Sciatic nerve pain is often called “sciatica” for short. In fact, the entire process of sciatica is actually a symptom in and of itself. The symptom can appear as an excruciating, shooting pain that can make it impossible to remain in an upright position. Many people find that the worst bouts of sciatic nerve pain occur when they cough, sit down, or sneeze.
Without a doubt, sciatica is a serious medical issue for anyone who has to endure it. It’s important to understand the signs, symptoms, causes and treatments. Only then can those affected by sciatic nerve pain begin to get any relief.
What is Sciatic Nerve Pain?
The most common sign of sciatic nerve problems is numbness, tingling or sharp pain in one or both thighs or legs. Most people assume there’s something wrong with their legs, but those kinds of symptoms typically mean the sciatic nerve, the body’s largest nerve, is acting up. Originating in the lower back region, it extends downward via the buttocks and eventually ends up branching out into many areas of the legs. That’s why leg and thigh pain are telltale signs for sufferers.
There’s no set speed at which the problem develops, either. Whether it comes on quickly or over a number of years, sciatica has many ways of manifesting. Sufferers sometimes note a burning sensation in the legs, numbness in toes or feet, weakness in the leg muscles, and “needles and pins” tingling throughout the entire lower body. In a few cases, sciatica can lead to the inability to move your toes, feet, or knees.
Knowing the Signs and Symptoms of Sciatica
As noted above, there are multiple signs and symptoms of sciatica. Here’s a short listing of the most common things people notice when their sciatic nerve is giving them problems. Note that these are typically the first signs of sciatica; the condition can become much worse without proper treatment:
- – Recurrent pain on just one side of the buttocks, thighs or legs
- – Pain in thighs or legs
- – Pain that appears to be much worse when sitting or standing, as opposed to lying down
- – Pain that begins in the lower back and travels into the legs and thighs
- – Generalized pain in the lower back region
- – Tingling, burning, numbness, “pins and needles” feeling in one or both legs
- – Hip pain
- – Any kind of inflammation in the lower back, legs or thighs
One of the telltale signs of sciatica is pain associated with sudden movement, like sitting down in a chair rather quickly, sneezing, coughing
It’s important to realize that leg, thigh and back pain is not always the result of a sciatic nerve problem. There are literally dozens of different diseases and bodily disorders that can cause leg and back pain, but sciatica is one of the more common causes. That’s why we always counsel our patients about the fact that sciatica is a symptom. We need to make sure of what the cause is before administering any treatment protocols or offering therapy.
What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?
What are some of the causes of sciatic nerve pain? When you do suffer from this painful malady, our clinic’s team will be able to find out what the specific cause it. After that, we’ll be better equipped to deal with the pain and help you get relief. In short, the causes of sciatica include one or more of the following:
- – Spondylolisthesis: This painful condition is usually caused by an auto accident or severe fall, after the spine becomes fractured and tiny bone fragments make their way into the spinal canal.
- – Lumbar spinal stenosis: People over the age of 60 sometimes suffer from a spainal canal that has significantly narrowed. This inevitably puts great pressure on the sciatic nerve, thus leading to myriad forms of pain.
- – Degenerative disc disease and bone spurs: Commonly associated with a weakened disc that causes irritation to nearby nerve roots, this condition usually goes hand in hand with bone spurs.
- – Muscle spasms: Fast, jolting motions with your back can cause muscle spasms in the lower back. Likewise, repetitive motion can cause the same thing. When back muscles spasm, they also swell up and ultimately can put undue pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- – Pregnancy: Natural, healthy pregnancy often puts severe pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- – Scar tissue: Scar tissue can grow to such size that it leads to compressed nerve roots. That’s a perfect setup for sciatica.
- – Herniated discs: Often called “slipped discs” and “pinched nerves,” herniated discs are actually a breakdown of the softer, inside portion of the disc. When this spongy tissue “slips” out, nearby nerves take the toll.
How is the Pain Treated?
We treat sciatic in many different ways depending on a patient’s specific situation, symptoms, age and other factors. No single form of therapy or treatment is appropriate in every case. However, there are several common types of treatment regimens that seem to bring relief to many people who are faced with sciatica and the sometimes debilitating pain that results. Successful kinds of treatment include the following:
- TENS (trans-cutaneous electric nerve stimulation)
- Spinal adjustments
- Cold therapy
- Spinal decompression therapy
Where to Get Help
At our medical office, we treat sciatic nerve pain of all kinds, from mild cases to severe ones. It’s most important for sufferers to get help as soon as possible once they notice any symptoms or even suspect that they might have a problem with their sciatic nerve. All leg pain is suspicious, so always be certain to have a competent medical expert examine you when any type of unexplained pain or discomfort appears.