Finding relief for nerve pain in the leg

Nerve-related leg pain is a common symptom associated with compression of the sciatic nerve, which originates in the lower back and is the longest and widest nerve in the body. Along with leg pain, the set of symptoms known as sciatica can affect the lower back, the buttocks, the feet or the toes.

Although traumatic injury can produce lower back nerve compression, it is more commonly developed as part of the natural aging process. The reason for this is the components of the lumbar (lower) spine are subjected to a wide range of stress-inducing movements, all while supporting the upper body. Over time, the vertebrae, discs, joints and other parts of the spine can begin to break down due to loss of water content combined with years of wear and tear.

While these degenerative conditions do not necessarily cause pain and symptoms, they do increase the risk of causing nerve compression. If this does occur, pain and symptoms can travel from the lumbar spine into the leg and foot.

What leg nerve pain feels like

Sciatica symptoms are typically experienced only on one side of the body or another. For example, compression caused by a bulging disc on the right side of the L4 vertebra is likely to produce symptoms on the right side of the lower body.

The severity and location of the pain and symptoms will be determined by the location of the nerve compression, but generally, nerve pain in the leg cause by a compressed sciatic nerve will be experienced as:

  • Burning or shooting pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness or difficulty moving
  • Constant ache or sharp pain
  • Site-specific pain
  • Cramping or muscle spasms

Treatment for leg nerve pain

In many cases, leg pain associated with sciatic nerve compression will improve over time with rest and conservative treatments. The most commonly prescribed conservative treatments include pain medication, exercise, alternating hot and cold compression and spinal injections.

However, if leg nerve pain and other symptoms continue after conservative treatments have been exhausted, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. Our outpatient procedures provide patients with a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open neck or open back surgery, offering our patients advantages like less risk of complication.

If your sciatic nerve is compressed by a moderate spine condition, we may recommend a minimally invasive decompression spine surgery, which takes pressure off the nerve by removing a small portion of the damaged spine. If a more severe spine condition is to blame, we may recommend a minimally invasive stabilization surgery, which is our muscle-sparing, outpatient approach to spinal fusion.

For more information, reach out to our caring team for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.