When a person experiences pain that starts in their back and travels down the leg, when they have a tingling sensation in their foot or when they feel sharp pain in their back when they cough or sneeze, they might automatically assume that they have sciatica. However, just because a person has these symptoms does not automatically mean that they have sciatica. However, many of these symptoms are a good clue that they may be dealing with it.
The first thing to understand is that sciatica is not a condition. It is a symptom of an underlying condition. It is a symptom that causes pain, numbness and weakness.
Usually, when a person is battling with sciatica, they will only feel the symptoms on one side of their body. They will feel the pain as it travels through their thigh and down the leg. The pain can be severe and it can be constant, but it usually does not happen on both sides of the body.
Although the pain starts in the lower back or in the buttocks, it travels the path of the sciatic nerve. So, the pain is felt not in the front, but in the back of the thigh. It will be felt in the foot and in the calf.
Sciatica sufferers feel relief from their pain when they lie down or when they walk. The problem gets worse if they stand or if they are sitting. The pain is described as burning, searing or sharp. It is never described as dull or achy.
Sufferers will have a pins and needles sensation or a prickling sensation that travels down their legs. Their leg will feel weak, and they may even experience numbness in their foot.
The pain is so severe that it is a challenge at times to stand up or to walk. They may feel a weakening of their toes, depending on what part of the sciatic nerve is being affected. Although many sciatica sufferers feel pain in their lower back, the pain is nowhere as severe as the pain that they feel in their leg.
Sudden movements can intensify the pain. For example, if a person coughs or sneezes, they will feel a sudden jolt of pain. Or if they go from sitting down to standing up, they may feel a burning or a stabbing sensation.
Physical therapy, strength training and stretching are keys to addressing problems with sciatica. When patients engage in gentle exercise as opposed to being sedentary, they recover quicker and have better results.
The strengthening exercises are designed to make the spinal column and the supporting muscles stronger. Focus is also put on the abdominal muscles. When a person has a strong core, it helps to keep their body in alignment, and it makes it easier to twist and move without reinjuring the spine or irritating the sciatic nerve.
Stretching exercises are a major part of alleviating sciatic pain. Their goal is to make the muscles that get tight when the sciatic nerve is irritated relax.
Dealing with sciatica can be debilitating. It can negatively impact a person’s life. Thankfully, there are treatment options available at La Grange Chiropractic to help a sciatica sufferer improve their health and live a better quality of life. Our office is located in La Grange. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more.