Sciatica is practically a type of pain – not a disease, but a symptom. It is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve, yet slight irritations may also lead to such problems. Sometimes, it starts from the lower back. Other times, it starts from the middle of the buttock. It goes down throughout the whole leg. Apart from exquisite pains, it may also cause weakness, numbing or tingling sensations.
The sciatic nerve plays a significant role in the body, as it is the longest nerve you have. It starts at the back of the pelvis and ends in the feet. Its affection tends to target older adults – mostly around middle aged individuals. It is less likely to target both legs, yet such cases are not unheard of. Now, if you experience pains, you probably ask yourself – how do I know I have sciatica?
How do I know I have sciatica?
While there are signs to tell that you have sciatica, you will never be able to tell precisely. Pay attention to small signs and symptoms and always seek help from a specialist doctor if these signs persist for more than just a few days. It could be sciatica, but you may suffer from other conditions as well.
Signs that you may have sciatica
If such a pain targets one side of the body and goes down one leg only, it is most likely sciatica. Sure, other affections may have similar signs, but unless you injure a specific leg, most issues will target both of them.
Then, unless you fall on the bottom and injure one buttock, exquisite pains in a single buttock could also be a pretty obvious sign of sciatica. Ignore it for too long and the pain may go down the thigh, over the knee and through the leg.
Lower back pain is another common sign of sciatica, but at the same time, lower back pain is also a common issue associated with various problems. Even an unhealthy lifestyle or a problematic posture in an office job could cause lower back pain.
If you experience tingling sensations in one leg only, it may also be a sign of sciatica. These sensations could vary in intensity. Sometimes, they turn into burning sensations. Other times, you have prickling sensations. Then, these pains may also feel like electric shocks, needles or pins.
How do I know I have sciatica based on the pain intensity then? If the pain is manageable when you lie down, it might be sciatica. As you try to stand or sit down, the pain becomes a nightmare. While it may look like resting round the clock is the key, you are actually supposed to do some basic exercises.
Suggested article: 9 Harmful Sciatica Exercises To Avoid
Finally, weakness represents another sign and can take multiple forms. Sometimes, weakness may occur as you try to sit down. Other times, you feel your leg insecure when you stand up. In this case, it could be sciatica.
Obviously, even if you get all these signs altogether, the truth is you will never be able to tell whether or not you have sciatica yourself. You would have to visit a specialist doctor and take a few tests – only then you can start the treatment for sciatica.
How to deal with sciatica?
A mild form of sciatica may go away after a couple of days. If the back pain or other similar pains persist for more than just a few days, seek help from a specialist doctor. More severe cases of sciatica will take anywhere between two and eight weeks to heal. In the most severe cases, the affection could also affect the bowel or bladder control.
When overlooked, sciatica may also become chronic. At this point, it becomes a lifelong issue. Sure, the pain will not be as intense as in acute sciatica, but you will need a treatment for the rest of your life.
Sciatica may also be handled with lifestyle changes. You need to adjust your diet, the amount of exercises you make and so on. While these changes are usually temporary until sciatica is gone, it might be a good idea to maintain them in the future too. They can prevent further flareups.
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