Leg pain is sometimes a minor inconvenience, but it can sometimes be so severe that it keeps you from walking or performing regular tasks.
What are the symptoms?
Depending on the cause of the leg pain, it can be accompanied by tingling, stabbing, and aching sensations. The pain might come and go, have a gradual onset, or be sudden. Leg pain can often be chronic, which lasts for several months. It can be felt anywhere on the leg, from the hells to the pelvis.
What are the causes of leg pain?
There are several causes of leg pain and underlying conditions that have leg pain as a symptom:
- Sciatica – Leg pain extends from the back into the buttocks, and then down the back of the leg. Sciatica is usually caused by pressure on the nerve roots in the lower back, which starts in the spinal nerve. It can be acute or chronic.
- Osteoarthritis – Leg pain occurs when the body’s cartilage loses elasticity, and the joints in the leg rub up against each other.
- Phantom limb pain – Extreme pain felt in a leg that was amputated. This is a central pain brought on by the brain and spinal cord.
- Diabetic neuropathy – Often a sharp pain felt in the leg or other limbs as a result of diabetes damaging specific nerves.
- Facet joints – Leg pain felt from worn down lumbar facet joints, also felt in the lower back and hip.
- Cancer pain – Leg pain felt if cancer has spread to the bones in the leg, or if there is a tumor pressing up against bones and tissue.
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain – Leg and thigh pain felt as a result of the SI joint (found at he base of the spine) becoming inflamed or strained. This joint can also cause lower back pain.
- Spondylolisthesis – Leg pain caused by one vertebra in the spine slipping forward or backward. This can also cause lower back pain.
- Complex regional pain syndrome – Pain caused by a chronic nerve disorder, usually after an injury. It usually affects the entire limb.
How is it treated?
The treatment of leg pain depends on the underlying cause:
- Selective nerve root block and facet joint block – Used to prevent pain signals from traveling nerve pathways and reaching the brain.
- Sacroiliac joint injection – Delivers cortisone to the joints and reduces inflammation to relieve pain in legs and other areas.
- Lumbar sympathetic block – Used for leg pain that is occurring from cancer, phantom limb pain, complex regional pain syndrome, and diabetic neuropathy.
- Trigger Point Injection – Relaxes muscles to relieve pain felt by muscle groups in legs as well as arms, lower back, and neck.
- Spinal cord stimulation – Decreases the pain signals sent to the brain. This is useful for treating leg pain caused by complex regional pain syndrome.