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Old 02-20-2011, 06:26 AM   #1
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Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

Hi

Just wanted some advice really as I seem to be getting conflicting diagnoses from everyone!

For about a year I have been experiencing deep pain in my right hip, mainly at night that wakes me up, I would need to re-position myself and it would normally go away. This has been happening at least once a week.

Anyway, just before christmas I was shopping when the hip pain came on suddenly, the pin radiated from my lower back through my buttock and hip and down my right leg. The pain was excrutiating and with every step got worse until i eventually had to stop walking. I managed to get home and experienced this pain for the rest of the day along with tingling/numbness in my lower right leg and foot, but the following morning it was gone.

So 2 weeks ago I started a new job as a care worker and on my first day injured my back. I was wheeling a rather large woman in a wheelchair, we stopped when she started falling forwards. I instinctively leant over the wheelchair and grabbed her under her arms and immediately felt like I'd been shot in the lower back!...........the pain was unbelievable! I experienced the same symptoms I had before, lower back pain radiating down my right buttock, hip and leg and numbness in my lower foot.

The next day I saw my GP who told me I had sprained a muscle and to go home and lay flat for 4 days! I knew this could not be right this advise was something out of the dark ages. I went to my local hospital and she said it sounds like I may have damaged the L5 disc from the symptoms I'd described. She gave me painkillers and referred me to a physio advice clinic. I went the next day and the physio said the same thing maybe a bulging disc, she gave me excercises to do and referred my for physio appointments.

In the mean time I have been back to my doctors surgery and seen another GP who is telling me I have pulled a muscle and not to worry!......he dismissed the numbness in my foot as nothing and keeps looking and prodding at my spine saying my discs look fine! (how can he tell by just looking?). He asked if I wanted an x-ray, I said thats pointless as it only shows bone and I'm sure I haven't broken anything! I am no longer getting the shooting pain down my leg but have a pain in my lower back going to my buttock and hip which is a deep intense pain. My lower leg is still numb/tingling. My GP said because I'm not getting the shooting pain it's just muscle damage.

I feel like I'm being dismissed, can anyone shed some light on what they think it is?..............after reading this board it seems that muscle pain doesn't radiate to other parts of the body?........i asked my GP this and he said thats rubbish!

 
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:28 AM   #2
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

I know a little about that pain because that is what I've been dealing with for the past three weeks, I've had it come here and there for a while but didn't think to much into it. I thought I pulled a muscle at first but nothing was helping and it got to a point that I couldn't walk. I had an X-ray done first and then I had an MRI done. I would recommend seeing a doctor who specializes in the nerves and back. It sounds like a flare up of the sciatic nerve. Mine started happening due to a protrusion in my L5-S1 and a bulge in my L4-L5 which I believed I had for a while but the protruding disk had began irritating the sciatic nerve. Research Sciatica and you will understand what I mean. Also if another doctor asks if you want an X-ray done, ask if they can do an MRI instead. At least with an MRI it would show if there is any issues going on with the discs, but it sounds like you may have something going on with the discs.

 
Old 02-20-2011, 11:48 AM   #3
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

I think that sometimes insurance won't pay for an MRI unless an xray is taken first, so I would start with that.


I'd also think you may need a referral to a doctor more knowledgeable about spine injuries.

 
Old 02-20-2011, 12:48 PM   #4
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

Part of what you are describing does sound like sciatic pain, but sciatica is not a disease or issue unto itself. It is a symptom of something else that is going on...and that "something" is often a problem with a lower lumbar disc. The only way to know this for sure is to have some imagine done, MRI if possible.

When a disc is going through the process of deteriorating, it can cause a variety of symptoms. Often a patient will put the pieces together after there is the final "event" that sends them scurrying to the spine specialist or the emergency room of the hospital. They will be able to look back and think "oh, I bet that pain was related...etc." Just for an example, my husband kept rubbing his quad muscle and thought he had strained it running. This went on for most of a Fall, off and on, and to varying degrees. Then he woke up Christmas Eve day and "suddenly" could not get out of bed, really couldn't move at all due to the intensity of the pain. He had ruptured to L5-S1 disc. It appeared to have happened suddenly, but in reality, he had little signs going on for months...just didn't put it all together.

There can be a variety of things going on when there are issues with the area from L4 on down to S1. Some people feel pain and think it is in the hip...others in the groin. It can be in the buttock, run down the leg and into the toes. It can be a stabbing pain, or something may feel numb. It can be just an aggravating, dull ache that just doesn't seem to ever go away. It all depends on whether a nerve is being irritated or compressed...and how bad is the compression. If the nerve is being quite severely pinched, the result is numbness or weakness in the muscle. In a severe case, there may be foot drop or even loss of bladder or bowel control. These last two symptoms are considered an emergency and the patient should seek help immediately -- in this instance, the lack of immediate care can result in permanent nerve damage.

