Leg pain can often be a manifestation of nerve root injury or compression in the lumbar spine. Patients with herniated discs or degenerative changes in the spine can have nerve root compression associated with sharp, shooting lower extremity pain. Other common causes can involve damage or compression of nerves anywhere along their path as they travel down the lower extremity. This can be due to trauma, injury during surgery, or metabolic conditions such as painful peripheral neuropathy associated with diabetes. Some patients can experience leg pain that may be caused by peripheral vascular disease and reduced blood flow to the lower extremity.
Leg Pain Treatments
A diagnosis can be made by evaluating other risk factors, history and physical examination. Some patients may require additional testing such as ultrasound, EMG/NCS, ankle brachial indexes, MRI to rule out the underlying cause. The treatment revolves around the underlying cause and in some cases may involve lumbar sympathetic plexus blocks, lumbar epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks etc. in addition to physical therapy, over the counter or prescription medications. In some severe cases, patients may be candidates for dorsal root ganglion stimulation or spinal cord stimulation therapy.