Is your Back Pain a Neurological Problem?

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By Dr. Sender Deutsch
Published on June 26, 2014

Back pain can be extremely scary when it is coupled with a radiating pain down your leg.

“Sciatica” type pain is often a term used to describe back pain with radiation down the leg. It is a symptom used to describe this type of pain but does not specify the root cause of the injury. However, one of the most common causes of sciatica can be from a disc herniation, causing an inflammatory process, which puts pressure on the nerve root running alongside the vertebrae.

It is extremely important that if you are experiencing low back pain that is radiating down the leg to seek medical attention in order to diagnose the root cause of the injury.  It is a medical emergency if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms with your low back pain and you should go to the hospital and get an MRI if you have any of the following:

  1. Any form of bowel or bladder problems- problems starting or stopping urination
  2. Numbness and/or tingling around your groin area or any lack of sensation in the genital area (aka Saddle Parasthesia)
  3. Pain that wakes you up at night
  4. Unexplained weight loss
  5. Progressive muscle weakness or foot drop

If none of these symptoms are present and the pain just radiates down your leg, it is important to pay close attention to any progressive weakness of your leg or foot.  If you cannot see your medical doctor immediately, a registered chiropractor and/or physiotherapist will be able to help screen for these conditions and determine the appropriate course of treatment that you need.

It is important to take your health into your own hands, advocate and clearly communicate your symptoms to the practitioner you are seeing to help establish an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

3 thoughts on “Is your Back Pain a Neurological Problem?

  1. I have issues with L3, L4, and L5,S1(spongylolthesis ) I do a few exercise to strengthen my core , I have had x-rays, c-scan and MRI , take morphine 10mg to relief pain , had a epidural which seems to have not worked. Question Is can I have a second epidural and what excerises would you recommend to help strengthen my core and leg muscles

    • Hi Phil,

      Spondylolisthesis a common disorder of the spine. It is very important to keep strengthening your spine and doing core bracing exercises to help off load the pressure to your low back.

      The most important is to avoid exercises that will place high compressive load to your spine. Avoid hyperextension of the low back as this will cause irritation of the joints that have been injured with your condition.

      Various forms of lunges, goblet squat where the weight is held in front instead of on your low back, single arm presses and rows with your spine in a neutral positions is important. Stirring the pot on the stability ball, various planks and side bridges are planks are excellent exercises to keep the core muscles strong and supportive. Work hard to maintain good hip mobility as well to prevent increased low back pain.

      With respect to further injections that is left up to your spinal surgeon to decide if further injections would be helpful based on your type of spondylolisthesis and previous response to the injection.

      All the best,
      Dr. Sender Deutsch

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