What Does Sciatic Nerve Pain Feel Like?
Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve gets inflamed and becomes painful. The sciatic nerve runs from your hip to your foot and can cause hip, lower back and buttock pain. It is the longest and widest nerve in the body. It also controls many muscles in the lower legs and is important for feeling sensations in the lower leg and foot. People with sciatica can have pain that lasts from a couple of weeks to long periods of time. If left untreated, it can have adverse consequences on health.
Symptoms of sciatica pain include:
- Tingling – like pins and needles
- Pain that may feel like shooting, stabbing or burning sensations
Sciatica symptoms may worsen when moving rapidly, such as when coughing or sneezing. Without treatment, pain in the middle lower back and buttocks will persist and can worsen. This is why it is important to consult a pain management physician to examine the causes and determine the best treatments for your lifestyle.
Herniated Disc Versus Piriformis Syndrome – What Is The Difference?
Back, hip and lower leg pain are all symptoms of sciatica. However, there is an overlap between the potential causes of sciatica pain.
A herniated disc and piriformis syndrome both have similar symptoms, but different causes. Piriformis syndrome must be differentiated from true sciatica. It is important to have a medical assessment of potential causes of sciatica. This is necessary to ensure the exclusion of possible spinal problems that may be compressing the spinal nerve. For example, if a patient has symptoms of sciatica but does not have a herniated disc, then it is likely that the patient has piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome will cause tenderness on the piriformis.
When assessing for sciatica, a pain doctor needs to differentiate if something is compressing the sciatic nerve itself, or if it is due to the compression of the roots of the sciatic nerve. This can only be answered via medical tests and scans completed by a qualified pain management physician.
How To Relieve Hip, Lower Back and Buttock Pain
Fortunately, there are sciatica stretches that can provide some sciatica relief. However, it is extremely important to visit a pain doctor to assess the sciatica causes and receive sciatica treatment. Before commencing any exercise program, consult with a pain management physician. Below are some examples of sciatica nerve stretches that are intended to help alleviate pain:
- Arm and Leg Lift – go on all fours with your back straight and abdominals engaged. Lift the opposite arm and leg out straight. Hold for five seconds. Repeat with opposite arm and leg. Hold for five seconds. Repeat this alternating routine for one to two minutes.
- Hip-Flexor Stretch – Kneel on one knee and ensure that your hip is behind your knee. Ensure your back is straight and gently move your body forward. Stop when you feel the stretch in your upper thigh area. Hold for thirty seconds. Repeat with opposite leg.
- Piriformis Stretch – Lie on your back and gently bend your knees. Lift your right foot and cross the right ankle over the left knee. Gently pull your left leg towards your chest while ensuring your right foot is still over your left knee. Hold for thirty seconds. Complete this exercise a couple of times.
Sciatica exercises should be completed upon receiving medical advice. Sciatica nerve stretches can provide some relief, however, it is strongly advised to receive a full health assessment from a qualified pain management physician. A pain doctor can perform tests to find the cause of sciatica and will tailor a treatment plan to suit your health needs.
The Best Alternative Sciatica Pain Treatments
The great news is that there are many surgical alternatives when receiving sciatica pain relief. Surgery is risky, has long recovery periods and is not always the best option for health. Long-term use of narcotics can have a detrimental effect on wellbeing, with the US currently facing an opioid epidemic.
As a result, it is important to seek the best treatments in the field of regenerative medicine. Below are some examples of highly successful, non-invasive treatments that have minimal risk and contribute to maximal health.
- Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection – a pain doctor injects a corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory) and local anesthetic pain relief medicine to alleviate pain. It is commonly used for lower back and leg pain.
- Lumbar Facet Injection – a pain doctor injects a local anesthetic into one or more of the joints that align the spine in the lower back.
There are many conservative treatment options available to suit your lifestyle and preferences. Consulting with a pain doctor will allow the direct cause and subsequent treatment options to be determined so that you can get back to full health!
The Importance Of Seeking Medical Help
Your health is your wealth. This is why you should never take risks, especially with back health. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and affects many muscles and tissues. If it becomes inflamed or damaged, it is important to consult with an expert pain management doctor to determine the cause and subsequent treatment options. If left untreated, the sciatic nerve can become damaged and create more health problems.
At the VIP Medical Group, we have a team of world class Ivy League doctors who are experts in the field of pain medicine. With an abundance of knowledge and the latest techniques in regenerative medicine, you can be rest assured that you are receiving care of the highest quality. Our doctors are leaders in their field and maintain high levels of successful patient outcomes.