How Can I Tell If Pain In My Hip Is A Hip Issue Or Sciatica
Hip problems, such as arthritis in the hip, usually cause groin pain, pain when you put weight on your leg, or when the leg is moved around.
If your pain starts in the back and moves or radiates towards the hip or down the leg and you have numbness, tingling or weakness in the leg, sciatica is the most likely cause.
Q What Causes Sciatica In The Buttocks
The Sciatica nerve originates from the buttocks and if it is pinched, patients are likely to experience great pain. The piriformis muscle in the buttocks presses on to the Sciatica that can increase pain levels.
Furthermore, patients are also likely to experience numbness and tingling is they perform activities. However, there can be other reasons for pain in the buttock such as muscle strain, a herniated disc and a degenerative disc.
How Do I Know If I Have Sciatica
Pain that radiates from your lower spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. Sciatica may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg. This pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. Its likely to be worse when you sit, cough or sneeze.
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Physical Exercise For Sciatica
Over the last few years, experts say that exercise improves health at the cellular level. Many people say that it is effective, as it aids in pain modulation either by itself or in conjunction with other treatment therapies.
Exercise loosens tight muscles and bones that might be impeding the sciatic nerve, thereby causing pain and other symptoms of sciatica.
If you are too busy to do extended periods of exercise, here is a video about One Minute Sciatica Exercises for Quick Pain Relief& Cure of Sciatic Pain:
While exercise can be helpful for any kind of pain, caution should be kept in mind. So before beginning any exercise, please seek advice from your primary caregiver.
How Do You Diagnose Sciatica At Home
Lift one leg and straighten it, toes in the air. Rep on the other side. You most likely have sciatica if your leg with discomfort, numbness, or tingling does not go up as far as the other leg, or if this maneuver makes the symptoms worse. The next move is to figure out whats triggering the sciatic nerve strain.
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The Importance Of Seeking Medical Help
Your health is your wealth. This is why you should never take risks, especially with back health. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and affects many muscles and tissues. If it becomes inflamed or damaged, it is important to consult with an expert pain management doctor to determine the cause and subsequent treatment options. If left untreated, the sciatic nerve can become damaged and create more health problems.
At the VIP Medical Group, we have a team of world class Ivy League doctors who are experts in the field of pain medicine. With an abundance of knowledge and the latest techniques in regenerative medicine, you can be rest assured that you are receiving care of the highest quality. Our doctors are leaders in their field and maintain high levels of successful patient outcomes.
A Fat Wallet Can Trigger Piriformis
You might not think of too much cash as a source of pain, but a fat wallet can trigger piriformis syndrome. The condition can affect men who wear their wallet in the back pocket of their pants. This puts chronic pressure on the piriformis muscle and can aggravate the sciatic nerve over time. You can avoid this problem by keeping your wallet in a front pocket or jacket pocket.
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Risk Factors For Sciatica
The presence of any of the following risk factors may also increase the likelihood that sciatica will develop:
- Obesity: Excess body weight may put additional pressure on the spine. This pressure leads to spinal anomalies that commonly cause this condition.
- Prolonged Sitting: Active people are much less likely to develop sciatica than those with a more sedentary lifestyle.
- Diabetes: Not only does this condition affect how your body processes sugar, but it also increases your chances of sustaining nerve damage.
- Age: One of the most common reasons that people develop sciatica. As we age, our bodies become more prone to developing all kinds of medical conditions, such as bone spurs and herniated discs. Spine conditions such as these often lead to sciatica.
- Occupation: One of the most common causes for back injury is improper lifting technique. Jobs that require heaving lifting, twisting, or driving for long periods increase the incidence of sciatica.
How Often Should I Get Treatments
Some consider biofeedback a type of training, rather than a treatment. For it to work, you must attend multiple sessions. Youll need to participate actively and practice between appointments.
The number of treatments varies widely, depending on the:
- Condition you are trying to manage.
- Severity of your symptoms.
- Amount you practice between sessions.
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Can Piriformis Syndrome Be Prevented Or Avoided
Once your symptoms improve, you may need to change your activities to avoid developing piriformis syndrome again. The following are some tips to help prevent piriformis syndrome:
- Exercise regularly, but always stretch first.
- Maintain good posture when youre sitting, driving, or standing.
- Dont lift by bending over. Lift an object by bending your knees and squatting to pick up the object. Keep your back straight and hold the object close to your body. Avoid twisting your body while lifting.
