Severe leg pain attacks causing shock.

by Blaze
(Kearneysville, WV)

My work occupation was a railroad conductor for 36 year. I retired at age 58 on disability due to arthritis in my knees. I am now 62 years old. My problem first started about 10 years ago due to a unreported work related back injury. My orthopedic specialist never treated my back, instead he concentrated on my knees and convinced me that is where all the pain was originating from. He diagnosed me with arthritis. I was treated for about three years and had injections in my knees to keep me working.

During that 3 years I had what I refer to as severe leg attacks. They would happen about 2 hours after I went to bed and I would wake up in excruciating pain. Both my legs would lock up and it felt like my quads were being ripped apart. The pain was so severe that I could not get out of bed or to my feet. My legs would lock up for 3 to 4 mins., sweat would pour out of my body like I was going into shock. Warm baths and Orphenadrine Citrat (100) mg. helped. I got to where I was afraid to go to sleep. I never had an attack when I was awake and moving.

Over the past 10 years I average 2 to 3 attacks per year. I have had doctors tell me it was due to severe dehydration and muscle cramps and arthritis. My MRI reviled a bulge in the L4 and L5 disc. For the past 10 years my right foot always feels like I have a cotton ball stuffed under my three toes to the right of my big toe. My left foot is fine. There is no swelling in either foot.

These attacks always effect both legs at the same time and never just one. Now I always sleep with a pillow between my knees. My most recent attack was last month, the first one in almost a year in a half. This time I fell a sleep on the couch, got up and walked across my living room, felt dizzy and lost my balance. My legs locked up for almost 15 mins. Shocked for about 6 mins. The pain was coming from the groin area down to inside of my leg to my knees. My quads were not a big factor this time but you could have played a tune on my leg tendons. I am thinking somehow my femoral nerve is being compressed. Do you have any advice or experience with these symptoms I have described. I can tell you for certain that it is not from being dehydrated.

Hello Blaze,
This is indeed mysterious; my thoughts too went initially to a mineral deficiency caused by excessive sweating in summer; does it only happen in hot weather? Lucky it's only a few times a year.

The L4/L5 disc would not affect the toes on the outside of the foot, nor likely to affect the femoral nerve.

Do you know if the reflexes are normal?

Does pulling your knee to the chest cause groin pain?

I take it you have no lower back pain.

I'm afraid I don't have much else to offer; back exercises before going to sleep at night, perhaps.

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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