Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Intense back pain and numbness in lower legs

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 4 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • February 12, 2007
  • 00:29 PM

Hello. I have been having some intense back pain from my lower back up to my mid back, down to my thighs. It used to radiate to my feet, but not anymore due to rest and medication. The back pain is still there after 2 years, and I can barely get out of bed every day. I also had a serious fall when I was 12, and a ferocious car accident when I was 19. The longer I am in bed, or up and moving around, the worse it gets. Also, my lower legs are numb. The tops/back of my feet is numb, shins, upper calves, knees are all numb. Had all that tested, "everything appears fine" says the neurologist.
I can't bend down or else I'm in intense pain. Here's what the doctors have tried:

MRI of: Lower back, mid back, upper back, neck and head - Everything was OKish (1 sorta bad disc and a going bad disc in my lower back, 1 disc slowly going bad in my neck but they say it's nothing to worry about, not slipped) so we could rule these out - as per doctors.
Full blood test: all STD's, deficiencies, infections. Urine test also - negative for anything wrong.
Spinal Tap: had a fun 'bout with fevers and vertigo - everything came out good.
EMG of the lower back/legs: Everything was fine, but there was some irregularities.

The family doctor, sports medicine, neurologist, pain management folks won't tell me what's going on or don't know what's going on. They are pushing Vicodin at me, which barely helps me get moving in the morning. I hate to resort to medicine itself, to me it's a crutch.

Any ideas would be appreciated. This is getting upsetting. I have been out of work for 2 years now and am exhausting my savings account just surviving.

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4 Replies:

  • Hi,I've been going through all of the symptoms that you just mentioned except that I also wake up like clockwork exactly 2-3 hours after going to bed in severe pain due to muscle spasms! It takes several hours to get control of the pain and go back to bed. My day... It starts in lower back, radiates thru hips, groin(the groin pain isnt constant like everything else is) and upper thighs. Burning/bottom of legs feel cold and sometimes tingly. When I stand, I feel like I have to slightly bend over to get the spasm settled in my back. My muscles dont feel strong enough to hold me at times. Sitting for prolonged periods really intensifies this pain. I feel like I'm going out of my mind and lack of sleep isnt helping.Like you I have had MRI and neurosurgeon said there is nothing he can do for me to go to PT since MRI seems to be OK, symptoms kind of seem like spinal stenosis but MRI is ok. I have had 2 previous low back surgeries and thought that I had another disc but this pain is different.The PT didnt help, I think It even aggrevated it. I went to pain management DR and he told me to go to PT and that he knew of a better one and put me on a 12 day stretch of prednisone. This isnt helping! and now I really cant sleep!!I wish I had an answer and I've been googling these symptoms. I was also going to make appt's for some blood tests etc, just like you did because now I'm getting scared.Does anyone know what these symptoms might be?I also started having constant, debilitating headaches/pain about 1 1/2 yr ago basically on one side of head and neurologist said that MRI showed no tumors but a slight bulge that may be causing this. I also had carpal tunnel syndrome suddenly in May 2006. and had surgery done on both of them.Seems like I'm falling apart all of a sudden :(
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 03:33 AM
    • 0
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  • If you have not already done so, I think you should consider an autoimmune inflammatory disorder (a rheumatologist would be the specialist of choice.) The pain you are describing in your legs could be due to sciatica starting at the pelvis, not the back. I have had chronic inflammation in both of my sacro-iliac joints (these are just to the left and right of where your spine meets the pelvis) and had severe pain in the area as well as pain radiating down the back of my thighs/calves. What I have, ankylosing spndylitis, causes inflammation of the sacro-iliac joints, the spine, and chest. These diseases can be very difficult to diagnose (initially I was told I had a slipped disc-wrong!) and treated or untreated can produce a wide array of symptoms (Behcet's, for example, will present with mouth ulcers and arthritis in the feet and knees, Crohn's causes inflammation in the digestive tract, some others are associated with eye inflammation.) One person can have more than one of these disorders in their lifetime.Difficulty getting moving from resting (i.e. in the morning) can be a clear sign of an inflammatory disorder (arthritis.) I had the problem that even if I put my weight on one leg for a couple of minutes, when I stepped back onto the other I would get shooting pain.This may be totally off base, but I know what it's like to be sick and not know what's wrong. I hope this helps. Best of luck.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 04:51 AM
    • 0
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  • Please try acupuncture to help with your pain. Acupuncture works! To find one near you visit www.acufinder.com Western approaches to pain management are pretty abysmal. There are other options for you and I hope you give this a try. Please be patient as it may take several treatments before you see real relief. But what have you got to lose except your pain. Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3,080 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 05:17 AM
    • 0
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  • Good morning. So sorry to hear you are in such intense, unrelenting pain. I feel for you bcz I was there a couple years ago b4 I was diagnosed w/peripheral neuralgia which is nerve pain. For over a year, the doctor told me the pain, burning and numbness in my feet and legs referred pain from my back. Well, I had the fusion surgery (L4-5)in 2005 including laminectomy for 2 herniated discs. About 6 mths post op, the pain in my back subsided however, I still had pain, numbness and burning pain on the bottoms of my feet and in my legs from knees down. Was diagnosed w/RLS (restless leg syndrome) and put on Requip which messed my stomach up so I stopped taking it. Then, on my 9 mth followup to my surgery I told my neurosurgeon what was going on. He ordered an EMG/NCS on both legs-negative. He started me on neurontin. At first it helped, then stopped after several mths so he upped the dosage to 3-300mg capsules 3x a day (total 2700mg) and it worked great. I'm still taking the neurontin and ever so often the pain, numbness and burning creaps in but not as often as b4. In the meantime, I developed low back pain and found I have another herniated disc (S1). So, you may have 2 problems-back pain and nerve pain. Doctors seem to lump low back pain as referral pain to hips, legs but that is not always the case. I tried to convince my doctor years ago that it wasn't the same type of pain in my legs/feet as my back but he still diagnosed me with low back pain w/radiculopathy into lower extremities. I think if I hadn't been so persistent that my doc would have never treated the pain as 2 different things.This is all FYI since I don't know the specifics on your case however, you might want to check into neuropathic pain-donna
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2007
    • 02:27 PM
    • 0
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