When Sciatica Symptoms Are A Medical Emergency
In some cases there are serious conditions which come on along with your sciatica symptoms.
If you have pain going down both of your legs, as well as loss of sensation around the inner thighs, buttock or back of the legs or an inability to control your bowel or bladder this is a medical emergency.
If you present with these symptoms it is vital you go to a hospital to have them checked out as the condition, known as cauda equina syndrome usually requires immediate surgical intervention.
Can Sciatica Be Serious
In some cases, sciatica may be cause for concern and medical emergency. For example, suppose youre experiencing loss of feeling in the leg in which youve been experiencing pain, weakness in the affected leg, or loss of bladder or bowel function. In that case, you should seek immediate medical attention.
There are a few medical emergencies that can occur that may give off sciatica-like symptoms, including:
- Spinal cord compression or infection
- Kidney damage and pain
- Permanent nerve damage
Because there are potential issues that can arise because of sciatica or similar to sciatica, you should always seek medical attention when you have pain that lasts longer than a week.
Finding Relief For Sciatica And Hip Pain
If youre experiencing sciatica or hip pain, you should speak with a doctor to receive treatment or try at-home options if the pain isnt too bad. One of the best ways to treat generalized pain in the hips and lower back is to opt for a more comfortable office chair.
However, ergonomic office chairs can be expensive. The more affordable solution is to purchase a seat cushion or bolster pillow to help with the pain that youre experiencing. Seat cushions can help relieve any pain or pressure you may be feeling in your hips, tailbone, and lower back.
Seat cushions can help with general hip pain as well as with sciatica and other injuries and damage that may not be caused by an uncomfortable office chair. Using a seat cushion will make your chair more comfortable and supportive, offering relief to whatever type of pain youre experiencing.
Don’t Miss: How Long Does It Take To Die From Cutting Wrist
Osteonecrosis Of The Femoral Head
This issue, known as ONFH, causes the hip bone to deteriorate and collapse due to a lack of blood to the area. The cartilage that covers the hip bones also deteriorates, resulting in arthritis.
Hip pain is typically the first symptom, and it may accompany a throbbing pain or dull ache in the buttocks and groin. As the condition progresses, it may be difficult to put weight on the hip and any movement may be painful.
This may progression can take several months to a year, and getting an early diagnosis leads to a better outlook.
Internal causes of hip and groin pain may stem from underlying conditions or growths in other regions of the body. The issue may be:
Are Restless Leg Syndrome Multiple Sclerosis Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Plantar Fasciitis Shingles Or Bursitis Related To Sciatica
While all these conditions affect either the spinal cord, nerves, muscles, ligaments or joints and all can cause pain, none are directly related to sciatica. The main causes of these conditions are different. Sciatica only involves the sciatic nerve. That being said, the most similar condition would be carpal tunnel syndrome, which also involves a compression of a nerve.
A final word about sciatica. . . .
Most cases of sciatica do not require surgery. Time and self-care treatment are usually all thats needed. However, if simple self-care treatments do not relieve your pain, see your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can confirm the cause of your pain, suggest other treatment options and/or refer you to other spine health specialists if needed.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/25/2020.
Don’t Miss: Is Stomach Pain A Sign Of Pregnancy
Factors That Differentiate Sciatica From Hamstring Or Other Causes Of Posterior Thigh Pain
Michael Lancaster discusses potential diagnoses in cases presenting with rear thigh pain, and how to sleuth out the cause.
2018 Bayern Munichs David Alaba receives treatment to posterior thigh from medical staff. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
Posterior thigh pain provides a great challenge to sports physiotherapists around the world, with the most common cause being hamstring strains. However, there are a number of structures that cause pain both locally or referred. Identification of the pain source allows the practitioner to effectively manage the return to sport. Ultimately one must ascertain if the injury to the posterior thigh is an acute muscle injury or referred pain from another source. An understanding of the relevant anatomy of the posterior thigh, sacroiliac joint, and lumbar spine is therefore essential for effective diagnosis.
When To Call A Professional
Contact your doctor if sciatica pain grows worse over a few days, or if it begins to interfere significantly with your daily activities. Call your doctor immediately if you experience sudden, extreme weakness in a leg, numbness in the groin or rectum, or difficulty controlling bladder or bowel function. These symptoms may indicate that nerves leading to the pelvis are compressed. This condition can cause permanent damage if not treated promptly.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Knee Pain Without Medicine
Also Check: Pineapple Hurts My Stomach
Sciatica Groin Pain Symptoms
The symptoms of groin pain and sciatica can mimic any other back and leg pain condition, with the addition of pain in the muscles or sexual organs of the groin. For men, this can mean inner thigh pain, lower abdominal pain, anal pain, testicular pain or discomfort in the penis. For women, this can mean inner thigh pain, anal pain, lower abdominal pain, vulva pain or vaginal pain.
Sciatica Symptoms Or Something Else
Sciatica isnt the only reason for pain in the legs, ofcourse. Other conditions can mimic sciatica:
- Vascular disease: Narrowing of the bloodvessels in the legs can cause pain and cramps and might make it hard to walk.
