Although most people know that sciatica generally means a lot of pain at the point, it seems like few people actually know exactly what sciatica really is. With so many different pain conditions that any one person can develop, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Even just the difference between acute and chronic pain can seem to blur, and this is especially true when it comes to pain that you experience with your back and neck. So what is sciatica and what do you need to watch for if you think you have it?
The term sciatica is based off of the sciatic nerve, which goes from your lower back to your hips, buttocks, and down both legs. When you have any pain that travels along this nerve for any reason, it falls under the umbrella term of sciatica. There can be any number of things that cause this pain, but it is most commonly due to a herniated disk, bone spurs, or a narrowing of the spine. These three issues may be fairly common, but that doesn’t mean they aren't painful. In fact, the pain from sciatica can be, and often is, completely debilitating. The swelling and numbness that accompanies it is concerning enough that you should always take the first sign of symptoms seriously and seek medical assistance immediately to catch it before it gets worse.
The symptoms of sciatica are straightforward, yet can be confusing at the same time. People often experience pain which radiates down their leg from the spine, but they may also experience numbness, muscle weakness, or tingling in the leg. People may have one of those symptoms in one spot of the leg, and a different symptom in a different area. The pain can feel like anything from a mild ache to sharp, shooting pain, a burning sensation, or even an electrical shock. It may feel more intense if you sit for extended periods of time, if you stand for too long, or if your body spasms, as if with a strong cough or sneeze. These widely varying symptoms are why you need to go to a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.
If you suspect you may be suffering from sciatica, call DiBella Chiropractic. Surgery is rarely needed, but you do need medical confirmation. If your back hurts, you need to have a professional look at it. Come in and see how much better we can make you feel!