Centre for Spine and Movement Related Disorders

strategies for chronic and more complex

problems to help restore active lifestyles


Rehabilitation - Sports - Standing MRI - X-Ray

Can a Chiropractor help with pain, numbness, pins and needles in my leg that came on after I twisted to the left while bending forward?

While some health problems can be adequately self-managed, this is the sort of problem that does need the assistance of a suitably trained health care practitioner otherwise the leg symptoms can become permanent and/or quite disabling.  As a spine-related disorder, we would follow a step-by-step process in order to help you get the best results.  Once all relevant case information has been gathered, a clinical care and advice strategy can be chosen that best matches the specific problem.   

Management steps include:

     1.     We perform a thorough clinical assessment with the goal of identifying the underlying cause/mechanism of your particular symptoms.  In addition to a detailed patient history, a combination of structure, function, physical and neurological tests are performed which may include the taking of a set of x-rays or other imaging/laboratory tests.  It is also important that we rule out any serious problems, before we can assist any further.  While there are various causes of these types of symptoms, the most common reason is a tear in the rear part of a lower back disc on the side of the leg discomfort.  There is not much room next to where a disc typically bulges, protrudes or even leaks in situations like this.  So, nearby blood vessels and delicate nerve structures can become irritated/compressed thereby causing pain and numbness, along with pins and needles.

     2.     If it is confirmed that the symptoms are not likely caused by an infection, cancer, fracture or other condition that would require management coordinated by your GP, we can formulate an effective, safe customised clinical care and advice strategy for most disc-related problems. 

     3.     We will need to fully explain the nature of your condition, recommendations and gain an understanding of your health goals.  You can then make an informed decision and provide consent to proceed.

     4.     A trial period of specific care and customised advice can then commence.  This is aimed at helping to relieve pain and optimise the healing process.  In addition to the gentle clinical procedures that we provide and your self-management strategies, we may need you to see your GP for some additional pain-relief assistance if you are still not coping with your pain.  Furthermore, it is important that we have a good working relationship with your GP, so that appropriate treatments can be coordinated between the practitioners.  Optimising the healing process often focuses on:

     •     careful and selective movement of the lower back and leg in particular directions that help reduce the back and leg symptoms.

     •     improving mobility of the mid back and sometimes hip/s.

     •     improving stability and coordination of the lower trunk. For more information, read: The Core of Injury Prevention?

     •     customised exercises, which are often key ingredients in the management of back and leg symptoms.  It is important that the best ones are prescribed for your individual case situation; the wrong ones can worsen your pain and overall problem.

     5.     Progress should be closely monitored, along with periodic case reassessments.  If there has been satisfactory progress after the initial trial period but your goals have not yet been achieved, an additional period of clinical care and advice can be provided.  Once your goals have been achieved, the aim should be that you have become equipped to be able to self-manage your clinical problem as much as possible.  Unfortunately, it is common that these types of problems don’t fully resolve, so it is important that you learn the necessary skills for optimum self-management.  We partner with our patients who are suffering these types of problems to help equip them in this area.

If your condition worsens at any stage or fails to improve sufficiently after an initial trial of regular treatment over a 4 to 6 week timeframe, current clinical guidelines suggest that advanced diagnostic imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) if not done so already, should be performed.  This may also result in us and your GP referring you to a neurosurgeon or orthopaedic surgeon for a management opinion.

If you need help with leg pain or arm pain, call 9584 4856 to book your appointment.