Wednesday, October 20, 2021

What Sciatic Nerve Pain Feels Like

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What Is The Progression Of Sciatica

My Back Surgery~Sciatica~What does my Leg Pain Feel Like?

It is highly unlikely that a person will develop sciatica prior to the age of 20. Most people experience it once they hit 40 or 50. Sciatica is estimated to affect up to 40 percent or more of the population at one point or another.

It is unlikely that you have sciatica because of one injury. Instead, it is something that develops over time. Some people are fortunate and their sciatica pain clear up on its own within a few weeks. However, for other people the pain is chronic, it is severe, and it is debilitating.

One suffered described sciatica in this way: First put honey on your buttocks and leg muscles. Then let to 10,000 fire ants lose. Their stings penetrate deep into your muscles. You fight them for as long as you can. But after a few minutes, you are so exhausted and so debilitated that you give up and fall to the floor defeated. You lay there with your mouth open praying for relief to come.

Colon Pressing On Sciatic Nerve

When one of the nerves in your lower lumbar area becomes compressed or is damaged in some way, the pressure on the sciatic nerve sends pain shooting through your lower back and down into your leg.

Tingling and numbness can also result. The Sciatica Authority website states;central, foraminal, and cervical central spinal stenosis are all known to cause constipation and sciatica.

Anything that places a good amount of pressure on the sciatic nerve can trigger sciatic pain. Spinal tumors and colon cancer can be culprits that cause sciatica.

Sciatica can also be triggered by distention of the bowels, which can press the colon onto the sciatic nerve.

Constipation and sciatic pain can occur separately or together, and it can sometimes be difficult to determine which one triggered the other.

Even a highly-qualified neurologist might need to run several tests on a patient and look at the correlation between symptoms before settling on a diagnosis.

As a non-spinal agent in causing sciatic nerve pain, when constipation is properly treated, some of the pressure placed on the sciatic nerve by the colon can be alleviated.

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.

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When Your Sciatica Just Wont Quit You Might Have A Misdiagnosed Case Of Piriformis Syndrome

If youre struggling with a chronic pain in the butt, relief can be hard to findespecially if you have piriformis syndrome. The hallmark sign is hip and/or buttock pain on one side of the body along with low back pain that radiates down one or both legs.

Piriformis syndrome can be a real pain in the butt.

The problem is, piriformis syndrome is often mistaken for sciatica. While both conditions interfere with sciatic nerve function, sciatica results from spinal dysfunction such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Piriformis syndrome, on the other hand, occurs when the piriformis muscle, located deep in the buttock, compresses the sciatic nerve.

Your medical providers solid understanding of the structure and function of the sciatic nerve and its relationship to the piriformis muscle is key to distinguishing between true or discogenic sciatica and piriformis syndrome.

Neurological Symptoms That May Accompany Sciatica Pain

What Does Sciatic Nerve Pain Feel Like?

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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Different Types Of Bowel Movements

The way your bowel movements look can tell you a lot about how your gastrointestinal tract is performing.

Nurse Hatty illustrates in this YouTube video, the shape of your poop can indicate whether you are experiencing healthy or unhealthy gut functions.

The Bristol Stool chart, as she demonstrates, shows the seven different types of bowel movements.

According to the Bristol Stool Chart, you will have one of the seven following types of bowel movements:

1. Hardened, separate lumps 2. Lumpy and sausage-shaped stool 3. Sausage-like stool with tiny cracks in the surface 4. Smooth and snake-like 5. Softened blobs with clearly-defined edges 6. Mushy-looking with jagged edges 7. Liquidy and lacking any solid areas

Additionally, stool color can be a good sign of gut health. As Dr. Benjamin Wedro points out, a healthy bowel movement should be light to medium brown in hue.

Some mild changes in color are actually normal and shouldnt raise any red flags concerning your health.

Changes in your diet and/or medication intake can cause your stool to change colors.

Iron supplements, for example, are known to cause blackened stool, especially when taken at high dosage levels.

However, dramatic changes in stool color can be linked to certain conditions, such as Crohns disease, Celiac disease, and Diverticulitis.

Stool that is red or black in color could indicate that there is bleeding happening somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract and should be addressed by your doctor.

How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose Sciatica

Sciatica is diagnosed with a physical exam and medical history. The typical symptoms and certain examination maneuvers help the health care professional to diagnose sciatica. Sometimes, X-rays and other tests, such as CT scan, MRI scan, and electromyogram, are used to further define the exact causes of sciatica.

