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What causes lower back pain which radiates down to legs?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10463 Questions
I have lower back pain which radiates down my leg and when I stretch my arm above my head the pain goes down through my groin and upper leg. I cant remember doing anything to hurt my back but I do have problems with it from time to time. I am currently training and walking about 15km a day and just woke up one morning about 4 days ago in pain. I am finding it hard to walk now.
Posted Sun, 9 Mar 2014 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Due to back problem. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for posting your query. Aches starting from the hip and radiating down the leg is due to a problem with the back (spine). The most common cause is a disc prolapse. The ache radiates down to your calf if the protruding disc is compressing the nerves supplying your leg. A disc prolapse can be caused following trauma to your back or, most of the times, without any reason. The treatment: No need to rush in for an MRI, as would be suggested by people who have experienced such symptoms before. In my opinion, you can wait for a while if the symptoms aren't getting worse. Signs of worsening of symptoms are- pain causing disability, numbness, weakness, loss of urinary or bowel control. When the symptoms get worse, kindly visit an Orthopedician or a Spine surgeon. Meanwhile you can follow these measures: - If the pain is severe, you need bed rest till the pain resolves. - Get some analgesics prescribed and apply analgesic spray or ointments. - While resting, keep a pillow under your knees if it doesn't bother you. - Avoid lifting heavy objects. - back strengthening exercises and stretching exercises for your hamstrings daily as advised by a Physio. - avoid exercises in times of pain. - improvise your posture while sitting. I hope this answers your query. In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out. Wishing you good health. Regards. Dr. Praveen Tayal. For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL
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Follow-up: What causes lower back pain which radiates down to legs? 37 minutes later
I have been walking about 10-16km each day as I am preparing for a 60km walk in March. I can only manage about 2km the last 3 days so today I have been trying to stretch my way through. I can do abductor stretch with no pain, gluteal stretch is good, but if I do Quad or Hip Flexor no good at all. Especially Hip Flexor this sends a type of numbing sort of pins and needles – it’s the only way I can explain. Funny thing is I want to stretch it – it’s just doesn’t like it! Should I continue to do this stretching or just rest.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 5 hours later
Brief Answer: Avoid exercise till pain subsides. Detailed Answer: Hello. Thanks for writing again. It is best to take rest for now. Stretching in the time of pain will not help. Do get some muscle relaxants prescribed from your orthopedician. You can use hot fomentation and a local analgesic gel for relief. Hope my answer is helpful. If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish you good health. Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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