Five Ways to Know if You’re Suffering From Sciatica

Up to 40% of people will develop sciatic pain, also known as sciatica, at some point in their lives. Because the pain typically generates from your low back, most people who come in to see us at Pinnacle Health Chiropractic think it’s a back problem. But sciatica is caused by the pinching or irritation of your sciatic nerve.

Understanding what sciatica feels like may help you differentiate it from other types of back pain and make sure you get the right treatment. But if you’re experiencing any back or leg pain, you should come in for an evaluation so we can check things out, start treatment, and get you back to feeling better.

The sciatic nerve, which is about as thick as a pencil, branches out from the lower part of your lumbar spine and runs through your buttocks and all the way down to your feet on both sides. A herniated disc or bone spur may pinch or aggravate the nerve, producing the discomfort.

Here’s the way you can tell if you have sciatica, as opposed to other types of back pain:

Pain that travels

While back pain produces a variety of symptoms, the one thing that’s different with sciatica is that the discomfort seems to travel. You not only feel some pain in your low back, but may feel it travel into your buttocks, down your leg, and even into your toes. Irritation can occur on any part of your sciatic nerve and lead to this type of traveling discomfort.

The type of pain may vary and be as simple as an annoying ache to an excruciating and debilitating pain. Typically for sciatica, the pain is worse in the leg than the low back.

Pain only on one side

You have a sciatic nerve that travels down both the right and left side of your lower body. If it’s sciatica, usually only one nerve is affected, thank goodness and only one side of your body feels the discomfort.

Weak in the knee

Your sciatic nerve plays a major role in the normal functioning of your leg. It’s responsible for sensation, reflexes, and muscle movement. If your sciatic nerve is irritated or pinched, you may feel a little weak in the knee or leg that’s affected. Muscle weakness is a possible medical concern, and you should come in for an evaluation if you’re experiencing this symptom.  

Numbness, tingling, or shocking sensations down the leg

As the nerve responsible for sensation, sciatica symptoms cause you to feel varying types of pain. You may experience numbness or tingling anywhere along the route of the sciatic nerve or a shock-like sensation that can make walking and other activities difficult.

Pain that gets worse when you sit or stand

If your pain goes away when you lie down or walk, but returns if you sit or just stand, you may be experiencing sciatica. This may be due to your posture. Sitting and standing may put more pressure on the sciatic nerve and increase the discomfort.

Sciatica can be painful but is easily fixed with chiropractic care. We offer a number of different types of treatments to help relieve the pressure on your nerve and alleviate your discomfort. Treatment options include:

If you’re experiencing back pain that travels down one of your legs, give us a call or book an appointment online so we can help you feel better.



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