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Sudden Severe Hip and lower Leg Pain

Background:  Medically retired Air Force Colonel. 
Was a pilot for the first 17 years of my career, Jets and Helicopters. 
While in Jets I hurt my lower back and had an L5-S1 discectomy and laminectomy.
 The pain resolved for ten years, then I
hurt it again and had another surgery. 
The second surgery was 12 years ago.

While serving overseas 8 years ago I badly injured my
cervical spine.  This led to the end of
my Air Force career and I have been unable to work since then.  The pain is terrible and persistent, I deal
with it all day, every day.  The chronic
and severe pain has ruined all aspects of my life.  I have tried ALL methods of conservative
treatments for my neck and have had 5 surgeries including three intense fusion
surgeries in the past 18 months, the last was a very difficult 6-level fusion
(C4-T2).  Following the last surgery I
have had an increasing amount of pain and numbness in my arms.  I wake several times each night with either
or both arms completely numb from the shoulders to the finger tips.  A month ago I started getting pain and
numbness in my right leg (left leg is fine)…this is in addition to the arm

A few days ago I woke with severe, sharp pain in my right
hip and sharp pain and numbness in my leg from the knee down through the front
outside of my right shin and into my right foot.  This is not getting better, in fact, it is
getting worse daily.  I am not sure what
it is causing it, it doesn’t sound like sciatica because it isn’t really
hurting in the back side of my thigh, and I can’t imagine that my leg pain has
any correlation to my bad neck injury.  I
am falling apart rapidly.

Any thoughts?  Your
experience and help would be greatly appreciated…thank you!



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,357

    hello mmaddogg
    welcome to spine-health.

    first, i would like to commend and thank you for all of your years serving for this country. i am so sorry you are now having to live with this. are you currently under any doctor's care? don't assume it may or may not be sciatica or anything to do with your neck injury. pain is one thing but numbness is another. you really need to get this checked out as soon as you can.
    you may have read this but below are a couple of links to articles on sciatica.

    while you are waiting on other members to reply, please click on the welcome link below and the tutorial to get you started on the forum.
    welcome to spine health

    all new members should take the system tutorial

    please take care and hope to hear from you soon.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • Greetings Colonel!

      I am a retired AF/ANG First Sergeant with the 123 AW/165 AS.  Thank you for your service!  I read your post and have a few questions if you don't mind?  Is the VA performing surgeries/care or are you waivered to civilian care?

      The care I received from the VA was good once I got past all the red tape and getting approvals when I returned from the sandbox.  I was pretty lucky to get some of our folks waivered to civilian care because of the distance they would have to travel to a VA Center for care.  Is your treating physician doing follow on care or have you participated in any kind of physical rehab?

      Most all of my medical issues have been thoracic and lumbar related.  I can't speak too much to the cervical fusion you've had since thankfully that's one area I haven't screwed up yet!  But, regarding your lower back/leg pain; have you tried aqua therapy?  I found that post operative, aqua therapy had the most positive rehab support of all the methods they tried for me.  being in a warm (94 degree water) swimming pool made doing exercises much more comfortable because of the buoyancy.  I also use a heating pad quite a bit.  I also have a hot tub at home I use.

      Have they prescribed you any medications to assist with pain and spasms?  With the current anti-opioid environment, I'm unfortunately seeing many cases of under treated pain which is totally inappropriate.

      From what you're describing with pain radiating down your leg it certainly sounds like sciatica.  That being said, it could also be your L5 - S2 region where something may be getting pinched.  But, I'd highly suggest you see your physician to be sure.  Muscle relaxers may potentially help.

      If you have any specific questions that you prefer not to post publically, please feel free to send me a message through the e-mail system this forum provides.  I sincerely hope you get some relief very soon! 


    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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