Shooting leg pain is defined as radiating waves or linear patterns of discomfort which sweep down one or both legs, often from the buttocks all the way to the feet. Most patients suffer radiating pain down the backs or outer sides of their legs and may also experience other neurological effects in tandem, such as paresthesia or weakness.
This article will investigate shooting pain in the legs as part of a sciatic nerve syndrome. We will look at the diversity of symptomatic expressions and help patients to better understand why shooting pain is almost inherent to sciatica.
Shooting pains in the legs are characterized as surges of misery which travel down the leg in a predictable pattern. Many patients liken these symptoms to burning hot liquid coursing through channels down one or both legs.
These shooting pains usually occur in the rear of the leg or on the outer side of the leg and can become quite severe in some instances. Some patients might have pain down the inside of the leg and ankle in far less common circumstances. In extremely rare cases, pain may feel like it originates in the feet and actually works it way up towards the lower back.
Shooting pain, as well as other typical sciatica symptoms, can be caused by the normal variety of spinal sources, such as herniated discs, spinal curvature or osteoarthritis. Shooting pains can also be enacted by nonspinal causes, such as piriformis compression of the sciatic nerve. Some patients even have shooting leg symptoms from nonstructural processes, like diabetic neuropathy and regional oxygen deprivation.
Shooting pain is just one of the many types of sciatica pain suffered by the majority of patients. Other common descriptive terms for leg pain include: dull, throbbing, burning, cutting, achy and shocking. Sciatica is known as a very diverse condition and patients may experience the same type of symptomatic pattern all the time or they may endure a highly variable display of expressions. The pain may vary or remain static in location, expression and severity, among other factors. Some patients even have pain which changes sides, left to right, regularly and often illogically.
Regular and predictable pain patterns have a better chance of being driven by a structural issue, although not always, while variable pain conditions can enacted by regional ischemia of the sciatic nerve, spinal nerve roots or soft tissues, as well as other nonstructural processes, such as disease or localized regional neuropathy.
Finding relief from shooting pain, or any torturous lower limb condition, is dependent upon one key element. All sciatica conditions can be treatment-resistant unless the patient is lucky enough to achieve an accurate diagnosis. Ironically, sciatica diagnosis is the part of treatment which most patients take for granted and it is also inherently the most flawed.
If treatment fails over and over, I routinely advise reconsidering the diagnostic theory, since this is generally the underlying reason for the persistent pain. In my case, I have been suffering for decades and still do not have an accurate diagnosis, so I hope you can achieve one faster than me.