- Avoid sitting or lying down for long periods of time in a position that puts too much pressure on your buttocks.
View Hot Cold Packs On Amazon
Ice alleviate pain by reducing inflammation or swelling that compresses the sciatic nerve. On the other hand, heat packs can be useful in relaxing the tight muscles on the lower back.
If you are not sure when to use cold packs or hot compress, read this article on Ice and Heat therapy for lower back pain.
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Symptoms Of Sciatic Nerve Pain
The primary symptom, as mentioned above, is pain that starts in your lower back and radiates down your legs. Some other symptoms could point to sciatic nerve pain, though:
- Leg pain
- Numbness, tingling, or pins and needles in your legs
- Burning sensation in your lower extremities
- Pain that worsens with coughing, moving, or sneezing
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should let your doctor know at your next appointment. Theyll be able to provide some safe ways to relieve your pain or some over-the-counter pain medicine. Until then, here are some great stretches you can try at home to ease the pain.
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.
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Herniated Disc And Sciatica
A herniated disc may then impinge or compress a nerve, which can cause pain around the area of the affected disc. Research suggests that nerve impingement due to slipped disc is the most common reason for sciatica.
So, what are the most common signs and symptoms of sciatica? And what are the most common sciatica risk factors?
What Is A Myelogram
A myelogram is an imaging procedure that examines the relationship between your vertebrae and discs, through your spinal cord, nerves and nerve roots. It determines whether theres anything actively pressing against your spinal cord, nerves or nerve roots, causing pain in your back or numbness and weakness in your arms and/or legs. Before the test, a radiologist will inject a contrast medium into your spinal canal through your lower back. Then, the radiologist may take a few X-rays of your spine scan of your spine after the injection). The dye will blend together with your spinal fluid, giving the surgeon or neurologist a clear look at the bones and soft tissues that might be causing your symptoms.
A myelogram test may be performed along with other spinal exams, such as a magnetic resonance imaging test, a CT scan and regular spinal X-rays. Generally, if any of these tests dont completely explain whats causing your symptoms, or if your doctor needs additional information about the bones in your spine before making a decision about your treatment, they may suggest a myelogram and a post-myelogram CT scan.
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What Are Common Sciatica Symptoms
Sciatica is the most common symptom of lumbar radiculopathy, a condition described as pain, and sensations such as numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, or poor reflexes found along the path of a nerve.
Radiculopathy means irritation or injury to a nerve root that causes pain and other symptoms that radiate away from the affected nerve root. In the case of sciatica, usually the pain is felt as low back pain that radiates down the leg.
Pain is the hallmark sciatica symptom. Although sciatica symptoms may be felt anywhere along the sciatic nerve, classic sciatica radiates from the low back into the butt, and down the leg to below the knee. In fact, your doctor will usually check for sciatica if you have low back pain. Less commonly, sciatica pain may be felt starting in the buttocks or hip area and radiates down the leg.
Sciatica pain is often described as electric, burning, or sharp. The nerve pain can vary from mild to excruciating and can worsen when you bend down, twist your spine, or cough.
Although you have two sciatic nerves , sciatica symptoms typically only occur on one side of the body. If you have radiating pain down both of your legs, it is less likely that the pain is caused by a pinched sciatic nerve, Dr. Wang says.
In addition to pain, if the sciatic nerve is compressed, the muscles it serves may become weak. It may be hard to bend your knee, bring your thighs together , and point your foot and/or toes upward or downward.
Difficulty Or Impaired Leg Mobility
Individuals with sciatica may find it difficult to walk, stand or sit in due to the pain and other neurological manifestations of sciatica such as weakness or numbness of the lower extremities.
The signs and symptoms listed above may manifest for a couple of weeks or may last for many years. However, it is essential to note that not everyone will experience the same sciatica symptoms because causes of sciatica may differ from one person to another.
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Does Insurance Cover Biofeedback
Some insurance companies cover biofeedback for certain conditions, but others do not. And your plan may limit the number of treatments it covers.
Ask your insurance company if it will cover treatments for your specific issue, and how many sessions. You may need a referral from a doctor or other healthcare provider.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Many people are turning to complementary or alternative methods to improve health and wellness. Biofeedback is a risk-free way to take control of your own physical and mental wellness. With education and practice, you can learn to control certain bodily functions. The results can improve performance, ease symptoms and boost health. If you decide to try biofeedback, find a qualified professional and check his or her credentials.