It would be helpful if you could get a MRI and an appointment with a spine specialist. How you go about doing this in the UK I cannot advise you on!! But I would figure out some way as I do not think you are getting sound advice from the doctor or consultant you saw.

Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. Do some research on herniated lumbar discs and sciatic pain and see if it sounds like what you have been experiencing. Also find a dermatome map on the internet and see which spinal nerves cover which areas of the lower body and limbs....this will help you when you have your next appointment. In the meantime, avoid lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk (your equivalent), do not bend or twist at the waist, avoid reaching overhead or to the side, pushing, pulling and especially bending and twisting at the same time until you receive a proper diagnosis and find out what is going on with your spine.

 
Old 02-20-2011, 01:27 PM   #5
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

Muscle pain doesn't radiate, but it is possible for a muscle injury or spasm in the lower back to put pressure on a spinal nerve, just the way a bulging disc can.

Whether it's muscle or disc I have no way to know.

 
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:34 PM   #6
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

my situation is similiar....I herniated L5S1 with 11mm posteriorally....Had an MRI done and it showed up like a sore thumb. The nerve at that point affected the left leg in that first ten days after the injury felt like there was nothing that would help except roll in the fetal position and hold for a while, gave some relief. 2 months later doctor did not want to wait, continued to have foot drop from nerve damage and they say nerve can taqke up to a year to regenerate if at all. Catch it early to be proactive. Been three months since post surgery and little has changed but has not digressed. Continue PT, using ice, TENS unit and of course western medicine drugs which only take off the edge, do not make me any way feel out of it in the head. I hope this helps. Let me know. Michael......

 
Old 02-21-2011, 03:29 AM   #7
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

Hi All

Thanks so much for your replies, they are really helpful.

I still have the pain so I will make an appointment to see another GP and ask for an MRI scan, as this seems to be the only way of progressing things.

I will let you know how I get on

 
Old 02-21-2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

[QUOTE=Daisycat22;4689736]Hi All

Thanks so much for your replies, they are really helpful.

I still have the pain so I will make an appointment to see another GP and ask for an MRI scan, as this seems to be the only way of progressing things.

I will let you know how I get on[/QUOTE]

I'm very sorry you are in pain and hope that you will be able to get the help you need and deserve. As the others have suggested, this sounds like a good possibility of a disc problem that is impinging the sciatic nerve. An MRI is the best way to discover exactly what is going in.

I'm glad you will be updating us and hope that getting the care you need won't take too long.

Carol
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:33 AM   #9
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

I too am glad you are taking control of your situation & will find a doc to order an MRI for you.

It is amazing how dismissive some doctors can be of spine problems. I'm starting to think they resent anything they don't understand & try to ignore it. Not all doctors, of course, but a few.

I need to start trusting my own instincts more & doctors a little less.

 
Old 03-02-2011, 07:16 AM   #10
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

Well I have been for physio (didn't realise how much that would hurt!) and the physio seems to think there may be a problem with my sacroiliac joint. He said my back is very stiff and has gone into spasm ( I can't tolerate any of the muscle relaxant meds I've been given) but I have been taking Ibuprofen and using heat pads.

I have to go for several appointments with the physio and he said we can try accupuncture too and go from there, so fingers crossed it gets sorted out.

 
Old 03-02-2011, 09:31 AM   #11
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

They sent you to PT without an MRI first?

That seems backwards to me. Of course, I could be wrong, but it seems like they should have a solid dx before they try PT.

 
Old 03-02-2011, 12:08 PM   #12
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

If your insurance plan allows you to self refer to a specialist consider seeing an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and/or Neurosurgeon who can do a full evaluation and then determine what non-surgical or surgical options there may be. My insurance allows me to go to any specialists I like without a referral so I did some research and found my fantastic OSS.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:14 PM   #13
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Re: Lower back pain, tingling in foot, GP dismissing it!......

I agree that an MRI prior to undergoing physical therapy is the best course of action. How else will they know what exercises you should be doing? I have had severe pain after pt because they simply didn't know what they were dealing with.

If at all possible, you should see a doctor who specializes in matters of the spine....either an orthopedic spine specialist (NOT a regular ortho) or a neurosurgeon, and their practice should deal mainly with the spine. This is the best way to find out what is going on.

I know that medical care there can sometimes be difficult to wade through in order to get the care you need so I wish you the best of luck in getting that MRI to find out exactly what is wrong and where.

Please continue to keep us updated.

Carol
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