Severe lower back pain with Sciatica going down right leg

by Kim
(Vermilion, Ohio)


I am a 54 year old female with lower back issues. My current problem first started with lower back pain that was generalized to the middle first, then within 3 days seemed more left centered with left hip pain, then it worsened over one day and moved to the right side with pain shooting down the outside buttocks, down through the middle to outer hamstring and calf muscle, and into the outside right foot including outside 3 toes. The pain also includes numbness, weakness, tingling, twitching, spasming and cramping of the gluteus maximus, hamstring and calf muscles of my right leg.

I have had 3 previous episodes of lower back pain with minor sciatic pain high up on right side that started five years ago and was successfully treated with Chiropractic care and back exercises.

I am planning on going back to a chiropractor, but I'm not sure if my old doctor is still around and some family members have cautioned me that when severe sciatic nerve issues are present that chiropractic care can be dangerous and they believe I should consult with an Orthopedic Spine Specialist now; any thoughts?

Thank you for your time.

Hello Kim,
Yes, chiropractic care can be dangerous if applied indiscriminately, but not nearly as dangerous as surgery applied badly. Do yourself a favour and look up your old chiropractor. If he or she treated you well before, they probably will again.

It is scary to have this kind of pain, but be assured, this too will pass given time and patience, and the right kind of treatment.

Do you go into an antalgic posture, what I call the sign of Pisa? Then I strong recommend you follow our slipped disc rules. In short, take it seriously, because it is serious. Go to bed, exercise gently, use ice for pain control, sit less and see your old chiropractor. If he has retired, it's important to look for someone who is thorough and will apply his mind to your problem.

What you describe is a fairly typical S1 sciatic neuralgia. You probably have a slipped disc at the lowest level in your back; a scan would be useful to confirm the diagnosis, but won't affect the treatment.

I hope it goes well for you, Kim. You have the sort of problem that I deal with on a daily basis. It usually responds well to chiropractic, but you will have to be careful at home, exercise gently and use your common sense. You really should be at home at this time, taking regular bed rest, not using the vacuum cleaner and sitting less.

Ice is best for pain control.

Let me know how you get on.

Dr B

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Oct 18, 2015
Vermilion Kim Follow up
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for your advice. I have started with my previous Chiropractor, but it is SLOW going so far. I have the results of my x-rays, it shows L4 and L5 compression and S1 involvement. I have to do 6-8 weeks of therapy before insurance would pay for an MRI. I am doing spinal decompression, chiropractic adjustments, electrical stimulation and massage. I am also going to apply all your suggestions as well....I hope I start to see some improvement soon! Thanks again!

Pleasure, be careful, do your exercises and work with your chiropractor. Dr B

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