It’s one of those terms that you will often hear people use as a general shorthand descriptor for back and leg pain. However, it’s certainly useful to know exactly what it is and how to recognise it.
The largest single nerve in your body is the sciatic nerve. It’s actually a union of five nerves based in your lumbar and spinal areas.
What causes sciatica?
Another frequently-asked question. Unlike many pains you suffer, it is often not a single event or a specific injury that leads to sciatica. Instead, it usually develops over a period of time. Certain occupations and behaviours might lead you to be more prone to suffering this debilitating condition. A couple of examples of this can be people who spend their working lives where their occupation involves strenuously operating machinery or driving heavy trucks.
How to recognise the possibility of sciatica
It’s useful to know some of the ways that sciatic pain can present itself – just as a guide – it’s always important to obtain professional help. Sciatica often appears like either a shooting pain or a constant burning sensation. This is likely to start in the buttock or lower back area and radiate down into your legs and feet. Very occasionally, it can affect both legs but typically will only affect one leg which may also feel ‘heavy’. It’s also possible that there will be a feeling of numbness in the back of the leg.
Another symptom of sciatica is experiencing pain when you change position. This can occur when sitting awkwardly and then trying to stand up and when you are bending or twisting your spine. Also if there is a similar pain when you cough this could be a sign. Walking may provide a bit of relief for such symptoms.
Seeking professional help
As we mentioned earlier, the above information is no more than a guide to the possibility of having this painful condition. If you think that you may be suffering from sciatica, then seeking professional help and advice, as is available from our experienced team at Melville Wellness Centre here in Perth, is a wise course of action to take.