Herpes zoster sciatica mimicking lumbar canal stenosis: a case report
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract Background Symptom of herpes zoster is sometimes difficult to distinguish from sciatica induced by spinal diseases, including lumbar disc herniation and spinal canal stenosis. Here we report a case of sciatica mimicking lumbar canal stenosis. Case presentation A 74-year-old Chinese male patient visited our hospital for left-sided sciatic pain upon standing or walking for 5 min of approximately 1 month’s duration. At the first visit to our hospital, there were no skin lesions. A magnetic resonance imaging showed spinal canal stenosis between the 4th and 5th lumbar spine. Thus, we diagnosed the patient with sciatica induced by spinal canal stenosis. We considered decompression surgery for the stenosis of 4th and 5th lumbar spine because conservative therapy failed to relieve the patient’s symptom. At that time, the patient complained of a skin rash involving his left foot for several days. A vesicular rash and erythema were observed on the dorsal and plantar surfaces of the great toe and lateral malleolus. The patient was diagnosed with herpes zoster in the left 5th lumbar spinal nerve area based on clinical findings, including the characteristics of the pain and vesicular rash and erythema in the 5th lumbar spinal dermatome. The patient was treated with famciclovir (1,500 mg/day) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. After 1 week of medication, the skin rash resolved and pain relief was obtained. Conclusion In conclusion, spinal surgeons should keep in mind herpes zoster infection as one of the possible differential diagnoses of sciatica, even if there is no typical skin rash.