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  • Cherry Health Center

Relief from Lower Back and Leg Pain

What’s Causing My Lower Back and Leg Pain? Sciatica Lumbar herniated disk Piriformis syndrome, Arachnoiditis?

Back pain is a common ailment and the leading cause of job-related disability. It can equally affect men and women, ranging in intensity from a mild ache lasting a few days to intense, chronic pain lasting for weeks at a time.

Though often caused by muscle strain and normal wear and tear of the body, back pain may also be a symptom of more serious conditions. In some cases, back pain can extend to other areas of the body, specifically to your legs.

Other symptoms associated with back and leg pain include:

burning sensationstinglingbeing sore to the touchlimited mobilityHere are some causes of lower back and leg pain.

SciaticaOften the result of a herniated disk, sciatica is a form of pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve extends from your lower back, through your hips and butt, and down your legs. If you experience sciatica pain, it will typically occur on one side of your body.

Common symptoms associated with sciatica include:

pain radiating from your lower spine down the back of your legsharp jolts of pain in the affected areasburning sensationsmuscle weaknessnumbnesstrouble controlling your bladder or bowelsSelf-care, exercise, and proper posture can usually improve sciatica symptoms. If your condition doesn’t improve, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and discomfort.

In some cases, your doctor may inject steroids into the area surrounding your sciatic nerve to alleviate pain. If your sciatic pain begins to cause weakness or affects your quality of life, surgery may be the best treatment. Always consult with your doctor before pursuing treatment options.

Lumbar herniated diskA lumbar herniated disk is a ruptured disk in your lower back. It occurs when the nucleus or “jelly” is pushed out of your spinal disk through a tear. The ruptured disk puts pressure on a spinal nerve that can cause severe pain, numbness, and sometimes weakness.

Other symptoms associated with a lumbar herniated disk include:

persistent back pain worsened by standing, coughing, or sneezingback spasmsdecreased reflexes at the knee or ankleleg muscle weaknessnumbness in leg and footspinal cord compressionTreatments vary depending on the severity of the damage. In minor cases, doctors may recommend rest, pain medication, and, sometimes, acupuncture. If symptoms don’t improve within a few weeks, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or surgery.

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Piriformis syndromeThe piriformis is a flat, band-like muscle found in your glutes near the top of your hip joint. The piriformis helps to stabilize your hip joint, and lifts and rotates your thigh away from your body.

Piriformis syndrome is a neurological disorder that occurs when your piriformis muscle compresses your sciatic nerve.

Common symptoms associated with piriformis syndrome include:

pain extending to your lower legtinglingnumbness in your buttocksTreatment involves pain relief and avoiding pain triggers such as certain sitting positions and strenuous physical activities.

Your doctor may recommend rest, hot and cold treatments, and physical therapy to increase your mobility. Surgery is a last resort, but may be required in severe circumstances.

SPONSORED BY HEALTH WARRIOR7 Grams of Plant ProteinSee MoreArachnoiditisThe arachnoid is a membrane that protects spinal cord nerves. Inflammation or irritation of the arachnoid can cause the pain disorder arachnoiditis. In many cases, people who have arachnoiditis experience pain in the lower back and legs, as it affects the nerves in those areas.

The more common symptom of this condition is a stinging, burning pain. Other symptoms associated with arachnoiditis include:

tingling or numbness, specifically in the legs“skin-crawling” sensationsmuscle crampstwitchingbowel or bladder dysfunctionThough there’s no complete cure for arachnoiditis, treatments focus on pain management. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication or recommend physiotherapy and exercise. Surgery isn’t recommended for this condition because it can increase the risk of scar tissue formation.

OutlookRadiating back and leg pain are often symptoms of more serious medical conditions. While in some cases pain may improve within a few days, some conditions can cause debilitating pain for weeks at a time.

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