By Bernard Preston

Partial numbness in lower leg 18 months post disc surgery


I had an operation for disc herniation L4-L5 18 months ago; a disc was removed. Since then I've recovered well but have a few lingering symptoms. I still have partial numbness in the front of my left calf and sometimes I get a strange sensation in this numb area.

I'm aware that I may never fully recover the sensation in this area, however, are there any precautions/exercises I can undertake to ensure that no further nerve damage occurs.

I no longer have back pain, other than if I spend too long sitting in one position, when I tend to stiffen up.

I'm aware that this is a lifetime condition - having suffered with back problems for most of my life (I am now 56). However, I wish to ensure that I look after my back going forward to ensure no further problems occur.

I look forward to hearing from you with any advice you may be able to provide.

Kind regards

Greetings Sharon,
You are right; there is no cure for what you have and that's true whether you go to a chiropractor, surgeon or PT. Like diabetes they need maintenance and most of that has to be done by you personally. No one else can be careful, refrain from lifting grand pianos and doing daily back exercises.

There are many different back exercises; these are the ones I recommend, done in bed every morning before arising; obviously several times a day would be better.
Lower back exercises

Then, walking and swimming would be great.

You can live with some numbness; it means there has been some permanent damage to the nerve and after 18 months is unlikely to recover. It's pain and weakness in the limb that would make your life a misery.

In one sense that numbness is doing you a favour; it's reminding you of the need to choose your chairs carefully, not sit too long and to go down on one knee rather than bend.

Work daily at those exercises, they take only two minutes, and with time you'll find you can do most things.

Ask someone to stand behind you, place their hands on the crests of the ilia and check if they are more or less level; then bend forwards; are there signs of a scoliosis? A simple insert in the shoe can be life changing.

Good luck and thank you for your question.

Dr B

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