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Having a Pinched Nerve in Leg (3 Tips to Get Relief Now)
Pinched nerve in leg is a very agonizing condition. It is one of many other conditions that can occur in other parts of your body such as neck, back, shoulder and arm (Filler, 2004).
You may experience its symptoms but neglect them to be just some strange happening in some part of your body.
Remember that this is injury to one or a group of nerves in your leg. Your leg has important tissue such as bone, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.
Such tissues can experience pressure as a result of compression, constriction or stretching.
Since these tissues surround nerves, such pressure has potential to cause damage to one or a group of nerves in your leg.
That is the reason you experience numbness and pain that causes movement of your leg muscles difficult.
Nerves do not perform their functions but have a control center known as the Central Nervous System (CNS).
Briefly, the CNS coordinates all your neurological activities in the body. The network of nerves, spinal cord, and the brain are what comprises your CNS.
Your nerves have their origin in the brain before spreading in a fine network throughout your body, including your legs.
On the other hand, nerves that run from your spinal cord to your legs and other parts of the body are collectively called peripheral nerves.
Therefore, sensation and activities in your legs are controlled by peripheral nerves.
There should be communication between nerves in your legs and the CNS. As a result, such communication requires a medium for passing static electrical ions.
Consequently, nerve fibers found in your legs are packed in a sheath that acts a medium for passage of static electrical ions between parts of your legs and the CNS.
The sheath has additional work of nourishing components found on its top. That is possible through the neuron fluid.
The sheath’s membrane depends on the neuron fluid to avoid degeneration. Degeneration of the membrane is inevitable when the flow the neuron fluid is blocked or reduced when the nerve is pinched.
Therefore, the static electrical ions shall not flow from the nerves to the CNS. Practically, the nerves in your legs will fail to perform their normal functions after pinching.
What it means to have a Pinched Nerve in Leg
No one can explain the agony of a pinched nerve in leg better than 62-year-old Shannon from Illinois. During his youthful days, Shannon was a famous soccer player who was a master of his left foot.
As a result, his left foot was under constant overuse. Since he had adopted a lifestyle of exercising, mountain climbing, and skiing.
He liked this lifestyle until he begun feeling some excruciating pain and sudden numbness in his left leg in 2012.
As usual, Shannon shrugged his shoulders and said the pain will go away. He was correct. Such pain often goes away in the early stages when there is little damage to the nerve.
Like many other people out there, he suspected osteoarthritis. Indeed, the diagnosis showed that he had osteoarthritis.
Despite treatment remedies that focused on osteoarthritis, pain and numbness in his left leg did not subside with time.
While on visit to his friend in Memphis, a guest overheard him complain twice of numbness in the leg. The guest recommended him to visit a doctor.
Before any examination, the doctor asked him about the history pain and numbness in his leg. Of course, Shannon explained his lifestyle and hobbies.
In addition, Shannon said that he had had an accident in 2011 and sustained a sprain on the left leg.
In addition, the part of the leg that was radiating the pain was the exact position that pain and numbness originated.
The doctor suspected pinched nerve in the leg, which prompted her to conduct the following tests. First, she carried out Conduction Study in order to locate the damaged nerve in his leg.
After locating the nerve, the doctor uttered, “You are lucky have functioning muscles in your legs!” With a bewildered look Shannon asked, “Why?” The doctor did not say another word but encouraged Shannon to prepare for a second test; electromyography.
This test sought to establish electrical discharges in the leg around the damaged region of the nerve.
To confirm the test results, the doctor conducted a test known as Electromagnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
This was to confirm the first two tests. The results from the MRI confirmed beyond doubt that the nerves in Shannon’s leg were nearing permanent damage. This would render his leg muscles dysfunctional.
Shannon had a session with the doctor after the diagnostic tests. The doctor explained to the scared Shannon that the lifestyle he had led had contributed to his present condition.
Fortunately, she assured Shannon that the pinched nerve in his leg could be contained by treatment intervention.
Shannon was told by the doctor that his bad leg was losing strength very fast and needed physical therapy to return strength in leg. As for the pain, Shannon was lucky since pain killers were recommended by the doctor.
There are many more people like you and Shannon who are suffering from pinched nerve in leg. The condition can be contained by early diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
What Causes pinched nerve in leg?
Pinched nerve, regardless of where it occurs, is caused by too much pressure on the nerve involved. The pressure originates from tissues that surround that nerve. Nerves in your legs are surrounded by tissues such as cartilage, bone, muscles, and tendons.
When these tissues get subjected under excessive pressure as a result of stretching, compression, or constriction, your leg nerves get injured.
Another case where you can develop a pinched nerve in your leg is overuse. You could be unaware that overuse of your leg is one of the leading reasons for developing a pinched nerve (Linda, 2007).
You can have your leg overused through activities that articulate your leg for longer periods.
For instance, doing repetitive exercises of the leg can exert pressure to the tissues that surround nerves in your leg. This pressure is necessary for causing injury to your leg nerves.
