Leg pain can range from a mild nuisance that comes and goes, to debilitating pain that makes it difficult to sleep, to walk or engage in simple everyday activities. The pain can take many different forms – some patients describe the pain as aching, searing, throbbing, or burning, and it can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a pins-and-needles sensation, and/or leg or foot numbness or weakness.
Leg pain may be caused by a problem in the leg, but often it starts with a problem in the lower back, where the sciatic nerve originates, and then travels along the path of the nerve. For this reason, diagnosis of anyone with leg pain, foot pain, and/or leg or ankle or foot weakness or numbness, should include an examination of the lower back.
Not all leg pain derived from low back problems presents the same way. Leg pain caused by a low back problem is often accompanied by additional symptoms, such as leg numbness or weakness, or foot pain, and the type of leg pain experienced may vary widely from patient to patient.
If you or someone you know is experiencing leg pain that is radiating down one or both legs, the condition can be serious and should be examined promptly.