Complex Injuries

Pain Running Down The Leg

Share

A common symptom of sciatica is radiating/spreading pain running down the leg. However, the leg pain could be something to do with the blood vessels. If the pain travels from the low back to the hip, through the buttocks, down the leg, and into the foot, then more than likely it is sciatica. However, sciatica is just one condition that causes leg pain; other causes of leg pain include:

  • Bone spurs
  • Herniated disc
  • Arthritis
  • All can irritate the sciatic nerve causing sciatica.

The vascular system, also called the circulatory system, comprises the vessels that circulate blood and lymph throughout the body. Problems with the vascular system are a less common cause of leg pain but can be severe. Therefore, it is vital to learn to tell the difference.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis – DVT happens when a blood clot forms in a deep vein in the body and not the superficial veins just under the skin. The legs’ deep veins are susceptible to clotting. The formation of a clot can happen:

  • After surgery
  • From an accident
  • When recovering, bed resting and not moving.
  • When the body is in the same position for a long time with little to no movement, like a long plane ride.
  • On long plane rides, try to get up and walk around every hour. If unable to walk, do three sets of 20 reps of heel-to-toe exercises every hour.

Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling but can also present without causing any symptoms. Other risk factors include:

Blood Clots

Three main factors place individuals at risk for blood clots. They are:

Hypercoagulability

  • This is when the blood is more prone to clotting. This can occur through:
  • Genetics
  • Medications
  • Pregnancy
  • Kidney disease
  • Trauma

Venous stasis

  • This is when blood flow circulation is slower than it should be. This usually happens from:
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Heart conditions
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Clotting disorders

Vascular Trauma

  • Blunt or penetrating injury to the blood vessel and/or its walls.

Pain running down the leg from a blood clot feels like:

  • Tightness
  • Cramping soreness
  • Throbbing
  • Possible warmth
  • Swelling.

Blood clots and sciatica are reported to feel relatively different. The pain from a blood clot does not spread out and does not extend from or to the back. Sciatica does not cause swelling, redness, and warmth. If a doctor suspects a blood clot is causing the pain, they will order an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis. If it is deep vein thrombosis, blood thinners could be recommended for three to six months.

  • A doctor may recommend aspirin, which can help in the prevention of blood clots.
  • Compression stockings/socks could also be recommended.
  • In some cases, the clot may have to be surgically removed.

Vascular Conditions and Pain Running Down The Leg

Other blood vessel conditions that can cause individuals to believe they have sciatica include:

Peripheral artery disease – PAD

This often presents in individuals with diabetes or who smoke. It causes pain in the calf area but does not radiate throughout the leg. The pain usually presents with physical effort movement. If the pain occurs when at rest, this could be a serious medical emergency. Peripheral artery disease is a chronic condition that can worsen if lifestyle changes are not made to reduce risk factors.

Acute limb ischemia

This condition can cause leg pain, but not the same as sciatica. What happens is the leg is not receiving blood, causing:

  • Intense pain in the extremity
  • Change in the color of the skin
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Loss of a pulse

This vascular condition is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

Acute compartment syndrome

This can happen after some kind of trauma to the leg.

  • The pain is acute, with the leg swelling up and a building up of tight pressure.
  • It usually affects the lower part of the leg.
  • This condition can also cause:
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Visible swelling
  • Bruising

It is considered a medical emergency and needs to be treated quickly to avoid complications.

Varicose veins

Varicose veins can cause some pain running down the leg and/or aching, but the discomfort is not as intense. Treatment has come a long way, is less invasive, and includes:

  • Compression stockings, including prescription socks/stockings
  • Laser treatments
  • Minimally invasive procedures
  • Not staying on the feet too much
  • Elevating the legs
  • Maintaining an ideal weight can help

Vascular Disorder Prevention

Healthy lifestyle habits are recommended to keep the vascular system operating correctly. This includes:

Sciatica Treatment

If it is sciatica, fortunately, most cases go away on their own, but if treatment is needed, it is recommended to start with conservative treatments such as:

  • Chiropractic
  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • In severe cases, surgery like a microdiscectomy or laminectomy will be performed to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Body Composition


Why might blood pressure be different when measuring on each arm?

