Medical Specialty >> Orthopedics

Doctors Lounge - Orthopedics Answers

Back to Orthopedics Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Lower Back Pain- Radiating and Numbness and Tingling

 Sondra13 - Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:32 am

1) 23
2) Female
3) None Relevant
4) None
5) None Relevant
6) Advil, Tylenol, etc.

Since 1999 (in October I was in a car accident, but if I remember correctly, the pain began during a shower in August or September) I have been experiencing excruciating lower back pain, which sends shooting pain down both legs, pain in my arms, etc. My legs (particularly the left one) becomes numb when sitting, lounging or standing in one position for any length of time. I won't always realize that my leg is numb until I go to move or accidentally touch it, which feels like touching the leg of somebody else. If I read a book and hold it up (about eye level or sometimes even just above my lap), my hands start to go numb. I have also been having pain in my left shoulder, short bursts of pain that quickly recede.
I have a terrible time sleeping- no matter how I lay down, I have horrible shooting pain down my left leg. When I do fall asleep, I wake up constantly to change positions, and I begin to have bad pain in my middle back, making moving almost impossible, but staying in bed completely unfeasible. (I don't know if this is related, but I also urinate more than I used to, and more than anybody else I know.)
I have been to doctors many times, and received a couple of x-rays. Nothing came up. Personally, I think I need an MRI, but can not afford one. I am going to try to have the car insurance company pay for one, or to get medicaid, as I am currently unemployed. It is hard for me to work because of the pain. Sometimes my back "goes out," making it impossible to stand straight up. I bend over and eventually have to lean on things or to sit or lay down. The one doctor I went to told me that I just needed to lose weight. I am overweight because excercise is difficult (sometimes impossible), but this was not always the case. For a long time, I was the "ideal" weight for my height, and the back pain was as debilitating then as it is now. I am as positive as I can be that something is wrong, and that my sciatic nerve is being "damaged (?)."
My mother and sister think that I am either making this up or "embellishing" the truth. It hurts when people don't believe you. Because of my age, most professionals think that I am exaggerating, or worse: drug-seeking. For a while I was taking vicodin and then percocet, but when I was unable to afford the MRI and CAT scan, the only doctor to take me seriously took me off of it. Truth be told, though it helped a great deal more than Advil, the pain was still there (just not as intense), and the numbness still occurred. Obviously.
Anyway, I am trying to get this taken care of, but I wanted an unbiased, professional opinion. This way, I can be informed when speaking to a doctor in the future, provided the car insurance company or medicaid approve my case. Thank-you for taking the time to read this, and hopefully, reply with some insight. I think that volunteering to help others free of charge is great. So few people care anymore, and it's nice (especially around the holidays) to find a few who do.
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:15 pm

User avatar Hello,

According to your description it is more likely to be Herniated disk.
Even so, in most of the cases with back pain, strain of the back muscles and ligaments, is the primary cause.

Muscle spasm alone can cause this pain which can be an unidentified cause but
in many cases is the result of inappropriate posture for long time like traveling, driving and certain types of work.
In these cases, self care and avoiding the precipitating cause will lead to a gradual but clear improvement in the pain.
Home treatment includes the use of analgesics, cold or hot therapy.
Rest for maximum two days is also beneficial.

Herniated disk is a condition in which the inter-vertebral disc press on his nerves,
Spondylosis which is similar to arthritis but affects the spine etc.
MRI is of choice in the diagnosis.

These conditions can be treated in the majority of cases with medical and conservative treatment (non surgical).

Non surgical treatment include, physical therapy, certain exercises, weight reduction, epidural steroid injections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and decreased daily activities. The pain usually improves faster than the numbness and the weakness if present.

Direct clinical examination is essential.
Hope you find this information useful.
Best regards.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us