Do you have sciatica? This type of back pain is different from other issues that can cause your back to ache. It begins in the lower back, but it doesn’t remain in the area. Instead, the pain continues down one of your legs, and it can go all the way down into the foot.
It’s bad enough that you don’t want to put off seeking sciatica treatment. But if you’ve never experienced this condition before, how can you be certain it’s not something else? Here are some tips for recognizing this specific pain.
Know What Causes It
If you understand what causes sciatica, you’ll be better able to recognize when it’s at the root of your pain. The pain comes from when the sciatic nerve is put under pressure from something. This nerve runs from each of your feet up to the lower back, so sciatic pain can occur in either leg.
The cause of the pressure can be a number of issues, but often, it’s a herniated disk. It’s also a common ailment for pregnant women due to the pressure of the growing baby.
The amount of pain you’re in can vary, too, depending on how much pressure is being put on the nerve. If it’s a lot, you may not even be able to stand or walk.
Have You Had a Back Injury Lately?
Now that you have an idea of what sciatica is, it’s time to determine if it’s the likely cause of your pain. First, think back over the last few months. Have you had any type of injury to your back? If so, you could have a herniated disk or suffered another injury that’s causing the problem.
Sometimes sciatic pain comes on right after the accident, but that’s not always the case. If you hurt yourself slightly, but have a physically demanding job or hobby, the injury could get worse over time until it causes sciatica.
Do You Feel Numbness or Weakness?
If you’ve started to feel weakness or numbness in your legs in addition to pain, sciatica is likely the issue. This is especially true if you find that certain positions tend to cause more pain or numbness than others.
For example, you might find yourself in more pain when lying on your left side than on your right. That means whatever is putting pressure on the sciatic nerve is likely on the right side of the body and is pressing against the nerve when you lay on your left.
Take note of where you feel the pain and when it gets better or worse. Having this information will help in diagnosis and treatment of sciatica. For most people, the pain is actually better when lying down.
What Type of Pain Do You Have?
Generally, sciatic pain is a burning, tingling pain. Some people describe it as feeling like they’re being pricked over and over, up and down their leg, buttock, and lower back.
Many people who are dealing with sciatica also have the feeling of a shock or tingling up and down one of their legs. This pain isn’t always steady, but it can be. You might also have that pins and needles feeling you get when your arm or leg falls asleep.
No matter how you describe it, one thing is for sure: it’s not a dull ache. If that’s what you’re feeling, you likely don’t have sciatica.
Getting the Best Treatment for Sciatica
While mild sciatica usually goes away after a few days, more severe cases may require treatment. If you’ve dealt with sciatic nerve pain for a week or more, or if the pain seems to regularly come back, give us a call and make an appointment with one of our experts here at AICA Orthopedics. We will find the source of the pain and devise a treatment plan that will help you live pain-free again.