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Distressing Symptoms Steady Decline

Formuch of his life, Tyler has had pain of one kind or another. As a youth, hepracticed martial arts for 15 years and sustained shoulder damage as a result.In the U.S. Marines, he suffered a knee injury that never quite healed. Despitethose lingering issues, though, Tyler exercised and hit the gym five days aweek.

Over time, Tyler also developed sciatica nerve pain throughout his right leg. Then in spring 2015, Tyler started falling at work a dangerous proposition for him because his position as an aerospace research and development technician occasionally had him walking on the wings of aircraft.

Tyler, who lives with his wife and three children in the small town of Aragon, Georgia, sought medical advice and had an MRI in an effort to diagnose the reason for the falls. He was told that the muscles in his right shin and ankle had atrophied, causing him to develop foot drop the inability to lift the front part of his foot.

That information didn’t fully explain all that was happening, however. So for nearly five years, Tyler visited the major medical centers within a half-day’s drive from his home seeking a more detailed explanation for his painful leg symptoms. He received several potential diagnoses, including the devastating neurodegenerative condition amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. But none of them ever truly fit his symptoms.

“My kids had gotten to the point where they wouldn’t ask me to do stuff with them because they knew it would hurt me.”

Tyler McDonald

Do I Have Sciatica Or Something Else

What Is the Sciatic Nerve? How to Treat It Without Drugs, Injections, or Surgery

Dr. Kaliq Chang explains back conditions that may mimic sciatica and how to tell the difference.

Back pain accompanied by pain radiating down one or both legs is sciatica, right? While that’s often the case, several other back problems can be confused for highly common sciatic type pain, according to Kaliq Chang, MD, of Atlantic Spine Center.

First, what is sciatica? It’s not a condition in itself, but actually a term used to describe symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, explains Dr. Chang who is an interventional pain management specialist. All sciatica cases have one thing in common: The pain begins in nerve roots located on either side of the lower spine, but radiates down the spine in a way that can be much worse than back pain alone.

“This radiating pain can worsen while sitting or it can show up as a sharp, constant pain on the back of the leg that hinders standing or walking,” Dr. Chang says. “Some cases of sciatica result in numbness or tingling down one leg, and severe cases, which are rare, can include weakness or loss of motor function in the leg or foot.”

Causes of sciatica:

When the sciatic nerve is compressed, the resulting pain is due to one of several underlying common conditions, Dr. Chang says. These include:

  • Bulging spinal disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scar tissue
  • Spinal bone spurs

Conditions mimicking sciatica and how doctors can tell the difference:

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Sciatic Pain Can Feel Like A ‘lightning Bolt’ Says Physical Therapist

  • Monday, October 20, 2014, 11:00am

There are a variety of causes for back pain, but few are more painful or hamper movement more than;sciatica.

The sciatic nerve starts in the buttocks, goes down the back of the leg and then splits to descend past the knee. Any compressed or pinched nerve is painful, but because the sciatic nerve is so large, the pain when it gets tweaked can be significant, according Bill Boissonnault,;a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and senior physical therapist at the;Spine Center Physical Therapy Clinic;of the UW Hospital and Clinics.

Anyone whos had it will never forget it …;Theres nothing like nerve pain to really humble you, said Boissonault.

The pain of sciatica is usually sharp and shooting, like a lightning bolt down the back of the leg, Boissonnault said. When the condition becomes even more severe, numbness can also develop, as can weakness, foot drop, and other issues that impede mobility.

Because of its length, there are several areas where the sciatic nerve can be aggravated. The lower back, including the lumbar spine and the sacral area, is one trouble spot. Boissonnault said that he and his colleagues at the Spine Center also see people in the clinic whose piriformis muscle is compressing the sciatic nerve where it exits the buttock.

What may be surprising to some people is that standing can also be a trigger for sciatica.

Causes Of Sciatic Nerve Pain

The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body. It starts in the lumbar spine and branches off to run down each hip, buttock, thigh, calf and foot. The sciatic nerve innervates multiple muscles and skin cells in the lower extremities.;;

When the sciatic nerve is pinched, irritated, pressed or inflamed, it triggers a set of nerve pain and symptoms known as sciatica. Sciatica is a common side effect of multiple conditions that affect the lumbar spine. Keep reading to learn 5 medical conditions that commonly lead to sciatic nerve pain.

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Sciatic Pain Can Feel Like A Lightning Bolt Says Physical Therapist

  • Monday, October 20, 2014, 11:00am

There are a variety of causes for back pain, but few are more painful or hamper movement more than;sciatica.

