Q. Will some nerve issue cause sharp burning pain in the lower back and calf muscles?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Shoyab
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 04, 2022

Hi doctor,

I have sharp burning pain in the lower back, right calf, and rotator muscles. I injured my right knee with a slight meniscus tear. I am also suffering from degenerative arthritis. I am not able to bend properly. I am taking tablet Advair for asthma and Proventil and Celecoxib for knee pain. I think I am having a nerve issue in my back. Kindly help.



Welcome to

Thanks for writing in, and I have understood your concerns.

I had gone through the reports (attachments removed to protect the patient's identity). After reviewing the camera images of your x-ray, there is no bony fracture or joint dislocation in the lumbar spine, that is, in the lower back. Some joint space narrowing with sclerosis at L3 or L4 level, but that is at a single level, still producing some discomfort and disability. Hopefully, your concerned physician can prescribe some medication for that. Regarding your concerns of a "nerve issue" in the back, it would require MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for a conclusive decision. On the x-ray, we only see that the discs are not collapsed, but that does not always mean that nerves are compressed or not. And since you already feel a sharp burning pain in the back, I suggest visiting a doctor if possible and getting an MRI. The knee injuries you sustained earlier are not directly related to the back problems.

Hi doctor,

My doctor said L4 and L5 have congenital short pedicles, and L4 was pressing on the nerve, causing the curve at that point.



Welcome back to

While I would not disagree with the concept of congenital short pedicles, we would have expected the complaints you are having a few years earlier than your present age. However, it is still quite reasonable since the short pedicle at L4 may correlate with the facet joint sclerosis at L3 or L4 level. As follow-up advice, please note that if you ever happen to have a low back pain that shoots in the thigh, that would mean there is a nerve entrapment and would require further consultation in a hospital or clinic, and perhaps MRI.

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