Florida Spine Institute

Leg Pain

Many people suffering from leg pain do not realize that their pain might be caused by a spinal condition. Back-related leg pain can be extremely frustrating, since the pain is not actually felt where the root of problem is. Knowing where the pain is located, and being aware of specific body positions or movements that create or eliminate the pain, how frequent it is, and what kind of pain it is (ache, tingling, burning) will help your doctor determine the cause.

When referring to symptoms of leg pain, your doctor may use the term “sciatica,” which describes the pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness you feel that stems from the sciatic nerve in your lower back. With sciatica, you may feel no back pain, but instead, experience severe leg pain.

There are two different ways that the spine can cause you to experience leg pain. The first is a pain described as electric and radiating; this occurs when the nerve roots themselves are irritated. The second is called referred pain, and it happens when parts of your spine (facet joints, discs) become damaged. This is a dull, aching pain down your leg.

Lower back, or lumbar spine conditions will frequently cause leg pain; some of the most common ones are listed below.

  • Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease

    As you get older, the discs between your vertebrae will start to degenerate, losing water and flexibility. This results in pain that can radiate down to your leg. The main symptom of this condition is lower back pain; however, leg and foot pain are also common. This condition causes the referred pain mentioned above. Although as the discs degenerate further, they will start to compress the nerves. This compression creates the electric and shooting leg pain that some patients experience.

  • Lumbar Herniated Disc

    Disc herniation results when pressure is put on the weakest part of the disc, causing leg pain to be felt all the way from the lower back to the foot. For severe cases, a micro-decompression surgery (microdiscectomy) can remove a part of the disc to relieve nerve pressure. However, most cases can be alleviated with a variety of non-surgical methods.

  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

    Spinal stenosis occurs when nerves are compressed as a result of enlarged facet joints in your spine, narrowing the spinal canal. The symptoms associated with this are leg pain, numbness, and weakness. This leg pain will develop slowly, as the narrowing process takes place in the spine. Patients will usually notice that leaning forward will alleviate the pain, since it opens up the spinal column, relieving the pressure on the nerve roots.

Don’t spend another day in pain. Since illness and injury can affect any of the above conditions causing inflammation, discomfort and pain, it is best to seek treatment from the highly qualified physicians of the Florida Spine Institute.