Nerves that Cause Leg Muscle Pain


Leg muscle pain isn’t always due to pulling a leg muscle or a strain or sprain. Sometimes the pain experienced in leg muscles is due to a nerve problem. Sensory and motor nerves run throughout both legs and can cause leg muscle pain if a nerve is damaged or compressed.

Leg Muscle Pain

According to the National Institutes of Health, leg muscle pain can be due to many things, including nerve damage (from different diseases or infections) and sciatic nerve pain (compressed nerve root or herniated disk in spine). There are basically three types of nerves in the body: sensory, motor and autonomic. The sensory and motor nerves play a significant role in leg muscle pain.

Sensory Nerves

Nerves course throughout the human body and aid in sending signals from the brain to organs and muscles. One set of the peripheral nerves is tasked with relaying information from the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord) to the muscles and organs. But the peripheral nerves don’t always work right, which can cause leg pain.

Peripheral Neuropathy

When the peripheral nerves are not working properly, it is known as peripheral neuropathy. Disease and infection can cause peripheral (nerve) neuropathy problems. Diseases that can do this include diabetes and alcoholism.

Infections that can cause this condition include AIDS and syphilis. In addition to leg muscle pain, a loss of muscle control and/or muscle weakness may be experienced when peripheral neuropathy is present.

Motor Nerves

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, traveling down from both sides of the spine and along the back of the legs to the feet. This nerve can affect motor movement of the leg muscles, so any damage to it can cause leg muscle pain.

Sciatic Nerve Pain

Sometimes the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or pressed in the spinal area. This can occur from lifting something incorrectly, sitting for too long in one position, being hurt in an auto accident, or it can be the result of a herniated disk. Herniated disks are often caused by age-related deterioration and can cause sciatic nerve pain, according to the website

The spinal nerves can become pinched, resulting in leg muscle pain.
The spinal nerves can become pinched, resulting in leg muscle pain. (Image: Image by, courtesy of Shaheen Lakhan)

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