How The Spine Causes Knee Pain
The nerve roots that transmit the sensation of pain to the legs and feet are located in the lower back. Occasionally with age or injury, the discs between the vertebrae can degenerate or bulge out and press on these nerves.
When this occurs, the nerve becomes irritated and sends out pain signals. The location of the pain depends on which disc is protruding.
The severity of the pain depends on how much of the disc is pressing on the nerve. The nerves that send fibers to the knee are located at the second, third, and fourth lumbar vertebral levels in the lower back area.
If a bulging disc, bone spur, or arthritic joint in the second, third, or fourth lumbar vertebra compresses a nerve, the referred pain will often be felt in the knee.
Referred pain is pain perceived at a location other than where the cause is situated. It is the result of pain signals being sent along the network of interconnecting sensory nerves.
This condition can be diagnosed by your healthcare provider with a thorough history and physical exam. If the nerve that travels to your thigh and knee is irritated or pinched, you may feel a host of symptoms, including:
- Pain in the front of your thigh
- Numbness or tingling in your thigh
- Weakness in your hip or quadriceps muscles
If you have any of these symptoms, see a healthcare provider. In some cases, the hip may be the culprit, so a careful examination is necessary to find the true cause of your knee pain.
Effects Of Sciatic Inflammation
Sciatic nerve malfunction can cause more than just a painful shooting sensation down the back of the leg. It can also result in:
- Knee, hip, or lower back pain
- Muscle spasms in the back and legs
- A burning sensation in the back of the legs
- A loss of bladder or bowel control
You may experience any of these symptoms in conjunction with weak or wobbly knees that feel as though they are giving out. Sciatic problems normally cause issues with only one knee, However, you may occasionally experience pain in both knees as well.
Signs Your Back Problem Is Causing Knee Pain
If your knee pain stems from a back problem, it may be obvious because you might experience discomfort in both areas at the same time. Thats not true in all cases though, as some people will notice pain in the knees but not in the back. You may also have back and knee pain intermittently, and never be bothered by both at the same time.
When back pain is the cause of knee problems, you might also have:
- Muscle tightness in the hamstrings, quadriceps, or hips.
- Pain in the upper thigh.
Don’t Miss: How To Help Tendonitis In Knee
Pain Focused On One Side
Pain focused on only one side could be sciatica, or it could indicate a problem with the hip joint, called the sacroiliac joint.
This joint connects the hip bone to the sacrum, supporting the spine. This is NOT the ball-and-socket hip jointthe sacroiliac joint is deeper inside the pelvis.
You should make an appointment with your doctor to try and find the root cause of the pain. Only then will you be able to decide on an appropriate course of treatment.
You can try heat or cold therapy, a support brace, or chiropractic therapy to ease the pain.
What Is Your Opinion On Acupuncture If Surgery Is Not An Option
Back pain often has low success rates when it comes to surgery compared to buttocks pain that has high success rates. So if surgery is not an option for you, I think the answer is yes try everything else.
Everything else can range from physical therapy to acupuncture to chiropractic care to stem cell therapy. I have had patients respond to every version of therapy, and I have had patients respond to none of these options.
I would absolutely recommend trying acupuncture to see how much relief that provides you.
Read Also: How Can I Get Rid Of Knee Pain At Home
Conservative Medical Treatment For Sciatic Nerve Issues
Chiropractors are aware of the different effects vertebrae in the nerves can have on bodily function. Accordingly, they often use a nerve function chart when performing adjustments that will take the pressure off certain body parts. For discomfort and numbness in the legs, which includes knee pain, they often focus on the L1 through L5 vertebrae specifically.
Acupuncturists often target the sciatic nerve along the lower back and back of the leg to increase blood flow and release endorphins, which are natures painkillers. Acupuncture itself does not cure the underlying back problem, and should therefore be used as a pain control method only. It can however be used specifically for knee pain, with research showing it more effective than anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen.
Treatment Tips You Can Follow To Manage Knee Pain
Depending on your physicians diagnosis, they can create a specific treatment plan which will address the root cause of your problem and help you relieve knee pain. Surgery is often not the first option a specialist will propose for your treatment.
You can expect your doctor to recommend physical therapy, postural correction, and self-care to help you heal. Here are a few treatment tips you can follow to help you care for your body:
Don’t Miss: Why Are My Knees Cracking
Common Causes Of Leg And Back Pain
A change in the way you walk can have a profound impact on your feet, ankles, knees and lower back. When your gait is off-balance due to an injury or arthritis, the mechanics of your movements and the position of your bones and muscles lead to lower leg pain. That in turn causes your knee tendons to respond to the shifting weight, which then pulls on your upper legs and lower back.
