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low back and leg pain down back of left leg with calf muscle soreness

July of 2012, I experience low back pain from weeding in my garden that came on slowly. Within a couple of hours, I was unable to stand up straight or sit for more than 20 minutes. Laying down or walking was my best option. I went to the chiropractor and it helped for a while. Then, I started having leg pains in my left leg. After four months of the chiropractor, I went to my family doctor to get orders for an MRI. The scan showed Degenerative Disc Disease in L4/L5 and L5/S1 with two very small bulges but no nerve impingement.

I received my first epidural injection and went to physical therapy. The first injection gave me relief for about two weeks. A month later I received a second injection while continuing PT. The second injection did not give me relief at all. Eventually, I completed my 6 weeks of PT, but had severe pain still going down the back of my leg and into my calf muscle. The pain is always worse when I sit, especially in a car.

After PT, I went to a physcial medicine and pain management doctor who filled me up with Voltaren, Neurontin, Tramadol and a cortisone shot in my hip for bursitis (very sensitive to touch in the area of my left hip). He also sent me for a SI joint injection and a facet joint injection. I had no relief from these injections. This doctor sent me to a spine center in a larger city.

The spine center doctor sent me for a discogram, which reproduced pain in my hip, but nowhere else. He gave me the option to either suck it up and deal with it or a two level spinal fusion. I chose to get a second opinion because my biggest complaint of leg pain wasn't addressed.

My second opinion doctor sent me for a second MRI to see what has changed from 8 months prior. The MRI showed very little change so they sent me for a sitting MRI followed by a third epidural injection. The radiologist told me that the sitting MRI didn't show much of a difference at all, but did say he noticed some facet joint tears. The epidural injection this radiologist did reproduced exact pain that I was having down the back of my left leg. I had one day of feeling great and now it is back to the usual pain when I wake up in the morning down the back of my leg and into my calf muscle. The neuro doctor has called to tell me he can't do anything surgically (great!), but also said I needed to go to a physical medicine and pain management doctor.

Any suggestions on what I should do now would be greatly appreciated. Noone can tell me why I have this electrical current type feeling (tingling) going down my leg and where this hamstring/calf pain is coming from. My hip still hurts most of the tiem and my arch on my left foot also is painful too.

Help please!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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