When you’re hobbled by leg pain, the world becomes exponentially harder to navigate and even the simplest task becomes an exercise in frustration. To regain your pain-free mobility, the first step is to identify the cause of your leg pain, and there are any number of conditions that can lead to chronic leg pain.
Orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Michael Ware Hennessy and our team here at Texas Spine Consultants have extensive experience helping patients overcome debilitating and painful conditions of the spine, which can have a surprising effect on your legs.
The relationship between your spine and your legs
Your spine plays many important roles — it’s the foundational support of your entire musculoskeletal structure, it allows range of motion, and it provides passage for your nervous system.
In this last role as a conduit for your nervous system, problems can develop in your spine that have a far-reaching impact, especially in your limbs. As an example, if you develop an issue in your lumbar spine, or lower back, in which a sensitive nerve root is compressed or compromised, you may feel symptoms in your lower extremities.
Called radiculopathy, the primary symptom is typically pain or discomfort that extends down one of your legs. In addition to the pain, you may also experience:
- Weakness in your leg
- Loss of balance
- Problems with your gait
In extreme cases, you can lose function in your bowels or bladder.
The causes of radiculopathy
There are many conditions that can lead to the compression or irritation of the nerve roots that branch out from your spine, including:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- A tumor
- Bone spurs
- Injury to your lumbar spine
What all of these conditions have in common is that a component along your spine is out of place and pinching a nerve, which can lead to nagging leg pain.
Restoring pain-free movement
If you’re experiencing chronic leg pain and you suspect the problem lies in your spine, the first order of business is to determine the cause. When you come in, we perform an extensive evaluation of your symptoms and your medical history, and then we use advanced diagnostic imaging to get a closer look inside.
Once we locate the problem, we offer a number of different treatments, including:
- Physical therapy
- Epidural injections
- Nerve blocks
If your leg pain persists, we may recommend more aggressive measures, including a minimally invasive spinal procedure called XLIF® lateral lumbar interbody fusion, in which we remove the discs responsible for your leg pain.
If you’d like to get to the bottom of, and find a solution for, your leg pain, contact one of our two locations in Plano or Addison, Texas, to set up an appointment.