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What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain

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What Is Sciatica Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention

Top 3 Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain: How to Tell What is Causing It.

Sciatica is not a medical condition on its own, but rather a nonspecific term used to describe a variety of leg or back symptoms as a result of a medical problem, according to an article published in March 2015 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

It refers most commonly to nerve pain along the path of the sciatic nerve the longest and thickest nerve in the human body, extending from the back of the pelvis down through the back of the thighs to just below the knees.

Sciatica is a common manifestation of lumbar radiculopathy, which refers to any disorder affecting the nerve roots in the lower back, often including the sciatic nerve. The terms sciatica and lumbar radiculopathy are sometimes used synonymously, though sciatica may also be referred to as lumbosacral radicular syndrome, nerve root pain, and nerve root entrapment.

Up to 40 percent of adults in the United States experience sciatica at some point in their life. It most often affects people who are in their forties or fifties.

Research suggests sciatica resolves spontaneously for most people, but others experience chronic sciatica that may require medical intervention, such as physical therapy, spinal injections , and surgery.

How To Sleep With Sciatica Nerve Pain

Sleeping with Sciatica can be painful and disruptive. To have a sound and pain-free sleep, you can try different sleep techniques such as:

Sleep On Your Side – When you sleep on your side you remove the pressure from the pinched nerve and that decreases pain.

With A Pillow Between Your Legs – You can sleep on your side and place a pillow between your legs so that they don’t rotate during the night.

Fetal Position – The fetal position allows your spine to open up and if you have Sciatica pain due to a herniated disc, this sleeping position can help you ease it.

With A Pillow Under Your Knees – Sleep straight on your back and place a pillow under your knees. This will help you position your spine in the best position to distribute your weight evenly.

Pillow Under Your Lower Back – If you keep your pillow under your lower back that will help keep your spine in the neutral position and that will reduce the gap in-between your back and mattress.

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Depression is common in chronic pain patients, but people who think chronic pain is all in the head are not being realistic, says Roger Chou, MD, associate professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. So it means that if a health problem is to be treated correctly, it is necessary to deal with its cause.

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Common Sciatica Cause #: Trauma

In some cases, trauma can directly cause sciatica. Examples include motor vehicle accidents , falling, and contact sports . The impact may injure the nerves themselves or fragments of broken bone may compress the nerves.

In addition to high-energy traumas like MVAs, other forms of trauma that can cause sciatica include pelvic fracture or hip dislocation that cause nearby hamstrings to tear and irritate the sciatic nerve. It can also be the result of objects penetrating the body and cutting/tearing the nerve, such as a bullet or knife.

Difference Between Lower Back Pain And Sciatica

What is sciatica and how to deal with common causes of leg ...

To make it clear: sciatica and lower back pain are not the same thing. More accurately, sciatica is one of many types of lower back pain, and it involves pain in the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back down the outside of your thigh to the outer part of your shin. So, yes, you can have either lower back pain or sciatica from sitting or both.

Although you may be feeling pain in your back or in this nerve that travels down your leg, the most common cause of this pain actually exists on the front of your hip. The hip flexor group, made up of your iliacus and psoas, works very hard to hold you in a sitting position whenever you are seated. Unfortunately, there is no best sitting position for low back pain or sciatica. The act of sitting is the cause of the problem. Getting up, moving around, and decreasing the time you sit is the only remedy for sciatica pain.

As a result of its extended workday and the shortened position in sitting, the hip flexor group is almost always tight, holding this tension even after youre done sitting. This tension pulls on the spine, discs, and creates tension in the glute area. Like tug of war, the hip flexor tension on the front of the hip creates tension in muscles like the piriformis on the back of the hip, resulting in compression of the sciatic nerve as it travels through that muscle. This chronic compression is what causes sciatica and possibly low back pain.

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Check If You Have Sciatica

Sciatica affects your bottom, the back of your leg, or your foot and toes.

These areas may feel:

  • weak

Your symptoms may be worse when moving, sneezing or coughing.

You may also have back pain, but it’s not usually as bad as the pain in your bottom, leg or foot.

You probably do not have sciatica if you only have back pain.

Looking For Answers Looking For Hope

Ten years previous, in what seemed a lifetime ago, I was heavily involved in church. I left church for personal reasons but still carry deep belief. One day, probably my worst day, I sought comfort in the Bible. I opened the book and pointed and read the 2 verses above my finger.

