Pinched Nerve Recommendations

Hi everyone,
I’m relatively new to Ithaca/FLRC and this is my first post on the forum! I’ve lived in Ithaca for almost two years, but I just joined FLRC a few weeks ago. Since joining, I accrued what I believe to be an “overuse injury” in my left leg and have been more or less off my feet for the past couple weeks. Informed by my own research, I’m inclined to believe it’s a nerve issue sourced in my lower back. The resulting burning/discomfort/pain runs throughout my left leg all the way to the top of my foot where I’ve experienced some numbness as well.

I have a former connection with a PT at Upstate Bone and Joint in Syracuse, NY and I went there last week during their walk-in hours for a brief exam. The exam went smoothly so the doctor didn’t see a need for an MRI and merely suggested that I take more time to rest. I’m looking for a second opinion or any suggestions from folks who may have experienced setbacks due to aggravated/pinched nerves before. Additionally, I wonder if there are “safe” activities or exercises I can still do without fear of prolonging the issue.

I’ve jotted down a few names and medical practices that have been suggested in previous injury topics here, and I’ll be sure to check them out first! In the meantime, if anyone has any thoughts or advice (beyond resting :blush:), I’m all ears. Thank you in advance!
- Anna C

Welcome to FLRC, Anna, and sorry that you’re dealing with this pain.

It sounds like you’ve evaluated the problem pretty well, so the main thing I’d recommend is looking through the healthcare providers who have been suggested for our Newcomer’s Guide to Running in Ithaca. Any of the doctors, PTs, or chiropractors would likely have useful advice about your problem, which does sound an awful lot like a nerve issue.

The main problem could be getting in quickly, since it can take longer for new patients with some of them. Good luck, and perhaps others have had similar problems and can pass on what they did.

Hi Anna - Welcome to FLRC! And sorry for the issues you’re having. I’ve had the same nerve problems years ago: a pinched nerve in my lower lumbar causing nerve issues down my left leg (tingling, numbing, muscle spasms, etc.). I’ve also had pinched nerves in my neck causing pain in my arms. I’ve had great luck with Eva Stillwell, a PT at Cornell and would recommend her highly. The PT office is in Schoellkopf and you can set appointments using the scheduler on Cornell Health’s website I believe. She uses the McKenzie exercises, named after Robin McKenzie who has several books for the neck and back. “Treat Your Own Back” is one and it’s available on Amazon, but I think Eva just gave me copies that I still have. The exercises take time - as in weeks - to really notice improvements, and at first they can be painful. But, if you keep at them on a nearly daily basis, improvements are noticeable. I still use the exercises to keep the issues away.

Sorry about your pain/issues, but I encourage you to get them taken care of before they get too sever.

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I think it is fine to take a few weeks to rest, but I am glad that you are planning to get more advice. I know Eva, the person who Steve recommended, as a cycling friend, and I think she would be great to work with.

I herniated a disc in 2020 right as the COVID pandemic began, and TLDR it took me 18 months to have a microdiscectomy to have the herniated material removed from where it was pressing on my sciatic nerve. I was in a lot of pain for most of that 18 months. Two years post-op and I am still recovering, not from the operation, but from 18 months of inactivity/pain. And I will probably always have some numbness/weirdness in my leg along the line of the sciatic nerve. So, I encourage you to take it seriously. I now do not run as much as I would like to, because I can’t find the time around my Pilates and weight lifting routines. But I do Pilates like my life depends on it!

I hope you are feeling better soon. Post back here and let us know how you are doing!

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Thanks, @SteveShaum! I’ve now added Eva to the Newcomer’s Guide list.

Unfortunately I think you have to be a Cornell employee to schedule with the Cornell PTs.

Undoubtedly, and I’ve put a note in that she’s available only for the Cornell community.

Thank you, all! I greatly appreciate the quick follow up and the helpful suggestions. I’ll be sure to check back and let you all know how things progress.

Hi Anna,

I work at Cayuga Sports Medicine as an x-ray tech. Our doctors routinely see patients to diagnose and manage injuries like what you’re describing (lumbar radiculopathy) and treat a lot of runners in the Ithaca area. You might not need another visit to a physician if rest and/or PT solve the problem, but we can get you in quickly for an initial visit if you decide to go that route. You don’t need a referral and we can usually get new patients in within a few days if not the same day. Hopefully whatever route you take gets you back to running pain free!