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Burning Feet, weak legs, low back pain

NurseLindaNNurseLinda Posts: 2
edited 10/01/2014 - 9:10 AM in Chronic Pain
I am new to this forum and looking for advice. I have had chronic low back pain for over 15 years. Last year the pain took on a new dimension. I started having tingling and burning in both of my feet and noticed my lower legs and ankles feel very weak. I had a lot of problems with shoes. I then got orthotics and thought my pain was a little better but since May 2014 it is progressing to the point where I can't sleep and have constant pain in my lower back, (no sciatica pain though) to the point that I am having a hard time walking, standing and just being able to function in a minimal way. I also have developed migraines as a result of severe jaw clenching during the day and night as a response to the pain. (My dentist wanted to know what I was doing to have my teeth worn down so much. He made me a splint to help.)

Twenty years ago, I had a micro discectomy on L5-S1. (Had severe sciatica then). I did well for about 5 years and then this constant low grade pain set in. I tolerate pain well and kept things under control with NSaids, rest, ice and a TENS unit. It got to the point where I can no longer take anti-inflammatories of any kind because of the horrible GI problems that occur. I also have been tried on narcotic meds but cannot tolerate those either. (I have passed out 2 times in a trial and also vomit them after about 20 minutes in my system.) I had an epidural steroid injection but had a terrible reaction to the cortisone and receiving no relief what so ever. I was prescribed a back belt which helps a little.

My last MRI was 2 years ago showed degenerative changes at L4-L5 with narrowing of the L5-S1 disc space. There is a bulging disc at L4-L5 and an asymmetric bulge of the L5-S1 disc toward the right side resulting in mild right S1 lateral recess narrowing. The neurosurgeon said he did not feel I was a surgical candidate at that time. My question to all of you is, have any of you had these burning symptons in the feet and lower leg and found that it was related to the back? Also, should I make an appt. with the neurosurgeon at this time to rule out anything new?

I thank you in advance for any helpful suggestions you can give me.



  • LizLiz Posts: 9,543

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I also have burning in my feet, legs, and hips, it comes and goes at random and sometimes switches out with pain/numbness/tingling/what have you and my biggest issue is also in the L4/L5 area. As I understand it (and I am no doctor) that is a pretty normal symptom of spine issues. Deffo make an appt. with your neurosurgeon to rule out anything new, if the symptoms are new chances are the problem is new. Wouldn't hurt to also make an appt. with your GP or an internist to test for diabetes as that burning can be cause by that as well.
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  • Yes, that burning, stinging pain can be related to your spine issues. It is usually a sign of nerve compression somewhere in the spine. Since your last imaging was done two years ago, it would be worthwhile returning to the surgeon to have them examine you and talk about treatment options.
    Typically medications such as gabapentin, Lyrica, topamax, cymbalta and a few other medications are used to treat it if the compression isn't severe. If it is , then surgery may be warranted to relieve the compression of the nerves.
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