Q: Without being able to pinpoint when I actually “hurt” my back, I now have pain and spasms from my buttocks all the way down both legs as far as the back of my calves. I have tried ice and stretching exercise on the floor. I will go for a few hours with relief (also use Advil) but then my legs for no given reason will just spasm and “lock” up.
A: There are several possibilities for your pain. Pain that originates from the lower back and radiates down the leg can be secondary to lower back spasms or could be directly from the spine. Spinal pain in this situation can be divided into broad categories, “wear and tear” such as Osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis which is narrowing of the spinal cord, disc herniation, traumatic arthritis, rarely infectious arthritis and inflammatory arthritis. You need to see a doctor for a thorough history, physical exam, imaging tests and possibly blood tests. Treatment will depend on the underlying etiology of your back pain and could include medication for nerve pain such as gabapentin, lyrica, norepinephrine/serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as cymbalta, oral/topical anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, stretching exercises and surgery in severe cases.
-Dr.Amal Mehta


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