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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Back pain with muscle spasms in lower extremity

 ddmouse2 - Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:56 am

I have had extreme back pain since the beginning of last week(the worst I've ever had) with pain mostly in my left hip area radiating down into my left leg. Not uncommon for me every once in awhile as I've had back problems for the last 15 years. I've never had the accompanying muscle spasms. I don't know if they started when the pain started but it's definintely been in the last 5 days. I have them most often when I've been laying in bed and I move my legs from a bent position to straight position or vice versa. Once I move my legs my muscles in both legs and it seems up to my waist tighten suddenly at the same time, just for a moment. Usually the tightening of the muscles is accompanied by a feeling that I need to have a bowel movement. I haven't had any numbness in my legs and no incontinence. The muscle spasms have been continuing even though I don't have any pain right now. I am on a muscle relaxer currently.

Thank you
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:05 am

User avatar Hello,
Thanks for writing in.

You have reported recurrent low back pain which now radiates into leg hip and leg, and muscle spasms. Currently, taking muscle relaxers. Pain worsens straightening the leg from the flexed postion laying supine.

It is important to consider the source of the pain (hip vs lumbar spine)...perhaps pelvic area too since the spasm feels internal. Your family physician can order hip xray or pelvic ultrasound as needed. This decision depends on the rest of your history and any extra symptoms.

Straightening the leg from flexion not only moves the hip but also increases stress on the lumbar spine so spine pain and muscle spasm can increase with this maneuver.

You may consider a course of physical therapy and if no change or worsening then do imaging MRI or CT scan.

Analgesics and heat/ice packs may also help with the pain and spasms. With back pain, it is important to keep stools soft. Low back pain and spasms can result from straining during bowel movement.

Take care and keep us posted.
 rdrury - Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:00 am

I was told I have Costochondritis from the doctors in the VA hospital here in TX. I was involved in countless road side bomb explosion during my two tour in combat in Iraq. I been have back pain for five years they come and go monthly at a rate of 5 to 6 time a month and it feels as if someone is stabing my lower back with a knife. Sometimes the pain just hits other times its starts with a craping feeling in the muscles in the lower back and the pain sets in. Some times the pain so bad that it takes my breath away. I was told that it is Costochondritis but when i research it Ifind out it is all with in the chest and upper back not the lower so could this be a mistake or could this actual be the problem?
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:47 pm

User avatar Hello,
Low back pain and costochondritis are different conditions. Costochondritis is inflammation of the rib attachment to the cartilage near the sternum (breastbone).
Hope this helps.

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