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Sudden onset of shooting pain on particular spot on leg and mid thigh. History of minor disc issues. Cause?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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Healthy active 46 yr old male. Sudden onset of shooting and stabbing pain in identical spot on outer left leg at mid thigh - especially at night lying or sitting- lasting for an hour or so in 10 second increments. Very painful. Minor disc issues affected right leg about a year ago - but no symptoms since.
Posted Fri, 7 Jun 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
The sudden shooting and stabbing pain that you have on the left leg can be related to nerve compression caused by disc degeneration.
You need to consult an orthopedician who after an examination will order tests like MRI of spine to find the extent of damage you have suffered.
Physiotherapy like intermittent lumbar traction , back exercise reduces pressure of disc bulge for some time & gives relief.

The following measures will help with the pain
• Lie on a hard bed.
• Anti -inflammatory drugs like Tablet Motrin 1 tablet as and when required ( dont repeat a dose before 6 hours) with food.
• Avoid forward bending.
• Correct your posture while sitting
• Avoid prolonged sitting
• Avoid strenuous activity & lifting heavy weights.
• Apply diclofenac gel on the affected area. Warm compresses will also help.

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.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sudden onset of shooting pain on particular spot on leg and mid thigh. History of minor disc issues. Cause? 4 hours later
I had a negative blood clot test and a negative X-ray.

It just seems odd that it occurs randomly at night and that pain in thigh is so localized ( to a specific spot not too large) and so sharp and disabling.

As I said I have had disc issues at l4, l5 and s2 affecting my right leg a year ago but pain Was much more of a dull ache occurring more throughout day vs just at bedtime.

MRI next?

Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 8 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
The type and intensity of pain can vary according to the severity of nerve root compression.
It s best to go for MRI scan for proper diagnosis.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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