• Glenn MacNichol, MD

5 Signs That May You Have Sciatica

As sedentary lifestyle increases among people, sciatica is becoming more and more common these days, affecting 10% to 40% of the population.


Sciatica is a painful condition affecting the sciatic nerve, (which is a large nerve extending from your lower back down the back of each leg down to the toes). Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and disabling. For others, the sciatica pain might be infrequent and irritating but has the potential to get worse.


Signs and Symptoms

Anybody can develop sciatica, but some people are more prone to it than others.

We all know sciatica can cause pain in your buttocks and radiate down your legs, but there are other signs to watch for. Here’s a closer look at the five common signs:


Low Back Pain

Low back pain may be the first sign that you’re developing sciatica and one of the most commonly reported symptoms. The pain from sciatica often radiates into your lower back and down your buttock region and leg(s). The pain is usually one-sided, but sometimes both sides hurt simultaneously. Bending, sitting, or standing makes it worse.


Numbness, Tingling, and Burning Sensation in Legs

If you are having numbness, tingling, burning, or any abnormal sensations down your legs, this may be an early sign of sciatica as they are caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. Many people describe this type of pain as a dull ache or sharp shooting pain when you stand from a seated position. You may also feel a jolt or electric shock when you sneeze or cough.


Weakness In Leg or Foot

The leg affected by sciatica may feel weaker than your other leg. The weakness may or may not occur with the thunderbolt pain when they shift position. Sometimes, this weakness affects your gait, especially if you’re a runner or other athlete, and causes pain in other areas of your body. This weakness could come in the form of your leg “feeling heavy” as you walk, making it feel as though one leg is being pulled down harder by gravity somehow.


Difficulty to Walk or Stand

When the compression of the sciatic nerve is severe, you may have difficulty walking or standing for a long stretch of time. Moving might relieve the pain, but sometimes, it may not go away. For some people, lying down is the only way they find relief from their pain, but this is not the case for everyone. Others may even have a hard time getting out of the chair after sitting or resting.


Loss Of Balance and Legs Giving Out

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and provides critical information to all the muscles in the lower extremities. Compression of this nerve compromises the nerve signals to the muscles, which in turn can result in episodes of your legs giving out. Sciatica can also make it hard to move your leg or foot, it can create issues with balance and it is challenging to stand equally on both legs.


Takeaway

The signs and symptoms of sciatica vary for each person. The above-mentioned are only the common symptoms and you may also experience accompanying symptoms along with them.

Mild sciatica symptoms often resolve on their own after a few days of low-key movement or all-out rest, however, if it still interferes with your daily tasks even after rest, then it is important to get a detailed diagnosis from your primary care physician or an orthopedic specialist to prevent further complications.


Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.

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