What could be the cause of numbness radiating down my leg?
Thank you for your question - I can completely empathise with you having endured back pain and leg symptoms in the past - it can be quite troubling.
Before I continue, I just want you to consider whether you have any of the following:
1. Numbness around the anus
2. A sudden change in bowel or bladder function
If you do, please can I urge you visit your local emergency department as soon as possible - these are known as "red flag symptoms" and require urgent attention.
As Dr Sean mentions, you sound like you are experiencing radicular/nerve symptoms. This is due to nerve irritation somewhere along its pathway. While the back is probably the commonest place for this to happen, most people will be able to recall an episode when it comes or when they "slipped" the disc.
Other areas where this compression can occur include along the pathway of the nerve and I certainly have had a few patients with hip/buttock problems (such as piriformis syndrome with irritation of the sciatic nerve) that have been the precipitating event for their symptoms. Indeed, with your pelvic symptoms it would be important to consider these. Alternatively it could be a problem in the back such as a disc herniation.
Often, these conditions can be resolved with conservative measures including pain relief, physiotherapy, gait assessments or guided injections. As Dr Sean mentions, in some circumstances you may require further imaging such as an X-ray or MRI depending on your symptoms.
As with many situations, who you see is down to personal choice, finances, locality and circumstances. Often it is good to visit a multi-disciplinary centre where you can be correctly assessed and appropriately treated.
I wish you all the best with your leg and pelvic symptoms and if you do have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.
Hi, thank you for the question. This symptom that you are experiencing is something that is very common.
What you’re feeling is something we term, as a radiculopathy. It’s the sensation one experiences when a nerve from the back (Lumbar) region gets pressed.
Nerves are very sensitive, and any compression, from either a disc bulge or slipped disc, bone spurs, soft tissue swelling etc, can cause this symptom.
That’s also why you’re experiencing some Low back discomfort. They usually come together, though some patients may only have back pain, or leg symptoms.
It is important to identify the source of the compression, as sometimes left untreated, may lead to further compression and progressively worse symptoms. I would recommend that you visit an Orthopaedic Surgeon - scans may be necessary to identify the pathology.
Management options can then be tailored towards the cause, and hopefully resolve the issue.
Hope you find this useful,
Dr Sean Ng
Dr. Henry Chan