What is Sciatica, it’s Common Causes, and How to Fix It?
Sharp, shooting back pain? Numb legs? Tingling feet? It could be sciatica; don’t worry, here’s what to do about it.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition of sharp pain/Inflammation in the lower back, leg, and hip due to compression on the sciatic nerve. So what is sciatic nerve? Sciatic nerve is the largest & longest spinal nerve in the human body. It runs from the lower back down the back of each leg. Its role is to transmit nerve signals between the muscles and skin of the legs and feet (which is basically a fancy way of explaining how the cells communicate with each other). Pain occurs when something injures or puts pressure on, the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica is often confused with other ailments, and it’s important to realize that the term actually describes the symptom of nerve compression (i.e., pain), and is not actually the problem itself.
Do You Have Sciatica?
However, not everyone who experiences sciatic-like pain is actually suffering from true sciatica. General back pain and piriformis syndrome can also display similar symptoms. Let’s take a look at the differences.
True sciatica: compression of the sciatic nerve at the base of the spine (usually as the result of a herniated disc or bone spur) is the specific cause of true sciatica. Compression of the nerve causes a radiating pain that affects the lower back, hip, and outer leg. True sciatica is often diagnosed by the “straight leg raising test,” where a patient lying on their back lifts a straight leg between 30º and 70º. This movement stretches the sciatic nerve and, is useful in ruling out the diagnosis of disc herniation, if no pain occurs.
Piriformis syndrome: It is not true sciatica because it is not caused by issues related to spinal compression, instead the sciatic nerve is being compressed by spasms of the piriformis muscle, which is a small muscle located at the side of the buttocks, running from the base of the spine to the top of the thigh bone and directly across the sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome can be hard to identify and is often diagnosed only when true sciatica is ruled out as a cause.
General back pain: will affect up to 85% of Indians at some point during their lives. However, general pain in the back is often not caused by sciatica. In many instances, back pain is caused by overextending or straining the back muscles through exercise, moving heavy objects, or incorrect posture.
Both true sciatica and piriformis syndrome display similar symptoms because they are both caused irritation of the sciatic nerve. Though symptoms can show up in both legs, it’s more common for sciatica to only affect one side of the body. Symptoms include:
- Severe radiating pain( sometimes mild) down the leg and into the foot
- Sharp and shooting pains in the side of the hip, the outer thigh, the calf and/or foot
- Numbness in the lower extremities
- Pins and needles in the legs and/or feet
- A burning sensation in the lower body
- Muscle weakness in the affected leg
- Lower back pain
Sciatica pain treatment options:
At Advanced Spine and Knee Hospital, we provide the best and non-surgical interventions to help relieve the pain of sciatica, treatment may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Stich less Endoscopic Procedure to take pressure off of the affected spinal nerve
- Ozone Discectomy (Ozonucleolysis)
- Root Sleeve Epidural Injections/Transforaminal injections
- Cervical Epidural Injections
- Facet Blocks
- Radiofrequency Lesioning
Our highly skilled team of Specialists perform minimally invasive outpatient spine Procedures that is an alternative to the risks and difficulties of traditional open back Surgeries.
To find out if you are a candidate for one of our procedures, contact us today for a no-cost MRI review from our caring team of professionals.