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Spinal Disk Problem Symptoms: Pain, Numbness, and More

Sciatica is a common type of pain that affects your sciatic nerve, which extends from your lower back through your hips and butt down the back of each leg.

Common symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in your butt or leg that worsens when you sit
  • Hip pain
  • Burning or tingling down your leg
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving your leg or foot
  • A constant pain on one side of your butt
  • A shooting pain down your leg that makes it difficult to stand up

Sciatica usually affects only one side of your lower body. Often, the pain extends from your lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through one of your legs. Depending on where your sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to your foot or toes.

For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and make it hard for them to do things they usually do. For others, it might not last long, but it bothers them and it has the potential to get worse.

What Causes It?

Sciatica is caused when the sciatic nerve is pinched, usually from a herniated disk or bone spur. Other common causes of sciatica include:

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in your lower back)
  • Degenerative disk disease (breakdown of disks, which act as cushions between your vertebrae)
  • Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
  • Pregnancy
  • Muscle spasm in your back or buttocks

Other things that can make your back pain worsen include being overweight, not exercising regularly, wearing high heels, or sleeping on a mattress that is too soft.

When to Call the Doctor

Your sciatica may go away on its own, but if your pain is severe or doesn’t go away, you may want to see your doctor. Sciatica can be treated with physical therapy, medication, and surgery.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Weakness in your lower extremities
  • Numbness in your leg
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Severe pain in your lower back or leg

Numbness and Tingling: When to Worry: The Spine Center of Baton Rouge: Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons

Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs are abnormal sensations that result from disorders of a nerve or nerves. There are many different possibilities as to the cause of these symptoms. Most of the time the cause is not serious, but certain associated signs and symptoms can signal the need to see your doctor.

A major cause of numbness and tingling is peripheral neuropathy. This refers to an abnormality of the nerves outside the spinal canal. Several causes of neuropathy exist, including, but not limited to diabetes, peripheral nerve entrapment, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, inflammatory or rheumatologic disorders, alcoholism, kidney failure, circulatory issues and damage from chemotherapy and radiation. In diabetics, the numbness and tingling is often accompanied by increased thirst, hunger, and urination. The most common nerve entrapment is carpal tunnel syndrome which affects the hand and wrist. Increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome is noted in people who do repetitive wrist activity such as typing or cutting hair. Vitamin B-12 and folate are common vitamin deficiencies and can be associated with weakness from anemia, paleness, loss of appetite, and sore tongue and mouth. Long term excessive alcohol drinking can cause numbness and tingling and is usually associated with a wide-based gait. Certain rheumatologic or endocrine conditions that can cause neuropathy include rheumatoid arthritis, amyloidosis, fibromyalgia, thyroid problems, or Raynaud’s phenomenon. Neurologic neuropathies (such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) are typically associated with weakness in the arms or legs. Sciatica is a condition where the sciatic nerve is affected after exiting the spinal cord as it passes through the hip or buttock area. This is commonly associated with leg pain and/or back pain.

Disorders of the brain and spinal cord also commonly cause numbness and tingling. Problems in the cervical spine can result in symmetrical arm and leg numbness and possible paralysis of the arms and legs. Thoracic (mid back) problems affect the trunk and legs. Lumbosacral (low back and tailbone) conditions affect the hips and legs. Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder which can cause these symptoms, but these will rarely occur in a symmetrical pattern. Other spinal cord problems such as tumors or cysts can be associated with pain, weakness, clumsiness, or bowel or bladder problems.

Vascular or circulatory problems leading to lack of blood supply to an area can cause numbness and tingling. This will commonly accompany blue or red discoloration, paleness or cold and painful sensation in the area.

While the potential causes of these symptoms are quite varied, certain causes are obviously of greater concern than others. Numbness and tingling that is associated with weakness, paralysis, or loss of bladder or bowel control warrant emergent evaluation and treatment by a healthcare professional. Also, any symptoms of confusion, vision or speech changes, weakness, or loss of consciousness should prompt a visit to a local emergency department. Numbness and tingling associated with neck or back pain, arm or leg pain, muscle spasms, or rash require a call or visit to your physician but are less urgent in nature. Obtaining a proper history and physical from a physician, as well as diagnostic testing and procedures, are necessary to make a correct diagnosis and implement proper treatment. If any of these symptoms are experienced and persist despite change in position or activity, please consider evaluation with your doctor for appropriate care.

7 Most Common Causes for Leg Numbness

7 Most Common Causes for Leg Numbness

What causes numbness in the legs and feet? We have many potential answers for you. In many cases, these issues have a spine-related cause that we can address. Discover how the spine can cause leg numbness and where to get help.
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Pinched Nerve

Your spinal cord consists of delicate nerves that allow the brain and body to communicate. When pressure pinches one of your spinal nerves, it can interfere with the messages sent to your legs. As a result, you can feel pain, tingling or numbness in one or both of your legs. Pinched nerves need immediate treatment to avoid long-term problems.


Sciatica occurs as a result of a pinched spinal nerve root. A nerve called the sciatic nerve runs down your lower back and legs, and it affects both these areas when compressed. Pain from sciatica usually affects only one side of your body and radiates from your lower back to the back of the leg.

Herniated Disc

The spine has individual bones called vertebrae that are cushioned with soft discs. When a disc undergoes too much pressure, its soft interior can push through its exterior wall. While some people with herniated discs feel no symptoms, others experience numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. A herniated disc may also cause severe pain.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis causes the bone around the spinal cord to narrow, putting extra pressure on the nerves. Age, arthritis, injuries, disc problems and other issues can result in the spine narrowing. When the bone presses on certain nerves, you can experience sciatica or other forms of nerve pain in your legs.

Foraminal Stenosis

The nerves in your back travel through entrances in the vertebrae called foramina. Multiple issues can result in these passages narrowing and pressing on the inside nerves, which is known as foraminal stenosis. Foraminal stenosis in the lower back vertebrae create symptoms such as numbness in the legs, buttocks and feet.


Spondylolisthesis occurs when one of your vertebrae moves out of place. Patients of any age can experience this condition, which can occur to various degrees. The misaligned vertebra puts pressure on your nerves, resulting in back and leg pain. It can also create numbness in one or both legs.

Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction

The sacroiliac (SI) joint is located where your pelvis and spine meet. When the SI joint becomes misaligned, you can feel pain, tingling and numbness in your legs and lower back. SI joint dysfunction often grows more severe over time, making it imperative to get treatment right away.

Let Us Help You Find the Source of Your Leg Numbness

For patients with lumbar spinal stenosis, there are not many treatment options that bridge the gap between conservative care and invasive surgery. Superion is a least-invasive option for patients with moderate spinal stenosis that have had six months on conservative treatment without relief. Other patients may be told that traditional invasive spinal surgery is too demanding on their bodies.”,
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