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Chronic low back pain, 2 herniated lumbar discs. Legs feel achy ,weak, gait is impaired after sitting for long. Is leg issue related to lumbar ?

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After sitting for a while, when I stand up, my legs are achey and weak, and my gait is impaired. Once I move a bit, it is ok. I have 2 herniated lumbar discs and chronic low back pain. Is the leg issue related to the lumbar, or something else?
Posted Fri, 13 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Atul Wankhede 2 hours later
Dear Elsie
Thanks for posting your question.

There are two major possibilities. First as you said this might be related to your herniated disc in lumbar region putting pressure on spinal cord or the exiting nerves. Second this can be simple pressure on your blood vessels while in sitting posture, or atherosclerosis of arteries in thighs that eventually give symptoms similar to yours like weakness, tingling numbness, gait problems etc but wear off after a brief walk.

In case if you feel the aches radiating from back to legs from back of the thigh ( like in sciatica) then you need to see a spine specialist soon. If it is posture related then there's nothing more than primarily avoiding that posture, work or tight clothing that might interfere in blood supply to your legs.

Also see if you notice any other symptoms like visible tortuous veins or any bladder bowel irregularities to further aid the diagnosis.

I hope I've answered your questions. For any further assistance please get back to me, I'm available for follow up.
Good luck.
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Follow-up: Chronic low back pain, 2 herniated lumbar discs. Legs feel achy ,weak, gait is impaired after sitting for long. Is leg issue related to lumbar ? 8 hours later
Hmm... atherosclerosis of arteries in thighs ? That sounds scary! I did forget to mention that I am an avid fitness freak. I work out every day, doing step aerobics or power walking and light weight training. Would I even be able to do all this if I had that particular ailment? Thanks for your previous answer, I will await your response to this.
Answered by Dr. Atul Wankhede 7 hours later
Hello once again.
Thanks for replying back.

Well if you are into fitness activities, you most certainly are not likely to Atherosclerosis. In that case, one needs to see other possibilities like low haemoglobin, low blood sugar, low calcium. I dont suspect specific nerve disorders, but one can only think of lumbar disc indenting on your spinal cord or exiting nerve root as a major diagnosis.

In any case you should get it investigated. I hope the achey and weak legs don't turn up little numb if the nerves are severly compressed.

Sorry to have put that Atherosclerosis part sound scary, but even active individuals have high chances of peripheral arteries blockages. Besides it was a differential diagnosis so did not really mean to scare you.

To avoid getting that feeling I suggest avoid those positions and frequently shifting in chair or couch, avoiding forward bending, lifting heavy weights or objects, avoiding tight clothing, keeping legs warm and along with other exercises that you do add back strengthening exercises too. If it persists then get it examined.

Hope, this answers your query. Please get back if you feel anything else needs my attention.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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