I've been having some back and leg pain the last few months. It almost seems like the leg pain is more disabling than the back pain. Is this typical?
The spine and hips do work together in many everyday activities. We know for sure that low back pain can decrease the ability to bend forward. Back pain with leg pain suggests abnormal tension on the sciatic nerve.
Anyone with leg pain of this type has increased tissue stiffness and decreased ability to stretch the hamstring muscle. This limitation will certainly affect other movements.
A recent study done at the University of Sydney in Australia confirmed all these findings. They used a 3-D, real-time motion device to study hip and spine movements. Results for subjects without back pain were compared to subjects with back pain and subjects with back and leg pain.
Just as you've noticed, the people with back and leg pain had a more difficult time. Movements such as standing up from sitting or sitting down from standing took longer. This suggests speed of motion is affected by back and leg pain. A lack of coordination of movements was also suspected.
Future studies hope to find ways to restore the normal muscle movement and coordination between the spine and hips.