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What causes severe pain in the buttocks that radiates to the legs?

Answered by
Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 15851 Questions

Posted on Tue, 14 Mar 2017 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: For the last several weeks, I have experienced pain in my left buttock which frequently radiates down the left leg. It is often accompanied by numbness and tingling. No known injury. Ibuprofen does help but does not abate the numbness or tingling. Worse after sitting for a long period of time i.e. reading.
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 42 minutes later
Brief Answer:
may be sciatica

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

This is likely sciatica which refers to symptoms and signs that are related to the pathway of the sciatic nerve, a major nerve to the buttocks and lower limbs

This nerve is formed from smaller nerves coming out from the spine.

Though there is no trauma, imaging would still be needed to make sure that the nerve is not compressed by the vertebra (bones in the back).
This can occur in the absence of trauma.

There are discs in between the bones, these discs can become 'dry' and this can reduce the space between the bones which would then affect the nerves.

IN some persons the discs may shift.

None of this is life threatening but can cause the above symptoms.

In some persons nerve related symptoms maybe due to other causes , some of these are :(1)diabetes
(2)thyroid disease
(3)low levels of vitamin b12 or folate
(4)abnormal vitamin b6 levels
(5)side effect of medication
(6)liver or kidney disease
(7)exposure to toxins

If the x rays or other imaging is normal then blood tests may be needed to check for the above.

There are medications that treat the nerve related symptoms such as amitriptyline, tegretol, lyrica, nortriptyline, gabapentin.
These medications are used for neuropathy- symptoms related to abnormal nerve function

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 36 minutes later
Will it "hurt" to continue core strengthening exercise? I experience no pain and the stretches seem to help. Could this be counterproductive?

Also, is there any chance this will abate on its own?
If so, is any therapy that will facilitate relief or healing?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
would be best to hold off exercises for now

Detailed Answer:

Sorry about the late reply

It may abate on its own but it would be best to still see your doctor for an assessment including an x ray or some form of imaging.

Physiotherapy may help with healing.

In terms of the exercises, since it not clear if there are any issues with the vertebra and the associated nerves, it would be best to stop them at this point.
Any other exercises should be directed by your doctor or physiotherapist.

It is possible that the exercises would not do any damage, but it would be best to make sure

Please feel free to ask anything else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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