Sciatic pain is most commonly felt on one side of the body in either leg. It can appear as mild soreness to sharp pain and occasional bursts of shooting pain through the back of the leg. Pain may be accompanied by paresthesia (pins and needles) and cramping as well as intensified pain during back related activities including simple tasks like standing up from a seated position. Muscle weakness along the nerve pathway in the leg and/or weakness in the knee and ankle joints may lead to difficulty walking.
In some cases, the sciatic nerve may be irritated to the point of incontinence, the inability to control/retain bladder and bowel function. This symptom indicates that a group of nerves of the lower spine, the cauda equina, responsible for pelvic organ function, is irritated. As well, tingling and numbing may be experienced in the groin and genitals.
- Pain, tingling or numbness that radiates through the lower back, buttocks, and down the back of the leg possibly as far as the foot
- Pain starts slowly and worsens after standing, sitting, bending backward, walking or sleeping at night
- Difficulty walking, bending and or sitting
- Muscle weakness in the hip and/or leg
Generally, for sciatica and back pain thedoctor will perform a series of nerve function tests to isolate the source and area of your pain. You can expect a physical, examining the range of motion of your legs and back noting the movements and areas that cause discomfort. As well, a reflex exam may be administered to determine knee and ankle strength. Further tests such as, X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans may be requested by your doctor in order to determine the source of pain like trauma or a herniated disc.
Once diagnosed, finding relief for sciatica and back pain will include a visit to a chiropractor or physical therapist. Calming the muscle’s reaction to the pain and relieving the stress on the nerve is crucial to obtaining relief.
Sciatica Home Treatments
Compression of the sciatic nerve can occur in various locations and the exact cause and location is not always known. Treating the symptoms can be helpful to manage the pain but treating the source of the compression will result in faster sciatica relief. We recommend that you see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to determine the cause of the compression on the sciatic nerve.
If the compression is caused by swelling, you can reduce your pain by applying a Freezie Wrap® when the pain first occurs, to alleviate the swelling that is causing the compression on the nerve. Once the initial pain is reduced, treat the soft tissue inflammation with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ for lasting relief of sciatica pain.