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[New York Pain Management] What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain and How To Relieve It

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

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Do you experience sciatic nerve pain? Sciatic nerve pain is caused when the sciatic nerve is pinched, either in your back or between your thigh and calf. In a lot of cases, the pain can be caused by sitting at your desk for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, you then don't realize the side effects that are taking place in your body until it's too late.

If you've ever suffered from sciatic nerve pain before and want to know how to relieve it, this article is for you as well. This blog will help you understand what might be causing your sciatic nerve pain, when you should consult a New York pain management professional, and what options you have to relieve it without medication or surgery.

What is the sciatic nerve?

The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. It runs from your lower back down through each buttock, along the outside of each thigh, through the back of each leg, and into your feet. The sciatic nerve controls feeling and movement in the back of your thigh and both legs.

The sciatic nerve has three main branches:

  1. The tibial nerve branches off near the knee joint and runs along the front of your shinbone to your ankle and foot.

  2. The common peroneal nerve branches off near the knee joint and runs along the outside of your leg to your ankle and foot.

  3. The superior gluteal nerve branches off near the hip joint, go around the buttocks, then goes down each leg to supply sensation to most of your buttock area.

Sciatica is the medical term used to describe a condition where the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated, causing pain and/or numbness in your lower back, buttock, leg, and foot.

How do you know if you have sciatica?

Sciatic nerve pain is a common condition that occurs due to compression of the sciatic nerve and results in numbness, tingling, and pain in the back of the knee, buttock, and sometimes in the foot.

sciatic nerve pain

Sciatica is a sharp, shooting pain that radiates from your lower back down the back of your leg. It's often described as feeling like an electric shock or having a broken bone in your leg. Sciatica is different from other types of leg pain because it tends to move around in your leg rather than staying in one spot.

While sciatica may come on suddenly, it usually happens gradually and can happen to any individual regardless of age. There are a number of different causes of sciatic nerve pain. Sciatica is caused by irritation or compression of the nerves that run through this area. It can be caused due to conditions such as fibromyalgia and spinal stenosis. A pinched nerve can also cause sciatic nerve pain. If you experience any symptoms of sciatica, it is highly advisable to seek medical attention from a pain specialist.

You may have sciatica if you have one or more of these symptoms:

Sciatica causes pain, tingling, or weakness in one leg. The symptoms may start in one part of the buttock or hip area and then travel down the back of the thigh and into the calf.

You may also feel numbness or weakness in your foot. Sciatica symptoms can feel like they're coming from your back or buttock, but they don't originate there — from irritation of the sciatic nerve itself.

Sciatica usually only affects one side of your body at a time. Still, both sides can be affected at once if you have an underlying condition, such as spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) or spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebra over another).

It's important to see a pain specialist if you think you have sciatica because there are other possible causes for leg pain, including an injury or a pinched nerve in your neck (cervical spine). A specialist will ask about your symptoms and perform an exam. The most common test used to diagnose sciatica is a spinal tap, where a needle is inserted into the fluid around the spinal cord to check for inflammation or infection.

Sciatica can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Lifting heavy objects with poor form

  • Bending over to pick something up off the ground

  • Hitting your hip bone on an object, such as when skiing or snowboarding

  • A herniated disk (bulging disk) pressing against your sciatic nerve

  • A pinched nerve from sitting too long or carrying an especially heavy bag over one shoulder for prolonged periods of time (known as a "slipped" disk)

  • Genetic predisposition

  • Obesity

When to seek medical attention?

Sciatica is one of the most common causes of leg pain and often affects people who sit at a desk or those who perform heavy lifting. Sciatic nerve pain can also occur after an injury or accident.

Most people with sciatica will get better on it's own. But if you experience persistent back or leg pain that lasts longer than a few days, you should also consult a pain specialist. It is important to have it examined by a pain specialist as soon as possible and get proper treatment.

Sciatica is a common and painful condition that affects millions of people. Unfortunately, there is no cure for sciatica, but there are treatments that can help relieve the pain without surgery. The treatment for sciatica depends on the underlying cause, and the best approach is to use a combination of treatments.

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Physical therapy - A physiotherapist can show you exercises that will help strengthen muscles around your pelvis, lower back, and hips so that you can move more freely without experiencing pain. They may also teach you how to stretch out tight muscles.

Exercise - You may be surprised by how much exercise can help with this condition! It reduces inflammation, increases blood flow (which helps heal damaged tissues), improves flexibility (which reduces stress on your back), and strengthens muscles that support your spine — all things that can reduce your risk for problems in future years.

Epidural steroids - This is a type of injection that can reduce inflammation around the nerve root. This helps relieve pain and other symptoms associated with sciatica.

Rest - Avoiding certain movements and positions can help reduce pressure on your lower back and sciatic nerve. This includes avoiding sitting for long periods of time, crossing your legs, and bending forward at the waist too much.

Medical massage - It is a therapy is one non-invasive treatment option for sciatica. It can help relieve symptoms and reduce pain associated with sciatica by releasing muscle tension in the back, hips, and buttocks area.

Live a Normal Life Again

Sciatic nerve pain is common, especially for those who are physically active on a daily basis. Sciatic nerve pain can be extremely debilitating, and it's often not just one single problem that is causing it. Addressing each of the causes as they arise will likely yield the best results.

Hopefully, this article was helpful in providing information about it and treatment options. However, if you are suffering from sciatic nerve pain, be sure to consult a New York pain management specialist about the various factors that can contribute to the condition and determine your best options for treatment. With those treatments, you should be able to get the relief that you need so that you can live a normal life again.


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