The term sciatica comes from “sciatic nerve”. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body (about the thickness of your thumb), and when pinched it can cause severe pain called sciatica. The sciatic nerve is large because it is the combination of five different nerve roots that supply your lower extremities (legs).

Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve and is a symptom, not a medical condition. Typically you experience sciatica when you have a herniated, slipped, or bulging disc, stenosis, or a “pinched” nerve along your spine. For many 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 Illinois Back Institute has the resources to provide sciatica treatment to anyone in need.

Symptoms Associated with Sciatica:

  • Pain down the leg. Sometimes pain in both legs
  • Back pain with pain into the gluteus 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 it’s burning
  • Pain that is made worse by standing or sitting
  • Weakness in the leg
  • Pain down the leg when walking

Risk Factors Associated with Sciatica:

  • Age: Aging can cause many different changes to the spine such as herniated discs, which is a common cause of sciatica.
  • Being Inactive: If you don’t exercise the muscles or sit for prolonged periods of time your lower back will weaken increasing your chances of sciatica.
  • Obesity: Weight increases the stress on your spine contributing to spinal changes that may trigger sciatica.
  • Smoking and Alcohol: Cigarettes and excessive alcohol reduces overall health in your spine.
  • Occupation: If your job requires you to lift heavy objects, do a lot of twisting, constant physical activity and or drive for long periods of time then you can be at risk for sciatica.
  • High-impact sports: Participating in strenuous sports puts you at risk for sciatica.
  • Walking and running can likely increase the risk of sciatica. Due to the repeated contraction of the hip muscle called the piriformis muscle. This muscle tightens & can cause irritation to the sciatica nerve.
  • Not stretching or stretching incorrectly.
  • Diabetes. This condition increases your risk of nerve damage.
  • Pregnancy. Due to the hormonal changes and position of the baby you could be at risk for sciatica.

Exercise to help relieve pain caused by sciatica:

If you’re suffering from sciatica, you’re not alone–many people suffer from this painful condition. The good news is many have gotten rid of it for good!  If you’re suffering from sciatica, schedule a free back consultation with us today and learn about your sciatica treatment options at the Illinois Back Institute.