Because the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, it can cause significant pain. And because its journey down the back of each leg begins in the lower back, those of you who suffer from low back pain may also struggle with sciatica. About 5 to 10% of you, to be more specific.
The good news about sciatica is that it’s highly treatable, resolving in from 6 to 12 weeks with treatment. This guide to sciatic nerve pain will help you understand the condition more fully.
So, What Is It?
When the sciatic nerve is irritated, you’ve got sciatica. Originating in the lower back, the nerve runs through both hips, the buttocks and down the back of each leg to your toes. Pain occasioned by sciatic nerve irritation is experienced as a radiating pain which may reach as far as the feet.
Every sciatica story is different and may be characterized by aching or burning down the back of (usually) one leg.
There are 2 types of sciatica. The first is neurogenic, caused by nerve compression. Causes vary from case to case but the pain it causes is severe and may be accompanied by weakness in the muscles and numbness.
The second type of sciatica is referred. This type is caused by an anomaly in the direct vicinity of the nerve. Spine and pelvis dysfunction may be the source of referred sciatica. Symptoms will be similar to those for neurogenic sciatica.
It’s important to understand that sciatica isn’t a condition on its own. It’s a sign of an underlying condition, as set out above. When something has impinged on the nerve due to a structural issue, the resulting pain will manifest as described. The only way to know what the issue is, is to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Aging and lifestyle are two common causes of sciatic nerve pain. As we age, our bodies become more vulnerable to dysfunction and deterioration and this can provoke sciatic. Obesity is another of the most common causes of this type of pain. The more you weigh, the more you’re asking your body to do. Sciatic pain is its way of protesting.
Jobs which place undue stress on the spine because of prolonged sitting or lifting heavy objects may also provoke sciatica. And if you have diabetes, the way your body processes blood sugar can cause all types of damage to the nerves, resulting in pain.
If you’ve had episodic sciatica (on and off), you may be able to help yourself by strengthening your core muscles. When these are strong, your posture is improved and the eventuality of impingement of the sciatic nerve or dysfunction in the spine are greatly reduced. Building up the gluteus and abdominal muscles is the first line of defense against sciatica.
Back & Body Medical
By applying multi-disciplinarian therapy to sciatic nerve pain, the team at Back & Body can relieve the pain while teaching you about smart bio-mechanics to prevent recurrence.
Contact us. Let our team of clinicians help.