Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: September 28, 2022
You might assume that spine surgeons only treat patients dealing with spine pain, but you’d be surprised to learn how many patients are suffering from a back issue that causes discomfort in another area of the body. One of the most common areas where spinal issues will lead to discomfort is in our legs. With that in mind, we wanted to use today’s blog to spotlight some of the spinal conditions that can present with pain in your legs.
Is My Leg Pain Caused By A Spinal Issue?
Leg pain doesn’t always mean that the root issue is housed in your leg. Your leg discomfort could actually be caused by one of these issues that Dr. Sinicropi and his team have a wealth of experience treating:
- Sciatica – Perhaps the most common spinal issue that leads to leg discomfort or pain is sciatica. We’ve talked about sciatica on the blog on numerous occasions in the past, but it is caused by an impingement or irritation of the large sciatic nerve that begins in your lower back and traverses down each leg. If the nerve is irritated in any area along this pathway, leg discomfort can arise. One of the most common areas for this nerve to become damaged or irritated is right as it exits the lumbar spine area.
- Herniated Discs – Another reason that you may be experiencing leg pain, weakness or numbness down your legs is the result of a disc herniation that is compressing a spinal nerve. Similar to sciatic nerve discomfort, if any of the key spinal nerves that are housed in your spinal canal are compressed, it can send radiating symptoms to your extremities. Disc issues in your upper spine oftentimes result in symptoms in your shoulders and arms, whereas herniations in your middle or lower back can oftentimes lead to symptoms in your legs.
- Spinal Stenosis – Here’s a third condition that causes problems for your spinal nerves and can lead to discomfort in your legs. Spinal stenosis involves a narrowing of the openings through which key nerves pass along your spinal canal. When these openings begin to narrow, it can compress spinal nerves and contribute to radiating symptoms in your hips, buttocks and legs.
- Degenerative Disc Disease – One final spinal issue that we’ll touch on that can cause symptoms like pain and muscle weakness in your legs is degenerative disc disease. Over the years your spinal discs will be exposed to a lot of physical stress, and that can slowly cause these discs to wear down. If the discs erode it can lead to bone spurs or shifting spinal discs, both of which can irritate nearby spinal nerves. Some degeneration is normal as we get older, but the condition can also be exacerbated by obesity, smoking or repetitive strain on your spine, so be mindful of your lifestyle choices.
As you can see, leg pain can routinely be caused by a spinal nerve issue, so don’t just assume that your leg discomfort is caused by a problem housed in the same area. If you want to figure out what’s causing your leg symptoms so that you can get set up with a comprehensive treatment plan, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.