Sciatic nerve pain, also known as sciatica, is a common ailment. The symptoms exhibited is caused by compression to the sciatic nerve, typically from a problem in the lumbar spine. Pregnant women can suffer from sciatic pain as well. Understanding sciatica symptoms, causes, and treatments can help you on your way to feeling better faster. Let’s take a closer look into sciatica.
What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?
There are several problems in the lumbar spine that can cause sciatic nerve compression and set forth the symptoms of sciatica. The sciatic nerve originates in the lumbar spine and the sacrum. It runs down the back of the leg all the way to the foot. Compression to the sciatic nerve creates these symptoms.
Common spine problems that can cause sciatica include:
- Arthritis in the spine or bone spurs- inflammation surrounding the vertebrae and bone spurs can compress the sciatic nerve.
- Herniated Discs– a herniated disc in the lumbar spine and put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Piriformis Syndrome– tightness and inflammation to the piriformis muscle can compress the sciatic nerve. Prolonged sitting or overuse can also cause piriformis syndrome
Although rare, tumors, blood clots, and nervous system disorders can also cause sciatica and should be ruled out.
What Does Sciatica Feel Like?
Sciatic nerve pain is typically felt in the low back or down one leg. Common symptoms include:
- Numbness or tingling down the leg
- Hip pain
- Weakness in one leg
- Lower back pain
- Pain down the leg and foot
The type of pain felt with sciatica varies. It can feel intense like a sharp or burning pain or more like a dull ache. Symptoms are typically mild. In some cases, if there is extreme pain, weakness, or loss of bladder or bowel control you should seek treatment immediately.
Treatment for Sciatic Pain
Treatment varies depending on the cause of sciatic nerve compression, however in most cases, conservative treatment is the first step. To start, reduce inflammation using ice, heat, or anti-inflammatory medications. In addition, therapeutic exercises to strength the core muscles will help to stabilize the spine and hips surrounding the sciatic nerve. Stretching the muscles that can be causing compression can also help. The most commonly needed muscles to stretch are the piriformis, hamstrings, hip flexors, and hip extensors.
Chiropractic care through spinal manipulations can also help treat sciatic pain. Treatment can also include massage therapy and therapeutic modalities. If you are suffering from sciatica, Dr. Shane Silver can help. Contact Silver Chiropractic and Wellness today to feel better faster!