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back and leg pain, numbness (newbie)

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi all, I have a history of back problems which became quite acute in 2005 when I had an endoscopic microdiscectomy at L4 which left me with the same disc herniation and additional damage on top of it. Since then I developed moderate central and foraminal stenosis at the same level. I was in acute pain for several months in 2007, NS suggested laminectomy, I decided to wait and see. Things got a little better until 5 weeks ago. I woke up one day with excruciating pain in left lower back, which in a couple of days went down to my left front thigh. The front and side thigh became totally numb to touch, but also extremely sensitive and painful. I've been like this for 5 weeks now. Got an MRI after begging my PC. The report talks about a new protrusion at L2 with inflammation. Took it to the NS, he could not see anything at L2 (isn't this weird???), but my symptoms apparently also indicate an L2-L3 problem. He prescribed an epidural (next week). In the meantime I am on pain medications that hardly do anything. I am so exhausted from the pain, can't sleep well at night and cannot go to work. Lucky me that I can do some work from home, but also that is not easy because sitting is a problem too. I feel left out by the doctors, seems like nobody cares.

I know some of you guys have much bigger problems, but if anybody can relate to this and has similar symptoms, please write. Thanks so much! Curlie


  • I can somewhat relate to this although it was in a different part of my back and leg, both were further down in the spine around L4 and lower in my leg starting at the knee. I also woke up with sudden pain with this one. I showed mild herneation in early 07 at .03mm at L4 to L5, and it was highly painful. I was sent to PT and after about two months I felt fine. Then one not so glorious day I twisted too hard and not only did my back hurt but I suddenly got the worst charlie horse feeling ever that lasted for almost two hours. Im not a cryer when it comes to pain, but this brought me to tears it hurt so bad. I took a pain med I had left over from before and the charlie horse went away and then I had no feeling from my knee to big toe along my shin. This caused drop foot and I lived with it for 15 months. My second MRI showed I went from .03mm to 1.3cm at L4 and that my L5 to S1 was starting to feel the effects of the disc above and giving out but not quite buldging yet. My NS did a discogram to have a better look at what was going on because sometimes things just dont show up on MRI's. I blew out my ACL in my knee in 99 and it didnt show on the MRI at all. They did a quick explorative surgery and found it to be all together missing and reconstructed that day (which I knew they would do if they found the acl torn).
    My discogram showed my NS exactly what was going wrong and where. Now this type of procedure is painful and I would reccomend a doc that puts you under for it if they ever bring it up as an option. Almost two months after the discogram I was fused from L4 to S1 and my numbness is now going away day by day, and drop foot is gone.
    I have heard that rule of thumb is that if the numbness doesnt go away after about six weeks (due to inflamation) that you have something pinched and it likely wont go away until the nerve is decompressed.
    Im sorry you are having this trouble, I know how aggravating it can be trust me. I was just happy that my NS didnt beat around the bush, just like my knee surgeon. Both just did what needed to be done, fixed it...no epi's, no steroids, no anything because it was inevitable something had to be fixed and it could only be fixed surgically. If you ever want to PM me feel free, as you know this is a helpful sight and we are all here to help encourage and tell our stories so we dont feel so alone. Best of luck
  • Hi :H and welcome. We care about your back issues >:D< . I am sorry to hear of your troubles. Being in constant pain and not being able to sleep are difficult to deal with.
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  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i hope you find comfort finding people here suffering as you are. we have a "Sleep Problems" forum you might want to visit. I) good luck as you seek pain relief! Jenny :)
  • Thank you for the replies, and thank you Erica for sharing your story. I am glad that the fusion is working for you. In two days it will be exactly 6 weeks that my thigh is painful and totally numb in the front and sides. I will do this cortisone shot, but as you say, that does not solve the root cause. I am thinking that either my NS doesn't know how to read an MRI (???), or the MRI does not show the real problem and I need a different kind of test.
    How is the discogram done? May be that's what I need.
    Thanks again and Happy New Year to all. Curlie.
  • I will bet that more folks here have been treated the same by docs as you have than not. It is really challenging when you are in pain to be patient enough to keep searching for a doc that can and will diagnose your problem as well as treat it. Don't give up because most of us have experienced the same thing that you are going through. Persistence is the key. Good luck and please keep us posted.
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  • I am so sorry you are suffering right now. There is nothing like nerve pain - it just burns 24/7. I also have the numbness in my lateral legs, thighs, calves and feet. I have to be very careful because if I accidentally take my center of gravity off the inside of my feet, I start to fall instantly. I think my brain can't register my proprioception when I am putting weight on my numb feet and tipsy turvy I go. It scares my family to death, but I move slowly and try to be very careful (after several falls and learning my lesson).

    I'm a girl so have to be very careful when I shave my legs because I don't feel that area. I can give myself a pedicure (on good days when I can reach) and if I cut myself, there can blood everywhere before I see the blood. I won't feel the blood dripping, I won't feel the blood on my foot, I won't feel the cut when it happens. I've done that a few times and that is scary as well.

    I had 3 surgeries and nothing helped my nerve pain. My back needed stabilized, which it is now and when I occasionally get back pain, it is from overdoing it and I can lay low and get it under control.

    Nerve pain, however, the meds don't touch. It just numbs my mind. I am getting the spinal cord stimulator which will block the nerve pain signals from getting to my brain and the 5 day trial I had was amazing. If you don't improve, do look into that. For me, I had this nerve damage in 3 months and it has done nothing but get worse in 3 years, never better unfortunately.

    Take it easy, walk carefully, and keep us posted.

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