ZocdocAnswersWhy do my legs start to radiate pain when I sit on the floor with them in one spot for a short period of time?

Question

Why do my legs start to radiate pain when I sit on the floor with them in one spot for a short period of time?

I am 35 years old and will often sit on the floor in front of the gas fireplace to work on my laptop or read. If I sit with my legs crossed or even with them straight out in front of me for short periods of time, probably less than 10 minutes, they start to "fall asleep". Then of course the pain is extreme when I try to move them. I never used to have this problem but have noticed it more and more the past few months. I don't have any health problems that I am aware of. I am a female and I don't take any medications. Basically I try to avoid this by not sitting in one place for too long but that is tedious.

Answer

From your description, there is a possibility that you may be experiencing positional parasthesias (feelings of tingling, prickly sensations, numbness and tingling). In certain positions like the ones you described, the nerves that relay sensation from your lower extremities may develop periods of decreased blood flow secondary to increased pressure being placed on them (this can be seen when you fall asleep on your arm and the develop the numb and tingling feelings because the blood flow to the nerves in your arm is temporarily diminished). Other issues to be concerned about which are less likely because of your young age may be related to the nerves as they exit your lower back region (called the lumbar spine). At this level of your back, the nerves exit from the spinal canal through small openings called foramen. Sometimes people can develop arthritis in their backs that can cause compression on the nerves as they leave the foramen or pressure on the entire collection of nerve roots in the lumbar spine. This can lead to back pain or radiating pain down the legs. Either way, it is recommended that you be evaluated by your primary care physician who will best be able to evaluate your medical history, presenting medical complaints and decide upon the appropriate work up and possible treatment options if available.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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