trisport's condition: "Pain, numbness, and weakness in left leg starting at lower back"


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I'd recovered somewhat from herniated disk about eight years ago (see "Severe lower back pain that improved with exercise and stretching") but herniated another disk a few months ago and was left with pain, numbness and weakness running from my lower back down to my ankle on the left leg. The problem was a combination of pinched nerve from the mass of blown disk squeezing out where it shouldn't be and boney growth of the vertibrae reducing room for the nerve. Oral steroids didn't help. Physical therapy didn't do much good. Two rounds of direct spinal injections in the affected area provided relief - especially the second where the needle found the right area.

Details: 2 symptoms, 1 diagnosis, 3 treatments tried

Symptom description 1:

Pain and numbness in left leg starting in lower back. Pain is worse in upper gluteus area and numbness is greater down in lower leg.

This symptom is triggered or made worse by:

Plain walking on level ground. Oddly, walking up hill relieves it. I can go hiking on uneven ground but walking on flat ground causes pain. Also, bending backward ad some twisting motions cause a "funny bone" like sensation in my lower back and an increase in symptoms in my leg.

This symptom is relieved or made better by:

Leaning forward with hands on knees

Symptom description 2:

Weakness in left leg, noticeable when supporting myself on left heel with front of foot lifted

Diagnosis rated as completely correct (100%):

MRI shows pinched nerve from ruptured disk mass in L5 vertebrae expanding into spinal area. Also, stenosis of vertebrae causing excess boney mass to encroach on area

Treatment 1:

Physical therapy to strengthen core.

Outcome of this treatment:

I already do a lot of core exercises so the effects of these were minimal. One exercise where I balance on my stomach on an exercise ball and hold my torso up with feet against wall has been helping a little.

Treatment 2:

Two runs of oral steroids because they helped the last time this happened. The first was 4 mg then 10mg.

Outcome of this treatment:

No improvement.

Treatment 3:

Direct steroid injections into spine.

Outcome of this treatment:

I've had two treatments so far. The first had no effect. It is the next day after the second and I already feel much better. I could tell something good was happening when during the procedure I felt severe pain shooting down my leg when the needle found the right area and then my leg was totally numb for about an hour. This was a much different experience from the first procedure where I experienced no discomfort or aftereffects and consequently no improvement either. After the second injection I am finally allowing myself to feel optimistic.