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foot numbness with no pain?

I had a discectomy in 98 and again in 2004. My 2004 blowout was pretty major and included a ambulance ride to the emergency room and had some nerve damage in my left leg. They say that nerves do repair to a certain point and what you have after two years is what you get. It took about 3 years of chiro visits and trying to figure out what worked and what didn't to make my back feel better. I was able overcome to the point of no pain. Was even running 5Ks in the summer for many years. Believe it or not running was my therapy. It seemed to keep my back loose and blood flow to it.

This September I was experiencing some SI pain after a running race. I use to have a really good chiro but he gave up practicing and moved to Florida. Anyway I tracked down a new one who wasn't good. I had two visits. I asked not be twisted the first time but let him the second. Not good with a degenerative disc. Hindsight always 20/20 right. I believe that is where my issue stem from. I changed to a different place that does Manual Adhesion Release of the sciatic nerve and was improving quickly. I think I had 5 treatments. Then the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I had a good workout at the gym (45 on the elliptical) then another session with the chirostreacher guy.

Thanksgiving was the start of going downhill. When I would have flare ups in the past with swollen disc I would rely on walking to get it under control. However in this case it was making it worse. I mentioned I had numbness already from my 2004 blowout. It goes down my hamstring, calf and too two my three middle toes. My foot has been my barometer of how my back is doing. Most the time I don't notice the numbness. When it gets tingly I know to back off and go back to walking. In this case the more I walked the worst my numbness was getting and it was spreading. I could tell I lost a little strength in my calf I wake up in the morning pretty good shape but that numbness starts slowly spreading the more I'm up. I don't have any pain in my back. This is really unusual for me.

I went to general doctor and he sent me to get a Cortisone shot. I'm day one after the shot and can't tell much of any difference.

I don't know what to think or do at this point. To me numbness mean paralysis. Its only been less than a month but I have been freaking out over this. I have been down the MRI and surgery route already twice. Should I get a MRI now, Should I give it more time to maybe heal on its own. I have started looking at Stem cell therapy




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  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 428

    What will the MRI tell you that you do not already know? You are correct in that numbness is not where you want to be.

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  • rll54. thanks for you reply. My deepest sympathy on what you have gone through.

    I don't think I'm at that level yet. I can still lift myself up on my toes several times on the bad leg and you can't easily pull my big toe down. That said I'm three days past my epidural steroid injection. Yesterday I went back to work(mostly sitting at a computer) it felt like the numbness didn't move up the leg nearly as much.

    Today I have only been up for a short time and it seem worse. Already moving into the calf.

    I'm really at a loss on what advise to trust. Doctors just throw NSAIDs at it. The pain clinic's ESI doesn't seem to be doing much yet. It was a chiro that created my condition. I have been doing some physical therapy myself, but trying to be careful to not make things worse. I fear that getting a MRI will only lead to the doctors blowing me off to the neurosurgeon.

    I realize I'm pretty fortunate to not have shooting pain, but honestly my past pain was a red flag indicators to me.

    "The miserable have no other medicine, but only hope."

    William Shakespeare

  • exgolfeexgolf Posts: 1
    edited 12/18/2017 - 3:34 AM

    theologian, very sorry for your problem and for all who suffer from back pain. I do understand your WS quote. It seems one has to find a way for the problem themselves, at least that is my hope. Everyone has an opinion but which one is right. I think we can learn from others. Here is my story.

    I am only a newbie with debilitating pain. For years I have struggled with mild numbness of foot, big toe area, and some back pain. Just recently I had a sciatic pain flare up that sent me to the doctor, next PT and I also sought out acupuncture and I am seeing surgeon in March. I did a lot of exercise for years: running, biking and gym. I have been very active and enjoyed golf too. However, In november I over did it with a move and carrying my golf bag. The sciatic pain was severe as was the axial back pain. X-rays showed spondylolisthesis. I did exercises and stretches that felt safe for my back. I continued golf after the pain subsided. But something happened that brought intense pain back. I went to PT and through twice a week PT the pain left the leg and is now in the back. During the PT I did stretches and exercise twice a day and walked a little.. At one time I could bend over without pain in back and only a little pain in leg. Now pain is definitely in back. However, just a week ago I thought I was about a day away from recovery and was holding myself back from doing extra. Overnight some lower back pain crept in and two days later, and after PT, I could hardly walk. I had to stop all my exercise except for three that seemed to help me from the start. Today the pain is decreasing and I do not know what tomorrow will bring.

