Sciatica is the pain that occurs along the path of the sciatic nerve, which starts in your lower back and travels down through your buttocks and each of your legs. The sciatic nerve can become irritated from a herniated disc or bone spur that compresses the nerve. In rare cases, diabetes or a tumor can cause the sciatic nerve to become damaged or compressed. Certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing sciatica, including obesity and aging.
What are the symptoms of sciatica leg pain?
When you see your doctor for the pain that you are experiencing, it is helpful to be familiar with sciatica leg pain and how it presents itself in your body. You will find that only one side of your body is affected. The pain that is experienced is different for everyone. Some find that the pain comes and goes and is only irritating, while others experience constant, severe pain.
You will feel pain, burning, and sometimes a pins and needles sensation down one of your legs. This pain can start in your lower back and radiate down your entire leg. It might be hard for you to move the affected leg or to experience weakness or numbness. Some patients find that the pain is worse when sitting down or when starting to stand up from sitting.
Can I find relief from sciatica at home?
Although it is a good idea to contact your spine care doctor to find out how you can manage your sciatica leg pain, you might be searching for remedies you can try at home before your appointment or to complement the treatment you receive at our center.
One thing you can try is resting. You should avoid activities that you know will make your pain worse. However, resting for too long can worsen your symptoms, so try to only rest for about a day at a time.
Other helpful methods of pain relief include:
- Stretching - This can help relieve nerve root compression. Stretch and hold the position for about 30 seconds, but avoid bouncing during the stretch.
- Pain relief medications - Talk to your doctor about taking medications. Some types of over-the-counter medications can relieve sciatica pain.
- Icing - Apply a cold pack to the area where you are experiencing pain for 20 minutes at a time.
- Heat therapy - A heating pad or hot water bottle can be applied to the affected area to soothe pain.