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Old 01-14-2011, 11:20 AM   #1
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Back, hip, and leg pain

Hello, I'm hoping to get some insight into what might be causing my pain. What's happening is that when I stand or walk for more than a short time, my left hip begins to hurt, and the pain travels down the side of my leg. If I keep walking or standing, eventually my left foot will start to go numb. The pain and numbness goes away pretty much as soon as I sit down in a chair.

My hip and leg also hurt similarly when I sit in any other position than with my back straight in a chair, and even then, it still hurts slightly. So if I'm slouching or setting propped up on a sofa (a favorite position for reading), my left hip hurts. Sometimes it also hurts when I'm laying down in bed, but that seems like it happens just sometimes, and I haven't been able to figure out if it's laying on a particular side that causes it.

I've had some minor hip pain off and on since high school, but it really got bad around June 2010. I think what set it off then was a long car ride, and after that I had a few days where I could barely stand up because my lower back/hip was very sore. Since then, my left hip has been having this pain when I walk/stand/sit wrong.

Two other things I'll mention: First, I've noticed some pain just right of the center of my back that comes a little bit after my hip and leg start hurting while walking/standing. The second thing is weird. About a month and a half ago, the pain and numbness switched from my left hip/leg to my right hip/leg for about two weeks, and then went back to the left. During that time my left hip/leg pretty much felt fine (first time in 6 months), but my right was killing me. Now the pain is back on my left again and the right feels perfectly fine.

I've seen a doctor, and he had me get some x-rays done of my lower back and hips. He said that he didn't see anything wrong in them. He wants me to do physical therapy, but my insurance has a higher deductible that needs to be met before they'll pay for it, and I don't have the money right now.

I've also seen a chiropractor a few times at the behest of my wife, but I don't feel like he has helped much, if at all.

This is keeping me sitting a lot because walking and standing hurts too much for me to do for very long.

Thanks for reading.

Here's a quick map of the pain I've been having:
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Last edited by moderator2; 01-22-2011 at 08:52 AM. Reason: please post pictures as attachments instead of as links

 
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:24 AM   #2
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Re: Back, hip, and leg pain

An x-ray won't show problems with the disc. Your symptoms may be what is often found in sciatica. Only an MRI can evaluate the soft tissue and discs in the spine (all the x-ray did was look at the spine bones). After an MRI a consultation with an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and/or Neurosurgeon may help to give you information on what is going on in your back, what non-surgical and surgical treatment options are, etc.
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:09 PM   #3
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Re: Back, hip, and leg pain

I have a similar problem with leg pain down the side of my thigh, at times, alternating between one thigh and the other. At first, this only happened when I was standing or walking slowly (like when mall shopping) for more than 20-30 minutes at a time, then it started happening after less time on my feet. Sitting down almost always helped the pain subside, but when I was on my feet too long, it took longer for the pain to go away after sitting.

Turns out, this is being caused by spinal stenosis, due to spondylothesis of L3-L4, (which is basically a hairline fracture in the neck of my vertebrae). This is causing the vertebrae to be pushed out of alignment, which narrows the spinal canal and presses on the nerves. This is why the pain manifests primarily in my legs & not my back. I have a friend who had similar symptoms & he simply had a bulging disc.

I tried PT, losing weight, exercise, strengthening my core, chiropractic care, neurontin 3x/day, muscle relaxers & cortisone shots and nothing gave me lasting relief. In fact, for awhile the pain actually increased. So, I am now scheduled to undergo XLIF surgery where they'll put in screws to stabilize the fracture & replace the bulging disc with growth compound to fuse the vertebrae together. Apparently, this procedure is great for patients with leg pain ... so here's hoping.

 
Old 01-14-2011, 04:17 PM   #4
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Re: Back, hip, and leg pain

Be sure to check out posts here regarding the efficacy of XLIF. It's become somewhat controversial due to less effective outcomes than predicted. It's one surgery I would not be comfortable undergoing this procedure.
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Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 01-14-2011, 04:24 PM   #5
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Re: Back, hip, and leg pain

[QUOTE=SpineAZ;4661491]Be sure to check out posts here regarding the efficacy of XLIF. It's become somewhat controversial due to less effective outcomes than predicted. It's one surgery I would not be comfortable undergoing this procedure.[/QUOTE]

Thanks. I've read all the posts here regarding XLIF and while it is discouraging to read about so many people with poor outcomes, I tend to believe that usually people only take the time to post on the Internet when they have something negative to share. Look at restaurant review sites, for example...

My surgeon was very honest during our consultation and he explained that for people with chronic back pain, this procedure has proved to not be effective. But for those where the only symptom was leg pain, the surgery resulted immediate relief for most patients. I am hopeful that my age, my general good health and level of fitness, and the straightforward nature of my problem will bode well for a good outcome, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

At this point, everyday activities like walking, grocery shopping, and standing bring me so much discomfort that I am willing to take this step. Wish me luck!

 
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