Nerve pain in the leg is typically caused by a pinched nerve in your lower back.
Subluxations are the technical term for a pinched nerve so you will hear the terms used interchangeably. There is not much education about pinched nerves so they tend to be the cause of lots of unexplained leg pain.
A protruding disc, commonly referred to as a herniated disc, will also cause severe leg pain. While this is less common, if you have extreme leg pain, a herniated disc may be the cause.
Most people will describe nerve pain in the leg as pain that starts in the lower back and radiates down their leg, often into the calf and foot. It seldom radiates down both legs at the same time and usually runs down just the right or left leg.
This is commonly referred to as sciatica because the sciatic nerve runs down your left and right legs controlling most of the functions.
The sciatic nerve is formed by the joining of multiple nerve roots from the lower lumbar and sacrum vertebrae. Once they form the sciatic nerve it will become the largest nerve in the entire body.
Back and leg pain, sciatica and right or left leg numbness is quite common for a couple reasons. The sciatic nerve is comprised of several nerve roots any of which can become compromised and they all originate from the lower back which is the source of most spinal injuries.
When the lower back is injured the ligaments holding the vertebrae in alignment become hyperextended. The injured ligaments don’t have the strength to hold the vertebrae in their proper position which are pulled out of alignment.
The misaligned vertebra will narrow the hole that the nerve root passes through causing it to contact the vertebra. When this happens in the lower back nerve pain in the leg and lack of sensation such as numbness in the left leg are common symptoms.
The reason that only the left or right legs are typically affected is due to the torqueing motion involved in the injuries. The ligaments on just one side of the vertebra are stretched but the other side is unaffected.
A hyperextended ligament reacts like a rubber band that has been stretched too far; it becomes sloppy and never retracts to its original length. Ligaments need help to heal to their proper length and that is what a chiropractor is trained to do.
Chiropractors are back pain specialists whose adjustments will move the twisted vertebra into alignment.
Once the vertebrae are in alignment the pressure is removed from the nerve and the pain will almost instantly abate. If the nerve pain in the leg is caused by an old injury the ligaments have been used to those positions for years, sometimes decades.
In these cases it can take a chiropractor several adjustments to correct a subluxation because, similar to correcting teeth, the body will only accept so much correction at one time.
If you have extreme leg pain it may be due to a bulging or protruding disk. The intervertebral discs separate each vertebra and hold them together. Inside each disc is a gelatin-like material called the nucleus pulposus which acts as the shock absorber for the spine.
When we injure the spine we will sometimes tear the disc material which allows the inner nucleus to protrude towards the outside of the disc. This is called a bulging disk. The bulge will encroach on the nerve canal making it easier to contact the nerve root.
If the tear in the disc goes all the way to the outside the nucleus will protrude out into the nerve canal. The nucleus puts pressure on the nerve root and causes a lot of pain. Once the nucleus pushes through the outer wall of the disc it will be considered a protruding disc; also commonly called a herniated disc.
There are several treatments for nerve pain in the leg recommended by well-meaning doctors that unfortunately only allow the patient’s problem to progress. Mild to strong prescription pain killers, physical therapy, chiropractic care, cortisone shots, yoga, and acupuncture are just some of the recommendations.
Some of these merely seek to lessen the pain which is just a symptom, not the cause. Others may be attempting to treat the cause but they are simply the wrong tool for the job. As a last resort most doctors resort to recommending lower back surgery.
Surgery is only about 35% successful and several studies have shown it only necessary in 5% of all cases.
What the body wants to do is to heal the tear in the wall of the disc. Gravity is preventing this from happening which is not mitigated even in a prone position. Non-surgical spinal decompression is a very effective back surgery alternative that removes the forces of gravity from the spine targeted at the impacted disc.
Spinal decompression has been successful in about 86% of cases according to studies.
Nerve pain in the leg is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Pinched nerves, bulging and herniated discs do not heal on their own. So do not procrastinate and get an accurate diagnosis for your condition. The earlier you address the problem the more effective the available conservative treatment options will be.
These 3D animations with voice-over are to help you better understand your condition and the possible course of action to treat it.
The simple to use interface will allow you to see and hear the explainations of many conditions, inculding their treatments. The Amazing Spine area will explain the human spine and each vertebrea's affect on the internal organs and nerves.
To your better health!
If you haven't found what you are looking for just use the Custom Google search box below which will search just this site. Can't remember where that study on Spinal Decompression was discussed? Just type "spinal decompression study" into the box.
Learn more about your spine...