An estimated 80% of the population experiences back pain– especially lower back pain– at one point or another in their lifetime. While still prevalent, leg pain can stem from back pain, but it occurs less frequently. Leg pain tends to be both bothersome and debilitating, potentially limiting an individual’s daily activities. Patients consulting a spinal care look to a doctor to administer treatment for quick pain relief; more importantly, patients want doctors to provide answers to the cause of their discomfort. But in the end, patients fail to understand that the answer may not be as clear-cut as they believe.
In reality, a wide spectrum of spinal conditions can lead to instances of both back and leg pain.
For example, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) can trigger leg pain, coupled with back pain. PAD refers to the buildup of plaque along artery walls and the subsequent blocking of blood vessels in the legs. This, in turn, restricts the amount of oxygen nourishing the leg muscles and causes discomfort in patients’ legs and back. But combined leg and back pain can also be a harbinger of a life-threatening condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis. This serious condition refers to the formation of blood clots in the deep veins in the body. If the clot breaks free, it can be dangerous and clog a smaller vessel, thereby culminating into a stroke.