Many people suffer from what they call sciatica nerve pain, it is pain that shoots down your leg. The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy, or radicular pain, indicating that the symptoms originate with a radicular nerve in the spine.
The specific symptoms will be different depending on which spinal nerve is affected and how much it is compressed.
The Nerve of Sciatica: Why, How, Resolution
The reason why a person gets sciatic nerve pain is do to a misalignment in the spine. A misalignment causes nerves to irritated, which causes muscles to spasm/tighten and can cause shooting pain down your legs or into your arms. A misalignment in the lower back will irritate the nerves and cause that shooting pain down your leg.
Most often, sciatica pain is caused when the L5 or S1 nerve root in the lower spine is irritated by a herniated disc. The nerve roots that exit the spine to form the sciatic nerve are extremely sensitive, and the inner portion of the disc that may herniate or extrude contains proteins that are inflammatory and easily irritate the nerve.
Common Symptoms of Sciatic Nerve Compression
The most common form of leg pain from the sciatic nerve is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Occurs in one leg (not both)
- Starts in the low back or buttock and radiates down the back of the thigh and typically into the lower leg and/or the foot
- Usually experienced as a sharp pain, as opposed to a throbbing or dull ache. Words people often use to describe sciatic nerve pain include burning, searing, sharp, or electric-like pain
- Is usually worse when standing or sitting still, and feels better lying down or walking
In addition to pain, other common symptoms include pressure, numbness, tingling, or a prickling sensation that radiates down the leg. Leg or foot weakness may also be present.
Sciatica is actually a symptom, not a diagnosis. The term literally means that a patient has pain down the leg resulting from compression of the sciatic nerve. The diagnosis is what is causing the compression (e.g. a herniated disc).
Different Types of Pain along the Sciatic Nerve
The patient’s pain and specific sciatica symptoms can usually be traced to where the injured/irritated nerve originates in the lower back. Typical symptoms include:
Sciatica from L4 nerve root
Symptoms of sciatica stemming from this level, the L3-L4 level, in the lower spine may include:
- pain and/or numbness to the medial lower leg and foot
- weakness may include the inability to bring the foot upwards (heel walk)
The patient may have reduced knee-jerk reflex.
Sciatica from L5 nerve root
If the L4-L5 segment is affected, the patient may have weakness in extension of the big toe and potentially in the ankle (called foot drop). Symptoms of sciatica originating at this level of the lower back may include:
- pain and/or numbness at the top of the foot, particularly in the web between the great toe (big toe) and the second toe
Sciatica from S1 nerve root
Symptoms of sciatica originating at this L5-S1 level, which is at the bottom of the spine, may include:
- pain and/or numbness to the lateral, or outside of the foot
- weakness that results in difficulty raising the heel off the ground or walking on the tiptoes
The patient may have reduced ankle-jerk reflex.
The only way to correct a misalignment in the spine is to see an Omaha chiropractor. Chiropractors can fix the cause of the pain instead of just treating the symptoms. People suffering from sciatica nerve pain typically are having low back pain for a long period of time. The sciatic nerve will get irritated and cause that shooting pain down your leg. To get rid of the sciatic nerve pain you need to go to a chiropractor and get an adjustment to fix the misalignments in the spine.
At Zurek Chiropractic we use state of the art equipment to assess your nervous system. Our nervous system controls our entire body and if it isn’t working properly our body will not function at its highest potential. This technology will help us to see your problem areas, so you get the results you want and your body needs. After we assess your spine, we will develop an individualized care plan specifically for the care of your body.
We understand that everyone responds differently to different adjustments, that is why Dr. Zurek has a wide range of knowledge of different techniques that can be used through chiropractic care. He utilizes specific chiropractic techniques that allow your body to rest and absorb an adjustment, so you can recover and feel better faster. Zurek Chiropractic is passionate about investing in the health and wellness of every patient.