Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What Causes Leg Pain?

As New Yorkers, we are always on the move. Time is money; you’ve got to move fast in this town to succeed. That’s one reason that chronic or severe leg pain is a big problem. More than anything, it’s the pain that’s the problem of course, but the consequences to everyday life are quite noticeable too. So what the heck causes leg pain? How is it capable of so acutely affecting our lives? To the second question, there is probably no satisfactory answer aside from the obvious one (being in constant pain is miserable), but the first is much more quantifiable.

Leg pain is a very general term and doesn’t tell us a lot about the underlying causes, but as far as patients we often see at Living Well Medical here in NYC are concerned, they generally belong to two categories: neurological and musculoskeletal.

Neurological of course means that it involves the nervous system. The legs and lower body is innervated by the sciatic nerve roots that exit the spine in lumbosacral region (lower back and pelvic area). Sometimes, other structures like muscles, fascia or support structures like spinal discs can impinge upon these important nerves. The result can be pain (in the legs, lower back, buttocks, etc.), numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and worse in extreme cases. The most common symptoms are generally associated with sciatica, a group of symptoms related to a pinched sciatic nerve. So essentially, a pinched nerve from something like a bulging or herniated disc might be at the heart of the pain. Spinal decompression, chiropractic adjustment with the Cox flexion technique and even traditional pain management are commonly part of a Living Well Medical complete pain relief programs for leg pain of this type.

Musculoskeletal pain is another common culprit in leg pain, particularly sports-related injuries. If you have ever pulled a hamstring or strained a calf, you know what it feels like. Shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, runner’s knee - there is a world of injuries that come with physical activity. Your legs probably hurt because you have overexerted yourself in some way with these types of injuries. Whether related to repeated stresses on a muscle group or heavy weight bearing activity, your body has a threshold past which you shouldn’t force it. We regularly treat patients like these with non-invasive treatments like Active Release Technique and massage therapy, but the particulars of the case will always determine the course of treatment; there isn’t really a cookie-cutter way to relieve pain. At least, not if you want lasting relief.

So those are the basics of leg pain. It should be noted that this in no way covers everything. It’s mainly meant to show some of our more common leg pain causes. If you have leg pain, we’re here. Call Living Well Medical in SoHo New York and make an appointment - 212-645-8151.

- Dr. Shoshany, NYC Chiropractor

1 comment:

Dr. Eben Davis said...

Thanks for this comprehensive overview Dr. Shoshany. You sure offer a lot of treatment options at your health care center. Keep up the good work.