Why Does Arm & Leg Pain Often Accompany Back Pain?

Leg Pain From Back Pain

Individuals who have back pain may also experience discomfort in their limbs. Vertebral changes and disc problems often cause compression of the spinal nerves that result in discomfort in the arms or legs. Because this is a common, yet commonly unknown symptom of back pain, The Spine Institute LA likes to offer some information about why this occurs and what patients can do to help reduce overall discomfort.

Thoracic Spine Injuries

If an individual is experiencing upper back discomfort, he or she may feel pain in one or both arms. The most common cause of thoracic back pain is disc herniation. The vertebrae of the spinal column work to protect the spinal cord and provide support to the body. Each vertebra contains a pliable disc in its center that acts as a shock absorbing system throughout the spine. Disc herniation happens when the contents of the disc bulge out of the line of the spinal column. Herniated discs in the thoracic spine usually occur after age 40 and are normally caused by wear and tear from the normal aging process.

Arm pain accompanies thoracic spine pain because the bulging disc often presses on the spinal nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. If the nerves that travel to the arms are pinched, pain, numbness and/or tingling may occur.

Lumbar Pain

Disc injuries in the lower back are a frequent cause of lumbar pain. Lumbar disc problems can also come with age but are frequently caused by strain. When the nerves along the lower portion of the spine are compressed, leg pain may occur.

Sciatica is a commonly experienced condition that causes leg pain, which can reach all the way down to the toes. It is caused by vertebral compression of the large sciatic nerve that starts in the lower spine and branches out across the top of the buttocks and down the hips and legs. The pain often comes and goes and can be severe enough to affect mobility.

Treatment Options

As with any type of back pain, all conservative treatment options will be recommended first by your doctor or physician. This can include a combination of physical therapy, medications, spinal injections and massage. However, when pain does not respond to these treatments, other options such as surgery may be recommended.

To determine which spinal treatment is best for you, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration today at 310-828-7757 and schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified spine physicians in Los Angeles. With our team of spinal specialists on your side, you can start your journey to a pain-free living.