By: Dr. Ellen Edgar  –  no responses  –  Sciatica

It may have been a while since you felt as if you were “tingling” with excitement. Maybe it was before a big date when you were in high school. Maybe it was on Christmas morning when you were a little kid.

Now that we’re older, tingling usually is a sign of problems. Tingling in your fingers means you probably have a compressed nerve running through your elbow or your carpal tunnel. Tingling in your legs means you probably have sciatica, leg pain that originates in the lower back and travels down through your buttocks and into the legs.

Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis — it is a symptom of a medical condition. At Complete Neurological Care, sciatica is a symptom that helps our pain management specialists find the nerve root in your spine that is likely being compressed or otherwise impinged.

Here’s more information about the pain that is sciatica.

What is the pain of sciatica?

Patients suffering with sciatica usually have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or one leg
  • Pain that is worse when sitting
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg, foot, and/or toes
  • Leg pain that is often described as burning, tingling, or searing
  • A sharp pain that makes it difficult to stand up or walk
  • Pain that radiates down the leg and possibly into the foot and toes

A couple things to note. This pain isn’t usually in both legs, as a specific nerve is behind the pain. The pain won’t be only in your foot; it will have passed through the butt and legs as well.

The culprit — the sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body and is made up of individual nerve roots that start by branching out from the spine in the lower back and then combine to form the sciatic nerve. The symptoms listed above happen with the large sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed at or near the area where it exits the spine.

Four causes of sciatica

These are the most common causes of sciatica:

  • Lumbar herniated disc — When the soft inner material of a spinal disc leaks out (herniates), it pushes against the sciatic nerve root next to it.
  • Degenerative disc disease — Disc degeneration irritates nerve roots as the weakened disc results in excessive micro-motion in the spine.
  • Spondylolisthesis — When a vertebra slips forward, the sciatic nerve can be pinched.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis — Stenosis is the process of narrowing of the spinal canal, the protective boney corridor that house and protects the spinal cord and the nerve roots.

Now you know the causes and basis of sciatica. In future blogs, we’ll get into our approaches to help our Complete Neurological Care patients get past the pain.

Do you have pain in your buttocks and legs? It could be a sign that your sciatic nerve is being compressed. Call us at Complete Neurological Care, (800) 200-8196. With nine locations across the city and upper New Jersey, you’re close to getting help getting past the pain.

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