Not being alarmist, that's a complaint that's not completely uncommon. People often suffer form years of pain and discomfort and only come in and seek care when they cant deal with it anymore. The other long term pain patient is a bit more proactive but what often happens is that they have shopped around for treatment for months, sometimes years with specialists and found no relief. People sometimes take a long time to do their research and read up online on their condition before they start looking for a doctor or specialist who can treat their condition.
So lets get down to it: What is a common cause long term leg pain? Aside from a chronic overuse injury like tendinitis, or adhesions and knots that may come and go over time, radiculopahty is a common cause of leg pain that radiates down the lower back and can also cause a loss of sensation in the leg.
Sciatica: Is pain and numbness down the leg, which can cause a loss of sensation in the leg, or foot, and may also accompany lower back pain. So treating the leg itself may not accomplish the goal of long term pain relief, and can further frustrate the patient. Pain in the body can often be caused by problems further up the kinetic chain (the movement system).
When a nerve is impinged or irritated by blockage or interference the pain often radiates, unlike a pulled muscle or an injury to a bone when pain is often localized, nerve pain can radiate down. For example: An injury that effects the nerves in the left shoulder can cause a great amount of pain, and also cause it to radiate down the arm and can feel a lot like a heart attack.
Sciatica is not a condition itself, its is a symptom of radiculopathy - when a nerve root is dysfunctional due to a problem at the nerve root. Sciatica is specifically a lumbar radiculopathy and depending on the symptoms, the problem causing the pain, numbness, and loss of sensation can be located higher up in the spine or closer to the sacrum.
The spine is the center of all movement in the body and not treating an issue early on often leads to degradation or, not only the condition, but the ability of the entire system to work as a whole. Its important to talk to a professional and seek out treatment for chronic conditions, and at Living Well Medical we have one of the oldest interdisciplinary practices in New York City.