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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery
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I have an ache/tightness from my left side down to my leg.

Resolved Question:

I have an ache/tightness from my left side down to my leg. It starts about the jaw area and goes down to the leg. It's been like this on and off for about 10 years or so (approximately) It has gotten worse since I had my baby in December. I do carry him on my left side and I have TMJ on my left side as well. (caused from orthodontics...started 10 years ago) Could that cause this? It is a tight feeling kinda like I need to stretch. It's really bad in my shoulder blade mid back area. What can I do to alleviate this pain? It gets really bothersome after a while
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
Well, generally speaking pain in the jaw is not connected to a pain that goes down the leg.

This is because these are two separate nerves -- the jaw comes from a cranial nerve which originates in the brain. The pain down the leg comes from a nerve that starts in the lower back.

So the TMJ can be responsible for the jaw pain -- but not the pain down the leg.

The leg pain should be evaluated separately by your doctor, and should it be extremely bothersome, further testing like a MRI of the lumbar spine would be helpful in evaluation of this pain.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I did have an MRI of the L5 which was unremarkable. The jaw pain might be separate...not sure. It does hurt from my shoulder down to my leg, just the left back side of my body (back and back of leg) It's hard for me to understand because I know no nerve can run all the way down the body. The most bothersome part would be the shoulder area down to low back (only on left side). What could cause this? How could I alleviate the pain/tightness? thanks for your help.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
Well, pains in the shoulder area could be from nerve compression in the neck -- or the shoulder.

So a MRI of the cervical spine could help to evaluate this.

Unfortunately, without knowing the reasons for your pain, it is hard to say what could help with the pain -- since obviously, the best treatment for the pain would work at the source of the pain. In general, pain medicaitons and muscle relaxants can help, and occasionally a short course of steroids can help with inflammation of nerves. But in your case, I think further evalution is still necessary.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
If it were a compression of a nerve, would it come and go? Some days I'll have this ache everyday, then it'll be a month or two before I get it again. I do notice that when I carry my children on that side, the next few days are bad. Could carrying them cause this? I used to carry my purse and heavy backpack for school on that same shoulder as well.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
it can come and go.

Certainly, irritation of the nerve can occur -- and then it could hurt for a while, then as the inflammation improves, the pain can disappear.

Certainly holding your children can put more stress on the shoulder and neck on that side and cause the inflammation you feel.
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