Trying to figure out why you have back pain can be difficult. There are several things that can cause this kind of discomfort, including injury, spinal disc problems and nerve problems. Where the pain occurs can help you determine the cause of it. One of the most common types of back pain is sciatica, which is associated with lower back pain. Sciatica occurs when your sciatic nerve is being pinched. This condition can be a little easier to diagnose because the common symptoms of sciatica are a bit more specific than generalized back pain.
1. Pain Down the Backs of Legs
Pain is the main symptom of sciatica. When you have this condition, you’ll feel pain and discomfort that extends from your lower back to your buttocks and down the back of your leg. This pain can occur on either side of your body, since your sciatic nerve runs down both legs. The pain you feel might come and go as a shooting pain, or it could be more of a dull and constant pain in the affected area. It might feel worse when you’re sitting down, and you might feel pain all the way down to your foot. Sudden movements, like sneezing or coughing, can also make the pain feel worse.
2. Tingling or Burning in Legs
Some people feel a burning or tingling sensation down the affected leg. This indicates that something is interfering with the sciatic nerve on that side of your body. You shouldn’t completely lose sensation in your leg with sciatica. If you do experience a loss of sensation or extreme weakness or if you suddenly are unable to control your bladder or bowels, get medical help right away. These symptoms, though rare, are a sign of serious and potentially life-threatening nerve damage.
3. Weakness in Leg or Foot
Sciatica can leave your leg or foot feeling weak or a little numb because the nerve is being pressed on. You might also have trouble moving your leg or foot around, which means you’ll need to very careful when walking.
What to Do to Help Relieve Pain from Sciatica
If you’re experiencing the common symptoms of sciatica, there are things you can do to reduce the pain. Don’t stay in bed, since this can make sciatica worse. You can move around, but do so cautiously. Performing basic stretching movements can help your back feel better. Putting hot packs on the affected side of your body can also help. You might find temporary relief by taking an over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen. If your condition gets worse or doesn’t improve, you can try other methods of treatment, such as physical therapy, Functional Disc Rehydration or chiropractic care.