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Lower back pain/numb lower legs

ok so I have had lower back pain for months now which goes hand in hand with numb lower legs, pain and discomfort really bad in the morning when waking, so much so I get up and have to stretch on my excercise mat to get relief. The veins in the lower legs in the morning really stand out. I saw the doctor who said it was lower back pain causing the numbness in the legs but the circulation seemed ok. I wanted a scan to see what the problem is as the pain can be bad, but he said they don't do back scans no point? The pain is often bad and I sit with a hot water bottle. I am 60 years old.
16 Responses
4851940 tn?1515698193
Unfortunately, problems in the lower spine can cause referred pain in the legs.

If you have had no imaging done to the lower spine at all, make an appointment with a different doctor at the surgery and ask for an xray of your spine and a referral to Triage, physiotherapy or a rheumatologist.
If you notice that your legs go red and feel hot, make an urgent appointment to see the doctor or the out of hours doctors, as this can be a bacterial infection.

If pain relief medications that you have are not helping, the doctor can prescribe Amitriptyline or other antidepressants that work for referred pain.

You are doing the right thing in using a hot water bottle.

Keep going to see your doctor until he does something to help you.  
They kept fobbing me off, before I insisted on being referred to a rheumatologist and since then I have been given steroid injections, acupuncture, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.  

I would not make an appointment to see that particular doctor again.  There is a point in getting some type of imaging done.  An MRI scan would not only show the bones, but also the state of your discs and other soft tissues.

Let me know how you get on.

Best of luck.

15439126 tn?1444446763
How old's your mattress?  Even top quality ones ought to be replaced after twenty years, cheaper versions perhaps 5-10 years.  Mattresses will last longer if they're rotated & flipped from time to time (to spread the pressure from sleeping over different parts of their support system).  A saggy mattress giving poor support can contribute to bad backs.

Have you tried sleeping with a pillow under your knees when you're on your back, and between your knees when you're on your side?  That posture adjustment usually reduces the strain on your back while sleeping.

Have you asked about doing any stretching exercises?  If they work, I suggest do them daily (even, when you're not suffering).   An obus form (or folded towel) to give you better lower back support while sitting in chairs and carseats may help you in the daytime.  So long as you don't overtire your back, walking may be good for it (but do avoid getting the back muscles tired else that might set your progress back considerably).

If the back muscle spasms are causing the vertebrae to pinch the nerves leading to the legs, that certainly will cause leg pain.  

A restful protective posture you might try in bed for perhaps an hour, is propping your calves up on a box (add a pillow for comfort) so that they're about one to two feet above the bed.  Listen to music or an audiobook.  You may find afterwards substantial relief.
Avatar universal
Thanks jemma, I've tried twice now with different doctors but you're right I'm going to persist and try again, and then if no help - seems to be all the tory cut backs - I will be forced to get my own private mri done, I've got to do something was in really bad pain as soon as I woke again this morning, seems to be getting worse.
Avatar universal
Thanks scalp, I doubt a new mattress will fix the problem but it might help a bit so worth a shot buy one tomorrow. I stretch every morning using small weights and have for years, it usually helps and gives a lot of relief but for the past few weeks no relief at all the problem is getting worse. I do walk a lot and keep mobile to be honest sitting makes things worse as I seize up. I'm going to ring the doctor tomorrow and see if I can at least get an x ray, I won't hold my breath. I'm wondering if everyone over 60 gets no help anymore.
4851940 tn?1515698193
I complained about my thoracic pain to my doctor a couple of times at different times and he just pushed it under the carpet.

I went along to see a doctor with my husband for support and insisted that at least I get an xray done and a referral to a rheumatologist.  I was 62 last year.  

I have a condition called DISH and osteophytes as well as osteoarthritis everywhere else.
As you feel very stiff when not moving about for a while, you have some type of arthritis.

A xray would show any degeneration in the bones and a blood test would be able to show if you have the autoimmune arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis.

Don't give up - keep badgering your doctor until you get a confirmation of your problem.  In the meantime continue using the hot water bottle for the acute spasms, get someone to give you a massage with arnica oil, have baths with Epsom Salts.  You can buy Epsom Salts on the web.  Boots sell sea salt which is OK if you do not have any broken skin.  Radox is fine if you do not have a skin problem.  If you do decide to try Epsom Salts, put in about 2 or 3 cupfuls to your bath water and some baby oil.  Epsom Salts is very drying.  I cannot use any soap, but I am OK with Epsom Salts and baby oil.

If you have diabetes, leg pain can also be caused by nerve damage due to uncontrolled sugar levels.  As you mentioned varicose veins, that too can cause leg pains.

If you mattress is very worn, a new mattress can give some support for your back, but will not help if you already have degeneration.

It's great that you are keeping yourself as active as possible.  Exercises in the water are great too.

Best wishes.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply jemma an x ray sounds like a good idea and the blood test as you say I shall have to keep onto the doctor until I get some help, see if I can see another doctor when I go. I am autoimmune with antinuclear antibodies on my last blood tests but again the doctors seem disinterested with anything to do with autoimmune, I don't think they know what it is really or how to deal with it. I've had thyroid problems for 18 years now had little help. I am also going to try the Epsom salts, thank you.
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