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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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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