You can subject your leg under repetitive exercise through running. There are people who undertake their exercises through routine running for a number of times in a week. This increases the risk of developing or aggravating an existing pinched nerve.
2. Trauma and injury
through accident to your leg can cause your leg nerves to get pinched too. In fact, most patients are unaware that accidents that took place on their legs a long time ago has capacity to cause this condition.
Trauma to the tissues that enclose the nerves can lead to serious damage to your leg nerves. Trauma can cause compression, constriction or stretching of such tissues.
It is important to keep track of trauma history of the leg that you suspect has a pinched nerve.
This is another cause of pinched nerve in leg. Obesity is an indicator of people with inactive lifestyle.
While repetitive activities like regular running cause pinched nerve, lack of exercise due to obesity can cause pinched nerve too.
This implies that you have poor blood circulation as result of an unhealthy heart.
Exercise is good for the health of your heart and your body in general. Obesity will prevent you from engaging in even the simplest exercises that can keep your normal blood circulation.
Therefore, obesity increases the risk of compression, stretching and constriction of nerves in your leg. Furthermore, lack of proper blood circulation as a result of obesity will slow the down the healing process of your existing pinched nerve condition.
Lastly, poor posture can also cause numbness and piercing pain in your legs too. Doctors recommend that you maintain proper posture while sitting or standing.
Signs of Pinched Nerve In Leg
You have the signs of pinched nerve anywhere in the body including areas such as neck, arm, and back.
In addition, the signs depend on the location of the affected nerve in your leg.
That is the reason diagnosis through rigorous tests is necessary for locating the affected nerve.
Before reverting to the specific signs of pinched nerve in leg, it is important to mention general signs of pinched nerve.
- You will feel numbness
- Frailty of muscles
- and pain around the affected nerve (in this case, your leg).
Furthermore, you will feel a burning pain that seems to radiate from the region in your leg where nerves are injured. This is the commonest sign of a pinched nerve in your leg.
You should consider visiting your doctor when your leg feels numb and heavy to lift. This sign is accompanied by difficulty to move your leg or foot.
Numbness of your leg comes with prickling of tingling sensation. This feeling can attack any part of your leg and is referred to as paresthesia.
In advanced stages of pinched nerve, you will feel gross weakness in your muscles as a result of decreased supply of blood and nutrients to the muscles.
You can experience muscle weakness especially when you sit or stand for a long time.
You will realize decrease in your walking pace and overall mobility because of pain.
The pinched nerve causes discomfort through excruciating pain, spasms and weakness in your leg muscles.
Involuntary spasms and muscle twitching has potential to cause further damage to the affected nerve. Such incidences have the capacity to distract you from work completely.
Pregnancy is a stage that is marked with increase in weight. As a result, there is increased pressure due to the expanding uterus leads to the signs of pinched nerves in the legs (Jayne, 2006).
Expansion of the uterus results to pressure on nerves in the pelvic region, aggravating the signs of pinched nerve in the leg.
What to do Now to relieve Pinched Nerve in Leg
When you have damage to the leg nerve as a result of injury, blood and essential nutrients do not reach the nerve as a result of blocked flow of neuron fluid.
1. Using Yoga to relieve the pinched nerve pain
Yoga and specific stretching exercises are important but you should only do them under supervision of your doctor.
Second, rest should be your most immediate first aid remedy before any exercises.
As for yoga exercises, the one-legged yoga pose is one of the most effective exercises for dulling pain in the leg because of the pinched nerve.
Start by lifting and holding your right leg behind you by the sheen just near your ankles. Bend forward and outstretch your left hand.
Learn to center your body’s gravity by concentrating on your outstretched arm and balancing leg.
Hold this position for a maximum of 20 seconds. Work out 2 to 3 reps for each leg while breathing deeply after each set.
You can vary this exercise by sitting on the floor with your legs flat. Stretch palms to touch your feet and hold the position for 20 seconds.
2. Use these Piriformis exercises
3. Use these exercises for the piriformis muscle
Medical Treatment for Pinched Nerve in Leg
Before any medical prescription, your doctor will advice you on taking rest from any strenuous activities that aggravate pain from the pinched nerve.
It is important to note that your pinched nerve will resolve by itself after a few days if the damage is small. However, this should not be the reason you should fail to see the doctor.
Medical treatment involves the use of painkillers and surgery as a last resort. Your doctor would prescribe over-the-counter medication that includes painkillers.
Use Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and Aspirin.
These drugs will relieve pain because of your pinched nerves. They are also helpful in reducing swelling when the damage to the nerve leads to inflammation.
In addition, massage therapy of the affected leg combines well with medical treatment to accelerate healing.
Pinched nerve in leg is can be treated when early medical intervention is undertaken. Do not neglect the signs you have learned from this article.
Remember that neglect can lead to unbearable pain and total damage to the nerves. Shannon’s case shows that there are people leaving with the condition without looking for the doctors’ help.
Following the first aid advice in this article can relieve you of the pain and numbness in the event of pinched nerve signs.
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