SA Orthopaedic Journal
On-line version ISSN 2309-8309
Print version ISSN 1681-150X
LOUW, JA. The differential diagnosis of neurogenic and referred leg pain. SA orthop. j. [online]. 2014, vol.13, n.2, pp.52-56. ISSN 2309-8309.
BACKGROUND: Neurogenic and referred leg pain are some of the most challenging clinical problems in spinal surgery due to the diversity of conditions that can act as aetiological factors. METHODS: The literature was reviewed and combined with case studies to demonstrate different aetiological factors. RESULTS: At least 300 conditions were identified that might cause neurogenic and referred leg pain. An aetiological classification of neurogenic and referred leg pain is presented. The classification includes systemic conditions, conditions from the brain, spinal cord, cervical and thoracic spinal canal, lumbar spinal canal, lumbar nerve root canal, lumbar extraforaminal area, the pelvis and the lower extremity. Each one of these conditions can mimic a lumbar disc herniation accurately. CONCLUSION: The aetiological classification can be used as a checklist when evaluating neurogenic and referred leg pain. Each condition deserves careful consideration and when overlooked might result in a missed diagnosis.
Keywords : neurogenic; leg pain; nerve root.