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Leg Pain & Weakness

About Leg Pain & Weakness

Pain and weakness in the legs could be caused by sciatica, which is a pain that comes from the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back to the back of both legs. A variety of factors can lead to sciatica. When pressure is put on the sciatic nerve, it causes pain in the lower back that can radiate down into the legs.

Leg Pain

Causes

Some common causes of sciatica:

  • Herniated disc: This is the most common cause of sciatica. Herniated disc is when the jelly-like center of a disc pushes through the disc. It is also called a slipped disc or bulging disc. Your spine is made up of vertebrae (bones) and discs sit between the vertebrae, cushioning them. If the jelly-like center of a disc starts slipping through or coming out, whether due to injury, wear and tear, trauma, or another reason – this is a herniated disc.
  • Pregnancy: The expanding uterus puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. This will most likely go away after the baby is born.
  • Spinal stenosis: This is a narrowing of the spine, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. It happens gradually over time, mainly because of aging.
  • Degenerative disc disease: Degeneration of one or more discs in the spine, usually due to aging.
  • Arthritis: Spinal osteoarthritis is when the cartilage of the joints and discs breaks down. The main symptoms are swelling and pain. Osteoarthritis can cause bone spurs that put pressure on nerves.
  • Injury or infection: These are less likely causes but sudden trauma as from an injury can lead to sciatica.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms that may accompany leg pain are:

  • Weakness: Leg weakness commonly occurs when a lumbar and/or sacral spinal nerve is compressed. A feeling of heaviness3 in the affected leg may make it difficult to lift the foot off the floor (foot drop).
  • Altered sensation: When a nerve is affected, a pins-and-needles sensation, tingling, or other nerve-related sensations may occur in the affected leg.
  • Foot pain: The leg pain may travel down into one or more areas of the foot, causing an ache or a burning pain. Foot weakness and/or numbness may also occur.
  • Postural pain: Leg pain and numbness may increase with certain postures or activities, such as standing for a prolonged period of time, walking, climbing stairs, or standing up from a sitting position.

Treatments

The following treatments may be used to treat leg pain & weakness:

  • Lumbar microdiscectomy
  • Lumbar laminectomy
  • Microdiscectomy (cervical and lumbar)
  • X-Stop (interspinous process decompression)
  • Aspen (interspinous process fusion)
  • ILIF (interspinous process fusion)
  • Laminotomy
  • HF10 Spinal Cord Stimulator

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Puyallup, WA

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Puyallup, WA

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