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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Landed on back. X-ray showed clear. Sharp pain in back and down leg. What's wrong?

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Dr. Nsah Bernard

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2012

Answered : 1704 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 7 Feb 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: I recently fell from a roof 20 ft on to concrete landing on my back and after X-rays was discharged from hospital and given the all clear. But a week on I am suffering from severe pain shooting from my back through my hip or bum down my leg and also severe spasms . Also I hav lost feeling in my left bum cheek. Can you please advise as it seem so be getting worse. Regards XXXXXXX
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Answered by Dr. Nsah Bernard 8 hours later
Hi XXXXXXX

I can see that from your description (and given the height from where you fell), you are probably having a mild to moderate spinal injury which could be either compression due to temporary dislocation of your vertebral column (Spondylolisthesis) or mild lesion of the spinal cord (as from the lumbar vertebrae downwards).

Your left bum cheek (left buttocks) loosing feeling is also as result of this spinal injury as peripheral nerves supply to the lower extremities (responsible for motor and sensory functions) comes from the spinal cord.

You will need to pay a visit to a neurosurgeon and there a CT scan or MRI will be indicated to identify the level of the injury. Depending on which dermatome is affected, your doctor will be able to tell at which level of the spinal cord the lesion must have occurred.

As of now, taking steroidal or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication will greatly improve your symptoms before you can even XXXXXXX a specialist (your situation is URGENT).

After identifying the level of injury, your doctor will decide on which treatment is proper for definitive relieve. Physical therapy and rehabilitation might also be needed. In your situation, absence of paralysis indicates a good prognosis.
Take note that an x-ray is a non-specific exam when it comes to spinal injuries.

Hope this helps and feel to ask any more questions.

Dr Nsah

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