Right calf swelling and left inner thigh pain

by Louis
( Perth Western Australia)

I have a degenerated lower back L1-L5 region where just from my X-rays clearly show that over time there is less cushioning between disks as I have been waking up with sore legs.

First started with the right calf swelling and in lots of pain.

Secondly now the left leg is suffering but from the inner upper portion of the leg right near the knee cap, it hurts less if I straighten the leg out but if I try to bend the leg anywhere up towards the 90% mark it hurts like hell and is very tender to touch around the knee cap area.

Treatment I have had in the past was 1 epidural injection. 2 steroid injections, physio at least 10 times and countless ciropractic treatments.

It just seems a little strange that the right calf had improved and the swelling around the calf area had reduced to nearly normal capacity but now the left leg is suffering, I have lost a lot of weight do to drugs I am taking such as GABAPENTIN, PANADEINE FORTE AND DRINKING BEER to block the pain for I simply cannot sleep at night.

It is a nightmare that will not go away and even though I have a pretty good tolerance to pain
I somehow still managed to get through the day without killing myself as I know there is light at the end of the tunnel I hope; do you think it may help using a more posturpeadic bed as the bed I use is somewhat collapsed a little towards the centre or is it just too far gone for any help.

Hello Louis,
There are two things that make me think this may have nothing to do with your back.

1. No back condition is going to make the right calf swell.

2. You make no mention of lower back pain.

Can you reproduce the pain in your legs by bending and twisting your back? Does it cause back pain?

Type Slump Test into the Search function at C-H. Do the test and let me know what happens. It's a test for the sciatic nerve.

The test for the Femoral nerve is more difficult; that's what would affect your inner thigh around the knee area. Your chiropractor would have done the femoral nerve stretch test. Ask him what the result was.

If you prick your legs with a pin, are there differences? At C-H you'll also find some tests for the muscles that often become weak associated with a pinched nerve. Look at Femoral nerve. Were there any changes in the reflexes?

When you haven't responded to medical, physio and chiro treatment, I'm assuming that they all might be missing something. Could it be a knee problem? Hip pain may radiate to the knee too. Is your hip stiff?

Do you know if anyone looked for Homan's sign in your swollen calf? A deep vein thrombosis is the usual cause, and is particularly serious.

Frankly, I'm not sure, but something doesn't fit. Perhaps a fourth opinion! I expect you've seen the cartoon where four doctors are standing around a bed, deep in thought. One raises his head and says: Well at least we've narrowed it down to one of four things.

Sorry to stir the pot rather than offer solutions. What I think is really positive is that you are thinking yourself and looking for other solutions.

An epidural can cause arachnoiditis too. Time for an MRI if you haven't already had one.

Dr B.

PS. Let me know what comes of all this.

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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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