Is Your Leg Pain Sciatica?

Several conditions may cause pain or stiffness in your leg. Sometimes the reason is as mild as soreness from a workout, or a case of the charlie horse. The condition may be serious, though, and Sciatica is a type of medical condition that indicates nerve damage within one of your legs. How do you figure out if your leg pain is from sciatica?

Defining Sciatica

Sciatica may have originated from several different pressure points, but the cause of those pressure points tend to be a bone spur, a herniated disc, or general muscle strain. When any of these conditions press on your nerve roots, the nerves themselves become irritated, causing a pain signal to start at your lower back and before traveling down your leg.

Feeling Sciatica

Depending on how intense the pressure is and where it occurs, sciatica may cause one of two types of pain. Some patients describe it as the feeling of getting shocked. A searing, almost burning pain runs down your muscles, usually leaving behind a numb, tingling feeling afterward. Other patients describe it as dull, but this type of sciatica tends to be constant, whereas electric-like sciatica comes in distinct, separate episodes.

Cause and Treatment of Sciatica

One method of determining if you have sciatica is analyzing your condition before the pain started. If you are older and have a history of back pain conditions like degenerative spondylolisthesis, the stress of that situation may have transferred down to your leg. The same applies to younger adults that took treatment or surgery for degenerative disc disease, lumbar herniated disc, or isthmic spondylolisthesis. If you don’t have a history of back pain conditions, a traumatic event (such as an intense physical activity) may be the cause.

If you believe you have sciatica, how do you treat it? For many cases, a healthy routine of rest, diet, and other self-care tasks is enough to relieve the pain after several weeks, though it may not be the case for everyone. If sciatica stems from a spinal condition that does not recover, surgery may be needed to alleviate the pain. Marc Cohen is a nationally renowned spinal surgeon who can help guide you through the best methods in addressing your leg pain. Contact one of our New Jersey offices today to set an appointment.