Chances are at sometime you’ve felt a sharp pain in your lower back and thought that you might be suffering from sciatica. It’s a pretty common idea, considering thousands of people suffer this painful condition every year. However, it is important to know exactly what sciatica is, and how to recognize the symptoms associated with it. That way, you can get the professional help needed to alleviate the problem.
First, it is important to note that Sciatica is actually a symptom, and not a disorder. The pain that sciatica produces radiates through your lower extremities and can be an indication of a potentially serious problem such as a herniated disk. Fortunately, once the underlying problem is resolved, the acute pain of the sciatica will usually go away on its own within a few months.
Sciatica is characterized by a sharp, radiating pain that starts around the lower spine or lumbar region, through the buttocks, and down the back of the leg, following the path of the sciatic nerve. However, the pain can also be a dull ache or a burning sensation as well. For some people it actually feels like a mild electric shock. The discomfort can occur anywhere down the pathway, but for most people the most discomfort is felt in the buttocks and upper thigh area. Also, it is common for only one of the legs to be adversely affected.
In general, the symptoms associated with sciatica include the following:
• Numbness or muscle weakness along your leg or into your foot.
• Pain, usually occurring along the nerve pathway
• A tingling sensation, commonly known as “pins and needles”
• A slight loss of bladder or bowel control.
As you can see, depending on the severity of the sciatica, it can be a very trying situation to deal with. However, in most cases the problem of sciatica will resolve once the underlying problem is addressed, or on its own. However, there are a few warning signs that you should heed when deciding whether to see a medical professional.
For example, if you discomfort isn’t eased by normal methods such as massage, or over the counter painkillers, the problem might be a bit more serious than first suspected. If your pain last longer than a week, or becomes progressively worse, consulting a professional such as a Chiropractor, is an important step to take. Also if the type of pain, the severity of it changes suddenly, or if the pain immediately follows a violent injury, such as a traffic accident, it is critical that you seek out medical help as soon as possible. All these warning signs can be indications of a worsening underlying problem.
Sciatica is something that many people cope with on a regular basis. Knowing what exactly it is, and the common symptoms associated with it is a great way to become a better champion of your own health and well-being.