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Question
Posted by: Karen | 2004/02/27

Numbness and weakness in right leg

Hi

Sometime last week my back gave up on me and I could hardly stand. I took an anti inflam and two painkillers then I was ok for the day. My back was still not right for the following 3 days or so, but now I have pain in my right bum, all down my leg, and numbness in my toes. I can feel my toes, but the sensation is different to my left foot. If I touch my left foot it feels normal, but when I touch my right foot (mainly my toes) there seems to be a kind of tingling feeling. It’s weird, very hard to explain.

Nine years ago I feel off a horse really badly and landed on my back. I was not on medical aid so did not see a doctor, even though I could not stand for days after that. The problem I am having at the moment is in the same area as where my back was injured when I fell.

I was also in a bad car accident a month ago and I had whip lash which landed me in bed for a week, as I couldn’t move. The pain was excruciating. I did have x-rays but nothing was wrong with my neck area.

I don’t know if this is related to the car accident, or the injury 9 years ago. When walking around my right leg feels weak and weird. I have had back problems for years now, but this is the first time I have felt this numbness and weakness before. When I sit at my pc, I can feel a stretching sensation in my lower back / right bum. When I sit on the bed with my feet out, and I bend my foot towards me, I feel the same thing in my right bum. It is not all that painful, but is more a strange feeling. When I flex my leg I can also feel what seems like all the muscles up my leg on the outside.

What should I do and what could this be? I don’t know who to see – a doctor, or a specialist of some sort. I am 27, have never had numbness in my toes, so I don’t know what to do.

Thanks
Karen

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Our expert says:
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Hi Karen
It sounds as though the sciatic nerve is getting trapped somewhere. The good news is that if it were from the spine it would be localised to a specific area, but because it is not I would say that piriformis - a small bum muscle is more than likely catching.
Two things to try: Sit in a chair - cross your right leg over the left (the way guys do) and bend forwards- this should give you a good releasing stretch. Do this three times holding for ten seconds at a time, with this you can also look for a very sensitive point on your pubic bone and release here too.
Second try rubbing your left jaw muscle - your whiplash may be triggering the back symptoms.
Douglas

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