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Loss of leg control

pboynton's picture
Last seen:
3 years 3 weeks ago
06/22/2011 - 10:07am
Loss of leg control

I am 68 and have a history of lower back pain, beginning at age 12.  I recently got your book after watching your show on PBS. I'm finding it makes a lot of sense and am getting some relief getting some relief from stretchsitting and stretchlying, which is as far as I have gotten at this point. (As you acknowledge, your method contradicts much of the guidance I have received for years, esp. re flattening the natural lower back curve).

After beginning to swim a year ago, I found that when I have been sitting for a while and stand up, I frequently lose control of my legs. (I never had this symptom before.) I stand up, walk a few steps, and an barely able to move my legs. I have to stop and rest with my hands on my thighs, or hold onto something until it passes in 10 seconds or so. The sensation is similar to a shiver without the trembling, from my buttocks down through my thighs. There is no pain. It doesn't happen when I get up after lying down. A pain management specialist proposing radio frequency ablation, after having had some temoorary success with steroid injections, told me that the sensation I was experiencing was due to restoration of nerve function after sitting. He likened it to the pins and needles feeling when sensation is restored after a limb gets numb. When I asked about MS, he said it was too late in life for that to begin. Would you have any insight into this phenomenon?

FYI, my underlying condition was described by a radiologist after an MRI about 18 mo. ago as follows: 

"Left lumbar scoliosis is present and shows prominent degenerative change. Complete loss of disk height with broad remodeling of endplates is present at L2-L3 and 3-4 and to lesser degree L1-L2. Large anterior osteophyte formation is present at L1-L2. A large bone spur is present concentrically at the  disc of L2-L3 more prominent to the right side. The canal is narrow but not frankly stenotic. Right-sides foraminal stenosis is present.

"Moderate disc bulges present at L3-L4 more proominent to the right side. Prominent facet and lagmentous hypertrophy is present with mild canal stenosis. Bilateral foraminal stenosis is present.

"Advanced degeneration of the facets is present at L5-S-1 with almost a centimeter of degenerative subluxation. A prominent disc bulge is present. Canal appears adequate.  Bilateral foraminal stenosis is present more apparent on the left.

"Wedge compression of T12 is present and appears chronic. No acute bony findings."

An X-Ray report done at the same lab added: "No significant change in alignment with flexion and extension."


charlenehannibal's picture
Last seen:
3 years 2 weeks ago
12/15/2010 - 7:51am

Hi there,


Without seeing your posture but given your symptoms and MRI findings, I would say that creating length in your spine, especially your lumbar vertebrae/discs will be greatly beneficial to you.  It sounds like you have lost height in these areas and that the discs are not able to sit well between your vertebrae.  With enough gentle tractions (you are already off to a great start with the Stretchsitting and Stretchlying) you will be able to create more room so your nerves won't be getting pinched or affected so much.  Often with disc bulges and bone spurs/arthritic change, a disc or spur can be pinching or laying on a nerve which could be affecting your function.  I would also direct you to the Inner Corset chapter in 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back to help with lengthening and strengthening your deep abdominal/back muscles.
 Try and squeeze your glutes as well while you walk-Chapter 8 on Glidewalking should illuminate what I mean.  Building up your glutes will be key to walking well with an aligned spine for the future.

I hope this is helpful to you!


Charlene Hannibal

Gokhale Method Teacher, Palo Alto and San Francisco

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