Lumbar osteoarthritis and tingling: What's the link?

It is easy to conceive that a lumbar arthritis causes lower back pain. However, this condition is also associated with several other symptoms, including tingling in the lower limb.


How to explain the relationship between lumbar osteoarthritis and tingling? Is it serious to feel these sensations in the leg or foot? What can you do to relieve your symptoms?


This article explains in detail how ants in the legs can be caused by osteoarthritis of the legs. vertebrae lumbar, and offers you solutions to get better.

Reminder on lumbar osteoarthritis


La spine is separated into vertebrae cervical, dorsal and lumbar. At the lumbar level, the 5 vertebrae are notably connected together by the intervertebral disc and facet joints.


lumbar vertebrae anatomy
Lumbar joints (Source)


Each vertebrate is composed of a vertebral body in front, and a bony arch behind. The space between the body and the posterior arch forms a channel that runs the length of the back. It is called Spinal canal (or spinal canal).


vertebral body of a vertebra of the lumbar spine


It is in this space that the spinal cord, although it ends at the L2 level and gives way to the ponytail. There are also spinal nerves (via openings called foramina) on either side of the spine. The nerves that originate in the lumbar region will travel to the lower limbs to provide sensation and movement.


Lumbar osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects the joints in the lower back wears down and cracks, irritating the nerves around the bones, as well as the nerve roots nearby.


The wear of the vertebral joints at the lumbar level causes a vertebral compaction over time, as well as the formation of bony prominences called osteophytes.


Osteoarthritis can affect anyone, but it is most common in women and people over 50.


To learn more about lumbar osteoarthritis, see the following article.


Tingling, what is it?


What better describes ants in the legs or feet?


It is a numbness characterized by impaired sensation in the lower limb. These tingling can follow the path of a nerve, or even appear symmetrically in both legs.


Often, these parensthesias are accompanied by a tingling sensation, or even a burning sensation. There is sometimes a weakness or heaviness of the associated leg, as well as a lack of coordination.


Depending on the cause, these tingling may appear in the morning, at night, in front of the computer, or even when sitting. Sometimes ants in the legs even appear for no reason.


Several conditions can reproduce paresthesias in the lower limb. They can be of lumbar, vascular, metabolic origin, etc. It is not uncommon for lumbar osteoarthritis to cause tingling in the legs. The next section will examine the relationship between these two conditions.



What is the link between lumbar osteoarthritis and tingling?


Any injury to the lower back can irritate the nerve roots that originate from the spine and provide nerve conduction to the foot. As these nerves are responsible for providing sensation to the lower extremities, irritation at this level can cause tingling in the lower extremity. 


Depending on the irritated spinal nerve, tingling will be felt in different places. A dermatome is an area of ​​skin (skin) innervated by fibers from the same nerve root. It is therefore understood that an irration of a nerve (L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, S1) will cause an alteration of sensitivity according to a precise topography.




If the tingling affects both lower limbs, one can either suspect nerve damage on both sides of the lumbar spine, or an impairment of the spinal cord qualified as myelopathy. The latter is sometimes found in the presence of narrow lumbar canal. This is a serious condition, and requires urgent medical intervention.





Here are methods that will relieve tingling in the legs in the presence of lumbar osteoarthritis. Obviously, each case is different, and a health professional will be able to guide you in order to find what will give you the best relief:


  • Rest or modification of activities
  • Correction and postural adaptations
  • Medication (such as anti-inflammatories, anti-epileptics for nerve pain, etc.)
  • Heat and ice at the lumbar level
  • Mckenzie method (video explanation)
  • neural slip
  • Lumbar traction
  • Manual therapy
  • Therapeutic exercises
  • Infiltration and surgery (last resort)






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