Radiating Pain in Your Leg May Signal a Damaged Nerve or Herniated Disc

You may be surprised to find out that lower leg pain isn't always caused by a leg issue.

Nerve damage and herniated discs in the spine often occur in adults that lead a sedentary lifestyle or lift heavy loads regularly. Other risk factors include having poor posture or biomechanics, being overweight and smoking.

Our team of neurological surgeons at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center is experienced at treating adults with leg and back pain. We want to share some signs that your leg pain might be caused by nerve damage or a herniated disc. 

Pain accompanied by numbness and weakness 

Radiating pain that travels through your buttocks and down one of your legs could be caused by damage to one of your lumbar disc impinging on the sciatic nerve. It is also characterized by tenderness in the lower back where the nerve exits the spinal column. This common problem may be caused by any of the risk factors mentioned, as well as by pregnancy, which places additional weight on the disc and nerve, or injury. Weakness in the affected leg may also occur.

If your leg numbness is also associated with diminished bladder or bowel control, it may be a sign of Cauda equina syndrome, which requires immediate medical attention as it can lead to permanent paralysis, bowel or bladder incontinence. Fortunately, these complications are rare and can be readily treated as a medical emergency.

Sitting and standing for too long makes the pain worse

If you experience leg pain when you are sitting down or standing up for prolonged periods, you may be dealing with a slipped disc in your lower back. Pain worsens because sitting down or standing puts a lot of pressure on herniated discs, pushing them against your nerves. 

Twisting and bending may cause pain as well. Lying down may bring relief to your leg because it takes the pressure away from your lower back.

A systemic disease that damages bone and nerves 

Many systemic diseases can damage either the nerve or the bone structure, increasing your chances of experiencing pain. If you have a systemic disease, the first step in tackling the pain is keeping your underlying condition under control.

Ailments such as diabetes can lead to issues because high blood sugar levels slow down bone cell formation and damage nerves in your extremities, often leading to peripheral neuropathy. 

Other systemic ailments that may increase leg pain include lupus, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and hyperthyroidism.

Learn more about the cause of your leg pain 

At Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center, we can help you get a clear diagnosis of what’s causing your leg pain, and we have a large variety of treatments for you to choose from. 

If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, Scottsdale, Arizona or Sun City West, Arizona, and leg pain is harming the quality of your life, contact us to schedule an appointment and get treatment. 

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If you're looking for a neurosurgeon in the Phoenix area, contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center for the ultimate neurological care.