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Dr. P. Jyoti
Dr. P. Jyoti, Consultant MD
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 9126
Experience:  17 yrs experience in treating OPD & Emergency patients.
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My lower left leg is numb and my left foot for about 7

Resolved Question:

my lower left leg is numb and my left foot for about 7 months going to a chiropractor hasnt helped much. should i have back surgury or try a drx9000 machine?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. P. Jyoti replied 8 years ago.
The commonest causes of such numbness are:

Lumbar disc lesion: This may be associated with pain in the back and weakness of the leg.

Peripheral neuropathy: common conditions causing this are diabetes, Vit. B deficiency, etc.

Vascular insufficiency: Atherosclerosis of arteries, spasm, etc, may cause vascular insufficiency. This might lead to claudication with pain in the calf muscles on walking which is relieved on rest.

Pain around the back going down the leg, numbness of the leg or foot and tingling or itchiness are all symptoms of a disc lesion. Most disc lesions are minor and can be handled with simple exercises, lumbar belts, steroid injections, non steroidal anti-inflammatory injections, etc. Some cases may need surgery.

Peripheral neuropathies are most commonly caused by diabetes mellitus, but there are many other diseases as well and it needs to be well investigated to find out the cause.

Vascular insufficiency is another common cause, and is more common in those above 60 and in smokers. Link

You should consult your health provider or a neurologist if possible and get yourself checked up; you may need a CT or MRI of the spine and tests for muscle conductivity and nerve velocity, etc. You may also need a Doppler study of the blood flow in your leg if vascular insufficiency is suspected.

In the meantime, you should take Tab. Vit. B Complex and Cap. Vit. E as supplements, they are available OTC at all pharmacies.

You may consult these sites for more info:

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
i got a mri i have i herniated disc and one bulging disc. it might be sciatica. is it ?its only in the lower leg and foot. usually that runs all the way down the leg or can it be lower leg and foot also. i also did therapy on it once and the therapist said it wouldnt take to therapy.
Expert:  Dr. P. Jyoti replied 8 years ago.
Sciatica is pain associated with herniated disc. It runs from the buttocks to the legs. But herniated discs can also cause numbness due to pressure on the nerve roots without causing any actual pain, and this numbness can occur only in the feet and legs without affecting the higher parts of the limb.

There are a number of treatments for a disc lesion:

Physical exercise: Physical exercise is undoubtedly the most important. You will have to do some regular exercises for your back; this is usually a very successful method. Link

Heat compresses: Heat compresses either superficially with a warm heat pack, or deep heat with ultrasound therapy, should be tried.

Medications: The first line of pain control drugs is the NSAIDS. In severe pain however, not controlled by NSAIDS, narcotic analgesics like Vicodin should be used. You should talk with your doctors regarding use of narcotic analgesics. Drugs like phenytoin, carbamazepine, or tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline are often used in combination with such drugs for more deeper pain control.

Steroids: steroid injections may be given at the site of the pinched nerve.

Back support: A lumbar belt worn regularly by itself often helps to relieve the nerves. Braces, splints, orthopaedic shoes may be needed.

Lumbar traction: This is another option that you should discuss with your neurosurgeon. Traction often helps to relieve the pain making surgery unnecessary.

Pain pump: for chronic intractable pain, a constant source of analgesic drugs can be fed into the spine at the nerve roots. This is also a very effective method.

General measures like a firm mattress for sleeping, avoiding bending the waist forward, avoiding lifting heavy weights, should be practiced. Other measures may include vocational counseling, occupational therapy, etc.

Surgery: Surgery of the spine is the last option.

You have already tried out many of these options with the chiropracter. However, you should now consult a neurosrugeon. Your neurosurgeon can try any of these options or may opt for surgery. THis is a decision only a doctor can make after examining your MRI''s and symptoms and signs. So you must approach a doctor. If your lesion has progressed to a sufficient degree that surgery is required, then simple measures will not help.

I hope my answer has helped you. Please click on the green ‘accept' button below for accepting this answer. Feedback/Bonus will be appreciated.
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