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Back pain, glute discomfort and foot burning

I have significant disc herniations at L4/L5 and L5/S1 which have recently gotten worse after a cycling session over the summer. An MRI shows nerve compression from both. I have pain in this area of my back as well as glute discomfort when sitting and periodically severe foot burning. But, here's the thing. Despite the MRI, I can't convince myself that the glute and foot burning is coming from my back. They all feel like separate issues but I can't escape the correlation. The herniations are primarily left-sided and my glute and foot issues are both left-sided.

But, I've had the glute discomfort and foot burning developing for years, even when I've had no significant back pain. When I sit on the left glute, I can often feel my leg start to go to sleep. This could be due to a pinched nerve in the glute or the bend in my back putting more pressure on the nerve. I just can't tell, though I usually feel it must be coming from the glute itself. But, the MRI is clear that I have nerve compression in my back.

My worst symptom is foot burning. It feels like the heel and ball of the foot have been rubbed raw. Even a light touch like a sock can make it burn sometimes. For many years, I've assumed this was a foot issue. I've tried everything I can think of to treat the foot itself but it keeps coming back. But, the crazy thing is, the pain will frequently go away and my foot will feel normal for a while. So, that makes it seem less likely to be a foot issue per se.

My dilemma is that I recently had an ESI and it did not help. In fact, my back feels worse and everything else is the same. So, now the pain center wants me to talk to a surgeon but I'm afraid of the risks, particularly since I'm not even sure the back is the main issue.

So, I'm wondering if this sounds familiar to anyone and, if so, how you've dealt with it. Thanks for any feedback you may have.

Best, Randy


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,270
    hello rchamp!
    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • tjlazerttjlazer TacomaPosts: 137
    If conservative theriapies do not help after several months it might be time to speak to a neurosurgeon.  Don't waste time as you can end up with permanent nerve damage!  If you have clear nerve compressions try to decompress your spine (inversion, spinal decompression machines, etc) to see if that helps, if not it's time to go under the knife.
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