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Why Am I Having Pain Down My Leg And What Can I Do About It?

Co-Authored by Darrion Ardoin, SPTA, Houston Community College

We have all experienced Low Back Pain (LBP) at one point or another. Whether we slept in an awkward position and woke up with some stiffness or spent all day running errands and now it's a little achy. When this pain goes from an ache to a tingling, burning or numbness sensation is when it potentially becomes Lumbar radiculopathy.

Lumbar radiculopathy is a common complaint seen in healthcare and makes up a large percentage of doctor visits. Common symptoms include:

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see your primary care provider as soon as possible:

About 90% of the time, the common symptoms will resolve within 12 weeks. But in situations where the radiating pain persists, conservative management is the most appropriate first step.

 Here are some activity tips to manage LBP at home:

  1. Back Extension
    1. Prone Lying: Start by laying on your stomach on a firm surface with arms down at your side. Your head can be face down or turned to one side. Take a deep breath and relax. Lay like this for up to 5 minutes, 1-2 times per
  2. Stretching
    1. Piriformis Stretch: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the surface. Use your hands to cross the painful leg over the other leg while keeping both knees bent. For example, if your right leg is painful, cross your right leg over your left knee so that your right ankle is resting on top of your left knee. Hold for 30 seconds. Do this 3 times, twice a Doing both sides is beneficial but try to focus on the painful side.
  3. Core Strengthening
    1. Start by laying on your back with knees bent on a firm Gently draw the belly button straight down towards your spine. You should feel your lower back slightly flatten against the surface as if you were trying to crush an egg with your lower back. Control your breathing normally and hold for 5 seconds before returning to a relaxed position. Do this 10 times, 2-3 times per day.

Here at our comfortable Elation Physical Therapy offices in Houston, Pearland, and Cypress, Texas, our physical therapists have a wealth of experience treating and preventing low back pain. Schedule an appointment with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy today!

Dr. Roy Rivera, Jr., PT, PhD, DPT, MCHES Dr. Roy Rivera, Jr., PT, PhD, DPT, MCHES Dr. Rivera is a licensed physical therapist and owner of Elation Physical Therapy in Houston and Pearland, Texas. Working across a variety of health care settings, Dr. Rivera has a philosophy and interest in helping people reach or return to their peak physical conditions in the face of physiological setbacks. After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, Dr. Rivera went on to earn his Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Dr. Rivera continued his education at the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, Utah, completing his Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). He then went on to earn his Doctor of Philosophy in Health Studies at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas.

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