Understanding the Symptoms of Sciatica

Do you ever wonder what the pain radiating down your spine to your buttocks might be? It’s possible that it’s sciatica.

Sciatica can cause some people severe pain and can even be debilitating. For others, sciatica might be irritating and infrequent. However, it does have the potential to get worse as time goes on.

sciatica symptomsWhat Causes Sciatica?

The most common cause of sciatica is a lumbar disc herniation directly pressing on the nerve but any irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve can create sciatica symptoms. Other causes of sciatica can include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis.

How Can I Tell If I Have Sciatica?

While sciatica affects everyone differently, the following are the most common symptoms:

  • Pain that radiates from your lower spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg. The pain is usually on one side of the body.
  • Though a person does experience back pain, the leg pain is much more severe
  • Pain that worsens when standing or sitting, but improves when lying down or resting
  • “Pins and Needles” sensation in the leg
  • Numbness and tingling in the leg

Diagnosing Sciatica

Sciatica can be diagnosed by a physical exam and an imaging test. During a physical exam, a doctor might check muscle strength and reflexes. If your sciatica is being caused by a herniated disc or bone spur, a doctor might suggest an imaging test, such as an X-ray, MRI, CT Scan or EMG.

Contact the Spine & Scoliosis Specialists at 336.333.6306 if you want to be tested for sciatica.