Injuries and conditions affecting the low back cause more than just pain; they can cause sudden or on-going weakness in the legs, hips or feet. Back pain may even create weakness in the arms and hands.
Is weakness a normal symptom of a low back injury or condition?
Your spinal column has the important job of protecting your spinal canal – the hollow opening that allows nerves and arteries to send signals and commands from your brain to all parts of your body.
A slipped vertebrae, herniated disc, arthritis or spinal stenosis can put pressure on those nerves and arteries, interfering with blood flow and nerve signals in other areas. This reduced blood flow or confused nerve signals can make your hands, arms and legs feel weak.
Sometimes, serious injuries can cause sudden weakness to appear in one part of your body or throughout your body. This may be caused by whiplash or even more serious damage to the spinal canal.
When should I see a doctor about weakness related to back pain?
If you’ve recently hurt your back or have been experiencing back pain along with mild or sudden weakness, you should see your doctor. It’s important to have your symptoms evaluated to rule out a serious condition or injury. Prompt diagnosis can also help get you on the road to recovery, and back to your favorite activities, more quickly.