Common Causes of Leg and Back Pain
Pain in your leg may occur as a result of problems that affect the bone, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves or skin of the leg, or sometimes due to problems in your lower spine. Leg pain can be persistent or intermittent, develop gradually or suddenly, and can be felt on your whole leg or a specific region. It can be characterized as stabbing, sharp, dull or aching pain. Severe leg pain can affect your ability to walk or put weight on your leg.
The most common cause for pain is inflammation or infection of the tissues, due to wear and tear, injury or disease. Leg pain can also occur due to nerve compression or blockage in the flow of blood to the leg. Since the leg contains a number of different structures and tissue types, various conditions and injuries can cause leg pain; some of them include a fracture, arthritis, muscle cramps, sprains, strains, varicose veins and peripheral neuropathy.
Back pain or backache is the pain felt in the back that may originate from muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems experienced by most people at some time in their life. Back pain can be acute, usually lasting from a few days to a few weeks or chronic, lasting for more than three months.
Back pain can occur as a dull, constant pain or a sudden, sharp pain. Back pain may be confined to one area or may radiate to other areas such as the arm and hand, the upper back, or the lower back and might radiate into the leg or foot. Other than pain, you may have weakness, numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, caused from damage to the spinal cord.
Common causes of back pain include:
- Musculoligamentous strain: It is the most common and occurs due to injury to the soft tissues around the spine.
- Spondylolysis: It is commonly seen in those who frequently participate in activities that cause hyperextension of the lumbar spine such as gymnastics and football.
- Spondylolisthesis: It occurs when one vertebra is displaced or has slipped forward over the vertebra below it.
- Herniated nucleus pulposus: When this injury occurs, the central core of the disc is pushed through a tear in the outer hard layer of the disc, causing a bulge and pressing on nearby nerves. If the herniated disc presses on a spinal nerve, it can cause back pain.
Other causes include growth-related problems such as scoliosis and Scheuermann’s kyphosis.