We all get sore legs from time to time if we start a new running program, go hard at the gym, trip, slip, or otherwise fall over or pull a muscle in our leg. However, sometimes leg pain can crop up that we can’t work out the source of, and that isn’t just a slight niggle that goes away in a few hours or days but rather something that starts negatively impacting our lives and comfort levels.
While there are all sorts of reasons why you or someone you love could be suffering from leg pain, here are some of the common ones that are worth understanding.
Sciatic or Other Back or Neck Issues
It might not seem obvious, but many people’s leg pain arises due to sciatica or other back or neck issues. When your sciatic nerve is inflamed, for instance, pain occurs from the lower back right down into the leg, and it can even affect the feet. This discomfort is only on one side of the body for most people. Sciatica can develop suddenly or build up over time, so the timeframe varies from person to person and often case to case if it flares up multiple times.
Sciatica occurs due to various causes, including spinal injuries, muscle spasms, and spinal stenosis. In this latter situation, one’s spinal canal narrows, and the nerves have too much pressure put on them as a result. Sciatica can be tough to diagnose and treat, so don’t try to guess whether or not you have this health condition and treat it by yourself. See your everyday doctor and then a specialist as needed.
Also, other back and neck problems can give you leg pain. Cauda equina syndrome, known as CES, is one such cause. This rare disorder places significant pressure on the nerves at the end of the spinal cord, leading them to swell. This increase can create numbness, loss of bladder or bowel control, and pains in the legs. A severe condition, CES often requires surgical intervention, so don’t delay in getting treatment. If the problem isn’t attended to ASAP, you could end up with long-term bowel or bladder control issues or other neurological or physical problems.
Arthritis is a chronic, long-term condition that affects millions of adults in the United States alone. A joint disease that can attack numerous parts of the body, it is primarily felt in the joints in the legs and the surrounding leg muscles. This is because the joints are under stress from the inflammation, which makes the muscles have to work harder to protect them. You can have muscle spasms plus secondary pain to deal with as a result.
Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, as well as osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, both create pain from the knees down to the ankles and the feet. There are natural and prescribed drugs you can take to address the pain, but it also pays to update your bed to a new organic cotton mattress or another product that’s more supportive of your joints and muscles. Plus, stretch regularly, and eat healthily to help minimize discomfort and inflammation.
Blood Vessel Problems
Blood vessel problems can also lead to leg pain. For instance, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot arises within a deep vein in the body. This condition can lead to extreme leg pain since it makes it hard for your limbs to get blood back to your heart. The blood slows down significantly or can completely stop moving.
A part of the clot can break off and move up to your lungs if you’re unlucky, and you can have a pulmonary embolism (where blood flow to the lungs gets blocked) and die or, at the minimum, get very sick. As such, it’s vital to pay attention to leg pain that could stem from this type of health concern. Get to a doctor or hospital ASAP if you have pain in just one leg, notice one of your legs starts to turn a bluish color, or a limb swells up. Increasing pain over a few hours is another sign to watch out for.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is something else to be aware of. This medical condition makes itself known via leg pain when sufferers exercise or do some other movements. PAD happens when the arteries that transport your blood narrow, which can occur due to a buildup of fatty deposits or plaque. You would feel it when being physical because you need more blood to move, but the limited blood supply due to narrow arteries makes this harder to get.
The pain associated with PAD typically goes away once activity ends. However, it needs to be addressed by a doctor since the plaque, and fatty deposits can also be signs of other serious health concerns.
These are just three of the leg pain causes that are worth understanding. Regardless of what level of pain you have, if your legs become uncomfortable, it’s worthwhile considering whether something beyond just a pulled or tight muscle could be at play. Always seek medical advice if you’re worried.
INDRANIL is Director of Marketing at MJV Media. With 5+ years of experience in public relations and marketing, he loves talking about content creation, SEO and his dog.