The sciatic nerve starts in the buttocks, goes down the back of the leg and then splits to descend past the knee. Any compressed or pinched nerve is painful, but because the sciatic nerve is so large, the pain when it gets tweaked can be significant, according Bill Boissonnault,;a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and senior physical therapist at the;Spine Center Physical Therapy Clinic;of the UW Hospital and Clinics.

Anyone whos had it will never forget it ;Theres nothing like nerve pain to really humble you, said Boissonault.

The pain of sciatica is usually sharp and shooting, like a lightning bolt down the back of the leg, Boissonnault said. When the condition becomes even more severe, numbness can also develop, as can weakness, foot drop, and other issues that impede mobility.

Because of its length, there are several areas where the sciatic nerve can be aggravated. The lower back, including the lumbar spine and the sacral area, is one trouble spot. Boissonnault said that he and his colleagues at the Spine Center also see people in the clinic whose piriformis muscle is compressing the sciatic nerve where it exits the buttock.

What may be surprising to some people is that standing can also be a trigger for sciatica.

Do You Need Sciatica Surgery

Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief

Most patients with sciatica symptoms or lumbar radiculopathy respond well to non-surgical treatments, such as medication, exercise;and special sciatica stretches, and physical therapy.

If your quality of life is good, and you are still able to work and do the things you want to do, there is no reason to have surgery, Dr. Wang notes. However, if a person comes into his office and can barely sit down, cant work, and cant take care of their family, surgery may be the best option.

If you try the conservative treatments and the pain doesnt get better, if you have progressive neurologic weakness that is not improving, or have incapacitating pain, surgery may be considered sooner than later, Dr. Wang says. I always consider surgery as a last step, Dr. Wang says, adding that decision to perform surgery usually comes naturally for people.

Sometimes, sciatica and lower back pain can be serious and require surgery. Surgical treatment for sciatica is recommended for patients with:

  • Loss of bowel and/or bladder function
  • Severe leg weakness
  • Non-surgical sciatica treatment is ineffective or no longer reduces sciatica pain
  • Progressively worsening pain

For the right patient, surgery can be very effective. In a small 2020 study in;New England Journal of Medicine;patients with sciatica due to a herniated disc who had surgery reported much lower pain levels than the people who underwent PT only.;

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Bottom Line: Get A Diagnosis

If you feel symptoms of pain in your buttocks or leg, or numbness, tingling, or other neurological symptoms in your leg, it is important to see a doctor for clinical diagnosis that identifies the cause of your symptoms.

As you can see by reading the peer-reviewed articles on this site, treatment can be quite different depending on the underlying cause of your symptoms. For example:

  • A lumbar herniated disc and lumbar stenosis can cause similar sciatica symptoms; however, physical therapy for each condition can be differentâwhile bending forward at the waist may be comfortable if you have spinal stenosis, it can cause increased pain if you have a lumbar herniated disc.
  • If spondylolisthesis is causing your sciatica, you may need surgery to align and stabilize the vertebrae before doing any sort of exercises at all.

Treatment is determined largely by the diagnosis.

When Should I Consider Surgery

In general, if you have tried all forms of treatment and have been in constant contact with your doctor and physical therapists and your pain continues to be very severe a surgical consult may be recommended. It is always important to always follow up with your doctor and surgeon to become aware of the advantages and disadvantages of surgery.

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Some Conditions Mimic Sciatica

Many people refer to any type of leg pain as sciatica, but in fact, there are many causes of leg pain that are not medically classified as sciatica and need to be treated differently.

Examples of problems that are not sciatica but can cause similar symptoms include:

  • Joint problems in the spine, such as arthritis, can refer pain from the joints into the leg, but this pain is not technically sciatica, and the treatment for it is different. For arthritis, treatment focuses on nonsurgical therapies with the goals of preserving motion in the joints and reducing pain long term. Anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed to reduce joint inflammation.
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a relatively common cause of lower back, hip, and/or leg pain. Too much or too little motion in the sacroiliac joints can cause pain that radiates down your leg and feels like sciatica. Treatment for sacroiliac joint dysfunction is usually non-surgical and focuses on restoring normal motion in the joint. Sacroiliac joint fusionis available for severe, debilitating SI joint dysfunction.

Hip Pain And What Might Be Causing It

What Is the Sciatic Nerve and Why Does It Hurt so Much? Answered by St. Joseph, MI Chiropractor

Hip pain is often much less serious than sciatica, as its not caused by nerve damage. Hip pain refers to any pain or irritation you may be feeling in the outside of your hips, upper thighs, your hip joint, or buttocks. This pain is often caused by damage to the muscles, ligaments, or tendons. It is a pain that radiates from the soft tissue instead of from the nerve.;

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