The Concept of Centralization

If you have leg numbness and tingling that dissipates when you do a particular movement (flexion or extension), then that movement is where you want to concentrate your efforts.

If the numbness and tingling “moves up” towards the low back; that is, it used to go down all the way to the side of your foot but now it is only in your buttock, this also counts as dissipation.  The term for this is centralization of neurological pain and is considered a positive (good) finding.  Even if that movement makes your low back hurt a little more, as long as it centralizes your leg symptoms it still is the preferred movement for your particular condition.

Diminishing neurological symptoms in a leg with certain movement is a sign that the movement you just did changed the shape/position of a soft tissue structure (disc, ligament) in such a way that it is pressing less on a nerve root or spinal cord.

If you don’t have leg numbness and tingling, but notice that a particular movement made your pain less, then obviously that movement is where you want to concentrate your efforts.

NEXT:  What Happens if There’s No Change?

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