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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