“I have pain that starts in my low back and goes down my leg, what is it?
Ah, yes, good old - SCIATICA!
What is sciatica you ask?
Sciatica is nerve pain in your lower back that radiates down your leg and is caused by an
irritation, inflammation or pinching of a nerve in the lower back. The most common cause is a herniated disc or slipped disc.
Did you know?
The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body.
What does Sciatic pain feel like?
Sharp, shooting, jolt, burning, electric or even jabbing pain that travels anywhere from your buttock down to your toes.
But I have pain in both legs, is that Sciatica?
Although it is unlikely to be affecting both legs, it CAN happen.
Does sciatica happen suddenly or slowly over time?
Both - Sciatica can come on suddenly or gradually. It all depends on the cause. A disk
herniation will cause sudden pain where arthritis in the spine will develop slowly.
Who is at risk for sciatica?
- Anyone with a previous back injury - any injury to your lower back puts you at risk.
Overweight - Increased weight or load on your spine can lead to back strains and pains
Lack of core muscles - the core is what protects your spine and gives you support.
Manual labor or active jobs - heavy lifting / bending puts you at high risk
Have osteoarthritis - any damage to your spine will compromise the nerves
Inactive lifestyle - prolonged sitting or not being active can make your muscles stiff can increase your risk
Pregnant women - certain hormones of pregnancy cause loosening of ligaments making the spine less stable
What are the common causes of Sciatica?
Herniated or slipped disc
Degenerative disk disease (natural wear down of the discs between the vertebrae of the spine)
Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
How do you diagnose Sciatica?
PTs use what's called a Straight Leg Raise Test
MDs can use:
Nerve Conduction Velocity test
How is Sciatica Treated?
Various manual techniques, stretches and exercises all go into a proper sciatica plan of care.
If you or someone you know are suffering from Sciatica pain or discomfort, text
BACKPAIN to (845) 225-2000 and I will send you a video with 3 simple exercises to help
alleviate or reduce your pain!
Don’t wait, text BACKPAIN to our number (8452252000) and you can get started in
reducing your discomfort!
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Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach