Complication of Back Pain- Numbness in Leg

Q: I am a 33 year old female, weighing 150 lbs. I felt a sudden left leg numbness for less than 3 minutes. I moved my leg a and stretched it, which stopped the pain, but it came back after a minute. I did a stretch again, then pain went away. This all happened while I was taking a shower. I never felt that before. Can you please tell me what caused that? I do have back and neck pain for which I have to stretch. So it comes and goes.

Reply:

It is good that you took notice of this symptom. Though there is nothing serious at the moment, this is the time to intervene.

Numbness you felt in your left leg is one of the common complications reported by patients with back pain.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain originates from constant wear and tear or injury to the vertebral bones, discs, ligaments and muscles of the spine and back. Slowly, as the etiology (causative factors) increase, nerves in the area start getting involved.

This can be caused by many mechanisms:

  1. If the back pain results from a slipped or herniated disc, this may irritate and compress the spinal nerve as it passes through the nerve canal between the vertebrae. This results in a variety of complications such as weakness and numbness in the leg. Later on, severe shooting pain traveling from the back to the leg at one side of the body can be felt. This is commonly called sciatica. Here, the main nerve supplying the leg, the sciatic nerve, is compressed.
  2. Due to aging and repeated stress on the back, discs begin to diminish and shrink in size. This results in vertebrae and facet joints rubbing against one another. Osteophytes, which are small bony spurs, start growing in regions of friction. These then press the nearby nerves giving localized symptoms. Temporary numbness in a part of the leg can be felt.

Treatment

You need to take care of for back. Having back pain in your age is not normal. Find out the cause of back pain. Is it some kind of prolonged activity, any injury?

An X-ray or CT scan can be done to ascertain the cause.

Take Care of Your Back

  • Self care is the foremost. Be active but within limits of pain.
  • Any particular activity or posture which you have observed to cause pain should be avoided or curtailed.
  • Firm mattresses have been demonstrated to be effective.
  • Continue stretching, which is the best reliever.
  • Consider doing some back exercises to strengthen your back muscles. Exercises will make your muscles strong preventing future episodes of low back pain.

Take Care

Buddy M.D.