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Edema,spinal X-ray,narrow disc space,retrolisthesis,inner ear problem,foot pain,lumbar spine problem

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Practicing since : 2001
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My legs always seem to feel tight and a litttle numb when I sit for a period of time. I do take a diuretic for edema with my blood pressure med. In 1999 I had a spinal xray that showed "disc space narrowing and retrolisthesis of L4 relative to L5 suggestive of degenerative disc disease". Nothing was ever mentioned back then about doing anything about this. Since May, I have had some foot pain on and off around the large bone on the inner portion of my right foot. It feels better when I wear a light brace on it. In February a new doctor took me off of my diuretic and it cause vestibular decompensation after 9 years being back in balance from an inner ear problem. I had been walking with a cane and leaning onto that foot and lost my balance and turned it. My podiatrist says it's not coming from the foot, but from my lower back. Also have some numbness at times across the top of my foot. I don't understand why I don't have any back pain or pain going down my leg along with the foot pain. I'm putting off an MRI due to financial reasons. Guess I'm really curious if the feelings that I have in my legs while sitting is also related to the lumbar spine problem. At least once every year or two I throw out my SI joint and have to stand for 2 or 3 days. Other than that and being stiff waking up in the morning, my back doesn't have much pain. I am 57 yrs old and otherwise in good health.

Posted Tue, 24 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 39 minutes later
Thanks for writing to us.
The pain in the foot as well as leg and growing stiffness in your back are all related to the degenerative discs you have in your lumbar spine. Although shooting pain along the legs is the most common symptom but sometimes instead of the whole nerve root, only some of the fibers are affected. That is why you are having only a localized pain of your foot.
An MRI of your lumbar spine will make the situation more clear.
In my opinion, you can wait for a while if the symptoms aren't getting worse.
Signs of worsening of symptoms are- pain causing disability, numbness, weakness.
When the symptoms get worse, kindly visit an Orthopedician or a Spine surgeon.
Meanwhile you can follow these measures:
- Get some analgesics prescribed and apply analgesic spray or ointments.
- While resting, keep a pillow under your knees if it doesn't bother you.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- back strengthening exercises and stretching exercises for your hamstrings daily as advised by a Physio.
- avoid exercises in times of pain.
- improvise your posture while sitting.

Hope I have solved your query. If not, I will be available for further follow up.
Wish you good health. Advocate to daily exercises for a healthy spine.

Thank you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Edema,spinal X-ray,narrow disc space,retrolisthesis,inner ear problem,foot pain,lumbar spine problem 7 hours later
Thank you so much Dr. Tayal, that helps me understand this more. For several years I have been using one of those pillows between my knees when I sleep. Would that help as much as one under my legs or should I try both? Well, I blew the do not lift rule! This week I have been lifting bags of rock and sand, laid 50 paver blocks and need to put down 15 large stepping stones today. I am very careful when I lift. I can feel when my back is just not right and know that the SI joint will go out if I try to lift anything out in front of me. I never married and have had my 88 yr old mother living with me for the past 26 yrs. She has severe back pain as shown on MRI with spinal stenosis, herniated discs and osteoarthritis. Is DDD hereditary?
I went for vestibular rehab for 7 weeks and am 85% better. When I get back to the classroom and the kids in the hallways I'm afraid I will have symptoms again. I couldn't afford to continue therapy so I bought a half round foam roller with workout book, j/fit inflatable disc and large stability ball to work with. I also have a treadmill and Wii Fit exercise programs and balance board. I downloaded some lower back exercises for SI joint and lower back with retrolisthesis problems. Have all of this, but I have so much work to do around the house before school starts that I haven't taken time to use them much. Should be finished with yard this weekend, so I will make an exercise schedule up to start on Monday. As far as my legs and sitting, I just put a stepper under my feet to take the pressure off of the back of my legs and it helps.
Glad you agree that I can wait on MRI. I have a $3,000 deductible and have met $2,000 with the vestibular therapy. I guess I woud be smart to have it done before the end of the year and let them pick up 80% of some of it and see a specialist. I guess I really don't want to make the choice of what type of doctor to see. Hoping a good exercise routine will help as I am afraid of back surgery.
Thank you again for your help. XXXXXXX XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 45 minutes later

Thanks for writing again.

You can keep one pillow beneath your knees and another in between the two knees.

DDD is not hereditary but is an age related degenerative change in the spine.

Spinal surgery is not the only solution.

Non steroidal analgesic group of drugs, physio-therapy, and back strengthening and stretching exercises also help as I mentioned before.

Hope my answer is helpful.

Wishing you a trouble free speedy recovery.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Edema,spinal X-ray,narrow disc space,retrolisthesis,inner ear problem,foot pain,lumbar spine problem 1 hour later
Thanks again... one more question. I have had a few episodes of numbness and a creepy, wavy feeling on the right side of my forehead and going down to around my ear. I do have migraines, usually from not eating, the sun, odors, stress... that are quickly relieved with Excedrine Migraine if I take it right away. I've heard this can be like an XXXXXXX and if it occurs again I will note whether I have a migraine at that time. I think I also read that it could be related to cervical problems. Is this common? Should I have an MRI of the entire spine? I was unable to upload more than one report. The DDD diagnosis was made with an xray not an MRI. It was of the entire spine and there wasn't a problem with the cervical part. It did say that in the thoracic area I had "minimal inferior endplate irregularity in T8 suggestive of a
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 18 minutes later

Good to hear from you again.

The symptoms you are having can be due to cervical spondylosis. An MRI of the whole spine will be better for diagnosing your problem.

A small end plate irregularity at T8 is not likely to cause any of your symptoms as head is supplied by the nerves situated higher up in the spine.

Happy to help you always.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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