Sciatic Nerve: How Your Spine And Knees Are Connected
Your knee and your spine are more connected than youd expect. Unless you had a major knee injury like ACL, knee pain and associated symptoms are often caused by problems in the nerves that link the spine to the lower extremities. Issues with the nerves housed in your lower back can greatly impact how your muscles work.
Problems commonly occur with the sciatic nerve, the longest and largest nerve in the body. It is a critical nerve that extends from your lower back all the way to your toes, travelling through the back of your knees. The sciatic nerve is linked to the muscles in these areas so any pressure applied to it can affect the lower half of your body.
You Experience Knee Pain Accompanied By Back Pain
If youre experiencing knee pain either as a one-off occurrence or an ongoing problem, take the time to think about whether youre experiencing pain anywhere else in your body. Even if the two seem unrelated, its worth noting the pain and discussing it with your spinal specialist.
Back pain causing knee pain is more common in people who sit a lot, so if you work a desk job or spend a lot of time in your car or on planes, its worth investigating. Remember, the back pain may not seem as severe as the knee pain it may even just feel like tight muscles.
Muscle Tendon Injuries Mcl And Lcl Injuries Acl Injuries And Meniscus Tears
Muscle Tendon Injuries
Almost all of these strains are treated with ice, elevation, and rest. Sometimes compression with an Ace wrap or knee sleeve is recommended, and crutches may be used for a short time to assist with walking. Ibuprofen or naproxen can be used as an anti-inflammatory medication.
The mechanism of injury is either hyperextension, in which the hamstring muscles can be stretched or torn, or hyperflexion, in which the quadriceps muscle is injured. Uncommonly, with a hyperflexion injury, the patellar or quadriceps tendon can be damaged and rupture. This injury is characterized by the inability to extend or straighten the knee and a defect that can be felt either above or below the patella . Surgery is usually required to repair this injury.
Except for elite athletes, tears of the hamstring muscle are treated conservatively without an operation, allowing time, exercise, and perhaps physical therapy to return the muscle to normal function.
MCL and LCL Injuries
Read Also: Nano Knee Cost
Assessment Of Knee Pain
The presence of knee pain was determined by a patient-reported outcome score, JKOM, which was established and validated previously . The pain score consists of eight subscales, in each of which, a subject chooses no to severe symptom. No symptom is regarded as score 0, and severe symptom is score 4. Subjects whose scores were 0 or 1 in all the eight pain subscales were included in subsequent analyses as no symptom subjects.
What Is The Pain At The Back Of My Knee
A swelling at the back of the knee and calf causing pain, and a feeling of tightness when straightening the leg. This may be due to a Bakers Cyst, which is an accumulation of synovial fluid in the popliteal fossa. The synovial fluid is over-produced, due often to a trauma to the knee or in conditions such as arthritis
Recommended Reading: Bleach Dark Knees
What Are Home Remedies For Sciatica
Pain from sciatica often limits one’s activities. Here are some home treatments for sciatica:
- Do not bend, lift, or sit in a soft, low chair the pain will get worse.
- Unless someone is allergic or should not take them for other reasons , over-the-counter pain medicines such as acetaminophen , aspirin , or ibuprofen will probably help ease the pain.
- Try a cold pack to see if it helps the pain. If a cold pack is not available, use a large bag of frozen vegetables it makes a good first aid cold pack. Or have someone massage the sore areas in a triangular pattern with an ice cube. The person should move the ice cube if the skin gets too cold .
- After the cold massages, try alternating with heat from an electric heating pad to see if it helps the pain.
- If an electric heating pad is not available, put a hand towel under hot water, wring it out, and place it on the back. Some physical therapy experts believe that moist heat penetrates more deeply and gives better relief of pain.
Treatment For Knee Problems
If initial treatment methods do not provide relief, and X-rays show destruction of the joint, the orthopaedist may recommend total joint replacement for the knee, also referred to as knee replacement.
ACL Tears in Female Athletes: Q& A with a Sports Medicine Expert
Sports injury prevention isn’t a one-stop shop, especially for injuries like ACL tears, which are four to eight times more common among women than men. Discover ways for women to help prevent this common injury.
Also Check: Nano Knee Surgery Cost
Does Back Pain Cause Knee Pain
As one of the most complex joints in the body, the knee allows the entire leg to move, flex, and have a good range of motion. Meanwhile, with its vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs, the back has a myriad of responsibilities it holds you physically together and secures the high-speed conduit for your complex and delicate nervous system.
Together, the knees and the back provide flexibility, motion, and support. However, they also rely on each other to maintain balance and equilibrium. Therefore, when your back hurts, so might your knees.
