Do you feel pain in your lower back and buttocks that sometimes radiates down your leg and into your foot? Is this pain achy, sharp, or does it cause a burning sensation? If so, you may be experiencing a common nerve issue called sciatica nerve pain.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is an inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower spine to the buttocks and down through the legs and into the feet. When your sciatic nerve becomes pinched or irritated, you may experience a wide variety of unpleasant symptoms, including:
- An achy, sharp, or burning pain that originates in your lower back and buttocks.
- Pain that radiates down one of your legs.
- Weakness, tingling, or numbness in your affected leg.
- Pain in the foot of the leg that experiences the radiating pain or other leg symptoms.
- Sciatica most commonly is a result of the sciatic nerve being compressed. This can be caused by an injury like a herniated disc, a bone spur, spinal stenosis, or in more rare cases, a tumor or blood clot. On its own, sciatica is not a medical diagnosis but rather a symptom of a larger issue at hand.
Risk Factors for Sciatica
In addition to incurring one of the above-mentioned injuries or ailments of the spine, other risk factors are associated with developing sciatica. These include:
- Age: The spine naturally changes as part of the aging process. Sometimes, these changes can cause sciatic nerve damage.
- Obesity: Excess body weight puts more stress on your spine, which can result in damage to the sciatic nerve.
- Prolonged Sitting: If you live a sedentary lifestyle - such as sitting at a desk all day long - you're more likely to develop sciatica than others whose days are more active.
- Diabetes: Diabetes may increase your risk of nerve damage, including sciatic nerve damage.
- Pregnancy: Sometimes the weight of an unborn child can press on your sciatic nerve, especially in the second and third trimesters.
How Can You Find Relief from Sciatica?
If you're experiencing what you believe to be sciatica, it's first important to schedule an appointment. To have a proper diagnosis is the first step to knowing how to address your sciatica pain. Below are some remedies that may ease sciatic nerve pain.
- Daily stretches
- Go for walks
- Use an ice pack that's wrapped in a towel or try a heating pad for about 15-20 minutes at a time. Be careful not to burn your skin.
- Physical therapy
- Over-the-counter pain medications, such as NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen. These may help ease your pain as well as bring down inflammation.
In severe cases where sciatica pain is from a herniated disc, surgery may be indicated. This is especially true if your sciatic pain is accompanied by significant leg weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or if minimally invasive alternatives haven't provided relief.
Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment
If you suspect you have sciatica, you need to be evaluated to determine your pain's root cause. We will work together to prepare a personalized treatment plan to help you get back to living life free of pain. Call our practice at (954) 567-1332 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.