Common Causes Of Sciatic Nerve Compression
As mentioned previously, pre-existing conditions within the spine often cause sciatica. Herniated discs are the most common cause of sciatica-associated pain. Other sciatica causes include:
- Lumbar degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Spinal arthritis
- Bone spurs
It should be noted that while sciatica-associated symptoms are often caused by lumbar spine anomalies, there are other conditions that are very similar:
- Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: Patients with this dysfunction experience very similar symptoms to those associated with sciatica. This condition gives patients a deep, aching pain felt inside the leg. This differs slightly from the pain associated with sciatica, as it is not as well-defined or linear.
- Piriformis Syndrome: This condition occurs when a muscle located within the buttocks spasms, leading to pain and discomfort. Because of its close proximity, this may also irritate the sciatic nerve, causing a type of pain very similar to that of sciatica. However, usually, the pain is much more intense above the knee than it is with sciatica. Additionally, the point of origin for the pain often originates in the buttocks as opposed to the lower back. In fact, piriformis syndrome does not usually affect the lower back at all.
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The Pocket Spine Doc Team
Morten Zebitz Steiness, MD, Head of Spine Section, Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark.
Dr. Steiness has been working in neurosurgery since 2004 and since 2014 as chief of spine surgery at Department of Neurosurgery, Aalborg University Hospital in Denmark.
Doctor Morten Zebitz and Martin Melbye, are involved in developing national treatment guidelines for spinal radiculopathy with the Danish National Board of Health.
What Are The Risks Of A Myelogram
Because this is an invasive procedure that requires the injection of a contrast material through a needle in your spine, there are some risks, including:
- Spinal fluid infection .
- A stiff neck.
- Fluid leaking from the punctured area.
If you dont have any of those symptoms, there are some things you can do following your procedure to help your recovery, including:
- Actively keep your head above the rest of your body. Try to remain flat on your back as much as you can.
- Drink lots of fluids and stay away from alcohol.
- Try Tylenol and caffeinated drinks to help with positional headaches, as these can help spontaneously relieve these symptoms.
- Dont engage in any heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity for 24 hours.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/14/2020.
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Neurological Symptoms That May Accompany Sciatica Pain
When the sciatic nerve is compressed, one or more neurological symptoms may accompany the pain.
A few examples of accompanying symptoms include:
- Weakness in the thigh muscles. When the thigh muscles are affected, there may be a weakness felt while attempting to bring the thighs together.
- Weakness in the leg and foot muscles. When the leg muscles are affected, there may be weakness while attempting to bend the knee or while pointing the foot and/or toes upward and/or downward. These issues may result in a foot dropdifficulty in lifting the front part of the foot while walking. There may also be difficulty in rising from a sitting position or attempting to walk on tiptoes.
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Common Types Of Sciatic Pain
When a patient is experiencing pain associated with sciatica, a doctor is usually able to trace the irritation point from the nature of the symptoms. The most sciatica pain symptoms include:
- Pain/numbness in the lower leg and foot: Sciatica of the L3-L4 level is usually the culprit of these discomforts. Additionally, it is not uncommon for patients to experience muscular weakness. Some patients may also find that they are not able to extend their foot upward. In other cases, patients with this form of sciatica will have a diminished knee-jerk reflex.
- Weakness in the extension of the big toe and ankle: This form of sciatica occurs in the L4-L5 segment. Sometimes, doctors refer to these symptoms as foot drop . Patients with this form of the disorder may also feel pain/numbness in the top of the foot. This is especially true between the big and second toes.
- Pain/numbness in the outer side of the foot: Patients with these symptoms have sciatica at the L5-S1 level. In addition to this pain, patients may experience muscle weakness in this area of the lower back as well. In fact, sciatica and lower back pain go hand-in-hand. This weakness also leads to difficulty with raising the heel off the ground, resulting in the patient walking on their tiptoes. In some cases, patients with this form of sciatica have a diminished ankle-jerk reflex.
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Treatments For Sciatica Pain
Generally, natural treatment methods are used to eliminate sciatica pain. Click here for a list of effective natural treatments for sciatica pain > >
Surgery is generally only a last resort used in extreme cases when other methods for eliminating the compression, pinching, irritation, injury or dysfunction have been unsuccessful.
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.
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