The lower back is a complicated maze of interconnected parts. And, while pain may manifest itself in the leg, it often originates in the spine.
Lower back pain and leg pain may be tied to:
- Tendons, muscles and other soft tissues
- Sensitive nerves and their roots that lead from the lower back to the legs and feet
- Small yet complex joints
- Spinal discs and their inner cores
An irritation or problem with any of these pieces can cause lower back pain. The pain from the accompanying muscle spasms can be severe. Pain from any number of syndromes can become chronic.
If a nerve in the neck or low back is irritated, it often sends a signal down the leg and continues to cause pain until the irritation is relieved. Then the nerve heals and the pain goes away.
Bones, discs or muscles can compress nerves in the low back, resulting in low back pain or leg pain.
Lower back pain is all too common, but the causes, symptoms and severity are wide-ranging. A simple muscle strain might force you to the emergency room while a degenerating disc may only cause mild, sporadic discomfort.
Most of us (80 percent) will suffer lower back pain at some point in our lives. Most lower back pain is the result of muscle strain, injury or overuse or can be linked to a specific spinal condition.