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What Causes Lower Back Pain That Goes Down The Leg

What Is Radiating Pain

One Weird Trick For Back Pain Going Down The Leg

Radiating pain is pain that “radiates” from one area of the body to other areas of the body. When pain in one area of the body causes pain in other areas, this is known as “referred pain.” In fact, radiating lower back and hip pain can cause pain in all kinds of places near these areas like

  • Thigh muscle pain
  • Pain back of the knee
  • Knee pain at night
  • Pain in the upper thigh
  • Numbing of nerves in leg
  • Hip and groin pain
  • Pain in the back of leg behind the knee
  • Pain in one side side
  • Pain in the calf
  • Pain in back of the knee
  • Hip and groin pain
  • Sharp pain in the toes
  • Lower calf pain

Note your symptoms from the list above and use these to learn your diagnosis with our helpful descriptions of symptoms, possible causes, and when you should get to a doctor or emergency room to know how to treat your injury.

When To See A Healthcare Provider

Everybody handles pain differently. Still, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider right away if your pain:

  • Began with a specific injury
  • Wakes you up at night
  • Keeps you from sleeping
  • Travels to other parts of the body, like your legs
  • Comes with signs of infection such as redness, warmth, swelling, or fever
  • Comes with weakness, numbness, or tingling in your lower body

You may want to start by checking with your primary healthcare provider. They will be able to treat or refer you to a specialist if needed.

For example, if your healthcare provider thinks your pain may be caused by an inflammatory condition, you may need to see a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist specializes in arthritis and diseases that involve the bones, muscles, and joints.

You may find it helpful to know how pain is categorized:

  • Acute pain is short-term–a few days or weeks. It often happens after an injury or specific event.
  • Chronic pain is longer-term. It may last for several months or more. In many cases, it isn’t from an injury.

It’s a good idea to seek immediate medical care if you have low back pain and a personal history of cancer. Your pain may need urgent treatment if you also have unexplained weight loss or sudden bladder control issues.

Can Further Bouts Of Back Pain Be Prevented

Evidence suggests that the best way to prevent bouts of low back pain is simply to keep active and to exercise regularly. This means general fitness exercise such as walking, running, swimming, etc. There is no firm evidence to say that any particular back strengthening exercises are more useful to prevent back pain than simply keeping fit and active. It is also sensible to be back-aware. For example, do not lift objects when you are in an awkward twisting posture.

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Are Restless Leg Syndrome Multiple Sclerosis Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Plantar Fasciitis Shingles Or Bursitis Related To Sciatica

While all these conditions affect either the spinal cord, nerves, muscles, ligaments or joints and all can cause pain, none are directly related to sciatica. The main causes of these conditions are different. Sciatica only involves the sciatic nerve. That being said, the most similar condition would be carpal tunnel syndrome, which also involves a compression of a nerve.

A final word about sciatica. . . .

Most cases of sciatica do not require surgery. Time and self-care treatment are usually all thats needed. However, if simple self-care treatments do not relieve your pain, see your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can confirm the cause of your pain, suggest other treatment options and/or refer you to other spine health specialists if needed.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/25/2020.

References

How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed

Lower Back And Leg Pain Are Typical Sciatica Symptoms ...

A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.

Tests include:

Blood tests are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.

Bone scans can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.

Discography involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.

Electrodiagnostics can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include:

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What Complications Are Associated With Sciatica

Most people recover fully from sciatica. However, chronic pain can be a complication of sciatica. If the pinched nerve is seriously injured, chronic muscle weakness, such as a drop foot, might occur, when numbness in the foot makes normal walking impossible. Sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage, resulting in a loss of feeling in the affected legs. Call your provider right away if you lose feeling in your legs or feet, or have any concerns during your recovery time.

Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain

Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.

Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.

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Nerve Pain In Testicle And Leg

The spinal nerve compressions that are associated with the case that presents pain in the testicle and leg are of different types including:

  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Groin nerve irritation
  • Meralgia paresthetica

Depending upon the case the doctor will examine the case and will start the treatment accordingly. In case if anyone feels nerve pain in the testicle and leg, they should immediately consult with the doctor to get a proper checkup and relevant treatment.

When Are Diagnostic Tests For Lower Back Pain Necessary

What causes lower back pain & when should I be worried?

