Jack came into the office with low back and pain down his leg into his foot. He explained that he has never had it before and doesn’t know why it began. What could be causing Jack’s leg pain?
Leg pain can have many origins. One common reason for leg pain is from low back disorders. All along the spine, there are spinal nerves that go into all the tissues of the body. The nerves of the low back go into the legs and allow us to contract muscles, feel sensations, and coordinate movement. The lowest nerves of the back form a large nerve called the sciatic nerve. When these nerves get compressed we can get pain that radiates down our legs, which is called sciatica or radicular pain.
Sciatica can occur when a nerve is compressed from either bone or soft tissue. Below are some structures that may cause sciatica type symptoms.
Arthritis - Bone can compress the nerve in cases of moderate to severe arthritis. The spaces where nerves usually move freely can narrow, causing stenosis. Think of stenosis as pinching off a hose with your foot.
Soft tissue - Disc bulge and disc herniation commonly press on the spinal cord and the nerves that exit. If there has been an operation in the surrounding area scar tissue can form. There are also some muscles in the buttock region if tightened, can compress the sciatic nerve. All of these can cause leg pain.
Another way leg pain occurs is from inflammation. If there is significant tissue damage our bodies will naturally release inflammatory cells to repair the damage. However, the nerves in our body are very sensitive and the inflammation can send pain down the length of the nerve into the leg.
When people experience leg pain it may feel like a burning, shooting, or throbbing pain. The best way to recover from leg pain is to figure out its source.
To find relief from leg pain due to sciatica, make an appointment with us today.
- Matt Brush, D.C.