Problems with the sciatic nerve are common, affecting 10-40% of the adult population in the country. Typically associated with lower back pain, the symptoms of this nerve condition, collectively called sciatica, can spread anywhere along the nerve’s path.
Since the sciatic nerve itself is a collection of five root nerves that branch off the spinal cord, your experience depends on the location of nerve irritation, so its effects on you may be unique. However, most sciatica sufferers share some common signs.
Sciatica symptoms range from mild to major. When you need treatment, visit one of the four locations of Neuropathy and Pain Centers of Texas. The sciatica pain specialists can treat your symptoms and speed your recovery.
Here are five characteristic signs that your back and leg pain originates with the sciatic nerve.
1. On one side
While it’s possible to have sciatica on both sides simultaneously, it’s a rare occurrence. While your lower back symptoms can be centrally located, referred pain from sciatica usually extends down one leg, and it can range into your feet in some cases.
Leg symptoms may also be painful, but you could have other sensations. Symptoms typically aren’t the same along the sciatic nerve’s path.
2. Tingling and numbness
Referred symptoms, those that you feel down the nerve’s path instead of the site of compression or irritation, are often different from your lower back pain. The most common sensations are tingling and numbness. These, too, may not be consistent down your leg.
For example, you may have lower back pain, numbness in the buttock and hip, and tingling down the outside of your thigh, all occurring simultaneously.
Tingling sensations are generally well-tolerated, but with sciatica, these sensations can be more severe, less easily ignored than a tingle. The feeling is more akin to an encounter with a cactus, sharper with discomfort bordering on pain. Your thigh and foot are the most likely locations for this sciatic nerve symptom.
4. Muscle weakness
While sensory nerves report touch, pain, and other sensations, motor nerves are responsible for muscle control, and they’re also present in the sciatic nerve bundle. When pinched or compressed, motor nerves can create weakness in your leg and foot, which typically stands out since the other leg is likely still showing normal responses and strength.
Muscle weakness may create an impression of heaviness, as though it takes extra effort to lift your foot off the ground.
5. Posture affects pain
Changing positions can bring you relief, but it could have the opposite effect instead, creating stabbing, sharp pain. Changing between sitting and standing positions commonly causes pain, as forward bends of the spine, twisting motions, or spasmodic movements, such as when you sneeze or cough.
Lying down might relieve pain, and pain is generally eased by placing a pillow between or underneath your knees.
Conquering sciatica pain is possible, and many of its causes will resolve in the coming weeks. Sciatica pain management makes life easier for you as your body heals. Contact the closest location of Neuropathy and Pain Centers of Texas, whether by phone or online, to schedule a personal consultation today.