Read below about back pain that shoots down the leg, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your back pain that shoots down the leg from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg

Updated on Aug. 29, 2018

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced back pain that shoots down the leg. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Sciatica

    The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve of the human body, and it runs through the buttock, down the thigh and into the calf, sending information to the muscles in the back of the thigh and leg, as well as the surrounding skin. The sciatic nerve itself is supplied by nerves coming from the spine in the lower back. Sometimes, one of the disks separating the vertebrae (bones of the spine) may bulge out a little bit, putting pressure on one of these nerve roots, causing sciatica, or shooting pain down the sciatic nerve.

    Problem will resolve itself within several weeks in 80-90% of cases.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, numbness in one foot, pain in one leg, numbness in one thigh
    Symptoms that always occur with sciatica:
    back pain that shoots down the leg
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Piriformis Syndrome

    Piriformis syndrome is a condition when a muscle spanning the lower spine to the top of the thighbone presses upon the sciatic nerve, causing pain and numbness.

    1-2 months

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pelvis pain, butt pain, pain when passing stools, leg numbness, hip pain
    Symptoms that never occur with piriformis syndrome:
    involuntary defecation, leaking urine
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread pain, tenderness, and fatigue.

    Fibromyalgia is generally a lifelong condition

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, arthralgias or myalgias, anxiety, depressed mood, headache
    Symptoms that always occur with fibromyalgia:
    arthralgias or myalgias
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg Checker

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  4. 4.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Lower Back

    The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.

    The pain associated with a slipped disk usually goes away within six weeks. If the pain lasts longer, consult a doctor. They may send you to see a back specialist for an MRI of your spine, and surgery may be considered.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, moderate back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that gets worse when sitting, leg weakness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. RA is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that it is caused by the immune system incorrectly attacking the joints when it shouldn't.

    RA is a chronic disease which requires lifelong control.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, joint pain, muscle aches, daytime sleepiness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Iliolumbar Syndrome

    Iliolumbar Syndrome is caused by a tear of the iliolumbar ligament, which connects the hip to the spine. It's caused by overuse or acute trauma to the area.

    1-2 months

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, severe back pain, back pain that shoots to the groin
    Symptoms that always occur with iliolumbar syndrome:
    lower back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg

  • Q.What is your body mass?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Does your back pain radiate anywhere?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our back pain that shoots down the leg symptom checker to find out more.

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Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced back pain that shoots down the leg have also experienced:

    • 25% Lower Back Pain
    • 3% Sharp Lower Back Pain
    • 2% Pain in One Hip
  • People who have experienced back pain that shoots down the leg were most often matched with:

    • 42% Piriformis Syndrome
    • 42% Fibromyalgia
    • 14% Sciatica
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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