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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Inability to Lift Legs


 SillyMcGoosey - Wed May 02, 2007 2:26 pm

When I was in high school, I was always a big girl. My weight by graduation (when I was 18) was 210 pounds.

In 2005, shortly after I turned 19, I dropped 40 pounds. This weight loss occurred in the following pattern:

November and December: 20 Pounds
January: None
February: None
March: None
April: None
May: None
June and July: 20 Pounds

The first 20 I hadn't noticed I lost until people kept complimenting me on how much weight I was apparently losing. I was never one of those people to weigh myself constantly.

I just chalked it up to some unnoticed change in my eating pattern. I didn't gain a pound between the two weight drops.

Here's why I mention the weight loss:

Ever since I was 16/17, I've had issues with falling down. I would be walking along, minding my own business and then -- WHAMMO! -- my leg would go out. It happened infrequently ... once every few months. I didn't pay much mind to it.

When I would go to the doctor (for injuries sometimes sustained when I'd fall), they'd tell me I was just clumsy. I believed them.

Then, the weight started coming off. After losing the 40 pounds, I took off a little more in the past few months. I'm now at 160, which leaves me at around 45-50 pounds lost over all.

The problem is that my legs have deteriorated. When I had the weight on, I could climb hills, I could climb stairs without having to hug the railing.

Now? I have to hold on to walls or people when I walk. I can't go more than a few feet without having to stop and brace myself. My legs are the weakest they've ever been before, and, the more I do to strengthen them, the weaker they get.

It's gotten so bad that, when I'm lying down or sitting down, I can't lift my legs straight out in front of me more than a few inches. If I want to cross my legs, I have to reach down and manually pick them up, because I can't get them to lift themselves.

Another example is getting into our Jeep. I have to use my upper body strength and the inside door handle to hoist myself into the Jeep, then reach down and pick up my legs to get them inside the vehicle.

I went to the local health department to see about this. I thought it was just me being lazy. I'd convinced myself that the weakness was due to inactivity, when, the inactivity is due to the fact that I just can't get my legs to move. I can barely walk.

The doctors there did a blood workup on me (checking for diabetes and that sort of thing) and said all of my blood work is normal. They're sending me to see a neurologist and have an MRI done next month. The doctor said he has an idea of what's wrong, but since he's just a PA and not a specialist, he wanted to wait on telling me what he thought it was because he didn't want to put any unnecessary stress on me if he was wrong.

So, that's why I'm here. Does anyone know what it could be or what I can expect when I go to talk to this specialist? I apologize for this being so long, I'm just very scared since I'm only 20.

Thanks.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed May 02, 2007 2:34 pm

User avatar Seeing a neurologist will be very important. I would also recommend that you have an MRI of the lower spine.

Weakness in the legs can be caused by spinal compression or compression of the nerves that go to the legs (less common when both legs are affected since both nerves would need to be compressed).

If you have any weakness in other places you may have a more systemic disease such as myesthenia gravis. This is a disease where the body makes antibodies that bind the receptors of the muscles causing the signaling chemicals for contraction not to be able to bind (keeping the muscles from being activated properly).

It is important that you follow up with the neurologist to see if there are any other symptoms that you may not have recognized.

Best wishes.
 SillyMcGoosey - Wed May 02, 2007 2:35 pm

I wanted to add that, over the past year, I've been experiencing something I call "morning headaches," meaning they come right as I'm waking up. They last for a few minutes and feel like head cramps.

They, too, are not regular. 1, maybe 2 a week.

In the past 2 months, I've had three episodes of dizziness, becoming very hot, then very cold and clammy, ending with my stomach and throat contracting like I'm going to throw up, but, I'm not.

The first of these happened before a biology exam. I was lumped in with a bunch of people outside the classroom for 20 minutes, and attributed it to being a panic attack. I'm claustrophobic, so, I just figured I panicked being with so many people.

The other two happened while I was at home, right after waking up. One was this morning.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu May 03, 2007 2:02 am

User avatar Morning headaches and headaches that wake one up from sleep generally warrant an MRI of the head to look for increased pressure from a tumor or some other type of problem.

Seeing a neurologist as soon as possible will be important for you.

Best wishes.
 Tophe - Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:34 pm

Sorry for bumping an old topic.

SillyMcGoosey,
If you are still reading this board, could you please contact me? Your situation sounds very similar to my girlfriend's, and she is currently undiagnosed.

email: crotts_c@yahoo.com

Thanks

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