Severe lower back pain and numbness in one toe

by jennifer
(st. ignace, MI)

Does raising the leg cause pain? Where, be precise?

Does raising the leg cause pain? Where, be precise?

Recently I injured my back by simply trying to pick something up off of the floor. When I bent over I felt a pop and could not stand straight up due to severe pain. I am the type that waits a few days (5 to be exact) to go to my doctor. She suggested x-rays and an MRI. The x-rays were taken today and she called to tell me that there is no significant changes in the dysplasia in my back (I'm not sure what that means).

My question is, if the x-ray shows nothing significant should I just go with the pain and not bother with the MRI?

Hello Jennifer,
I'm not sure what dysplasia in your back means either; it's normally a term applied to the hip. But no significant change to presumably previous x-rays is what is important.

Is your toe actually numb, or does it just feel that way. Ask hubby to prick both with a needle; is there a significant difference?

Which toe, by the way? That gives important information as to the location of the injury. Do you have any slipped disc symptoms? Does bearing down on the toilet or sneezing hurt for example?

Sitting in a normal kitchen chair, ask hubby to slowly raise your good leg parallel to the ground. Remember what you feel. Now drop that one, and raise the naughty leg; what happens now? Tell me as precisely as you can.

Is your overall condition improving? Can you turn better in bed, dress more easily and is the numbness in your foot abating?

Answers to all these questions help to make the decision whether to go for the MRI; it's always useful but very expensive.

Waiting a few days is often not a bad thing, but if you had pain in the chest on the left side, sweating and tingling down your arm, would you delaying going to the doctor? Of course not. You probably have a slipped disc and the sooner it's reduced, we think with chiropractic manipulation, the less likely you are to end up with a difficult outcome.

Meantime, use ice for pain control, don't bend and sit much less, or not at all; do the gentle slipped disc exercises you'll find in the navigation bar at chiropractic help every hour.

I hope all this contributes.

Dr B



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Jan 12, 2017
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Reply to Doc
by: Jennifer

Thank you so much for replying to my question. It is my middle toe on my left foot. I cannot feel anything pricking it when my husband sticks the needle into it. As for sitting in a chair and raising my leg, I am not able to sit on any hard surfaces because the pain is so excruciating. I endure a tremendous amount of pain when I sit on the toilet without bearing down at all. I can't turn in bed.

I am also experiencing some weakness in my left leg. I'm just all around uncomfortable and full of pain. My physician did give me some pain medication and muscle relaxers but they are not helping in the least. I'm hoping that it is nothing serious.

I think you know this is serious, Jennifer, so acknowledge it. Having had previous x-rays I'm assuming this is a further development of what started some time back.

The progression to the leg with numbness and weakness is known as 'hard neurological signs'. It is seriously, so follow our slipped disc rules carefully; in particularly don't sit; it's very painful in any case.

Weakness more usually affects either the ability to raise the heel, or stand on your toes, raise your big toe, or the knee starts to give on the stairs and when walking. Which is it? Did you doctor test your reflexes or just give you analgesics; as you say they don't usually touch this kind of pain.

The numbness in the middle toe is rather unusual; more usually it either affects the big toe area, or the little toe and side of the foot.

Watch out for loss of bladder control; a very serious but rare sign.

All in all, it's over a week now I suspect; I think that MRI would be in order.

Dr B

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