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35 Year Old with Left Leg, Buttock, and Lateral Calf Pain when Standing or Walking

For almost a year, I've been experiencing pain in my left leg, left buttocks and left side of my left calf when standing or walking for more than a few minutes.

To go back to how this began: Once day I woke up and was unable to stand up straight and was hunched over. I could bare move at all. It was the feeling of 'throwing out your back.' I went to a doctor and he referred me to physical therapy. Within about 2 weeks, I was able to stand up straight and the bulk of the pain/issue was gone, except for the left leg, left buttock, and lateral calf pain. I continued to undergo physical therapy, but this last part of the pain would not go away.

The pain I am experiencing is relieved when sitting, lying down, or bending forward. I was initially diagnosed with sciatica, but the way my symptoms are triggered seem to be the opposite of how they are triggered with sciatica. Typically with sciatica, symptoms are relieved with walking or standing and are worsened with sitting or bending forward. I am able to run, squat, jump, etc. without issue, but simply standing or walking become extremely painful after just a few minutes.

In the last year, I've had 3 rounds of physical therapy, an epidural, myofascial release, cupping, various exercises which I do daily, with no effect. Ibuprofen nor Meloxicam do not relieve the pain either. I've had an X-Ray, bone scan, a lumbar MRI (interpretation posted below), and a pelvic MRI with no significant findings. The spine doctor is unsure what to do and suggested that perhaps I get a second opinion.

This condition has impaired my life as I can't even stand in line to buy groceries or cook or do dishes without having to sit or crouch to temporarily relieve the pain.

Has anyone else experienced this? What was the result and what has helped?

INTERPRETATION:

Conus medullaris terminates at T12-L1 level. It is normal size, shape and signal. No evidence for compression deformity nor pars interarticularis defects. Disc desiccation L5-S1 .

L1-2: No significant central canal or foraminal stenosis.

L2-3: No significant central canal or foraminal stenosis.

L3-4: No significant central canal or foraminal stenosis.

L4-5: Mild disc bulge eccentric to the left with no significant spinal or foraminal stenosis

L5-S1: Mild endplate change with no significant spinal or foraminal stenosis

Visualized portions of the sacrum and the paraspinal soft tissues are unremarkable
1 Responses
Avatar universal
It does actually sound like sciatica.  Two possibilities you haven't mentioned:  Hip problems can cause this, and there are different kinds of hip problems.  But your hip would probably hurt, and you don't mention that.  Your original problem sounds like lower back, and the fact an MRI finds nothing or finds something doesn't necessarily mean much when it comes to lower back problems.  But I'm guessing it might be something called periformis syndrome.  It doesn't show up on MRIs or Xrays.  It's a small muscle above the buttocks and next to or part of the larger hip area below your lower back and with many of us it runs right underneath the sciatic nerve.  If it gets inflamed, it hits the sciatic nerve, and runs the pain from the buttocks area where it is down the side of the leg.  As you're feeling.  I got it from riding a bicycle hard.  It took awhile to do some stretches that made it go away the first time, but it took some years to go away.  The second time hot baths in epsom salts helped along with stretches.  Lying down was when it hurt the most for me as long as I didn't use a bicycle.  Like you, it didn't bother me when I did anything else.  Yours does sound different, and I'm not an expert of any kind, but it's something to consider as, again, it doesn't show up on diagnostic tests.  
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