Have you noticed a sharp pain that's been radiating down your leg? If so, you may be experiencing a herniated disc or damaged nerve. While it may be tempting to treat this type of pain on your own, it is in your best interest to visit your doctor as soon as possible. This is one of those symptoms that can lead to serious complications down the road if you decide to ignore it. Once you do visit a doctor for radiating pain in your leg, here's what you can expect.
Your doctor will ask you several questions about your situation and perform a thorough exam. If they don't see any serious muscle weakness, they'll prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug or encourage you to buy an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. This will likely relieve the pain and help you feel much better.
In the event the pain medication doesn't do much, your doctor will recommend physical therapy sessions. These sessions can stretch and strengthen your muscles and eventually relieve your symptoms. You'll go to a physical therapist on a regular basis and be responsible for performing their prescribed exercises at home.
If your radiating pain continues for more than a month or two, the next step will be a scan to pinpoint its root cause. You may also be referred to a pain management system. If your scan reveals a herniated disc that leads to a compressed nerve or compressed nerves due to aging your doctor will suggest spinal injections. The injections will deliver cortisone to your spinal column.
Surgical intervention will be a last resort and only recommended if conservative measures don't work. Your doctor will discuss the various surgical options available as well as the risks and anticipated outcomes of each so you can make an informed decision. Understand that you will need to try several conservative treatments before you even consider surgery.
So if you experience radiating leg pain, don't ignore it. Consult your doctor who will design a treatment plan that is ideal for your unique case. You should also resume your daily activities as stopping them can weaken your spine and make the recovery process far more challenging.