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Numbness in leg and feet while sitting, lower back pain, overweight, on vegan diet. Is it a pinched nerve?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2011
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My legs and feet go numb whenever I sit down. It started a few years ago with just one leg fallings asleep and I thought it was because I often sit with my legs criss-crossed, or one under me. The last few days the numbness and pain have increased and I have lower back pain also. Is this a pinched nerve? Or should I be concerned and see a Doctor? I am 27. I am overweight, but recently started eating a vegan diet and exercising more frequently (3x/week).
Posted Wed, 25 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 14 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

1. Have you sustained any trauma to the back ever?
2. Are you able to control your urination well or is there any dribbling and urgency which is hard to control
3. Are you able to walk in a straight line without swaying much

According to your history, it appears to be a problem with the spine. There is a possibility of pinched nerve due to herniation of the intervertebral disc.

Usually tingling, numbness and leg weakness along with lower back pain points to possible spinal disc disease. Avoid bending forwards / lifting weights / wearing high heel shoes. Over the counter pain killers such as ibuprofen might help you.

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and XXXXXXX leafy vegetables to prevent constipation. Also eat food XXXXXXX in Vitamin B12 which is needed for good strength of nerves, like chicken, lean meat. Drink plenty of water. Avoid doing exercise which involves bending unless your Doctor recommends. You may do brisk walking as long as you feel comfortable.

I encourage you to consult an Orthopaedician/Neurosurgeon and get a thorough clinical evaluation and possible Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) spine as well which will help to find possible site of spinal nerves compression. Physiotherapy and back strengthening exercises can also be useful in treating this condition. Severe cases might need intrathecal steroid injections or surgical management. Discuss the treatment options and get an appropriate solution for your problem

I hope I have answered your query. I will be available to answer your follow up queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Numbness in leg and feet while sitting, lower back pain, overweight, on vegan diet. Is it a pinched nerve? 1 hour later
Hi Dr. XXXXXXX Thank you for your response.

I have not experienced any known spine trauma. I have noticed that since the birth of my daughters there is an urgency and leakage with urination- usually I don't even feel it, but I wear a panty liner every day.

I can walk in a straight line without much swaying.

Does this change your original answer?
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 5 minutes later
Hi and thanks again,

According to the information provided, I would still stick to the chance of possible spinal disc herniation or pinched nerves in the back.

However, the urinary urgency and leaking could be because of a possible weakness in the pelvic musculature due to the delivery of your child. You may perform pelvic strengthening exercises called Kegel's exercises to help reduce this problem.

Also some spinal problems can present with loss of voluntary urination but that is not the typical issue in your case.

Do discuss the issue with a competent Orthopaedician who will be able to examine you, perform a series of tests to come to a diagnosis and give you the appropriate solution.

Wishing you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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