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Sciatica or muscle pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
i am now 30 year old male, my first bout with pain was from a high school football injury, getting hit from the rear/side hip/back area, leaving me with a very painful hip area. Back then an ortho said it was spondylesthis, recent x-rays do not show this as a current condition, after PT i still had pain, but it was manageable. in 2003 I made a wrong move when shovelling snow, causing pain from my lower back to increasing the pain in my hip. PT at the time, but I was never really right, I had seen many many doctors who seemed unwilling to do any further tests, I had given up and felt I could just live with. With this I turned to a very sedintary lifestyle, got married and we're trying to have children. I can't imagine running and playing with children with ths pain and am being a bit more forceful with doctors this time around. Xray no longer shows spondyolosthis, but does show min DJDD in L4-L5- dextro scoliosis(i assume this is congenital from compensating for pain, never was diagnosed in high school) more pt, it helped but there was still moderate pain mostly in my hip. MRI shows disc bulging from L2 to L5 with L4-L5 being somewhat severe, with foraminal stenosis on the right side. Once again doctor says there's nothing can be done from this point. So i'm going to see chiro now. My question, will nerve pain cause the symtopms I, have very little back pain, moderate to severe pain on the outside of the hip area, min pain in buttocks, side of calf and ankle, slight tingling in foot, no pain at all in the back of leg. would nerve pain be moreso shooting pain, or these dull to severe aches? The chiro believes it could be muscles in my hip. oh and i almost forgot, hip MRI shows my hip bones and tendons to be in perfect condition. i always believed if we could find out what's causing the hip pain, and fix, everything else will work itself out.


  • Hip pain can be very frustrating to track down. There are a variety of muscles and ligaments that attach near the hip socket and cause what feels like "hip pain." Also, there are various lumbar spine problems that can result in nerve pain that radiates out through the hip.

    Have you had a MRI? I didn't notice it mentioned. The X-rays will only reveal certain things, connected to bone. An MRI will indicate if there are problems with the discs and soft tissue and would show any mechanical problems that you might be having.

    Any time one has an impact injury, such as a bad fall or an automobile accident, arthritis almost always develops as one ages. I wouldn't be surprised if you are having some of those problems in your lower back.

    Oh, I see you did have an MRI -- sorry. I too had very bad stenosis at L4-5. I have NEVER had back pain -- all of mine is in my hip on down. I waited years to have surgery, until things got so bad that I couldn't stand more than a minute or two, and I was driving to my mailbox at the end of the driveway to collect my mail. I could not walk more than a few steps before the pain kicked in and shortly thereafter, became unbearable.

    When you have severe stenosis, there are few conservative measures that will be helpful. Think of a garden hose or an old pipe in a house that has become filled with mineral deposits which prevent water from passing through. This is what stenosis is like. The only effective treatment is for a surgeon to go in and clean out the "opening." This can be in the central spinal canal, or in the foramina, which are openings where the spinal nerves exit the spine. This procedure decompresses the nerve and allows it to pass freely.

    When a disc bulges or ruptures, it balloons out into a foramen or into the central canal, occupying space that is meant for the exiting spinal nerve. These various conditions result in the same thing: nerve compression and the resulting nerve pain.

    Each spinal nerve innervates a particular area of a limb. There are fairly predictable paths that allow a doctor to know if one has pain running to the big toe, it is probably caused by the L4 nerve. (Run a search for "dermatome map or chart" to see which nerves affect which parts of the body).

    There are various procedures that can be performed to help you. Some doctors are reluctant to perform surgery due to your age. Have you consulted with a fellowship-trained spinal specialist?

    Nerve pain has a variety of sensations. Pain might be sharp or dull, intense or mild, achy or a zap. It can feel like a case of the flu or like you stuck your finger in a light socket. I have one that feels like I am urinating on myself -- the first time it happened, I was absolutely convinced I would find water trickling down my leg. When I wiped my hand on my leg, it was perfectly dry and I was amazed at that! Now I know I just periodically get a sensation that feels like warm water running down my leg or legs....I could go on and on, but you can see that nerve pain can feel a hundred different ways and may feel all those ways to you at different times. It is not necessarily predictable.

    I will close for now, but would be happy to answer any questions you have. I would be very careful going to the chiropractor. When there is nerve involvement with an injury, I really worry about the potential for permanent nerve damage. I think you just haven't connected with the right spinal specialist yet. I would encourage you to keep looking. Call the orthopedic floor of your best hospital to see who the nurses would go to if they needed spine surgery...ask among your parents' friends, etc.

    For further information, read here: http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/herniated-disc/lumbar-herniated-disc and here: http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sciatica/what-you-need-know-about-sciatica

    Don't give up. You are just beginning your journey. There are many treatments that can help you!!

    xx Gwennie
  • Hi and thank you. i have to be honest, while I am doing my best to try an avoid surgery, doctors where i am have not been very helpful, and after speaking with some patients, some who are now disabled after surgery, and others who tell me to stay away from surgeons in the area. i wanted to go to hershey medical center's spine center, which is maybe 45 minutes to an hour away, but my insurance will not cover much of anything there.
    Than i was left with the option of a chirpractor. So far i have learned so much more of my condition from him than any doctor or specialist I have seen. it got to the point with my doctors, that this past time with physical therapy, the therpist had to call the doctor to really urge for an MRI, all of my concerns seemed to go in one ear and out the other which has been the same exact problem I have run into since the initial injury. i actually had a ortho ask me several times what i was doing there. This all had discouraged me in the past made me feel like i was insane. but i do thank you for your advise and asking around for various doctors at the hospital
  • sciatica
    that is a hot /dull/evil/pain that runs down the back of your leg and it is torture you feel like you leg is on fire {you would need strong pain meds}
    muscle pain
    is more of an ache .it feels like you have done 1000000 sit ups or like a bruise type ache .i say ache rather than pain .out of the two i would rather have the last one ..even thou that are both horrible.{you may get a way with lower strength pain killers or and diazepam and some PT} if mild but strong pain killers if constant {like mine!}
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i have hip pain and know how painful it can be.. ~X( getting a diagnosis can be difficult.. ~X( hang in there and don't stop till you get one. good luck and keep us informed! :D Jenny
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