Welcome to Buoy Health

Learn about your 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.

Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having back pain that shoots down the leg.

Take a quiz
Your Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg May Also be Known as:
Back pain moving down leg
Back pain shooting down leg

Top 10 Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg Causes

  1. 1.Spinal Stenosis

    The spine, or backbone, protects the spinal cord and allows people to stand and bend. Spinal stenosis causes narrowing in the spine. The narrowing puts pressure on nerves and the spinal cord and can cause pain.

    You should visit your primary care physician. He/She will suggest treatments which include medications, physical therapy, braces, and surgery.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that shoots to the butt, difficulty walking, back pain that gets worse when straightening it
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.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.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin as well as muscle relaxants may help. Some people find applying gentle heat or cold on painful muscles is soothing as well. It is important to stay active! Remaining in bed for too long may cause more inflammation.

    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
  3. 3.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.

    For treatment of a slipped disk, you should consult with your primary care physician (PCP). Your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination to localize the slipped disk and rule out dangerous complications. Most people do not require surgery for a slipped disk. Treatment involves pain relief with an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol), using heat treatments, and keeping active. It is best to avoid sitting still for long periods. Walking or swimming may help as well.

    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
  4. 4.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Upper 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.

    For treatment of a slipped disk, you should consult with your primary care physician (PCP). Your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination to localize the slipped disk and rule out dangerous complications. Most people do not require surgery for a slipped disk. Treatment involves pain relief with an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol), using heat treatments, and keeping active. It is best to avoid sitting still for long periods. Walking or swimming may help as well.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    upper back pain, neck pain, arm weakness, back pain that gets worse when sitting, upper spine pain
    Symptoms that always occur with herniated (slipped) disk in the upper back:
    upper back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.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.

    You should visit your primary care physician, who would perform a physical exam, looking for other possible causes of your symptoms. Treatment involves NSAIDs (Ibuprofen), massage, and physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pelvis pain, butt pain, pain when passing stools, leg numbness, back pain that shoots down the leg
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having back pain that shoots down the leg.

    Take a quiz
  6. 6.Paget Disease of the Bone

    Paget's disease of the bone is a disorder in which the bone recycling process goes astray. While many people with the disease have no symptoms, some suffer from bone pain and easily broken bones.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will confirm the diagnosis with a blood test and bone scans.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    new headache, pelvis pain, back pain, spontaneous bone pain, ringing in the ears
    Symptoms that always occur with paget disease of the bone:
    spontaneous bone pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Lower Back (Sacral Vertebral) Fracture

    A sacral stress fracture is a small break in the sacrum. The sacrum is a large triangular bone at base of the spine. The sacrum connects to the pelvis.

    You should contact your physician. Treatment will probably include a brace to stablize your back and over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, back pain that shoots down the leg, lower back pain from an injury, severe back pain
    Symptoms that always occur with lower back (sacral vertebral) fracture:
    lower back pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Traumatic Vertebral Fracture

    Vertebral fracture is a fracture or dislocation of a vertebra that can cause bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Most spinal fractures occur from car accidents, falls, gunshot, or sports.

    Call 911 immediately.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    back pain, constant back pain, severe back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain affecting the spine
    Symptoms that always occur with traumatic vertebral fracture:
    back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with traumatic vertebral fracture:
    mild back pain
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  9. 9.Ankylosing Spondylitis

    Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis of the spine. It causes swelling between the vertebrae, which are the disks that make up the spine, and in the joints between the spine and pelvis.

    You should visit your primary care physician, where, based on clinical exam, blood tests, and x-ray, your doctor will likely recommend physical therapy and medications (Ibuprofen or an immune-system modifier).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, trouble sleeping, back pain, joint pain, pain in the back of the neck
    Symptoms that always occur with ankylosing spondylitis:
    back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Osteoid Osteoma

    An osteoid osteoma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor that usually develops in the long bones of the legs. The thigh bone (femur) is affected most commonly, although the bones of the hand or the spine can have occasional involvement. This condition is most often found in young people.

    You should visit your primary care physician. This condition requires a variety of treatments such as minimally invasive surgery to kill or scrape off the tumor.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that shoots to the butt, upper back pain, spontaneous back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with osteoid osteoma:
    hip pain, bilateral leg swelling, weakness in both arms, weakness of both legs
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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

  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.What is your body mass?
  • 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, check our back pain that shoots down the leg symptom checker.

Take a quiz

Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg Symptom Checker Statistics

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

    • 13% Lower Back Pain
    • 3% Back Pain
    • 2% Tingling Upper Leg
  • People who have experienced back pain that shoots down the leg were most often matched with:

    • 22% Sciatica
    • 17% Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Lower Back
    • 9% Spinal Stenosis

Back Pain That Shoots Down the Leg Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having back pain that shoots down the leg.

Take a quiz