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Can a low back injury contribute to knee pain

Emj1988EEmj1988 Posts: 45
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Lower Back Pain
I just turned 22 and was injured on the job. I have 2 bulging disk and a retro l5-s1. Its been 6 months now and im getting severe knee pain in my right knee. It flares up when my leg in bent for more than 1 hour. I talked to my ortho about this and he said that was not the cause and it was something else with did not make sence because I heard just the opposite from a chiropractor. I dont know what to think anymore has anyone had this problem?

I also get an epidural on wednesday I have no idea if thats even worth getting.


  • I have issues with left knee after l4/5 fusion. My legs are now doing more work than my back. This is what I am attributing it to because I am convinced if I ask my Dr he will say "no that's not the problem, but lets do an mri."

  • When you have a painful segment of the spine, it is the body's nature defense mechanism to have other body parts compensate in an attempt to take the stress off the injured segment. This is particularly true with the spine and our structural alignment.

    Beginning with the positioning of the feet, our structural alignment is set like a bunch of building blocks....ankles, knees, hips and pelvic girdle area, spine...clear up to the head. If everything is in alignment, the body functions smoothly. However, if, for example, there is pronation in the ankles, this sets off a whole chain of events that can result in knee pain, tilted pelvis, and it moves right up the spine. This can cause uneven wear and tear on the discs, the appearance or belief that one leg is longer than the other...etc. A whole host of problems can all result from the positioning of the feet.

    So for a variety of reasons, it is quite common to have knee pain or knee dysfunction that is a result of lumbar problems.

    The spine doc is not going to say there is a relationship between your knee pain and a specific back problem because he is focused in on his little kingdom. From my experience anyway, they are reluctant to even talk about how the surrounding soft tissue, muscles, etc. can contribute to the spinal problem.

    In this regard I think your chiropractor is on the right track.

    Take a look at your feet and your body alignment. Try to keep your feet pointing forward as you stand and walk (toes not pointing in or out). When standing, keep your weight centered between your feet. Do not stand with more weight on one foot, with the hip jutting outward. When sitting, keep both feet on the floor...do not cross one leg over the other as that causes you to sit with more weight on one side. Try to be very aware of your posture at all times...and try never to keep a limb in one position for such a long time.

    When we have a sore back, it is common to favor one side over the other. This results in muscle and ligament imbalance, which results in one side doing most of the work in an attempt to take the pressure off the side that hurts. This results in the spasms that we feel.

    If by "retro L5-S1", you are referring to a retrolisthesis, depending on the degree of slippage, I would think this could be enough to throw off the body's alignment and cause knee pain, or other pain, too. If the bulging discs and this problem are causing nerve compression that is causing pain in a leg, hip or buttock, you are moving differently and this type of thing can also cause additional pressure on the knee joint, making it more unstable.

    So, unlike the doctor you saw, I would be surprised if your back problems were not in some part responsible for your knee problems.
  • Our bodies need to be aligned for everything to work properly. Posture is so important.

    I just had inserts put in my shoes because I realised that when I walked my feet both rolled inward (age and collapse of instep)and it was causing all kinds of problems. It has been 3 months since I got the inserts and what a difference it makes in the way my whole body feels. I have a spring in my step again!

    My son who has the back injury, both cervical and lumbar (that's why I spend so much time here)has been complaining about his knees too. Hope you get some answers soon.

  • I also get knee pain!!!! My husband also has the same. It truely doesn't make sense ~X(
  • This is my third post today,but I haven't been on this site in quite a while and have learned while I was gone.

    I have a problem with my S1 nerve and have pain from my knee-into the back of my calf-in to my toes.So seek many opinions.Pain from nerve roots can do strange things.
  • I go to physiotherapy constantly to keep things mobile, and often end up with knee pain associated with my low back pain, usually when my pelvis is out of alignment. Once my physio gets things under control, the knee pain is reduced, but it takes a while feel back to "normal".
  • I had never had any back or knee pain. Then ruptured the disk twice, had the fusion, two years later went in for knee pain. Doctor told me that my knee was that of an 85 year old woman (I was only 30) at the time. I asked if it was because of the two back surgeries and the fact that the nerve pain was in my right leg so I had to use my left leg more and he said no. I find this hard to believe but we shall see.


    11-1-05 Partial Disectomy
    6-13-06 L5/S1 Fusion
    12-8-08 Right knee scrapped
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