Other conditions that tie your knees and your back pain together include:
- Herniated discs that pinch a nerve in your back thats connected to your leg
- Muscle strain thats often mistaken for a herniated disc, radiating pain from your knees to your back and vice versa
- Sciatica, which refers to pressure put on the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back down through your legs, causing shooting pains behind one knee
- Bone spurs that develop on your lower spine, leading to nerve impingements
- Osteoarthritis in the knees, the leading contributor to disability in the United States, which causes lower back pain symptoms
Causes Of Knee Pain And 6 Exercises To Help Reduce That Pain
You know the feelingyou put off getting out of your seat or avoid walking downstairs because when you do, you experience a lot of pain or discomfort in your knees. The pain could be short-term, as a result of bumping it against a hard surface or long-term, caused by a significant or traumatic injury. Or it could be the result of a chronic condition such as arthritis, or specific movements that place a lot of stress on the structures of the joint.
Regardless of the cause of the pain, there are lower-body exercises that can strengthen the hip and glute muscles with minimal stress on the structures of the knee joint. However, if the pain continues for a period of 10 days, its probably time to schedule an appointment with your doctor to make sure there is not a significant injury. This article identifies four possible causes of knee pain and describes six exercises that could help to reduce knee pain.
Dont Miss: How To Tell What Kind Of Back Pain You Have
Also Check: Gel Injected Into Knee Joint
How Can I Know If I Have Sciatica
Sciatica is linked to certain conditions including pregnancy, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and herniated or bulging discs. Doctors who suspect their patients have sciatica may ask their patients to perform some exercises or undergo x-rays and similar tests.
Physicians will also ask questions several questions including:
- Where do you feel discomfort?
- What is the pain like?
- How often are you uncomfortable?
- How long does the pain last?
- What triggers the discomfort and what helps it go away?
- Do you sit for a long period of time?
- Do you do any lifting or strenuous physical activities for your job?
- Do you have an active lifestyle?
How Is Misalignment Treated
Dr. Nagy offers several treatment options for structural misalignments that occur within the feet and ankles. Braces and splints may help to restore alignment when the problem is the result of an injury.
Conditions like severe hammertoes, bunions, and tendonitis may be corrected with minimally invasive surgical procedures or, in minor cases, exercises and physical therapy.
Orthotics can be used to correct problems with the arches and the other curves associated with the feet, providing much-needed support that takes pressure off of the other joints in the lower extremities.
Don’t Miss: What Do You Call Knee Doctor
Fast Facts On Pain In The Back Of The Knee
- There are many possible causes of this kind of pain.
- Receiving early treatment for knee pain often prevents the injury from getting worse.
- In some cases, the pain may be due to fatigue or not stretching before exercise.
It is important to work closely with a doctor to diagnose pain in the back of the knee, as some causes require long-term treatment to heal completely.
Some possible causes of pain in the back of the knee include the following.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hip Conditions
In general, people suffering from hip pain from hip pathology have symptoms that appear in the front of the hip and the groin area. Sometimes the pain will radiate into the front of the thigh but very rarely goes past the knee.
After sitting for a period of time, patients suffering from hip pathology find it difficult to walk when they first get up. The pain is worse initially, but after a couple of limping steps, the hip lubrication kicks in, and the pain subsides.
You May Like: Best Knee Patches For Pain
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
The posterior cruciate ligament is the ACLs partner. Its another band of tissue that connects your thighbone to your shinbone and supports your knee. However, the PCL isnt as likely to get injured as the ACL.
You can injure the PCL if you take a hard blow to the front of your knee, such as in a car accident. Sometimes injuries occur from twisting the knee or missing a step while walking.
Stretching the ligament too far causes a strain. With enough pressure, the ligament can tear into two parts.
Along with pain, a PCL injury causes:
- swelling of the knee
- trouble walking
- weakness of the knee
Rest, ice, and elevation can help a PCL injury heal faster. You might need surgery if youve injured more than one ligament in your knee, have symptoms of instability, or you also have cartilage damage.
What Should I Know About Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.
The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.
As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.
Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.
You May Like: How Long Does Knee Surgery Take To Heal
The Surprising Connection Between Knee And Back Pain
Nearly one-third of all Americans suffer from knee pain at one point. In addition, as many as 84% will experience back pain during their lifetime. If you suffer from knee pain, theres a good chance that back problems may be causing it. Well take a look at the surprising connection between knee pain and back pain below.
Tightness In The Hamstrings
Ever see people in the gym every day using a foam roller to massage and relax their hamstrings? These people can never seem to get permanently rid of the tightness. If this is you, theres a reason this is happening, and its not good for your knees.
