Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.
Without the ability to obtain a history from you and examine you, I can not comment on a formal diagnosis or treatment plan for your symptoms. However, I will try to provide you with some information regarding this matter.
A herniated disc at L5/S1 could cause sensory symptoms down the buttock through the back of the thigh and leg to the lateral aspect of your foot. In most people, the pain of a herniated disk resolves over 4-6 weeks. The most severe pain actually eases up within 1-2 weeks. Only a minority of people ever require surgery. With time, the amount of disk that has herniated shrinks and with time resolves completely in most people. Therefore, for the majority of people, non-surgical treatment is the first option. This treatment may include medications (non-steroidals such as advil), sometimes steroids if there is swelling (edema), temperature therapy (hot or cold packs), stretching and controlled physical therapy, muslce relaxants, and so on, these are best prescribed by an experienced physician, each has its own indications.
In a minority of patients, surgery needs to be done urgently. This often is the case when the herniated disc is pressing on the spinal cord itself. Surgery is emergent so that permanent spinal cord injury does not occur. Another indication for urgent surgery is if there is evidence that a nerve is being compressed on to the point that its function is impaired. Symptoms suggesting the need for urgent surgery includes muscle weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, loss of sensation, particularly in the pelvis and severe and progressive pain.
One means of assessing whether or not the nerve being pressed on by your herniated disc is impaired is a test called an EMG/NCS which assesses how fast the nerve conducts electricity and how the muscle responds. This type of test is done by neurologists in most centers. It would be best for you to discuss surgical and non-surgical options with your physician.
The generalized numbness you are experiencing is difficult to comment on. Since it is migratory in nature (moving around) and including your head, it would seem unusual to be caused by a cervical (neck) herniated disc. There is a condition called fibromyalgia that may be what you are describing. Fibromyalagia is a medical condition that leads to whole body pains. Its cause is unknown, but it is characterized by diffuse aches, sometimes GI symptoms similar to irritable bowel, sleep abnormalities, low pain threshold, and other features. It is best treated with medications such as lyrica and neurontin, exercise, and physical therapy. Fibromyalgia occurs frequently in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. If no cause of the condition is identified, it is best to look for other contributing factors such as anxiety or depression.
I would suggest you continue to follow up with your neurologist. You may also want to follow up with a podiatrist (foot specialist) regarding your foot fractures. He/she would be able to evaluate your foot and provide suggestions for mechanical support.
Thank you for using the forum, I hope you find this information useful, good luck.
It started mid February and I also had my symptoms start with painful feet (both) and was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my right foot, they never x-rayed the left . I then developed severe pain down the left leg and numbness in the left foot knee thigh and left glute, and some vibrating down the right leg and numbness in the right does around March 4th.After about 4 weeks I had an MRI and it showed a very large herniated disc at L5 S1. The neurologist feels this is cause of numbness and pain in leg but doesn't think it has anything to fo with the feet/stress fracture problem.Hope that helps.