The Southeastern Spine Institute

Leg pain can be chronic or acute, regular or intermittent, severe or mildly irritating. No matter how bad the pain becomes, however, it very likely gets in the way of you enjoying life as much as you want. Whether you have difficulty walking or disruptions in your sleep, you need to see a medical doctor in Charleston to rule out any major complication that could be causing the pain because leg pain often originates in your back.

Explain Your Symptoms

On your first visit to a spine physician, you need to explain in detail how the pain feels, when it first began and when it becomes most noticeable. Leg pain usually presents itself in a number of ways; your doctor will want to know if it feels:

  • Burning
  • Throbbing
  • Like pins and needles
  • Aching
  • Searing
  • Numb

Spinal surgeons, such as the specialists at the Southeastern Spine Institute, see various medical conditions on a daily basis. Often, they can tell quickly if your leg pain is associated to your back and ensure that you get the proper treatment. Serious conditions associated with leg pain that require immediate attention include:

  • Liver failure
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney disorder
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)
  • Osteosarcoma (cancer in the leg)
  • Broken bones

Treat the Pain

Treat leg pain seriously, even if you suspect an uncomplicated diagnosis. When it comes to the pain you feel in your legs, it’s always better to be safe now than sorry later. Following an initial examination, your doctor may give you good news and send you home with an easy regimen to follow. Some uncomplicated conditions that cause leg pain include:

  • Overuse
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramp
  • Medication reaction

Back to the Back

One of the most common sources of back pain, however, is sciatica. The term is used to describe the symptoms that cause your leg pain, including numbness, tingling and pain that run down your buttocks, through the large sciatic nerve on the back of your leg. Sciatica may occur infrequently only when you perform certain movements, or it can be a constant companion. The good news is that the pain rarely results in permanent sciatic nerve damage.

While working to manage the pain, your spinal physician will seek to find the source of the sciatica. It’s rare that surgery is needed, usually only when a herniated disk is causing the pain. For most conditions, a program of self-care is prescribed. Some of the most common treatments for sciatic pain include:

  • Stretching, strengthening and aerobic exercises
  • Heat and/or ice applications
  • Pain medication such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Surgery, after four to six weeks of the alternatives