Leg Numbness

by Paulette
(Charlotte, NC)

When I stand up or walk for a few minutes, my lower legs are numb as they can be. When I sit down a couple of minutes, they go back to normal. They are only numb from the top of my legs to my knees. This is on both legs. What do you suppose my problem is? I am assuming it has something to do with my back.

Hi Paulette,

I'm afraid I can't answer your question directly because without a full assessment I can't offer specific advice to you. You need to go and get checked out by a doctor or physical therapist to get a proper diagnosis for your problem. However, I will answer a different question and maybe that will give you some information that may supplement your discussions with your doctor.

Can lower back problems cause leg numbness?

In a word yes, but so can other things. One of the more common causes of numbness in legs from lower back problems is where a disc bulge causes irritation of the sciatic nerve. This can lead to sciatica which usually involves pain in the leg and can be accompanied by pins and needles and numbness. The pattern of pain and numbness with this condition is reasonably predictable and depends on which nerve root is irritated; the symptoms roughly follow this dermatome chart.

It is very unusual to get symptoms in both legs with this condition, it is usually only in one leg.

Another cause of leg numbness from the spine is spinal stenosis. The link will take you to a section where I talk about the symptoms and treatment for spinal stenosis.

There are other rare spinal causes of numbness but they are few and far between and a doctor can rule them out. There are also non-spinal problems that can cause numbness in the legs and feet too which is why anyone with symptoms of numbness should go and see a doctor. This section on serious back problems outlines some symptoms which make a visit to the doctor essential.



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