Lower back pain that radiates down both legs is often caused by a disc or bone injury. Most often, the pain occurs between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae. Common causes include ruptured discs or spinal stenosis, where the spinal canal is narrowed by overgrown bone.
Lower back pain that radiates down both legs is a common problem, and it should be evaluated by a spine or pain management specialist. The pain often improves with rest, but in 10 to 20 percent of people, the symptoms remain and may require surgery to relieve pressure on a nerve root.
A disc can rupture when it is subjected to pressure, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nearby nerve roots. When this happens, the disc material can irritate the nerve roots, causing pain in the leg and back. The pain can also be accompanied by numbness and weakness.
Nerve root entrapment
The term "nerve root entrapment" describes a spinal cord nerve root pinching. This condition is most common in the lower back and can result in pain radiating down both legs. The condition is caused by the entrapment of a single nerve or multiple nerve roots. The pain is often associated with other neurological symptoms in the leg. Patients may also experience weakness or pins and needles. This condition is often diagnosed through physical examinations and tests of muscle strength.
Although NSAIDs are considered an option for lower back pain that radiates down two legs, they come with a long list of potential side effects. These include sedation, constipation, and increased risk of dependence and abuse. Moreover, they only alleviate symptoms and do not speed up recovery.
If you have pain that radiates down both legs, your doctor may prescribe steroid injections to reduce swelling. These injections work by relieving pressure on the larger nerves near the spine. However, patients should be aware that these medications can cause side effects.
Proper posture can reduce pressure on the back, and exercise can strengthen the muscles that support the spine. Your physical therapist can teach you specific exercises to help with sciatica. You can also maintain proper posture while sitting and choose chairs with armrests or good lower back support. If you don't have the space for a backrest, use a pillow in the small of your back. Your knees and hips should also be level.
Chiropractic care for lower back pain that radiates down both legs is an effective treatment option that relieves pain in the lower back and leg. Chiropractors use manual therapies and spinal manipulation to relieve pain. This type of treatment is safe and generally non-invasive. Chiropractors have a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and are licensed by the state where they practice.