- Peripheral neuropathy: Small nerves inthe legs can become damaged, causing burning, pain, tingling or numbness in thefoot or lower leg. This type of nerve damage is often related to diabetes,alcohol use disorder or other medical conditions.
- Peroneal neuropathy: An injury to the peroneal nerve below the knee can cause weakness and make it hard to lift the foot.
How can you tell if youre dealing with sciatica orsomething else? Sciatica tends to affect the length of the leg, not just thefoot. And most often, that pain radiates downward from top to bottom, Dr.Thomas says.
Another clue: Sciatica usually strikes just one side. If you have pain in both legs, it is less likely a disc herniation, but more likely due to degenerative changes like spinal stenosis, he says.
Read Also: Is It Painful To Cut Your Wrist
Causes Of Pain In The Groin And Down The Leg In Females
A great review for our readers who treat pain patients
Medical News Today
When pain in the groin extends down the leg, it can make sitting, walking, and other tasks uncomfortable. The type of pain a person has and when they experience it may give clues about the cause.
In this article, we look at the potential causes of pain in the groin and down the leg and their treatment options.
1. Pregnancy-related pain
Many pregnant women experience something called symphysis pubis dysfunction . According to a 2012 case report, SPD occurs in 31.7% of pregnant women.
SPD happens when the ligaments that help align the pelvis stretch too much, causing pain and instability.
A person may feel a radiating shooting or stabbing pain in their lower abdomen, groin, back, thigh, leg, and perineum. The perineum is the area of skin between the scrotum or vulva and the anus.
SPD can get worse when a person changes position, walks, or climbs stairs.
This kind of pain typically goes away on its own after pregnancy.
However, treatment options can include:
- soft tissue therapy, which is a type of massage
- pregnancy support belts
- physical therapy
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , fibromyalgia is a chronic pain that causes widespread muscle pain.
One 2015 article states that females with fibromyalgia report bothersome pelvic floor symptoms and may experience pelvic pain.
Fibromyalgia pain can originate at specific tender points throughout the body.
What Else Can Cause Sciatica
There are many problems that are NOT associated with sciatica that can also cause similar pains in the hip and groin. It is important to know about some of these as they are often treated differently to sciatica.
If you know the key signs and symptoms of the problems that mimic sciatica symptoms in the hip and how you can differentiate them from sciatica, you may find that you can more effectively target treatment towards these other problems.
As always, you should listen to the advice of a qualified health professional rather than attempting to self-diagnose injuries.
Below is a list of many common conditions I see that can mimic sciatica symptoms in the hip. I have included a guide on identifying these problems, who they affect and what you can do about them.
Recommended Reading: Stomach Ache After Eating Pineapple
Changes In Bowel And/or Bladder Control
Consult your doctor immediately if you have any sudden, unexplained changes in your bowel and/or bladder control. These changes may include:
- An inability to control your bowel and/or bladder movements.2
- Difficulty in passing urine, a reduced urinary sensation, a loss of desire to pass urine, or a poor stream.2,3
These symptoms indicate a rare, but serious medical condition called cauda equina syndrome. In addition to incontinence problems, cauda equina syndrome may also cause:
- Sudden pain and weakness in both your legs4
- Numbness in your groin, buttocks, genitals and/or inner thighs .2
Cauda equina syndrome can occur suddenly or gradually and typically requires immediate surgery to control the symptoms.3 If patients with cauda equina syndrome do not receive prompt treatment, it can result in difficulty in walking and/or other neurological problems, including lower-body paralysis. Doctors advise treating this condition within 24 to 48 hours of symptom occurrence in order to preserve lower limb function.2,3,5
While rare, sciatica caused due to severe disc herniation in the lower spine may progress into cauda equina syndrome.
Can Sciatica Pain Be Felt In Abdomen
Does sciatica cause abdominal pain? There are cases when sciatica can lead to abdominal pain, even though it is rare. The pain is usually felt in the lower abdomen near the pelvis.
Musculoskeletal chronic pelvic pain is often caused by pressure on the pelvic nerves, pelvic and hip bones, and pelvic floor muscles.
Symptoms of chronic pelvic pain include both sciatica and abdominal pain. In addition, this condition may also cause chronic low back pain, radiating pain, chronic pain, upper back pain deep pelvic pain, pudendal neuropathy, sacroiliac inflammation, and muscle weakness and spasms.
Don’t Miss: How To Sprain Your Wrist In 5 Minutes
What Are The Symptoms Of Sciatica Groin Pain
QÃ¯Â¼What are the symptoms of sciatica groin pain?
AÃ¯Â¼Sciatica groin pain is a rare but very disturbing symptomatic expression that can plague sufferers without relief.
Groin pain can be muscular, neurological or linked to the genitals directly, so many patients are too shy to seek out treatments and some even suffer in silence for years.
The symptoms of groin pain can be emotionally sensitive. They can mimic any other back and leg pain condition with the addition of pain in the muscles or sexual organs of the groin.
For men, this can mean inner thigh pain, lower abdominal pain, anal pain, testicular pain or discomfort in the penis.
