About a year ago I noticed the development of walking problems that involved lack of coordination or my left foot and weakness in my thigh muscles when climbing stairs. Prior to that I had experienced some back pain and stiffness, but nothing severe and debilitating. I had also begun experiencing leg and foot cramps.
Since last fall the condition has worsened. I can barely climb stairs without the use of a railing because my thighs are so weak. It is mostly my left thigh, but both are affected. I cannot walk more than a few feet before I begin experiencing lack of control of my lower left leg and foot.
In the past six months I have seen a couple of neurologists and a couple of orthopedic surgeons. I have also had an MRI and EMG. The diagnosis is that I suffer from L5 radiculopathy. The EMG doctor said that it was a 'textbook case' of nerve blockage in the lumbar L5 disk.
The retired orthopediac surgeon I was seeing first recommended a cortesone shot in a bulging disk area that he believed was causing my problem. The shot did not improve my condition, so the doctor next recommended diskectomy surgury and sent me to a young specialist.
I live in Boston and this practicing surgeon I saw literally wrote the book on noninvasive back surgery. He examined my MRI and refused to operate, explaining that there was no indication of any severe disk problem that warrented the risk of operating.
I have gone through a month of PT, tried multiple treatments from three different acupuncturists, some massage therapy, and a couple of sessions with a chiropractor on his decompression machine, but none of it has changed my condition at all.
The remarkable thing is that I am not in pain. But my life is severely hampered by my lack of mobility, coordination, and leg strength.