The L5 nerve travels from the lumbar spine and down the outside hamstring muscle to power the biceps femoris. Hamstring pain or tightness that wont go away despite repeated stretching is one of the first signs in the lower extremity that there could be a nerve issue in your back causing knee pain.
When the hamstrings become tight, painful, or inflamed, this will impact how the knee joint works . So not only is the knee affected directly by the nerve but also by the adjustments you might make in how you move to compensate for the stressed hamstring.
After a few weeks of hamstring tightness, the meniscus will begin to suffer and your body will attempt to repair it by mobilizing the stem cells in your knee and other inflammatory cells in the body. Since the trauma will be constant and ongoing, the cells efforts will be futile, and the swelling will live there until the root cause is addressed.
Don’t Miss: How To Treat Knee Bursitis
Pain Behind Knee And Calf
Pain below or behind the knee and calf is usually caused by a deep vein thrombosis, tendonitis, muscle spasm, or a Bakers cyst. Despite the fact that these illnesses are frequently associated with discomfort, other illnesses, such as diabetes, can also cause discomfort in certain areas of the legs.
Deep vein thrombosis, tendonitis, muscle spasms, and a Bakers cyst are just a few of the reasons why the pain is below or behind the knee and calf. A pulmonary embolism is the result of a blood clot forming in the lower extremities and traveling to the lungs. Among the symptoms of inflammation or discomfort near the knee or calf are knee sprains, infections, and muscular spasms. It can be due to a variety of factors, including leg pain behind the knee or calf. The calf, for example, may experience muscle spasms due to an inflammation of the tendons. It is possible that vascular disorders will cause severe disability or even death. We provide some information about vascular health as well as some ideas for self-care.
Types Of Damage Or Injuries That Could Cause Hip And Leg Pain
In some cases, knee and hip pain can be mild and annoying. However, in other cases, the pain can be severe and interfere with your daily activities.
Not all hip and knee pain presents the same way. It may be constant, or it can come and go. Sometimes, it develops very suddenly, or it can start gradually and worsen over time.
The pain may affect the entire leg or be localized to a hip or knee joint. It can also be different types of pain, such as stabbing, aching, or dull, throbbing pain.
These factors indicate what the underlying cause of hip and knee pain is. The exact location of the pain also often shows the origin area of the problem.
The knee, thigh muscles, hip joint, glutes, and surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons are connected.
The movement of one of them affects the others. For this reason, hip and knee pain can sometimes be whats known as referred pain.
For example, if the pain is on the inside of the hip or groin, its often a sign that the problem is with the hip joint itself.
Pain on the outside of the hip, in the upper thigh, or outside the buttock usually means that the problem lies with the muscles or other soft tissues nearby.
Types of damage or injury that could be causing hip and leg pain include:
Read Also: How To Tell If Your Knee Is Broken
Treating Bunions And Knee Pain
If back problems are causing your bunions and/or knee pain, you may not experience any discomfort in your spine. Thats why many focus only on treating their foot problems, and never address the underlying cause. Surgery is sometimes needed to eliminate bunions however, unless you tackle the reason you have them in the first place, its highly likely theyll return.
If you have bunions and knee pain, its important to wear a good, comfortable pair of shoes, preferably orthotics. You may also wish to modify your gait in order to take pressure off of your knees. A study performed by the Arthritis Foundation showed that those who place their toes slightly outward can reduce the amount of pain felt on the inside of the knee joint.
Consider exercises to improve your posture and alleviate pressure in your lower back. Chiropractic treatment and massage may also prove helpful in reducing tension that may lead to bunions and/or knee pain. If you do these things, you should experience less discomfort, and will reduce the risk of your bunions returning or getting worse.
Spinal Arthritis: What You Need To Know
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to affect the spine.
Arthritis can occur anywhere along the spine, but is more frequent in the lower back and neck.
Pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of spinal arthritis.
Causes of spinal arthritis are still largely unknown except for osteoarthritis, which is typically a result of wear and tear.
Spinal arthritis treatment may include pain medications, steroid injections, physical therapy and surgery in severe cases.
Pain On The Outside Of The Hip Upper Thigh Or Outer Buttock
Joints and nerves are not the only things in the hip area. If you have pain in the upper thigh or on the outside of the hip or buttock, it could indicate that muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the area are strained.
As the muscles or tendons extend and contract, you will most likely feel the pain when you walk or do an activity.
You can treat this using the RICE principle, heat therapy, massage, or acupuncture.
You should rest from activity until the pain has been gone for a few days.