What is sciatica?
Sciatica or sciatic pain refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. It is the longest nerve in the body starting at the lumbar spine, running through the buttocks, and down the back of the leg into the foot. Sciatica is caused when a part of the nerve is compressed or pinched, usually in the spinal column or in the buttocks.
When this happens, you may feel discomfort or pain almost anywhere along the nerve pathway. It often will go down your low back into your buttocks and down the back of your thigh and calf. You may feel it in one or all of these locations.
Typically, sciatica is only obvious on one side of your body. In rare cases, it may be active on both sides, or it may switch legs over time.
According to Harvard Health, sciatica is very common with as many as 40% of people experiencing it in their life, becoming worse with age.
What are the symptoms of sciatica?
Most cases of sciatica are not severe, but symptoms can range from mild to excruciating.
Sciatica symptoms include feelings of:
- Burning sensation
- Dull ache
- Leg pain
- Lower back pain
- “Pins and needles”
- Sharp pain
- Tingling sensation
Numbness may appear where you are unable to move part of your leg or foot. This is usually temporary and not long-lasting.
Severe cases can also include significant leg weakness and bowel and bladder problems.
What causes sciatica?
The most common cause of sciatic pain is when the piriformis muscle spasms or becomes inflamed. This can compress the sciatic nerve causing any of the above pain.
There are many ways the sciatic nerve can be pinched:
Women who are pregnant or have just given birth are also at higher risk to experience sciatica.
What are the risk factors of sciatica?
The following factors may increase the risk of developing sciatica:
- Inactive lifestyle
If your occupation involves twisting you back, carrying heavy objects, or sitting for long periods of time can put stress on your back.
Diagnosing sciatica is straightforward. It can be identified with a physical exam, muscle testing, and reflex testing to evaluate the neurological response of your sciatic nerve.
Here at BackFit Health + Spine we aim to diagnose and also discover the root cause of your symptoms rather than just covering the symptom. Discovering the underlying cause can be more complex and may require imaging such as x-rays.
What treatments for Sciatica does BackFit offer
Every patient has a unique diagnosis for sciatica, so treatment for it can vary.
BackFit’s aim is to treat by the least invasive method first, working up to the more advanced methods as necessary.
We offer the following treatment options: