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rachelmusil's avatar

And...Can Sciatica cause numbness in my right leg?

Asked by rachelmusil (40points) April 1st, 2009

I’m not thinking about just when it falls asleep, I mean when I sit, stand, walk, etc a certain way i can make my right leg go numb. Is this normal? When I asked my doctor he kinda deflected the question and changed the subject and then time was up so I didn’t ask. My leg goes numb the most when I bend over to do things like scoop the cat box, pick things up, etc.

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6 Answers

chicadelplaya's avatar

You’re either cutting off circulation of blood vessels and/or having some kind of nerve obstruction. Ask your doctor for a referral to get a physical therapy evaluation asap.

rachelmusil's avatar

Thanks again. He said that if the pills he gave me don’t work and if we do steroids and they don’t work then he’ll send me to a PT.

chicadelplaya's avatar

Pills will in no way “fix” the problem and your doctor should know that (especially if he thinks it’s a herniated disc). Sorry to hear that! I have a lower back injury too, and it sucks. Try the ice in increments of 20 minutes (on 20, off 20, on 20, etc.. for about an hour each day or as needed (it really helps a lot!). Also avoid sitting or standing for too long. Gotta keep movin’, girlfriend!

3or4monsters's avatar

I have to agree with @chicadelplaya on this one….. sciatica is a nerve impingement, and there are a bunch of different things that could cause it, and most of them can’t be “fixed” by pills.

-Bulginging or herniated disk that protrudes into the sciatic nerve is one.
-The tiny musculature surrounding the foramen (holes/gaps in the bones of the spine where nerves snake out) can cramp up and pinch down on the nerve itself, causing a “pinched nerve”.
-a “false sciatica”, where the muscles in the glutes pinch the sciatic nerve farther down the nerve trunk, and the pain radiates both up towards the spine and down the leg, so it still manifests as back pain, but the orgin is not in the low back. Make sense?

If the pills he gave you are muscle relaxers, that might work, provided the muscles just don’t seize up again once you come off the pills. If that is what he’s treating, and it’s the first thing I listed, they won’t do much except for calm the surrounding muscle structures that might be tense and “braced” from the nerve pain but not actually the CAUSE of the pain, you follow me?

It sounds like to me that you are having your symptoms treated… not the originating cause.

I admit… my knowledge on this is limited.

Darwin's avatar

I suspect your doctor is hoping that you have some muscle tightness or some inflammation that he can get rid of with pills. If you do the pills should work, at least while you are taking them.

However, in many cases it is actually something mechanical that pinches a nerve or a blood vessel. Has your doctor done any sort of X-ray or MRI of that area to see if you might have a bulging disc or a stenosis or even just arthritis? It would certainly be helpful in diagnosing the reason for your problem, and the physical therapist (we call them “physical terrorists”) would also find it useful.

Certainly the pills probably won’t hurt you and they might help you, so your doctor’s choice is most conservative and least expensive. However, if the pills don’t help you make sure you get back with him and this time write down everything you want to talk about before you go. That way time won’t run out because you can get out the list and say “Wait! You haven’t answered this question yet.”

Of course, if running out of time is routine with your doctor you might consider a different doctor.

And actually, it sounds as if @3or4monsters knows something about all of it. I am currently undergoing PT for lower back pain and despite very clear stenosis and arthritis, PT is indeed helping because the muscles have seized up. What they are doing is teaching me exercises that I can do at home to relax those muscles so the big pain won’t come back. My problem won’t be “cured” but I am learning to manage it.

However, they are chasing my brother around with scalpels for basically the same thing. Unless you are in total agony or literally cannot walk, you want to avoid the guys with scalpels.

rachelmusil's avatar

@3or4monsters the pills are anti-inflammation pills. We havent found out the cause. I guess we are ruling out muscle tightness by trying the pills.
@chicadelplaya thanks for your help.
@Darwin no, I haven’t had any scans done. I’m managing pretty well with vicodin as needed right now, so when they mention scalpels I’ll just ask for more pain relivers and deal with it.

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