Ouch! Sciatica Symptoms to Watch for and Possible Treatment Options

by AZ Pain Doctors, on Dec 16, 2020 11:45:00 AM

Have you ever experienced a sharp pain radiating from your lower back down your leg? Does it hurt when you're sitting, standing, or lying in bed trying to fall asleep?

There's a chance that what your experiencing is sciatica. 

It's a medical condition characterized by long-lasting pain spreading down the lower body. If you think this may be the cause of your recent pain, keep reading!

Below is a quick guide to all things sciatica - the cause, sciatica symptoms to watch out for, and treatment options you can try.

No one deserves to live their life in pain! Find out how to fix sciatica pain now.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is not a condition but it can be the sign of a condition. It is a form of pain that affects the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is a long nerve that runs across the right and left side of the body. It originates in the lower back and runs through the buttocks and down the leg. It ends at the top of the foot.

The sciatic nerve runs through both legs, but sciatica pain typically affects only one side of the body.

Up to 40% of people will experience sciatica during their lives making it one of the most common musculoskeletal issue. Many people mistake sciatica for generalized lower back pain, but the causes, symptoms, and treatment may be different.

What Causes Sciatica?

There are a few things that can cause sciatica but it's usually a result of irritation to the lower lumbar spine. The sciatic nerve can become compressed from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or a bone spur.

It can also happen to women during pregnancy or as a result of a muscle spasm in the area. Most of the time these are not preventable events, but there are a few factors that can increase your risk.

The risk of sciatica increases for people with diabetes and those who are overweight. Risk is also higher for smokers, people that do not exercise regularly, and individuals that have jobs that put stress on the back. 

Diagnosing Sciatica

Unlike broken bones or viral infections, there is no test or procedure to confirm you have sciatica. Typically, a doctor will ask you a series of questions to determine whether the pain you have is sciatica.

You can sometimes self-diagnose sciatica at home from sciatic nerve symptoms. If you notice that the pain spreads from your lower back down through one of your legs or into your feet, it could be sciatic pain.

Some people describe the pain as very sharp and severe, but others say it is more of like a dull pain. The biggest difference between sciatica and general back pain is that the location spreads down your body. 

If you experience severe symptoms like fever, numbness, or difficulty controlling your bladder, seek medical attention right away. 

Sciatica Symptoms

The most notable symptom of sciatica is pain. Most people describe the pain as radiating or electric because it shoots from the lower back down the leg. Sciatica pain can sometimes even be felt in the feet.

Sciatic pain tends to increase when you sit or stand for long periods of time. If you are sitting in a car or at your desk, the pain may get worse as the day goes on. For some people, the pain comes and goes or changes in severity over the course of hours or days.

You may also experience tingling or a pins and needles sensation on one side of your body due to sciatica. You could notice sciatica symptoms in hip, buttocks, or lower leg regions.

If you are experiencing these symptoms you should contact your doctor or look for a pain specialist in your area.

Treating Sciatica

Luckily, sciatica can usually be treated without any complicated surgeries or medication routines. There are also lifestyle changes you can make to improve the pain from sciatica.

Below are a few of the most common treatments for sciatica.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy improves strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Physical therapy exercises can help relieve symptoms of sciatica, but it will take time. The more disciplined you are with following the therapist's instructions, the better the outcome. 

Medication

To alleviate the pain from sciatica quickly, you can use anti-inflammatory drugs. Talk to your doctor before starting any new medication.

Massage Therapy

Who doesn't love a nice massage? In addition to being relaxing, deep tissue massage can relieve stress and tension from sciatica. It can also help relieve muscle spasms.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine using tiny needles. During acupuncture, your body releases endorphins which relax you. It can be used to help you relax and ease the tension that may be making the sciatica pain worse.

Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation (TENs)

TENs is a way of relieving pain while relaxing muscles and improving overall mobility. A doctor will attach patches to your skin around the areas where you are experiencing pain. Then, the patches stimulate an electrical current.

The electrical current works by interrupting the pain signal to the brain. Instead, you will feel a tingling sensation.

Lifestyle Changes

If you want to get rid of sciatica forever, the best thing you can do is to improve your overall lifestyle. If you are overweight and sedentary, improve your diet and exercise routine.

If sciatica was a result of an injury or overworking your body, consider resting or switching to a low-impact exercise for now. 

If your job requires you to sit or stand for long periods of time, try to take frequent breaks. Buy comfortable shoes or an ergonomic chair for comfort. 

Everyone Deserves to Live Pain-Free

Don't suffer from sciatica symptoms. With these treatment techniques, you can be back to your regular activities in no time.

Remember to listen to your body and don't push yourself when you are experiencing pain. 

If you are interested in meeting with a pain doctor, contact us today for an appointment. 

Topics:sciatica symptoms

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