Sciatic nerve pain can be a debilitating condition but there’s a lot of hope for those who struggle with it in conservative treatment options.
That’s the good news. That bad news is that sciatica can be painful. Running from the origin of the sciatic nerve (the largest in the body) in the lower back, pain can travel as far as the feet and toes, making going about your normal day difficult.
Let’s read about some common symptoms of sciatic nerve pain – and what to do about it.
Worse In the Legs
Sciatic nerve pain affects the legs much more than it does the lower back. That said, the lower back may also hurt.
The pain is caused by nerve impingement in the lumbar vertebrae and may be a symptom of a disc herniation. In fact, sciatica is less a condition in its own right than a symptom of other dysfunction in the spine.
The sciatic nerve splits at the base of the spine and travels down the back of both legs, but pain, numbness and tingling may be experienced in one leg, only. In fact, that’s usually the case.
If you’re experiencing a combination of any of the following symptoms, you may have sciatica:
- Constant pain in one side of the buttocks, which may extend down to the ankles or toes
- Pain that’s worse if you sit or stand but is better when you walk or lay down
- Sharp, searing pain rather than dull
- Numbness, weakness and a prickly sensation in the legs
- Pain in the toes (depends on location of injury to the nerve)
- Back pain which is negligible compared to pain in the buttocks and legs
Pain which intensifies when moving to a standing position to a sitting position or vice versa, is another common symptom of sciatic nerve pain.
Sometimes, symptoms are telling you that you need immediate medical support. While sciatic nerve pain may be intermittent and short-lived for many, it’s not for some.
Leg weakness which continues to increase in severity is a sign of possible nerve damage which should be attended to as soon as possible.
Symptoms experienced in both legs are another red flag. Bilaterial sciatica accompanied by bladder or bowel problems or a change in sensation in the genital region may be a sign of cauda equina syndrome. This is a serious condition which can cause paralysis.
If you’re experiencing sciatic nerve pain in the wake of a car or sporting accident and the pain is accompanied by symptoms like loss of appetite or fever, immediately seek medical counsel.
Most cases of sciatica are not serious and may be treated with drug therapy and the application of ice to treat inflammation.
But chiropractic care and manual manipulation also offer relief for some patients and with massage therapy are the treatments sought out most frequently by sciatica sufferers.
Spine Consult NJ’s team is focused on the health of your spine. If you’re experiencing sciatica, please contact us.