You Have Bunions Forming On Your Feet
It may be surprising to hear that bunions on your feet and your spine can affect each other. You may be wondering how these two can be connected and how they have an impact on your knees.
Bunions or bone spurs may grow on your feet if you have a back problem. The L5 and S1 spinal nerves travel to the muscles stabilizing inside and outside of your feet. If these nerves become injured, the muscles will be weakened and unable to perform effectively. You wouldnt be able to walk, run, or stand as you normally would.
Once this happens, your feet will roll towards the inside and the arches will flatten out to support your weight with the inner edge of your feet. Foot pronation occurs when the main tendon continues to stay misaligned and keeps the joint of the big toes tilted unnaturally, creating pressure in the joint where bunions can form.
The strain of moving this way tends to cause back pain. When the back and feet areas are weakened, the knee joints have to work harder and wear out faster, causing knee pain.
Don’t Miss: My Knees Crack When I Squat
Treatments For Back Pain
More than 85 percent of people with lower back pain improve with minimal treatment in a matter of days. However, if back problems persist, doctors generally prescribe one or more of the following treatments: proper exercise, rest, heat and cold, posture training, weight loss, stress management and relaxation exercises, medication, spinal manipulation and/or surgery. For some back conditions, the doctor may refer you to another specialist such as an orthopedist, rheumatologist, physiatrist, physical or occupational therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist or surgeon.
When To See A Doctor
If you are experiencing chronic pain or pain more associated with serious injury, see your doctor promptly. Not addressing your pain properly can lead to increased pain, joint damage, and disability. Depending on the cause of your knee pain, your doctor may suggest the following treatments:
- Medications: Your doctor may prescribe medications to help relieve pain in the back of the knee and swelling and treat underlying conditions like arthritis.
- Physical therapy: Your doctor may prescribe stretching exercises or a physical therapy/rehabilitation program to help you restore range of motion, strength and stability to your knee.
- Injections: In some situations, your doctor may suggest injecting medications and other substances directly into the knee joint in order to reduce inflammation, lubricate the knee and promote healing.
- Surgery: If conservative measures do not provide relief, your doctor may recommend surgical options.
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table Knee Pain
When To See Your Doctor
Donât wait if your knee pain is sudden and intense. Pick up the phone if it wonât go away or gets worse.
To make a diagnosis, your doctor might take X-rays or other images of your knee. Blood or knee fluid samples can help confirm or rule out certain conditions. Treatment may include medication, special exercises, braces, or in some cases surgery. Losing weight could help lessen pressure and strain on your knees.
Also Check: Shower After Knee Surgery
Treatment For Back And Knee Pain In Kansas City Missouri
If you are experiencing back or knee pain, the experts at Advanced Bone & Joint can help. We can alleviate your pain and restore good bodily functions through advanced pain management methods and customized rehabilitation techniques. We also offer orthopedic urgent care to patients who suffer injuries that need immediate care.
To make an appointment, call at 229-4222 or fill out our appointment request form.
Also Check: Dcf Compression Knee Sleeve
Diagnosis Of Back Pain
Regardless of what type of doctor you see, there are some things you can expect your doctor to do during your visit. Your doctor first will ask you a number of questions, the most common of which are listed as follows:
- What are your symptoms–that is, what aches or pains do you have?
- Exactly where is the pain?
- Where is the pain the most severe?
- When did the pain begin?
- How long have you had it?
- Did something specific cause your back pain, such as an accident or injury?
- What home treatments have you used?
- Were you under any additional stress when the pain began?
- Do you have any other health problems?
- What kind of work do you do?
- In what types of recreational activities do you participate?
Think about these ahead of time so you can answer them easily. You also may have questions you’d like to ask the doctor. As you think of questions at home, jot them down and take them to the appointment.
Next, your doctor will give you a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor may perform any of the following: observe your muscles and joints ask you to sit and lie down ask you to move your back in different positions observe and feel the area of most pain and/or check to see if other areas of your body are tender or painful If the doctor can identify the likely cause of your back pain at this point, no further tests will be needed.
Back Pain Caused By Arthritis In The Knee
According to the book “Joint Structure and Function: A Comprehensive Analysis,” arthritis can lead to several symptoms that affect the rest of the body, mostly compensatory in nature 1. Back pain is likely the result of a domino effect from the individual favoring the non-affected knee.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
You May Like: Does Aflac Pay For Sprains
Common Causes Of Knee Pain
The number of persons who suffer from knee pain has been surging substantially over the years especially in America. There are several causes of knee pain. In some cases, the knee pain is serious while in some cases it is not. However, the severity of the condition depends upo n the underlying causes which are discussed below.