Bless the Lord, Oh my soul bless his name. He who forgives my sins and heals my body of all its diseases. Psalms 103, 2-3. What are the odds? Wow!!! It changed my perspective. It gave me hope!! It became the rock I would stand on as the storm raged around me. I would recite it over and over in order to sleep. It gave me peace. I believe that hope is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal. It does not matter where you find it. It matters only that you believe.

Prior to cancer, I wasted my life. I was a workaholic. I took vacation only when forced to do so. My relationships were dismal. I was alive but I never really lived.

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Favorite Websites For Information About Sciatica Diagnosis And Tests

AANEM’s goal is to improve the lives of people with neuromuscular diseases. This association can help you better understand some of the tests that physicians may do to diagnose sciatica and other nerve disorders. The website also has a tool to help you find a specialist.

Established in 1980, the American Chronic Pain Association offers peer support and education in pain management skills not only to people with pain, but also their family, friends, and health care professionals. The associations Consumers Guide on Practice Guidelines for Low Back Pain explains the process of assessing and diagnosing low-back pain and describes a range of treatments.

The nonprofit Radiological Society of North America hosts the worlds largest radiology conference and publishes two peer-reviewed journals, Radiology and RadioGraphics. The society’s patient information site,, explains what epidural injections are, why theyre used, and how they work. It also has an in-depth guide about MRIs of the spine.

What Is The Sciatic Nerve

What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?

The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body and starts in the lower back. The nerve begins branching from the hips through the buttocks, legs and feet. It branches out because it has multiple functions, including supplying nerves to the entire lower part of both legs the back of the knee, calves and ankles. On top of that, the sciatic nerve allows the soles of the feet, ankles, lower legs and backs of the thighs to maintain sensation.

The sciatic nerve is considered a mixed-function nerve, which means its responsible for both sensory and motor neurons. This nerve alone is what allows the muscles to move and helps you feel sensations. Knowing this, its no surprise that it can lead to intense pain and loss of ability if compromised in any way. Damage of any sort can cause sciatica nerve pain, which shows symptoms including lower back pain and muscle weakness. These symptoms mainly present in the lower leg, despite wherever the nerve itself is damaged.

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Chiropractic Or Physical Therapy

Your doctor might refer you to a chiropractor or physical therapist for physical rehabilitation.

With a physical therapist, you learn techniques and exercises to strengthen your back and core, improve your posture, and how to avoid aggravating your sciatic nerve. Your physical therapist makes a home exercise routine for you to follow to reduce symptoms.

Chiropractors have an excellent understanding of the bodys musculoskeletal system and how to manipulate it to ease any pain. They complete different treatments to take the pressure off your sciatic nerve, including massage, hot and cold therapy, and spinal adjustments.

How Long Does Acute And Chronic Sciatica Last

The duration of sciatic nerve pain directly links to whether its acute or chronic.

Acute sciatica pain tends to come and go and can last anywhere from one to two weeks. More often than not, simple at-home remedies are enough to alleviate acute sciatica within a few weeks. These episodes may only occur a few times a year.

On the other hand, chronic sciatica pain doesnt go away. Acute sciatica can turn chronic, causing constant but often less severe pain. Chronic sciatica, unlike acute sciatica, tends to be a lifelong condition and there are no definite cures for it.

Therefore, prevention is often much better concerning sciatic pain, especially if you find yourself experiencing acute pain several times a year.

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What Causes Sciatica Buttock Pain Find Out With Certainty

Pain in the buttock can be very uncomfortable and may result into too much worry but most causes of pain in the buttocks will go away within a period of time. The pain that radiates along the course of the sciatic nerve is what is termed as sciatica. Sciatica has been linked to buttock pain for many patients but, most of them may or may not be fully aware of what causes sciatica buttock pain. If you are among the people in this category, you need to read on to find out the details.

What Is The Outlook For Patients With Sciatica Is It Possible To Prevent Sciatica

Pain Areas Of The Back / Back Pain Causes Exercises ...

Depending on the precise cause of the sciatica and the duration of symptoms, the outlook for recovery from sciatica ranges from excellent to having long-term chronic symptoms.

Sciatica can be prevented to some extent by avoiding low back trauma injuries. Conditioning exercises, such as yoga and Pilates, can sometimes help to prevent injury to the low back.

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Risk Factors For Sciatic Nerve Pain

There are multiple reasons you may experience sciatica, including:

  • Age: age-related changes in the spine can cause bone spurs and compressed nerves
  • Obesity: Excessive body weight can cause extra weight and pressure on the spine and trigger spinal changes that cause sciatica.
  • Diabetes: Fluctuating blood sugar increases your risk for nerve damage.
  • Long Periods of Sitting: People who have sedentary lifestyles are much more likely to develop sciatica than active people.

