Sciatica doesn’t sound like much. Leg pain, tingling and numbness that starts in the lower back, travels through the buttock and then down the back of your leg. I mean, it doesn’t sound like fun or anything—but until I went through a bout of sciatica I was less than sympathetic. I thought that if you have sciatica then you just need to move around a little more. Walk it off. Buck up and quit whining. I mean, seriously—how awful can a sharp pain in the buttocks really be?
After coping with sciatica for a week, I can safely say that the answer is “very painful indeed.” Reading about sciatica doesn’t do it any justice. You may understand where the nerve is located and that it’s painful, but until you’ve experienced it for yourself, you have no idea how often you need those muscles to do absolutely everything. Sitting is out of the question, as is lying on your side. Standing is OK but walking—forget about it. In the end, I spent several days lying on my stomach, complaining about my pain to any and all who would listen. And that list dwindled by the day.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica isn’t a diagnosis. It’s used to describe the pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. Symptoms include the leg pain that I mentioned earlier, along with a “pins and needles” feeling. Sciatica is usually experienced on one side of the body, which is plenty. Seriously, sciatic pain on both sides of the body is not a scenario that any of us wants to imagine.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica has been linked to the following causes:
- Pregnancy- The weight of a growing baby can often lead to pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Spinal stenosis- A condition where the spinal canal compresses on the spinal cord or sciatic nerve roots.
- Piriformis syndrome- Also referred to as “wallet sciatica,” as it’s often caused by wallets carried in the rear pocket of sufferers.
- Spinal disc herniation- This is the cause of about 90 percent of the sciatic cases that chiropractors see.
It’s important to remember that sciatica is not a diagnosis on its own, but a signal of an underlying problem. This makes it especially important for sufferers to visit their chiropractic team; they need to deal with the sciatic pain as well as the underlying cause of that discomfort.
Your chiropractor is able to diagnose and treat the cause of your sciatica. Sciatica treatments tend to focus on removing the pain in the lower back and hips, while restoring your correct skeletal function. Once the underlying cause for your sciatica is uncovered, your symptoms should be relieved quickly.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician if you are experiencing any sciatica symptoms.
Photo credit: Pain by nanny snowflake. Used under a Creative Commons license.
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