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If low back pain for two weeks transitions to pain while coughing and sneezing, weakness in a leg and difficulty sitting for more than five minutes or bending or exercising, this is actually a very common issue that many people experience.

Fortunately, there are some very specific things you can do to rid yourself of these issues and get back to living your life without restrictions. First, it may help you to understand what is causing this and why it is happening to you.

It may seem odd, but if you are not sure what started this issue in the first place, that is very common. With back pain, you don’t always feel the pain at the time of injury, but often hours later.

When you have back pain that is accompanied by pain and/or weakness that travels down your leg(s), and is aggravated by coughing, sneezing and sitting, this is usually the result of a disc herniation that is compressing a nerve at your spine.

In simple terms, between each of your vertebra in your spine sits a fluid filled disc that acts to cushion your spine and keep pressure off the nerves that travel from your spinal cord between the vertebra and control the muscles and sensation in your legs and feet. Excessive, prolonged sitting, poor lifting mechanics, weak core muscles, etc., can cause the fluid in the disc to migrate to the back outside of the disc where the fluid presses against the disc wall that compresses the nerve.

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This compression of the nerve leads to pain traveling down your leg, muscle weakness in the leg(s) and pain with coughing, sneezing and sitting.

In order to resolve this issue, it is vital to reduce the compression on the nerve root, and then restore flexibility in the legs, as well as restore strength to the core and leg muscles.

If you would like to rid yourself of back pain and get your life back, you can get a free one-on-one screen with one of our physical therapists by calling 717-245-0400. They will listen to the issues you have and tell you whether physical therapy is right for you, or whether you need to see a specialist first.

You can also email me at smiller@cardinmillerpt.com to request more information, and I will send you my free report, “7 Quick Ways to End Your Back Pain.”

If you have a question you would like me to answer in one of my upcoming columns, please email me your question.

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Steve Miller is the owner of Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy and can be reached by email at smiller@cardinmillerpt.com. His column will appear bi-monthly in the Thrive section of the Sentinel and on Cumberlink.com.