When it comes to debilitating conditions that prevent you from living your life, sciatica can certainly hold its own. The tingling, numbness, and pain that seem to radiate from your lower back all the way down to your feet are a constant presence in your life – and you have no idea how to get rid of it. You tried resting with no success. You’ve stopped working out. You’ve even cut down on the activities you love, hoping that something will finally click into place and your sciatica will become a thing of the past.
The symptoms of sciatica - which is named for the sciatic nerve that is formed by several nerves coming out of the spinal cord between the low backbones, passing thru your hips and buttocks, and down the backs of the legs – are easily identifiable. Take a look at the following symptoms to see if you’re suffering from a classic case of sciatica:
- You’re experiencing a shooting pain down the back of your leg, most noticeably in the thigh and calf regions.
- Your leg muscles are numb or experience frequent bouts of numbness;
- You experience the common pins-and-needles feeling.
- You change your seating position, shifting from one buttock to other to try and get comfortable.
If you experience any of these symptoms along with the loss of bowel control, seek immediate emergency medical assistance, as this could mean that you have cauda equine syndrome, a rare but very serious disorder that could be fatal.
Unfortunately, sciatica is only a symptom of a more serious medical condition – not an actual condition itself. You may be fixated on the painful sensation running down your leg, but the real problem lies within your spinal region. It goes without saying that if you want your sciatica to disappear, then you need an experienced chiropractor to get to the root of the problem.
So given that sciatica is not actually a disorder, but rather a symptom, what is it a symptom of?
The most common causes of sciatica, which can include:
- Spinal stenosis, especially in the lumbar (lower back) region;
- Degenerative disc diseases such as spondylolisthesis;
- Spinal tumors;
- Herniated discs in the lumbar region;
- Pyriformis Syndrome
- And other spinal injuries;
- Leg length discrepancy, causing instability of the spinal bones, thus pinching the nerves that form the Sciatic Nerve.
Once your doctor identifies the causes of your sciatica, he or she will use the appropriate treatments for the root cause, in addition to physical rehabilitation to strengthen the leg, low back and buttock muscles. You’ll also be shown proper posture for sitting, working, standing, and sleeping so you can avoid exacerbating the problem during treatment.