Mercy's Dr. Justin Park Discusses Causes and Treatments for Leg Pain

February 05, 2018


Leg pain is fairly common, and often the cause is obvious, like a pulled muscle or sprain, but sometimes it has to do with a different part of the body.

Rachel Hoffman has a lot to smile about. She's finally pain-free after suffering for months of unrelenting discomfort in her leg.

"It was shooting pain at times, but then numb all the way down my calf. So it was pretty much there all the time whether I was laying down, walking, pretty much consistent," Hoffman said.

The problem wasn't with her leg, it was her back. She had a herniated disk in her spine as a result of lifting weights. According to Justin J. Park, M.D., a Board Certified orthopedic spine surgeon with The Maryland Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, it's common for back problems to present as leg pain.

"A number of these nerve roots, or one of these nerve roots, may be pinched, maybe pinched by a disk herniation or bone spurs, and these nerve roots give us our power and sensation in our leg. So even though the nerve is pinched in your back, you start feeling these symptoms down your leg or even into your foot," Dr. Park said.

The first line of treatment is medication and physical therapy.

"In cases where people have had symptoms for a long time, where they have not worked with simple medications, an epidural injection like a cortisone shot, and often times, if all that fails, we'll do a surgery," Dr. Park said.

Hoffman opted for surgery, and it worked wonders.

"It went great. I had immediate relief, didn't have any pain going down my leg. Felt the difference the minute I woke up from surgery," Hoffman said.

To view Dr. Justin Park of The Maryland Spine Center at Mercy’s interview about treating leg pain, click here.

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in Downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed, acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a high-performing Maryland hospital (U.S. News & World Report); has achieved an overall 5-Star quality, safety, and patient experience rating (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); is A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade); and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet™ hospital. Mercy Health Services is a not-for-profit health system and the parent company of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Personal Physicians.

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