What are the Most Common Causes of Leg and Lower Back Pain?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
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Leg and lower back pain sometimes occur at the same time due to a few conditions that affect both parts of the body. Sciatic nerve pain, for example, can cause leg and lower back pain since the affected sciatic nerve runs from the lower back and down the back of the legs. Other causes of such pain include muscle tightness, muscle strains or tears, arthritis, poor posture, or overuse of the lower body. Runners and other athletes often get leg and lower back pain after intense use, and athletes are also more likely to incur injuries to the legs or lower back, which can lead to pain.

Sciatic nerve pain occurs when the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back and down the length of the back of each leg becomes compressed. This compression can cause leg and lower back pain that manifests itself as a sharp or shooting pain, numbness, tingling, or even muscle weakness anywhere throughout the legs, hips, buttocks, and lower back. Sustained sciatica can sometimes lead to neurological issues that may need to be addressed surgically, but this is a rare occurrence. Sciatica can be caused by a herniated disc in the spine, muscle tightness, gait problems, and any other issue that may cause compression on the sciatic nerve.


Leg and lower back pain can also be caused by injury or trauma. This is especially true among athletes, but it is certainly not limited to them. Bone fractures can lead to pain throughout the affected area, and the pain can radiate into other parts of the body as well, especially as other parts of the body move differently to accommodate the injured area. Muscle strains, which occur when the tiny fibers of a muscle tear due to over-stretching or straining, can also cause pain throughout the leg and lower back, especially if the strained muscle is closely associated with muscles in other parts of the body. If a hamstring gets pulled, for example, the groin muscles may become sore, which can lead to tightness and pain in the lower back.

Some types of arthritis can cause leg and lower back pain at the same time or in isolated incidences. Arthritis occurs when the ligaments that connect bones in a joint begin to wear out, causing inflammation, bone spurs, and nerve damage. Arthritis anywhere in the body can be painful, and it very often occurs in the joints of the legs and the lower back. Knees are commonly affected by arthritis, as are hips and the spine.



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