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The longest nerve in your body is the sciatic nerve. It runs from your pelvis, through your hip area and buttocks, and down each leg. As it travels down the legs, the | sciatic nerve branches into smaller nerves, providing feeling to your thighs, legs, and feet as well as controlling many of the lower leg muscles. When people complain of sciatica, they are referring to pain that radiates along the path of this nerve.
What causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is actually an indication of an underlying problem that’s putting pressure on a nerve in your lower back. A bulging or herniated lumbar disc is the most common cause of this nerve compression. Piriformis syndrome is another common cause of sciatica. The piriformis muscle | lies directly over the sciatic nerve, and if this muscle becomes tight or spasms, it places pressure directly on the sciatic nerve. For men, sciatic pain is sometimes caused by sitting on a wallet.
How do I know if I have sciatica?
The hallmark of sciatica: pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg. Numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg may also accompany sciatica. This pain varies extensively from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or even excruciating discomfort. Sometimes, it feels like a jolt or electric shock. Often beginning gradually, sciatic pain intensifies over time and is likely to worsen when you sit, cough, or sneeze.
How is Sciatica Treated?
Most of the time, combining stretches, deep tissue massage of the piriformis muscle, and Chiropractic care will remedy sciatic pain. Occasionally, in cases when sciatica is caused by chronic spasm of the low back or piriformis muscle, it may be necessary to perform a procedure called a trigger point injection. While typically unnecessary, trigger point injections are performed by a medical pain specialist who injects a small amount of anesthetic directly into the spastic muscle, which breaks the spasm |cycle.
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