Many patients do not need X-rays in the first few weeks of pain because their pain will end up resolving. Many more do not need CT scans or MRI imaging, which are overly sensitive and often reveal abnormalities not related to the patients pain. These forms of imaging can be extremely useful, however, if a person has chronic or severe pain, and/or neurological symptoms. Blood tests may be ordered if an infection or tumor is suspected.

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Surgery For Lower Back Pain

Because the vast majority of patients recover from their low back pain with little help from a doctor, the rationale behind choosing surgery must be convincing. Eighty percent of patients with sciatica recover eventually without surgery.

Severe progressive nerve problems, bowel or bladder dysfunction and the cauda equina syndrome make up the most clear-cut indications for back surgery. Back surgery will also be considered if the patients signs and symptoms correlate well with studies such as MRI or electromyogram .

In the most serious cases, when the condition does not respond to other therapies, surgery may well be necessary to relieve pain caused by back problems. Some common procedures include:

  • Discectomy, such as a or removal of a portion of a
  • a bone graft that promotes the vertebrae to fuse together
  • removal of the lamina to create more space and reduce irritation and inflammation

References and useful links

  • 1, 2. Excerpted from Low Back Pain Fact Sheet, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
  • Low Back Pain Fact Sheet, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health. Reviewed, July 26, 2003.
  • Deyo RA, Weinstein JN, Low Back Pain, N Engl J Med, Vol 344, No. 5, Feb 1, 2001, pp 363-370.

Low Back Pain Treatment

Epidural Steroid Injection

Epidural steroid injections are most commonly used in situations of radicular pain, which is a radiating pain that is transmitted away from the spine by an irritated spinal nerve. Irritation of a spinal nerve in the low back causes pain that goes down the leg. Epidural injections are also used to treat nerve compression in the neck , referred to as cervical radiculopathy, which causes pain.

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When Should I Contact My Healthcare Provider

Get immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • Severe leg pain lasting more than a few hours that is unbearable.
  • Numbness or muscle weakness in the same leg.
  • Bowel or bladder control loss. This could be due to a condition called cauda equina syndrome, which affects bundles of nerves at the end of the spinal cord.
  • Sudden and severe pain from a traffic accident or some other trauma.

Even if your visit doesnt turn out to be an emergency situation, its best to get it checked out.

Complications Related To Sciatica

Pin on Back Pain Info

If you develop a loss of bladder or bowel control, contact your doctor right away. This can be a sign of a medical emergency that requires surgery to avoid permanent damage. Fortunately, this complication is rare. Most cases of sciatica go away within a few days or weeks and cause no lasting harm.

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What Is The Outlook

Most of us will have a bout of nonspecific low back pain at some point in our lives. The severity can vary. However, it is difficult to quote exact figures as to outlook . This is partly because it is so common and many people with back pain do not consult a doctor. Roughly, it is thought that:

  • Most nonspecific back pains ease and go quickly, usually within a few weeks.
  • In about 4 in 10 cases, the pain has completely gone within four weeks.
  • In about 7 in 10 cases the pain has completely gone within one year.

However, once the pain has eased or gone it is common to have further bouts of pain from time to time in the future. Also, it is common to have minor pains on and off for quite some time after an initial bad bout of pain. In a small number of cases the pain persists for several months or longer. This is called chronic back pain.

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care For Sciatica

  • The pain is not improving after several days or seems to be getting worse.
  • If the affected person is younger than 20 years of age or older than 55 years of age and is having sciatica for the first time
  • The affected individual presently has cancer or has a history of cancer.
  • The affected individual has lost a large amount of weight recently or has unexplained chills and fever with back pain.
  • The affected individual is HIV positive or uses IV drugs.
  • Someone has trouble bending forward after more than a week or two.
  • The affected individual notices weakness is getting more pronounced over time.

Go to a hospital’s emergency department if any of the following occur along with sciatica.

  • The pain is unbearable, despite trying first aid methods.
  • The pain follows a violent injury, such as a fall from a ladder or an automobile crash.
  • The pain is in the back of the chest.
  • The affected individual is unable to move or feel his or her legs or feet.
  • The affected individual loses control of his or her bowels or bladder or has numbness in his or her genitals. These may be symptoms of cauda equina syndrome .
  • The affected individual has a high temperature .

