There are many different types of back pain, as odd as that might sound since pain is usually just pain. How the pain presents itself, where it presents, and the presence of other symptoms can be quite different, especially when it comes to sciatica.
To help you take the first steps toward confirming or ruling out the source of your back pain, the team here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management wants to focus this month’s blog post on the singular symptoms that often accompany sciatica.
So that you have a better idea about why the symptoms of sciatica can be so unique, it’s crucial to understand the underlying problem.
Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body, and it starts in your lower back and branches out, running down both sides of your buttocks and into each of your legs to your feet.
The nerve itself starts with five nerve roots — two from your lumbar spine and three from your sacrum, which is the point of your spine at the top of your buttocks and right above your tailbone. These nerve roots join together to create both the left and right sciatic nerves.
When this nerve is compressed or irritated, it can lead to symptoms that are both local (in your lower back) and distant (down one of your legs). In most cases, the culprit behind the nerve compression is an intervertebral disc in your lower back that’s herniated or bulging.
The symptoms of sciatica
When your sciatic nerve is compressed, one of the first signs of a problem is pain, which typically flares with certain movements or positions. For example, if the pain flares when you sit, this is one of the hallmarks of sciatica, since the sitting position places far more pressure along your lumbar spine.
That said, the pain may also flare when you bend over or twist your back in a certain way.
Aside from the pain, you may also experience other symptoms that include:
- Muscle weakness
Many people feel the symptoms along the nerve, which means that the pain and other symptoms travel down into one side of your buttocks and into one leg, sometimes reaching as far as your foot.
It’s important to note that these symptoms rarely affect both lower limbs as they’re usually confined to just one side.
If, after reading this, you suspect you have sciatica, there are several ways we can help you find relief.
Our sciatica treatment plans can include one or more of the following:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Pain-relieving medications
- Physical therapy
- Nerve blocks
- Epidural injections
For expert diagnosis and treatment of your lower back pain, including sciatica, contact one of our two offices in Hartsdale or Staten Island, New York.