I am 47, male, white, 5'8" tall, 145 lbs, and have no other existing medical conditions. I am on no prescription medications, and consider myself generally in very good health, though I have had occasional lower and middle back discomfort which tends to be worse in the morning but usually quickly fades and is not something that bothers me very much.
About two weeks ago I began to notice some significant pain developing in my left hip. I had been lifting furniture about two days prior, and attributed it to that. I continued to try to use the leg more or less normally, but the pain only worsened until I was stuck solidly in bed. No significant relief came from NSAIDs. The pain was soon followed by noticeable weakness in the leg. Since then the pain has lessened and some strength has returned: I have been stretching the hip (piriformis) while lying in bed and the hot bath I took yesterday felt great! But the pain still continues at a lower grade and I avoid standing for more than a few minutes at a time or else I notice the pain increases quickly. I have noticed that the anterior aspect of my lower left leg is numb, around the front and down to and over the ankle on the inside, and that when I stand up it sometimes begins to tingle (I have no loss of feeling in any part of my foot per se, and no loss of movement in any part of the foot or leg). This tingling fades when I lie down again. I am not sure when this numbness actually developed, I only know that I noticed it after the pain had developed and I strongly suspect they are related since they are happening in the same leg at the same time.
I had a similar experience almost exactly a year ago: unrelenting pain in the hip (I believe it was the other hip, but I didn't take notes and it might have been the same hip) that brought me to the emergency room where they did X-rays that found nothing wrong. I did not (and as far as I know still do no) appear to have any disc herniations. The ER doctor a year ago gave me an injection for the pain, and I was able to walk out of the ER, though the leg was noticeably weak for several days afterwards. There was never a formal diagnosis of what was wrong then other than that it wasn't anything obvious or detectable. The doctor said it could be sciatica, but he could not identify a herniated disc. Piriformis syndrome seemed to me to be a possible explanation, but once the episode was over I did not give it much more thought. Between then and now, I have had even mild discomfort in either hip/ leg.
Having gone to the emergency room before and having the condition resolve pretty quickly and more or less spontaneously, I have been reluctant to go again. However, the pain did not last this long, and last time there was no loss of feeling in the leg. I appear to now be on the mend, of course, but am still unable to leave the house without causing the pain to flare up again (another reason I have avoided the emergency room— just getting there was going to be Herculean). Two weeks of down time seems like too long, though I understand that sciatica (if that is what it is) can take six weeks or more to heal. I also understand that sciatia does not normally happen more than once or twice in a person's lifetime. I haven't come across anything to suggest that sciatica increases in intensity with standing and walking.
I understand that the numbness in the skin of the lower leg pretty much means a pinched nerve. I don't know how this relates to the intense pain in the hip. I still have stiffness in my middle back, but this is only noticeable to me if I try massaging it.
I have no family history of genetic disorders or cancers of any kind, my parents are still both healthy and in their late 70s.
My question is this: can anyone tell me what this combination of symptoms looks like, what tests I can perform here at home that might help determining what the problem actually is, how much longer I should expect it to go on, does it sound like continuing to lie in bed is still a good idea, and what I should expect from here on in? The numbness does not appear to be fading, and the hip actually feels slightly worse this evening that it did when I woke up. Any comments, thoughts, or suggestions would be fantastic! Thank you!