You can, obviously, have leg pain because you injured your leg when you fell skiing or in a car wreck.
We frequently see patients who hurt their back and either very quickly, or shortly thereafter, started to get pain in the front or back of their leg. It's commonly due to a bulging disc pressing on a nerve.
People who spend large amounts of time sitting - truck drivers, various tradesmen, secretaries, machine operators, can get leg pain without any specific, known injury also.
Pain in the legs, like pain in the arm or hand, can have many different causes.
Here's an interesting case...This is a true story:
The patient started with pain in the hip and buttocks, which within days became extended to the front of the thigh, then on down to the inside of the lower leg. He had excruciating pain upon getting up in the morning that would subside slightly within a few hours after walking around. The leg was weak and the knee would buckle when he walked. It looked like a disc injury but there was no mechanism of injury and it also, certainly looked like multiple discs involved. How could that be?
Interestingly, there was no injury to speak of and no actual back pain. He thinks it started as result of cleaning the yard, picking up scraps of papers and trash. There was no pain in the legs until 4 days after that. Disc injuries don't behave like that...
The pain from a disc shouldn't hurt when lying down and then subside when weight-bearing / standing up. This did. A disc injury typically hurts if you cough. This didn't.
The problem worsened. A chiropractor was consulted and it helped but not enough.
An MD was consulted and an MRI was done which showed 4 herniated discs.
Not what you want to hear, but the leg pain distribution made sense for that.
The the big question that begs to be asked is - How on earth does someone get 4 herniated discs bending down to pick up some scraps of paper on the lawn and end up with such excruciating pain?
It just didn't add up.
More tests were done. An EMG was done to be certain the problem was in the spine. It was...
And then back to the MRI for a re-read....What did we over-look?
MRI's never lie. There were 4 herniated discs. No escape
But... there was something else there.
Almost like overlooked, fine print: Hypertrophy of the Ligamentum Flavum.
This is a ligament on the BACK side of the spinal cord, the opposite side of the cord from where the discs are.
So - what's the big deal with that?
Try this: Place a piece of gift-wrapping ribbon flat on a surface and place two fingers on it spread out in a V. Now push the two fingers together, forming a small "blip" in the ribbon.
Nice magic trick but what's it mean?
This is what happens to the Ligamentum Flavum when we spend lots of time bent over forwards, which is what we humans do a lot of.
If we get that "blip" in that one ligament, it can press against the nerves just like a swollen / bulging disc does - and you get very similar symptoms.
The difference is it responds to one very specific kind of traction much MUCH faster than a bulging disc will.
This type of traction was performed lying face-up with the traction table set to arch the back sharply backwards.
This has the (almost immediate), effect of stretching that blip in the Ligamentum Flavum out straight, eliminating the pressure against the nerves.
5 minutes is all it took and the leg pain stopped Suddenly - like a light switched off.
It did need to be repeated a few times before it lasted. But there was a direct cause / effect relationship each time.
It almost sounds too good to be true, No disc injury ever resolved like that!
And 4 discs?
I can't make this stuff up - But I wasn't the just the doc here. I was also the patient.