Lower back, hip and leg pain are incredibly common ailments. This pain has many causes, and sciatica is one of the most well-known. But recognizing sciatica isn’t always simple. To help you understand the condition, Christine Beckman, BSN, CMTPT, LMT, of Trigger Point Myotherapy in Lincoln and Beatrice, NE, provides some information and advice on how to identify and treat this malady.
A Guide to Sciatica
What Is It?
Sciatica is not a diagnosis but rather a symptom of an underlying problem. Sciatica is pain that radiates from the back down to the hip and leg. It can be accompanied by numbness or a burning or tingling sensation. Sciatica is usually felt on one side of the body and can sometimes feel like a shooting pain. Additionally, it may get worse while sitting.
What Causes Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, connecting the spinal cord to the leg and foot muscles. The pain associated with sciatica can occur when that nerve becomes aggravated or compressed, usually from issues such as a herniated disk, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, pregnancy, or a slipped disk.
Another common cause of sciatica-like symptoms is the development of myofascial trigger points in the gluteus minimus muscle, located in the buttocks. This muscle is responsible for providing hip rotation and stability to the pelvis. When a trigger point is formed in this muscle, the same “sciatica” pain is felt. A trigger point can be caused by sports activities, a sudden fall, exercises requiring prolonged hip flexion, or putting too much weight on one leg. Because this pain doesn’t involve the sciatic nerve but rather trigger points, it’s referred to as “pseudo sciatica,” but the feelings of pain are nearly the same.
How Can You Alleviate the Pain?
Avoid crossing your legs, take a break from intense sports, keep your body warm, and frequently change the position of your hips. Most importantly, make an appointment with a professional who can diagnose whether your back pain is caused by nerve or muscle problems and then get treatment.
If you’re experiencing lower back, hip or leg pain caused by muscles, get in touch with a certified professional. Residents of Lancaster and Gage counties turn to Trigger Point Myotherapy for expert muscle evaluation, postural analyses, and treatments. Call (402) 228-8955 to schedule an appointment or visit the website for more information.