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Pain Management

Leg Muscle Pain

01/02/2008

Question:

I have been having worsening leg muscle pain and heaviness caused by standing and walking. It gets better when I sit down. (Recently I have been having slight trembling in my hands when sewing). My primary care doctor asked me to walk on my toes and I could not do this. I also could not get up from a squatting position, and have trouble climbing steps because it makes my thighs burn and get real weak and stiff. My doctor wants me to do water therapy and I think something is very wrong and want to know if I should see any type of specialist? Also, there is soreness in my sacral spine and neck, especially at the base of my skull. And my head feels very heavy. I am a female, age 53. All blood tests CBC, MET and thyroid were normal. Except for high blood pressure, and hyperlipidemia. X-rays showed multi-level degenerative disc disease, but the doctor said it was not bad enough to cause my symptoms. I feel sick every day, and sleepy. What type of specialist should I ask for? My doctor said he "did not know" what was causing my trouble walking, and the physical therapist said I was "46% disabled."

Answer:

Your leg symptoms are typical for "spinal stenosis" or narrowing of the spinal canal or nerve root exit sites from the spine. An MRI of the spine would be useful as well as seeing a Pain Management specialist, neurologist or spine specialist. The trembling problem in the hands may be a separate issue and you may benefit from seeing a Neurologist. Feeling sick and sleepy may reflect a systemic problem and a rheumatologic work-up may be useful.

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Response by:

Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University