How Spinal Conditions Cause Various Leg Pains
Most often leg pain or foot pain is not caused by a problem in the leg or foot, but rather by a condition in the lower back or another part of the spine. Chiropractic states that a diagnosis of leg pain and other lower extremity symptoms should focus not only on the legs and hips, but should also include examination of the low back as well as the whole spine.
In fact, with many low back problems, there may be little or no low back pain. Instead, there may be leg pain, foot pain, and/or lower extremity numbness or weakness. Compression or pressure on any of the nerve roots in the low back can cause pain, numbness or weakness along the different nerves as they travel down through the leg and into the foot. Because the sciatic nerve is commonly affected, leg pain and related symptoms are often generally referred to as sciatica, or as a radiculopathy.
Not all leg pain derived from low back problems presents the same way. Leg pain caused by a low back problem is often accompanied by additional symptoms, such as leg numbness or tingling (a slight tingling sensation to complete numbness), weakness or heaviness (having to drag the lower leg and foot or being unable to move the leg as quickly and easily), burning (radiating, electric or shooting pain that literally feels like a jolt), constant pain (usually buttock pain but occasionally radiates past the buttock into the leg ), positional leg pain (leg pain that dramatically worsens in intensity when sitting, standing or walking), or foot pain, and the type of leg/foot pain experienced may vary widely from patient to patient.
Such leg pain as described may have a number of causes, which makes it necessary for an examination by a Chiropractor, who is a spinal health expert, to determine the actual source. The most common causes of such pain are: lumbar disc herniation (nerve pressure caused by a damaged disc); lumbar spinal stenosis (occurs when the spinal nerve roots are compressed or choked, usually by enlarged facet joints located in the back of the spinal column); lumbar spondylolysthesis (where a vertebra in the spine slips forward over the next, lower vertebra); and two other conditions, piriformis syndrome (tightening of the buttock muscle pressuring the sciatic nerve) and sacroiliac syndrome (the large joints where the pelvic and sacrum meet) can also cause leg pain and sciatica-type symptoms.
As there are many spinal conditions that may cause leg pain, foot pain, and other lower extremity symptoms, it is important to have an accurate anatomic diagnosis for the basis of a specific pain syndrome for successful treatment to be possible. Dr. Gorchynski, a Toronto-based chiropractor is able to determine a diagnosis and provide treatment for your condition in his chiropractic clinic, or refer you to an appropriate health resource.
For more information and/or to book your initial health assessment, contact us at 416-224-2225 or click here to book your appointment online.