Is the Pain Down Your Leg Caused by Sciatica?

If you are experiencing radiating pain in the leg, it may be sciatica nerve pain. However, a firm diagnosis and effective treatment will require a physical examination by a doctor.

Your health care provider will examine you and take your health history into account before making a definitive diagnosis. Let’s take a look at what sciatica is and what can be done to relieve the pain in your leg.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a radiating pain that can be debilitating. Sciatic pain can affect not just the outer side of the leg, but also the hip, buttocks, and back.

In most cases, sciatica is attributed to a herniated disc in the spinal column. The location of pain is varied because the sciatic nerve – the largest nerve in the body – runs from the lower back down into the legs. Usually, sciatic pain is felt in only one leg.

Sciatic pain can be intense, beginning as a mild ache that intensifies. The patient may also experience leg weakness along with tingling and numbness.

What to Expect if You Have Sciatica

Sciatic pain usually goes away on its own. However, up to 30 percent of those affected will continue to have related problems.

When conservative treatments – like bed rest and over-the-counter medications – fail to alleviate the sciatic pain within 8 weeks, then your doctor may suggest alternative and more invasive treatments, such as spinal disc surgery.

About 90 percent of sciatica cases are due to a herniated disc that is compressing the root of the sciatic nerve. Sciatic pain may also be attributed to lumbar stenosis or a tumor in the spine.

What Makes You Susceptible to Sciatic Pain?

The NIH estimates that up to 10 percent of people who experience pain in the lower back have sciatica. They also report that approximately 2.2 percent of the population suffers from sciatica related to a herniated disc.

There are several risk factors that can make a person more susceptible to sciatica, including the following:

Age

As a person’s body ages, it may begin to experience degeneration. Vertebral bones and spinal discs can degenerate, which can contribute to sciatic pain.

Lifestyle

If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you are at risk of developing sciatic pain. Sitting for long periods of time can cause compression of the spine, and it can also place pressure directly on the sciatic nerve.

As much as a sedentary lifestyle can cause sciatica, so can an active one. Persons who choose running or walking as a form of regular exercise may experience sciatica at some point. The sciatic nerve can become irritated as muscles beneath tighten.

Weight

If a person is overweight, this factor can contribute to sciatic pain. Weight adds stress and pressure on your bones, including the spinal vertebrae – and this can create pressure on your sciatic nerve.

Orthopedic Physicians in Texas

Tarpon Orthopedics specializes in interventional pain management, including the treatment of sciatic pain down your leg. If you are experiencing constant or nagging pain of any kind, please schedule an appointment with an orthopedist.

We will diagnose your condition and determine the best way to address it. Contact us today by calling (972) 596-1059 or fill out our online appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you live a more pain-free lifestyle again.

Author
Alex Hirsch

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