Many people who suffer from back pain often refer to their pain as sciatica. However, sciatica is actually a specific type of back and leg pain that can be incorrectly labeled as the root cause of back pain. Sciatica is defined by a very specific set of symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about sciatica pain, causes, and treatment.
As mentioned above, sciatica is a type of pain that stems from irritation or damage to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest, widest nerve in your body. It originates in the lumbar spine, crosses the back of the buttocks, travels down the side of the hip, and all the way to the top of each foot.
Any irritation or damage along the length of this nerve can cause sciatica symptoms.
The most common include:
Numbness in the leg or foot
Pins and needles feeling anywhere along the nerve path
Stabbing pain that worsens when you sneeze or cough
Shooting pain that makes prolonged sitting or standing impossible
Radiating pain that originates from the lumbar spine
You’ll typically only feel sciatica symptoms on one side of your body. The symptoms above are most common, but if your pain suddenly increases or you lose control of your bowels or bladder, it important to get immediate, emergency medical attention.