It is likely that you’ve heard of the term sciatica, although you may not be entirely sure of its meaning. It refers to sciatic nerve symptoms that originate in the lower spine and radiate deep into the buttock area, after which they travel down into the leg and foot.
A correct understanding of this term is important because it will help you determine whether or not this is a condition you are suffering from. One of the most important things to understand is that sciatica is the symptom of an underlying condition and is not an actual medical diagnosis itself. Patients will experience symptoms whenever a nerve root in the lower spine is irritated or compressed by either a chemical or mechanical source. Sciatica is, ultimately, a set of symptoms caused by an underlying medical condition and this is something most people are unaware of.
The union of five nerve roots in the lumbar and sacral spine form the sciatic nerve and the irritation or compression of any one of these nerve roots can lead to pain, numbness or weakness along the distribution of the nerve. Lumbar disc herniation, lumbar degenerative disc disease and lumbar spinal stenosis are all common causes of sciatica. In rare cases, spinal infections can also cause sciatica and immediate medical attention may be required.
The pain caused by sciatica will travel down from the lower back into the leg and can sometimes affect the feet and toes. Tingling, numbness and burning are sensations that are often associated with sciatica and every patient will experience it differently as sciatica symptoms vary. Depending on the location of the nerve compression, some patients may experience pain along the outer part of their thigh and leg, while others may feel pain in their calf and foot. Some patients experience weakness while lifting their foot, while others feel numbness along the outer side of their foot and their toes. Generally, the symptoms will affect one leg at a time and it is rare for both legs to be affected. The severity and the duration of the pain will also vary as every patient experiences sciatica differently. A sharp, burning or searing pain is common, although some people feel more of a dull ache or a mild discomfort that comes and goes.
Sciatica is very common and people often associate sciatica-type symptoms to other conditions like hip arthritis and joint dysfunction, for example, although these conditions are not considered to be sciatica. The term sciatica is often used in a broad manner and it can easily be applied to other types of lower back and leg pain, so it is important to know the truth behind this condition to determine whether or not you have symptoms of this specific problem.
Dundas Chiropractic specializes in spinal decompression and our chiropractors can help you eliminate your pain. If you are in the Oakville or Mississauga areas and want to work with the best chiropodists and chiropractors, give us a call today!