The heart sits just to the left of the midline in the chest cavity. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. It leaves through the left side of the heart and transports blood to a network of blood vessels that branch out, supplying the body with oxygen and nutrients. The arteries that branch off the aorta and go to the left and right sides of the body are different.

On the right, the brachiocephalic trunk comes off the aorta and splits into the right common carotid artery and right subclavian artery. The left common carotid and left subclavian arteries branch directly off the aorta. The differences mean that the risk for arterial thrombosis is not the same for the right and left subclavian arteries. Arterial thrombosis causes the blood vessels to become stiff, causing obstruction over time and is more likely to happen in the left subclavian than in the right. The difference in arterial branching affects blood pressure measurements on the left and right arms. The blood vessels are surrounded by:

  • Muscle
  • Fat
  • Connective tissue

When muscles place pressure on the blood vessels around the heart, it can cause short-term turbulence changes that can affect blood pressure.

References

American Heart Association. Atherosclerosis and cholesterol. www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol/atherosclerosis

American Heart Association. What is excessive blood clotting (Hypercoagulation?) www.heart.org/en/health-topics/venous-thromboembolism/what-is-excessive-blood-clotting-hypercoagulation

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is venous thromboembolism? www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/facts.html

Cleveland Clinic. Compartment syndrome. my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15315-compartment-syndrome

Mayo Clinic. Deep vein thrombosis overview. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/deep-vein-thrombosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352557

Mayo Clinic. Sciatica. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20377441

Mayo Clinic. Sciatica overview. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435

Mayo Clinic. Varicose veins. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350649

Obara, Hideaki et al. “Acute Limb Ischemia.” Annals of vascular diseases vol. 11,4 (2018): 443-448. doi:10.3400/avd.ra.18-00074

ScienceDirect. (n.d.) “Virchow’s Triad.” www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/virchows-triad

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Pain Running Down The Leg" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.

Blessings

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*

Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card

Dr. Alex Jimenez

Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.

Published by

Recent Posts

Discover the Best Fruits Low in Sugar

Can fruit help with a sweet craving for individuals trying to limit sugar? Fruits Low… Read More

The Impact of Cycling on Osteoarthritis

Can individuals with osteoarthritis can incorporate cycling to reduce joint pain and regain their joint… Read More

Take Your Fitness to the Next Level with Sprint Exercise Training

For individuals who don't have time for a full workout, could incorporating sprint exercise training… Read More

The Clinical Approach and the Role of Nursing in Healthcare

How do healthcare professionals provide a clinical approach in the role of nursing to reducing… Read More

Sleeping in Record-Breaking Heat: Tips to Stay Cool and Rested

High temperatures can disrupt the body's sleep cycles, leading to health problems. Can knowing strategies… Read More

How to Manage a Nervous Stomach: Tips and Treatments

Emotional challenges like anxiety and depression or digestive disorders can cause individuals to experience a… Read More

Comminuted Fractures: Surgical Interventions and Rehabilitation

Can learning about comminuted fracture symptoms and repair help individuals and healthcare providers develop effective… Read More

Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Improve Mobility and Reduce Pain

Can individuals with rheumatoid arthritis incorporate various exercises to reduce joint pain and inflammation in… Read More

Water Aerobics: Low-Impact Full-Body Workout

For individuals living with chronic pain and various diseases like Parkinson's, arthritis, and diabetes, can… Read More

Neck Pain Traction Device: Restoring Neck Mobility and Function

Can using a self-care traction device help and be a cost-effective method of providing cervical… Read More

Managing ACL Injuries Without Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide

Can athletic individuals with ACL injuries find relief through non-surgical treatments to restore knee mobility?… Read More

Exploring the Benefits and Drawbacks of Butter and Margarine

 Can knowing the difference between butter and margarine help Individuals looking to improve cholesterol levels?… Read More