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Tingling and numbness in hands and weak legs. Had bones scraped to relieve pressure on spinal cord.

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 9086 Questions

I live in Japan but come from New Zealand
This question relates to my father in law who is a 70 year old Japanese man of medium build. Over the last 6 months he has been experiencing numbness in his legs and hands then progressively his right leg began to wobble and give way occasionally. He went to a doctor who referred him to a specialist. The specialist diagnosed that his spin was becoming degenerative due to age and was impacting upon his spinal cord. He was operated on and had portions of the bone etc shaved or scraped away to relieve the pressure on his spinal cord.
The accident according to the specialist was a success. However now his left leg is giving way also and also his right leg is becoming bad once more. Compounded with this he had some tingling in his hands etc. He has been very fit and worked as an electrician for 50 years. He says that he does not have headaches or pain associated with these symptoms but he has numbness in his hands now and now both legs are weaker and cant walk without a cane only 1.5 months after the operation.
I dont want him to endure hours of inept consultations and errors and am looking for possible alternatives to his symptoms so that I can at least send him in the right direction for greater medical care.
Posted Wed, 29 May 2013 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 38 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
After the surgery, the nerve compression is released and the weakness and numbness improves considerably. Now that his left side is getting affected, it seems that the degenerative changes in the spine are progressing rapidly or the decompression done earlier was not complete. This can be detected after a CT scan or MRI of the lumbar spine.
The numbness in his hands is related to spodylottic changes in his cervical spine. Neck muscles strengthening exercises and methylcobalamin supplements will help in relieving these symptoms. He needs to consult a physical therapist for proper exercise regimen.
The progressive weakness in the legs needs to be evaluated by a spine surgeon or a neurologist. A definitive treatment can be planned after clinico-radiological evaluation.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
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