pinched feeling in upper left buttock, large numb area over 3/4 of left thigh, stabbing, burning pain deep in left thigh

by Wendy
(Prince George, Canada)

Three weeks ago I went to my chiropractor after enduring 3 days of low back pain,brought on when working with firewood. I could not stand upright and walked with much difficulty. After 2 treatments the back pain subsided enough to determine a sore, "burning poker" spot on the left side, high up on hip. Leg was experiencing a spasoming, stabbing pain near outer hip/thigh when I moved my leg and continual numbness with burning in thigh. (I have had a numb patch there for several years but never any pain.)

I have not been able to lay in bed in any position comfortably for very long and have been confined to my recliner during the night. I need to use many pillows, a heating pad, cold magic bag, just to find a neutral enough position for the pain to subside so that I can get some sleep. My middle back region is also spasoming and I also get an acheyness in my neck, shoulders and right arm. I have difficulty reaching up over my head without getting that pinching, burning pain in the hip and pulling down my thigh.
I am getting a CT scan done as Xrays didn't show anything except spinal wear and tear and osteoarthritis setting in. I am 60 years old, female, and 100 lbs overweight. Mypain is about 50% less.
Do I have a pinched femoral cutaneous nerve, meralgia parenthes or maigne's syndrome or none of the above?
I'm still seeing the chiropractor and he's starting me on exercises soon and I will also be starting physio. I want to do exercises but I just can't tolerate lying on my back. Would it be advisable to do pelvic tilts leaning over stairs?

Hello Wendy,
Normal weight persons get this problem too, but it certainly will impede your progress. Not to mention the threat of stroke, diabetes... anyway, you know that, and didn't ask for a lecture from me!
I wouldn't do the pelvic tilts over a stair, but on your back would be fine, just do it within the painfree zone. Ask your chiropractor to talk you through it.
Go to this page and do the Slump Test: it helps to differentiate between the sciatic nerve and one of the high lumbar femoral nerves. Perhaps ask your chiropractor for help. Do it gently.

Do you have pain in the groin? If you press in the groin, is the naughty side significantly more tender than the other? This is where the Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve gets pinched: Meralgia Paresthetica.

Just to muddy the water, you can have both a low lumbar problem now causing the acute lower back pain, and a chronic high lumbar facet problem causing that LFCN numbness.

My best advice: go with the people you trust, and try to keep away from the man with the knife as long as possible. Explore EVERYTHING else first. And then start doing gentle lower back exercises EVERY hour, even more often, on your bed of woe. And get that weight off. It's a millstone around your neck and will make the rest of your life very miserable. It can be done. Start by cutting out the carbs: bread, pasta, potato, rice, but eat plenty of fruit and veg.

Good luck, let us know how you get on.

Dr B

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