Sciatica And Knee Pain
Sciatica typically describes pain that is felt as a result of damage, pressure, or compression of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back all the way to the toes. This nerve is very critical and is the longest in the body. It travels through the back of ones knee and also controls the muscles located on the knee. A problem of this nerve can ultimately cause knee pain.
Knee pain is mostly and often brought about by lower back pain. Back pain can be related to knee pain based on the principle of referred pain. Nerves that diverge to the lower extremities typically branch from the lower back.
For many people, knee pain may not be traced from a physical injury but there is always a high possibility that the pain may be originating from an injury on ones lower back. Mostly, this is due to an irritation or compression of some nerves that originate from the lower back .
Don’t Miss: Where To Get Knee High Converse
How Is Sciatica In The Knee Diagnosed
To make a diagnosis and determine the cause, your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical exam.
To diagnose sciatica, your doctor will tap on the area around the top of your tibia. This is where the nerve in your knee is located. You probably have a pinched peroneal nerve if you feel shooting pain down your leg.
Diagnosing sciatica also involves getting an X-ray so that the doctor can check for fractures or abnormal masses in your knee.
A knee MRI can confirm the diagnosis and show details of the fractures or other issues in the bones, including masses within the nerves.
The doctor will also test your muscles using electromyography and do a nerve conduction test to determine how fast signals travel along a nerve for a more accurate diagnosis.
Sciatica can be mistaken for the runners knee. Make to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor or therapist.
This medical condition can have several underlying causes, such as cysts and tumors. Injuries in the hip joint may also cause it. Make sure to seek medical care when pain in the knee is reoccurring more than usual.
The Relationship Between Your Knees And Your Back
Your body is a web of connections. When you feel pain in one area, it may actually be due to a disease or injury in a different spot. Your knees and your back are another connection. So back pain, particularly lower back pain, requires a diagnosis and treatment with an experienced pain physician, such as the spine experts at the Southeastern Spine Institute .
The chain that links your knees and your back also connects your feet to your head. Lower back pain may actually start in your feet if, for example, you have an improper gait. Posture plays a significant role in knee and back pain, leading to a string of bad headaches that are seemingly unrelated to your leg or back discomfort. Wearing high heels can cause pain to radiate up through your knees to your back.
You May Like: Does Aflac Cover Hysterectomy
Can A Misalignment In The Foot Cause Pain In Other Joints
A misalignment of the structures of the feet and ankles causes a ripple effect that travels up, through the leg, and into the hip and lower back. If the foot doesnt function properly, it can cause the other joints in the lower part of the body to overcompensate. This causes stress and pressure on the joints that normally wouldnt pose a problem. The longer the misalignment exists, the more damage it can cause to both the feet and the other joints.
Is Surgery Necessary For Sciatica
If, despite doing everything one is instructed to do, the pain continues and the CT or MRI shows a problem with the disc or bone, back surgery may be recommended. Back surgery is generally performed for patients who have tried all other methods of treatment first. There are exceptions to this, such as people with ongoing nerve damage or cauda equina syndrome.
You May Like: Dcf Knee Compression Sleeve
Evaluation Of Pain In Many Joints
In evaluating joint pain, doctors first try to decide whether joint pain is caused by a disorder of the joints or a serious bodywide illness. Serious bodywide disorders may need specific immediate treatment. The following information can help people decide when to see a doctor and know what to expect during the evaluation.
Knee Pain And Problems
Knee pain is a common complaint among adults and most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities like walking, bending, standing and lifting. Athletes who run or play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting are also more likely to experience knee pain and problems. But whether an individuals knee pain is caused by aging or injury, it can be a nuisance and even debilitating in some circumstances.
You May Like: How Much Does Aflac Pay For Knee Surgery
Tips For Healthy Knees
There are a few things you can do to keep your knees healthy whether you are experiencing pain or not.
Keeping your knees strong year-round will help you avoid any type of pain, and it will help prevent you from suffering from the many common knee injuries.
First, exercising regularly will help strengthen your legs and knees.
You can use weights, bands, or bodyweight movements and do it at least twice a week.
You can also do things as simple as walking up your stairs, around the block, or hopping on your bicycle.
Be sure to warm up before you exercise because exercising cold increases your risk of injury.
You also need to stay flexible.
Incorporate dynamic stretches into your workouts.
When youve finished exercising, do static stretches,
Regularly stretch the muscles in the front and back of your thigh.
Make sure your shoes fit and that they are in good condition.
All of this exercise should also help you maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight or obese puts added stress on your knees, and it is a significant risk factor in developing early arthritis of the knee.