Types of Sciatic Nerve Pain
Imagine standing up and having pain shoot through your buttocks, leg, and heel.
If you suffer from sciatica, you understand how painful it can be. The pain can disrupt your daily life. Even just sitting in the car or standing to make dinner can be uncomfortable.
Not all sciatica symptoms are the same. The location of the injury along the sciatic nerve can cause varying symptoms, sensations, or degrees of discomfort. It can even disrupt movement within the foot or leg.
Continue reading to learn more about the types of sciatic nerve pain and the symptoms.
Pain that radiates from your lower spine to your buttock and down your leg is the signature sign of sciatica. Whether the pain is a dull ache or piercing, it is enough to stop you in your tracks.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the term used to refer to the pain, numbness, or tingling sensations along the sciatic nerve. Therefore, sciatic nerve pain is not a true diagnosis of a medical problem but a description of the pain or symptoms you are experiencing. The description of your pain helps find the source so a true diagnosis can be made.
As the largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve is the union of five nerve roots of the lower spine. This nerve travels through the buttocks, down each thigh and calf, and into the sole of the foot.
What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Patients who experience sciatica pain typically notice symptoms along the path of the nerve. The type of pain can vary widely. Discomfort can range from a mild ache to a burning sensation to excruciating pain. Patients may experience what feels like an electric shock through the lower back, buttock, and leg.
The symptoms of sciatica may vary but can include:
- Altered sensations such as tingling or numbness
- Sensations that change with movement
Usually, patients experience symptoms on just one side of the body. Prolonged sitting, coughing, or sneezing can worsen the symptoms.
Sciatica pain is often caused by irritated nerve roots that may be inflamed due to a herniated disc or muscle spasm. If the nerve is compressed, it causes more severe symptoms including significant weakness or loss of function in the leg.
The exact sciatica symptoms may depend on the nerve root that is affected.
Sciatica from the L4 nerve root radiates through the hip, thigh, and calf. It may cause weakness in the hip and thigh. Patients may also experience a loss of sensation in the calf or loss of the tendon reflex in the knee.
When the L5 nerve root is affected, the patient has pain and weakness along the buttock and outer thigh. He/she may notice a loss of sensation along the top of the big and second toes.
Sciatica in the S1 nerve root is considered classic sciatica. Pain may extend from the buttock through the foot causing a loss of feeling in the outer foot. The patient may lose the tendon reflex in the ankle and have trouble lifting the heels off the ground.
What Are the Common Types of Sciatica?
How long your sciatica pain lasts and whether one or both legs are affected determines the type of sciatica you may have. It also helps determine whether you need to seek medical attention and if a more serious medical problem could be the cause.
Acute sciatica occurs suddenly and is directly related to the amount of tissue damage. Symptoms last about 4-8 weeks and typically do not require medical treatment.
Chronic sciatica persists for more than 8 weeks. Patients do not experience relief with self-management. Medical care is needed.
Alternating sciatica is rare and affects both legs alternately. This type of pain may reflect degenerative problems in the sacroiliac joint.
Also rare, bilateral sciatica affects both legs at the same time. It may result due to degenerative changes in the vertebrae and/or spinal discs.
Sciatica Pain Treatment at Advanced Sports & Spine
Your health and wellness are important to us! At Advanced Sports & Spine, we use a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to pain management including non-surgical, non-opioid treatments. We customize treatment plans based on our patients’ needs.
Our treatments for sciatica pain help ease the discomfort in your low back, buttocks, and legs. Sciatica treatment is focused on determining the underlying cause of your symptoms. Consulting with a physician ensures an accurate diagnosis, an examination to check for a more serious medical condition, and an effective treatment plan.
Schedule an Appointment
Stop living with back, buttocks, and leg pain! If you have sciatic nerve pain, contact, contact Advanced Sports & Spine. We offer sciatica treatment in Charlotte, NC. Our goal is to reduce your pain and get you back on your feet quickly.
Schedule your consultation today!