Leg Pain: What Causes It?
By Sara Butler
Many people experience shooting pain in their legs akin to an electric shock. Sometimes it’s accompanied by sudden numbness. What is that all about? These common symptoms can be the result of problems in your lower back. If you experience leg pain, here’s what you need to know and how your chiropractor can help.
Your Lumbar Spine
The lumbar spine is the lower segment of the spine. It consists of five vertebrae that run from the pelvis to the rib cage. It has a big job because it’s responsible for bearing most of the weight of your upper body and also holding you upright.
Sometimes due to deterioration, injury, or disease, the position of the vertebrae can shift. This can impact the muscles nearby as well as the connective tissue and nerves, which can cause them to flex or twist abnormally. These changes often result in pain.
Shooting pain in the legs can occur when a sudden shift occurs in the lumbar vertebrae, placing pressure on the nearby nerves and causing them to misfire. The brain interprets these misfires as pain, felt down the length of the nerve down into the leg. The pain can be very intense!
What Causes It?
There are several conditions that can cause nerves to be compressed or pinched by the vertebrae in the lower back. The biggest reason is deterioration due to age. As you get older, the tissue and cartilage break down, narrowing the space between the vertebrae. This condition, called spinal stenosis, can also be accompanied by arthritis, which only makes the pain worse.
An injury is also a leading cause of leg pain associated with the lumbar spine. The pain in the leg that often accompanies injury can be temporary, but it can persist for quite some time. If you’ve been injured and notice leg pain in the aftermath, you should have it assessed by a chiropractor as soon as possible.
Other causes of leg pain include:
- Herniated disc – This is also referred to as a slipped disc. It is caused by a tear in the fibrous outer layer of the discs between the bones in the spine. The soft inner layer can then leak out and cause inflammation, impingement, and pain.
- Sciatica – This condition causes pain to radiate down the leg from the lower back. It involves the largest nerve in your leg, called the sciatic nerve. It’s considered more of a symptom of a larger problem rather than a condition on its own.
How Your Chiropractor Can Help
You don’t have to live with leg pain and you shouldn’t ignore the symptoms you’re having. See a chiropractor at The Joint today so they can determine the root cause of your problem and help you to find relief.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Aurora, Colo.