have. Thanks.

Hello Ann Marie,
I too suspect there may be more than one condition here, so let's start with a few simple tests; please report what you feel as accurately as possible if you want a reliable answer from me.

(1)Sitting in a kitchen chair, flex your head forwards onto your chest, and then ask hubby to straighten first the good leg, and then the naughty one parallel to the ground.

Is one leg much tighter and even painful with the stretch; if not, ask him now to dorsiflex the toes and foot towards your head; is there now a difference in the leg compared to the other?

(2)Lying on your back, pull your knee to the chest, then towards the opposite shoulder, make a circle of the hip, and now drop your knee into the lotus position; is the other leg significantly different?

Are you doing lower back exercises at home every day? Yoga is great, but if you have a disc injury that hasn't healed, bending and twisting will only aggravate it.

Accurate and specific answers please.

Dr B

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