For many of our patients the pain associated with sciatica can be severe. In some cases, it can be debilitating and can be enough to stop you from truly living life. The pain can change your life to the point where life no longer has any joy! See Pedro (above) and Carmelita’s stories, they are both powerful.
The most common symptoms associated with sciatica are;
- Pain down the leg. Sometimes pain in both legs.
- Back pain with pain into the glutes region.
- Numbness in the leg or pins and needles in the leg.
- Pain that travels down the leg into the foot in some cases all the way to the big toe.
- Sharp stabbing pain in the leg at times feels like its burning.
- Pain that is made worse by standing or sitting.
- Weakness in the leg.
- Pain down the leg when walking.
Because the sciatic nerve can be pinched at several areas within the spine, not everybody’s sciatica is the same. If you review my blog on “What's Sciatica?” you will see that the nerves that form the sciatic nerve exit the spine through five different vertebrae segments. These nerves are responsible for muscle activity and sensation. So you may have weakness or changes in the way things feel or don’t feel (numbness)!
L4 L5 S1 S2 S3
Each of these 5 nerve roots (as they are formally known) is responsible for different symptoms. The 3 that are most commonly associated with sciatica are; L4, L5, S1. The symptoms when any one these nerves is pinched are as follows;
- L4, you will feel symptoms in the front of the leg. You may feel some weakness in your thigh. Activities where you need to straighten your leg will feel hard to perform.
- L5, you may feel pain travel down the lateral outside portion of the leg and sometimes all the way to your big toe. If this nerve is pinched you may also have what is known as drop foot. This is where your foot flops down when you walk. (This can be reversed). You will have a hard time standing on your heels.
- S1, you will very often have symptoms in your leg and pain into your lateral portion of your foot. You will have a hard time standing on your toes. This nerve controls the muscles that are responsible for standing on your toes.
When diagnostics are used to identify what is pinching the nerve and treatments are performed to alleviate the pinching the outcome is very good. All of the above conditions can be reversed. All the other conditions can and have been reversed, without surgery.
Like any health concern you need to consult a trained professional in that condition. The longer you wait the more severe a condition can become. The sooner you can diagnose and treat any condition the better the outcome. We are in the process of putting all our outcomes online so look for those... They are coming! Best of luck and best of health.
In rare cases of sciatica you can lose control of your bowel and bladder. This is very very rare, but a very serious condition. This condition requires surgery. This is known as cauda equina syndrome. Don’t wait!