Pinched nerve is a condition that occurs when too much pressure is applied on a nerve by the tissues surrounding it. It can occur anywhere in the body, like the back, shoulders, hands, or legs. The damage or injury caused to the nerves in the legs due to compression, constriction, or stretching of the bones, cartilage, muscles, or tissues surrounding them leads to the condition of pinched nerves. Most of the time, patients recover from this condition within a few days or a period of few weeks. Only in extreme cases, one needs to undergo a surgery to relieve this condition.
Nerves help connect the brain with the various other parts of the body. The nerves arising from the spinal cord or brain are called central nerves and those arising from the spine that travel to the arms or legs are called peripheral nerves. These nerves form nerve fibers that facilitate the movement of muscles and enable us to feel our skin. When a never is pinched, i.e., damaged or injured, it causes a block. This block reduces the flow of nutrients, and the nerve loses its ability to pass on electrical impulses. Eventually, the nerve may die causing numbness or an inability to move the muscles. Now, let us take a look at the symptoms of a pinched nerve in leg.
☛ The legs tend to become numb, and the condition is commonly referred to as 'fallen asleep'. The numbness results in a difficulty to move the leg or foot. Also, the leg becomes very heavy and difficult to control.
☛ The most common of all the symptoms is pain. The pain may radiate in the region where the nerve is pinched. This means the pain may radiate from the knee towards the hip or down to the foot.
☛ Another common sign of a pinched nerve in the leg is a burning sensation. One may feel as if something is burning within their leg, especially in the area where the pain is being felt.
☛ The person may also experience involuntary spasms and muscle twitching. The spasms may occur suddenly and may cause greater damage to the nerves. These spasms are very discomforting, painful, and cause immense distraction from work.
☛ A pinched nerve can lead to a prickling or tingling sensation in the legs. These sensations are called paresthesia and can occur anywhere in the leg.
☛ Muscle weakness is another key symptom observed, because the injury prevents the nutrients and blood from reaching the muscles. Standing or sitting for a long time can cause pain and weakness.
☛ One may suffer from a decrease in mobility and find that their speed of walking has decreased considerably. This is because the pinched nerve causes pain, muscle weakness, and spasms that affect the overall gait of the patient.
☛ It has been observed that the symptoms of a pinched nerve worsen at night. This causes a difficulty in falling asleep and one suffers from restlessness at night due to the pain and discomfort caused.
Treatment generally involves taking rest and lowering the level of activity for a few days. The doctor may prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications as a part of the treatment. In severe cases, corticosteroid injections and physical therapy is needed. One needs to massage the legs and try hot and cold therapy to relieve the pain. Stretching and exercising also help to some extent. If the affected nerve does not show any improvement even after several weeks of treatment, surgery is advised. The surgery depends on the location of the nerve, and the doctor makes more room for the pressed nerve between the surrounding tissues.
If you feel a constant pain, burning sensation, and numbness in your leg, you should visit a doctor. It is important to get the pinched nerves treated, as it can flare up to a more painful condition. For more information and details, speak to your doctor or health care professional at the earliest.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.