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Do You Have Sciatica?

By Sara Butler

Suddenly experiencing pain can be quite alarming, especially back pain that radiates to other areas of your body! Sciatica is a common cause of back pain that radiates down the leg, and if you suspect you have it, you may be wondering what you should do. Well, here’s how you can identify sciatica and how your chiropractor may be able to help.

Sciatica Explained

Your sciatic nerve branches off from your lower back and extends down the back of both of your legs. When it becomes irritated or inflamed, you may notice some of these symptoms:

  • Pain that will radiate down the back of one of your legs
  • Tingling, burning or numbness extending down to the foot of the affected leg
  • Increased pain when you cough or sneeze

It’s interesting to note that sciatica in and of itself isn’t a condition but actually a symptom of a bigger problem. It can mean you have a pinched nerve as a result of a slipped or herniated disc. You don’t even have to experience back pain along with your sciatic pain for the problem to actually be stemming from your lower back.

Is it Really Sciatica?

How can you tell the difference between sciatic pain and muscle pain? There are some hallmarks to help you understand why you are having this pain and tell the difference:

  • You’re weak in the knee – Just one knee may feel weak, and it runs through the whole leg. This is an indication of sciatica since it will impair the proper function of your nerve and not just cause pain, but weakness too.
  • You can trigger pain – If your pain can be triggered by putting pressure on a certain place on your lower back or legs, then it may not be sciatica but a muscle issue resulting from tightened, short muscles.
  • Stretching causes pain – If you notice the pain intensifies when you attempt to stretch, then that may be a sign it’s sciatica after all. When you stretch the muscles you are also stretching the nerve, and if it’s pinched it may cause pain during stretching.
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control – This is a true emergency. If you have pain you have identified as sciatic and lose control of your bladder or bowels at any point you need immediate medical treatment. It’s rare, but understand it’s a true medical emergency that needs to be treated immediately, pronto, right now!

If you’re concerned you may be suffering from sciatic nerve pain, you should discuss it with your chiropractor during your next visit to The Joint Chiropractic!

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