So you have been diagnosed with sciatica and even though your doctor explained to you about the condition, you have come looking for a bit more information on sciatica.
Lets start with the basic question on most peoples mind, what is sciatica? The general term used for pain being felt along the sciatic nerve is sciatica. This pain is usually described by patients as a sharp electric shocking type pain that starts in the buttocks and travels down the back of the thigh and leg. Most often caused by a herniated disk, there are also other causes. When diagnosing sciatica symptoms a MRI scan is most often taken to help with this process. If your MRI shows a herniated disk make sure to get referred to a spine specialist. A spine specialist can look over your X-rays and be able to recommend the proper course of treatment.
Some signs and symptoms of sciatica are:
A cramping sensation of the thigh
Shooting pains from the buttock, down the leg
Tingling, or pins-and-needles sensations in the legs and thighs
A burning sensation in the thigh
Maneuvers such as squatting, coughing or sneezing worsen the sciatica symptoms that the patient is having. The cause of the worsened sciatica symptoms is the jerking motion adding pressure that is being placed around the nerve.
I mentioned earlier that sciatica is not always caused by a herniated or slipped disk. Some other causes of Sciatica could be:
Iliolumbar Syndrome: This is simply inflammation or a tear of the ililumbar ligament. This is the back of your pelvis and it extends from the spine to the iliac crest.
Lumbar Facet Joint Syndrome: The pain coming from the joints in your back with this particular symptom can cause Sciatica like symptoms along with pain and discomfort. Just like the knee and elbow can get inflamed and cause pain, the facet joint is like any other joint in your body and follows these same rules.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: This is the narrowing of the spinal canal causing sciatica type symptoms. Disk problems and arthritis of the spine can cause this narrowing.
Piriformis Syndrome: Simply put this is pain caused by the Piriformis muscle that may be in spasm, inflamed, or irritated. Located in you buttock and laying right on top of the sciatic nerve as it exits the spine down your leg. When this muscle is inflamed, irritated or in spasm it will cause pressure on the sciatic nerve causing the sciatica like symptoms.
Sacroiliitis: The joint where your hip meets your spine is called the sacroiliac joint. When your sacroiliac joint becomes inflamed it is known as sacroiliitis. Sciatica type syndromes can be felt due to inflammation caused by arthritis or traumatic injury. Anesthetic injections or anti-inflammatory medications can take away the pain.
Being extremely uncommon in younger patients sciatica can still affect most anyone. Most people who suffer from sciatica are in the age range of thirty to fifty. Most often back injury or over exerting the back will bring on a sudden onset of sciatica.