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A tight hip can be caused by a variety of reasons. Regardless of the cause, the best approach is tailored to your needs. However, there are certain guidelines to follow to help prevent or reduce stiff hips. A strong hip will help you move more easily and stay mobile. If you have tight hips, it is important to consult a medical professional. If you have chronic problems, you should visit a medical professional. They can prescribe you the right treatments and medications.

Overuse of hip flexors can cause injury to these muscles. Despite changes in the grading system and classifications, this system remains the most common method for diagnosing and treating hip flexor injuries. A grade I tear of a muscle is usually accompanied by minor swelling and tenderness. It will typically take two weeks for a patient to recover fully. This type of injury is treated with rest and ice.

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Can Sciatica Cause Pain In Ball Of Foot

Bottom of foot pain may occur if the sciatic nerves S1 spinal nerve root is affected. Typical symptoms of pain in the bottom of the foot may include weakness in the gastonemius muscle, making it hard to walk on the tiptoes, raise the heel off the ground, or even complete everyday activities like walking or driving.

Best Sitting Positions For Sciatica

What Causes “SCIATICA”? (Sciatic Nerve Pain)

In addition to getting up more frequently to move around, try mixing in some different positions to figure out what the best sitting position is for YOUR body to relieve your sciatica pain. We’ll share some ideas on how to sit with sciatica below, which you may use to get some short-term relief as you keep working towards addressing the root cause of your pain for long-term results.

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What Is Sciatica Pain

Sowhat exactly is sciatica pain, and why is it so prevalent?

The sciatic nerve is important for a healthy, functioning body. These nerve branches from your lower back extend down through your hips and buttocks, and down your legs. When this nerve becomes pinched or compressed, it can shoot pain from your lower back all the way down your legs. Sciatic nerve pain can feel achy or sharp, and sometimes like an electric shock.

How Do I Get My Sciatic Nerve To Stop Hurting From Sitting

The solutions to get rid of your sitting-induced lower back pain are wide-ranging. In some cases, simply walking around and stretching can be a quick fix for the pain. This sounds simple, but many times, sitting is simply the reason for the pain. Prevention is the key. Getting up out of your chair every 30 minutes and stretching gives these parts of us the much-needed rest and increased circulation that is necessary to keep the body healthy. Set a timer or you will forget, trust me.

Fixing your sciatica and back pain problems isnt always that simple, though. Many times, pain in the sciatic nerve can be aggravated by sitting, when the real cause lies elsewhere. Like I mention in my book, tight iliacus and psoas muscles can put the pelvis out of alignment, putting pressure on your sciatic nerve at the spine and the glute and causing pain.

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Common Sciatica Cause #: Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a disorder that most often affects the lumbar spine. It occurs when one vertebra slips forward over an adjacent vertebra. When the vertebra slips and is displaced, it presses on the nerves or nerve roots below it. This ultimately causes compression and often results in sciatica symptoms.

Youre either born with developmental spondylolisthesis or it develops during childhood. On the other hand, acquired spondylolisthesis can be caused by:

  • Parts of the spine breaking down over time
  • Physical stress from activities like weightlifting or gymnastics
  • Trauma, such as from a car accident

On physical examination, the patient will often complain of increased back pain when arching into extension due to irritation of the facet joints. The diagnosis can often be made with simple plain radiographssuch as an X-raydone in the standing posture, says Dr. Subach.

How Do You Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain

Causes of Sciatica and Sciatic Nerve Pain

More often than not, sciatica pain relief doesnt require surgery, and the pain can be cured with several at-home or over-the-counter remedies. Physical therapy, medications, therapeutic injections and alternative therapies are some of the first ways to treat sciatic nerve pain and, if successful, will alleviate the symptoms within four to six weeks. If you know what triggers your sciatica, stopping that activity will also help relieve the pain, and, in some cases, gently stretching the sciatic nerve may help alleviate initial pain.

Here are some common ways to treat sciatica:

In less common cases, surgery may be needed to treat sciatica successfully. Surgery is always a last resort, and your physician will always opt for non-invasive treatments first. However, in some cases, the sciatica is severe enough to require immediate surgery, such as if the nerve pain is accompanied by loss of bowel or bladder control.

There are two types of surgery for sciatic nerve pain:

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