Treatments for Leg Pain
Treatments for leg pain are as varied as the underlying conditions that can cause leg pain. At Balcones Pain Consultants, we are experts at diagnosing and treating all sources of leg pain, whether symptoms are acute or chronic. Treatment options for your leg pain, depending on the condition, include physical therapy, medications, nerve blocks and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
Acupuncture and Biofeedback for Treating Leg Pain
An ancient, noninvasive healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture can be effective at treating leg pain. This technique involves stimulating specific points on the body with extremely fine, sterile needles to promote the natural healing process. Acupuncture can be a beneficial component of treatment for leg pain conditions such as sciatica, neuropathy and complex regional pain syndrome.
Biofeedback, another noninvasive technique, involves using electrical sensors on patients that provide information about the body’s functions, such as heart rate, temperature, sweating and blood pressure. Individuals can use this information to make subtle changes in their body functions, thereby improving their overall health. Biofeedback can be effective in treating leg pain resulting from chronic regional pain syndrome and other conditions.
Treatments for Leg Pain Due to Breaks, Fractures, Strains and Sprains
Treating leg pain due to bone breaks or fractures, including stress fractures, typically involves pain medications along with braces, casts or splints to immobilize the leg. Stress fractures tend to improve over time when rest and reduced activity are a part of the recovery plan. Any damage to the bones of the leg will require a period of reduced or modified activity during recovery. After the fracture has healed, physical therapy stretches and exercises may be needed to reduce lingering pain, strengthen the leg and increase range of motion.
Leg pain due to strains in the leg muscles, ligaments or tendons can be treated with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and other pain medications along with reduced activity during the recovery period to avoid further damage. Physical therapy can also play an important role in pain reduction and overall recovery. Treating leg pain from iliotibial (IT) band syndrome might involve topical anti-inflammatory medications, massage or special stretching techniques to reduce pain. Exercises designed to strengthen the core, hip and buttock muscles will help in long-term recovery and pain reduction.
Treatment for Achilles tendinitis might include NSAIDs or other medication to manage the pain, a cast, walking boot or compression brace to stabilize the ankle, orthotic inserts to cushion the heel and physical therapy exercises to gently stretch and strengthen the tendon. Although your provider may recommend different treatment options, surgery is generally required to repair a severely damaged Achilles tendon.
Treatments for Leg Pain Due to Pinched Nerves or Nerve Damage
When pain from peripheral or diabetic neuropathy radiates upward from the feet into the legs, treatment might include topical or oral pain medications or antidepressants. Dietary and lifestyle changes can also play an important role in reducing leg pain associated with neuropathy, as can transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or nerve blocks.
Many milder cases of sciatica can be treated with rest, massage, heat applications and NSAIDs for reducing pain and inflammation. If sciatic hip pain is severe, more aggressive medical intervention is needed. If sudden, severe leg pain follows a major injury, or if you’re experiencing numbness or weakness in leg or trouble controlling your bladder or bowels, immediate medical attention is required.
Leg pain due to night (or nocturnal) leg cramps can be treated with topical or oral pain medications or muscle relaxants. Physical therapy that includes specific stretches and exercises can also help with managing this condition. Nutritional supplements and drinking more water can also provide effective pain relief by treating the underlying cause of the leg cramps.
Leg pain from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is most easily treated when the underlying condition, CRPS, is diagnosed early. Medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, pain relievers and bone-loss drugs can all play important roles in treating this condition. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, spinal cord stimulation and nerve blocks can all provide effective treatment as well. Treatment options might also include biofeedback, hot and cold applications or physical therapy exercises.
Treatments for Leg Pain from Other Conditions
Leg pain due to shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, can be treated with dynamic rest, meaning switching from the repetitive motion activity that caused the condition to something non-weight-bearing, such as swimming or stationary biking. Foam rollers and physical therapy stretches and exercises can also play an important role in the treatment of this condition, along with pain medication such as NSAIDs. Better shoe support and cushioning can also reduce pain associated with shin splints, as can nutritional supplements to address any underlying vitamin or mineral deficit.
Leg pain due to herniated discs in the lower back can be treated with pain medications like NSAIDs along with gentle stretching and physical therapy exercises, ice and heat therapy or chiropractic adjustments. Epidural steroid injections and oral steroid medications can also relieve pain by reducing inflammation. In some severe cases, surgery on the affected disc or discs may be required.
Videos About Potential Leg Pain Treatments
- Intrathecal Pump Implant
- Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant
- Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant (Trial Procedure)
- Trigger Point Injections