For women, this can mean inner thigh pain, anal pain, lower abdominal pain, vulva pain or vaginal pain.
Combined with the usual sciatica complaints of pain, tingling, weakness and numbness in the legs and/or feet, these symptoms can make life a truly harrowing experience indeed.
Keyword: sciatica groin pain symptoms
When Should I Contact My Healthcare Provider
Get immediate medical attention if you experience:
- Severe leg pain lasting more than a few hours that is unbearable.
- Numbness or muscle weakness in the same leg.
- Bowel or bladder control loss. This could be due to a condition called cauda equina syndrome, which affects bundles of nerves at the end of the spinal cord.
- Sudden and severe pain from a traffic accident or some other trauma.
Even if your visit doesnt turn out to be an emergency situation, its best to get it checked out.
Recommended Reading: Pain Under Skin On Arm
How Is Sciatica Treated
The goal of treatment is to decrease your pain and increase your mobility. Depending on the cause, many cases of sciatica go away over time with some simple self-care treatments.
Self-care treatments include:
- Appling ice and/or hot packs: First, use ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Apply ice packs or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to the affected area. Apply for 20 minutes, several times a day. Switch to a hot pack or a heating pad after the first several days. Apply for 20 minutes at a time. If youre still in pain, switch between hot and cold packs whichever best relieves your discomfort.
- Taking over-the-counter medicines: Take medicines to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. The many common over-the-counter medicines in this category, called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen . Be watchful if you choose to take aspirin. Aspirin can cause ulcers and bleeding in some people. If youre unable to take NSAIDS, acetaminophen may be taken instead.
- Performing gentle stretches: Learn proper stretches from an instructor with experience with low back pain. Work up to other general strengthening, core muscle strengthening and aerobic exercises.
Pinched Nerve Vs Spasm
Muscle spasms can result in a twitching sensation or pain that can run from mild to severe. The symptoms are often similar to those of a pinched nerve.
Nerve damage or overstimulation can cause a muscle spasm, but spasms are distinct from pinched nerves in that they can have a number of other causes and dont just happen when nerves are compressed. Some common causes of muscle spasms include:
- intense exercise that causes lactic acid buildup in muscles
- anxiety or stress
- using cigarettes or other products that contain nicotine
- taking certain medications, such as corticosteroids
- long-term effects of neurological disease, such as a stroke or cerebral palsy
Read Also: How To Heal Knee Pain
How Does Sciatica Cause Symptoms In The Hip
When we refer to the term sciatica, we usually mean pain in the leg that shoots all the way down from the buttock to the foot.
Sciatica often starts with back pain which then progresses to pain in the hip and leg but sometimes disc bulges and other problems can cause the pain to start and exist exclusively in the hip, leading to sometimes debilitating sciatica symptoms in the hip.
That Hip Pain Could Actually Be A Sciatica Problem
Your hips are incredibly active joints and no strangers to the occasional ache and pain, especially as you get older. But searing pain in one of your hips may have nothing to do with your hip at all, but a pinched nerve root in your lower back.
At Healthy Life Family Medicinein Goodyear, Arizona, Dr. John Monroe understands the many conditions that can lead to radiating pain. One of the biggest culprits in this regard is sciatica, which develops when certain nerve roots in your lower back are irritated or compressed, causing symptoms to travel down your sciatic nerve.
Heres a look at how sciatica pain develops and why your hip pain may be a result of a problem in your lower back.
You May Like: Is Stomach Pain A Sign Of Pregnancy
Should I Rest If I Have Sciatica
Some rest and change in your activities and activity level may be needed. However, too much rest, bed rest, and physical inactivity can make your pain worse and slow the healing process. Its important to maintain as much activity as possible to keep muscles flexible and strong.
Before beginning your own exercise program, see your healthcare provider or spine specialist first to get a proper diagnosis. This healthcare professional will refer you to the proper physical therapist or other trained exercise or body mechanics specialist to devise an exercise and muscle strengthening program thats best for you.
Sciatica Or Other Back Pain
Up to 85% of Americans experience some type of back pain during their lives. But this doesnât always involve the sciatic nerve. In many cases, back pain is the result of overextending or straining the muscles in the lower back. What most often sets sciatica apart is the way the pain radiates down the leg and into the foot. It may feel like a bad leg cramp that lasts for days.
Donât Miss: Is Lymphoma Painful In Neck
Also Check: Does Lidocaine Work For Nerve Pain
Sudden And Severe Groin Pain From Testicular Torsion
It is an emergency that usually requires surgery. If it has been more than 12 hours for surgical resolution, removal of the affected testicle may be necessary.
How To Prevent Sciatica Pain
Though may not be possible to prevent the sciatica pain always however there are several things that can help you to prevent the pain. The most common reason of this pain is the back injury, handling and lifting object incorrectly. Before you lift any heavy object try to follow the correct method to lift it. Learn the ways to stand sit as well as lie down perfectly. Try to balance your weight and always keep your legs straight. Make your routine to do physical exercises every day. It will make your body fit and keep your muscles strong.
Don’t Miss: What Does Arthritis In Leg Feel Like