What can cause lower back and leg pain?

What can cause lower back and leg pain?

Lower back and leg pain are common symptoms that often result from sprains and strains or poor posture. However, severe or recurring pain may indicate an underlying medical condition, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

In this article, we discuss some of the potential causes of lower back and leg pain. We also cover when to see a doctor.

Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains to the muscles of the lower back can cause pain. Sometimes, this pain may radiate to the buttocks or restrict a person’s range of motion. Strains and sprains can also lead to muscle spasms.

Sprains and strains in the lower back can result from sports injuries, overusing or overstretching the back, or lifting heavy objects improperly.

A person can often treat back strains and sprains at home with rest, ice or heat packs, gentle stretching, and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Doctors may recommend physical therapy for people with more severe symptoms.

Lifestyle factors

Poor posture when standing or sitting, particularly while working at a desk or computer, can stress the back over time, which can lead to lower back pain or increase the risk of developing conditions that can cause back and leg problems.

Steps that a person can take to reduce and prevent lower back pain include:

  • exercising regularly
  • practicing good posture when sitting and standing. Learn about how to improve posture here.
  • taking frequent breaks from desks, computers, and workstations by getting up and stretching or walking around
  • ensuring the appropriate setup of workstations to include a supportive and properly-adjusted chair
  • using proper techniques for lifting and not carrying objects that are too heavy
  • reaching or maintaining a healthful weight