You may have read somewhere or been told by someone that you have “sciatica,” a sharp pain shooting down your leg. Sciatica is not actually a diagnosis. This is just a word used to describe a symptom – pain going down the leg.
The word ‘sciatica’ comes from the sciatic nerve, which is the reason why you are feeling that sharp or shooting pain. The sciatic nerve forms from several nerve roots exiting the spinal column. This is mainly what differentiates the pain from a bulging or herniated disc (more on this topic later).
Generally, the pain feels like it is shooting down one leg and usually does not go below the knee. This type of shooting pain could mean that there is something that is either pressing on or irritating the sciatic nerve. This leg pain can also be associated with low back pain, most commonly on the same side as the leg pain.
Depending on the cause of your sciatic pain, treatments can vary from chiropractic adjustments of the sacroiliac (SI) joint and/or muscle work. In order to prevent this pain from recurring, some strengthening exercises may be prescribed to tighten up the muscles surrounding the joints to protect them.
It is best to get this condition treated or looked at by a chiropractor in a timely manner because long-term irritation of a nerve can lead to permanent nerve damage.
If you or someone you know has this type of pain, be sure to visit your chiropractor to determine the cause of the pain and treat it appropriately. If your condition is similar to this or you are having pain below the knee, you may not have sciatic nerve pain and should immediately see your chiropractor to get a proper diagnosis and make sure that there is nothing more serious going on.
Read this blog post: When should you actually see a practitioner for pain?
More importantly, if you are experiencing any numbness, tingling in the groin and bowel/bladder issues, this is a medical emergency and you should immediately call 911 or go to the hospital.
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Daina Patel, D. C.
*As always, this post is meant to be informative and is in no way meant to be used to diagnose or treat any conditions. Please see your chiropractor to properly diagnose and treat your pain. If you are having a medical emergency, please seek medical attention from a medical doctor. Please see Disclaimer.