Hello all. First-time poster. I'm actually posting this on behalf of my younger brother. He's been having intermittent pain in his lower back for about 6 months now. In the past few weeks, he's also noticed that it will sometimes be accompanied by a tingling sensation in either his pinky on his left hand or his pinky toe on his left foot. I've been after him to see a doctor after the holidays are over, but in the meantime, I wanted to post this here to see if anyone could point him in a direction of possible causes.
As for his health history, he's in his late 20s, and has never had any health issues, other than asthma (which developed in his early 20s). Thanks in advance for the advice.
I commend you for wanting to try and help your younger brother. A good BIG brother you are.
With his lower back pain going on now for 6 months and that thingling sensation in his left hand and toe, I would highly recommend that he seek the advice of a neurologist/spinal surgeon without delay. Back pain is one of those things that sometimes is difficult to determine what ones self did "wrong" if anything.
I would suggest that he speak with people he knows who have been to a neurologist or spinal surgeon in your area. Find out which doctor they liked and which ones they did not like. He needs a spinal doctor who is well respected. The best he can find. He may also wish to call the local hospitals and ask them which spinal surgeon performs the most surgeries. (I'm not saying that your brother needs surgery, I'm only saying that you want a very experienced doctor who is best able to determine what is causing your brother's pain. I am NOT a doctor, however, from my personal experience, that thigling sensation is an indication of a pinched nerve which in my case was caused by a bulging disc.
Oh yes, after he has determined who are the best spinal doctors in his area have him make an appointment with one. Then immediately make an appointment with another spinal surgeon on the list, and preferably a third doctor. It is always a good idea to get those second opinions.
I wish your brother well. Do stay in touch and let us know how things go. If he or you have any questions along the way don't hesitate to ask.
P.S. - If he has a professional sports team in his area I would suggest that he give the team's office a call and find out which spinal doctor or neurologist the team uses for their player. With the investment the owners have in the players they don't want the cheapest doctor, they want the BEST doctor. This approach sure has worked for me.
Thanks for the advice, Rich. I will certainly convey your helpful words to him. I was thinking it might be an issue with a disc as well. While he doesn't have any sports-related injuries, he has been, for the past year, (against my advice) lifting heavy weights without a spotter and I suspect that may be the cause. I will certainly let you know how it turns over after he's been to see some specialists. Thanks again.
Yes, I agree with you regarding the "cause". Our bodies are not made of steel. When I go to PT for my ole back, I'd guess a good third of those receiving treatment are because of sports injuries. Lifting weights is a "sport".
I really hope your brother takes "our" advice and makes an appointment to see the best neurologist/spinal surgeon that he can find, AND to do so without delay.
"What sort of procedures can fix a bulging disc (assuming it is that)? Would he require surgery?" - Honestly, there are SOOOoooo many variables that there is no way of knowing until he has received the advice from 2 to 3 MD doctors specializing in the spine.
Here is the "rule of thumb" from what I and others have been through. X-rays and MRIs are taken and then reviewed by the doctors. The patient is also told to try and do this or that in the examining room, and the doctor will also do a good exam to better understantd the situation and what is causing the pain.
Next step is to try non-surgical options (epidural injections, physical therapy, etc). If they work, GREAT!!!, If not, then the next step is to determine whether non-invasive surgery is an option, etc. Basically it is a matter of slowly going through the varies steps, with the hope that the knife can be kept at bay.
This process takes time. Months. So patience is needed.
I wish your brother and you the best. He is most fortunate to have you as his "BiIG" brother helping him through this. You are a very special fellow.