    At this time I feel my intense pain was due to some hip exercises I was doing. PT was trying to strengthen hip muscles that are weak even after all the work I have done in years past.

    In my reading and talking with others I feel we each have to find our own remedy. I do believe that proper exercise will be important in my recovery. (that is a theory not yet proven).

    If you find an exercise that helps you please let me know what it is. The three that I do now: Thread the needle or figure 4 stretch, leg extended up wall, and swimmer. Of course I do the lie on back with knees to the chest area to release back etc.. It seems to give me some relief.

    I hope in some way this helps you or someone.

    Necessity is the mother of motivation

    cheers, bill

    Warning: Before you try any supplement, herb, over the counter item, exercise program, mechanical aid, brace, etc always consult with your doctor to make sure you get their approval. Some of these products may be very effective, but no two individuals or medical conditions are alike. What works for one, may cause trouble for another..

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

  • So I thought I would chime back in. These forums can be like Yelp reviews where only the disgruntled chime in. I'm now at the one week mark after having the Epidural injection. Saturday felt like I had 0 improvement, Sunday was a bit better. I knew Monday was going to be ruff going back to work after a lot of laying around and it was. Tuesday was turning point and I did feel much better . Today was still a little better too. Not perfect by any means however the numbness has reduced in how far up the leg it goes and also the intensity. I still have tingling on the bottom of the foot and in the calf but it is doing better. Its not going above the knee now and that is with me at work being either in a chair of up walking around.

    I have been doing physical therapy exercises daily, recommended for herniation as well as walking. I'm still taking my NSAID meds until they run out. My spirit is much better too. I'm suppose to get a call back today and I want to request a MRI. I would really like to know exactly what is going on with the disc.

    In the meantime I have been researching the hell out stem cell therapy. Found out I can't get it for 3 months after a steroid injection. I am determined this is what I want to do now. I thought this was only available out of country or through clinical trials. My eyes have really been open to what is a available out there. I thought I was putting money away for the last 10 years to buy a car. To fix myself seems like the best investment I could ever make.

    A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.

    -John Steinbeck

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  • First I would like to give thanks to this forum. there was two bits of advice that was mentioned here that I took to heart.

    1. Be you own advocate

    2. Knowledge is power

    I pushed to get a MRI and got the write up results back today. I could use some help making sense of it.

    FINDINGS: Numbering assumes 5 lumbar type vertebra. Subtle
    postsurgical changes are identified posterior decompression at L5-S1.
    There is minimal retrolisthesis of L4 on L5, measuring 2 mm. The
    vertebral body heights are preserved. No acute fractures are seen.

    Mild disc desiccation and height loss is seen at L4-L5 and L5-S1. The
    spinal cord terminates at L1. The distal cord and cauda equina nerve
    roots are unremarkable. No abnormal intrathecal enhancement is seen. A
    T2 hyperintense lesion in the right kidney suggestive for cyst.

    L1-L2 through L3-L4: No spinal canal or neural foraminal stenosis is

    L4-L5: A disc bulge is identified with a small central disc
    protrusion. T2 hyperintensity in this region is noted, compatible with
    an annular tear. There is mild spinal canal stenosis with mild left
    and mild-to-moderate right neural foraminal narrowing

    L5-S1: A disc bulge is seen with small amount of enhancement in the
    central and left paracentral epidural space indicating correlation
    tissue formation. Mild bilateral facet arthropathy seen. There is no
    spinal canal stenosis. There is no spinal canal stenosis. Mild right
    and moderate left neural foraminal narrowing is seen. Moderate
    narrowing of the left subarticular zone is also noted.


    1. Subtle postsurgical changes are noted at L5-S1 with a small
    recurrent disc bulge at this site. Also noted is left paracentral
    granulation tissue formation in the ventral epidural space which is
    causing moderate mass effect on the left descending S1 nerve root and
    moderate left neural foraminal narrowing.

    2. The degenerative changes of the remaining lumbar spine are most
    notable at L4-L5 where there is mild spinal canal stenosis with mild
    left and mild-to-moderate right neural foraminal narrowing.

    3. No acute osseous findings are seen. No abnormal intrathecal
    enhancement is identified.

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