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Back Problems That Cause Leg Pain

Almost everyone at some point in their life develops lower back pain. This part of your back includes your lumbar spine, which is responsible for supporting much of your upper body weight.

Aging and the stress of your body weight leads to degeneration of the components that make up your spine, including the discs, ligaments, cartilage, and vertebrae. These degenerative changes are often the source of lower back pain, as well as your leg pain. Back problems that cause leg pain include:

What Is A Herniated Disc

Low Back Pain Causing Numbness and Pain Down Leg and Hands

Herniation describes an abnormality of the intervertebral disc that is also known as a “bulging,””ruptured,” or “torn” disc. This process occurs when the inner core of the intervertebral disc bulges out through the outer layer of ligaments that surround the disc . This tear in the annulus fibrosis causes pain in the back at the point of herniation. If the protruding disc presses on a spinal nerve, the pain may spread to the area of the body that is served by that nerve. Between each vertebra in the spine is a pair of spinal nerves, which branch off from the spinal cord to a specific area in the body. Any part of the skin that can experience hot and cold, pain or touch, refers that sensation to the brain through one of these nerves. In turn, pressure on a spinal nerve from a herniated disc will cause pain in the part of the body that is served by that nerve. Most disc ruptures occur when a person is in their 30s or 40s when the nucleus pulposus is still a gelatin-like substance.

Four Degrees of Disc Herniation

Nuclear Herniation

Sequestered Nucleus

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What Are The Symptoms

Classic sciatic pain starts in the low back and buttocks. It affects one leg traveling down the back of the thigh, past the knee, and sometimes into the calf and foot. The pain feels worse in the leg than in the back. It may range from a mild ache to severe burning or a shooting pain. Numbness or tingling can occur in your leg and foot. This usually is not a concern unless you have weakness in your leg muscles or foot drop.

Sitting usually causes the most pain because of the weight this position puts onto the discs. Activities, such as bending or twisting, worsen the pain, whereas lying down tends to bring relief. Running or walking may actually feel better than sitting or standing for too long.

Seek medical help immediately if you have extreme leg weakness, numbness in the genital area, or loss of bladder or bowel function. These are signs of a condition called cauda equina syndrome.

Common Causes Of Chronic Lower Back Pain

“Chronic lower back pain is less likely to be caused by injury to your muscles and ligaments and more likely to be due to issues with the lumbar disks, nerves, joints or vertebrae,” says Dr. Palmer. “There are several potential causes of chronic pain in the lower back.”

In general, osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease are the underlying cause of many types of chronic lower back pain. However, lower back pain can also be caused by accident-related trauma and acute stress.

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Bonus: Testicular Pain Treatment At Home

Testicular pain can be treated at home by adopting some effective practices that will contribute positively to the cause. We can prevent many discomforts by adopting some healthy habits.

For suppose, if we take about the sportsmen or even young boys who practice different outdoor games, they are more prone to testicular injuries. To prevent testicular injuries, it is best to use an athletic supporter it is easily available in stores and online.

Other methods that help to ease testicular pain include the use of ice because it is the best remedy to reduce inflammation, taking a warm bath is also quite effective pain-reducing technique, many over-the-counter drugs can be used to ease the pain.

Remember that never try to use any medicine without the advice of the doctor to save yourself from any complications.

What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Back Pain

Sciatica Pain Treatments Brisane

This depends on your condition or symptoms. If you have no obvious injury that would explain your pain, you may want to start by seeing a . This is a specialist in physical medicine who can diagnose back pain and determine whether nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy may help. Depending on those findings, a physiatrist may also refer you to a , doctor or other type of back specialist, , for additional discussion.

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What Is Lumbar Spinal Canal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal canal stenosis is a narrowing in the space in the lower spine that carries nerves to your legs. This space is very small. It gets even smaller if the bone and tissue around it grow. It takes many years for this bone and tissue to grow.

Arthritis, falls, accidents and wear and tear on the bones and joints in the spine also play a part in stenosis. As the lumbar spinal canal shrinks, the nerves that go through it are squeezed. This squeezing may cause back pain, leg pain and leg weakness. Many adults have this kind of stenosis.

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