Sciatica is pain that radiates along the sciatica nerve. This nerve pain travels along the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve travels from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. Your sciatic nerve is the main nerve in your leg and also the largest nerve in the entire body. Below we cover some of the early warning signs of sciatica to watch out for.
Early Warning Signs of Sciatica
The pain most often occurs when a herniated disk or an overgrowth of bone puts pressure on part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, numbness, and pain in the affected leg. There are many early warning signs of sciatica along with symptoms that you can notice.
Common Symptoms of Sciatica:
This pain can be almost anywhere along the nerve pathway. Especially when it follows a path from the low back to the buttocks and the back of the thigh and calf.
- Moderate to severe pain in the lower back, buttock, and down the leg.
- Numbness or weakness in the lower back, buttock, leg, or feet.
- Pain that worsens with movements and loss of movements.
- Pins and needles feeling in legs, toes, and feet.
- Loss of bowel and bladder control.
- Swelling and redness in the spine and back.
- When bending backward or walking more than a few yards, especially if caused by spinal stenosis.
Causes of Sciatica:
It is also known as a ruptured or slipped disc. This is the most common cause of sciatica. The gel-like center of the intervertebral disc of the spine sticks out through a tear in its outer ring. This puts pressure on the nerve roots located just next to the disc. Discs are the cushioning pads between each vertebra of the disc.
A narrowing of the canal that houses the spinal nerves. This narrowing reduces the available space for the spinal cord and nerves. Degenerated disc disease is the natural wear down of the discs between vertebrae of the spine. Spinal stenosis can pinch the sciatic nerve roots as they leave the spine.
It is a slippage of one vertebra so that it is out of line with the one above it. It narrows the opening through which the nerve exits. The extended spinal bone can pinch the sciatic nerve.
Arthritis can cause sciatica. Osteoarthritis in the spine can damage and destroy the cushioning discs and cartilage between the bones of the spinal column. As the damage worsens, this nerve may become irritated and inflamed. The risk of slipping discs is higher.
Stress or anxiety can be known to exacerbate the pain associated with sciatica. During the tough period, the brain may deprive nerves of oxygen, including the sciatic nerve where the pain begins.
Tumors cause sciatica-like pain if they occur in the lumbar spine. As the tumor grows, it may put pressure on the nerve, which causes pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
It is a condition that develops when the piriform muscles lie deep in the buttocks and become tight of spasms. This can put pressure on and irritate the sciatic nerve.
Cauda equina Syndrome:
It is a very rare but serious condition. It will lead to a variety of syndromes which are like sciatica. This causes pain in the leg, numbness around the anus, and loss of bowel and bladder control.
Smoking is a risk factor for lumbar radicular pain which is clinically sciatica. The harmful effect of smoking on lumbar intervertebral discs is modest.
It can create sciatica-like pain. Sciatica involves compression of the sciatic nerve. Diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy that leads to burning, numbness and shooting pain in one or both legs.
The study found that every extra pound of body weight adds extra pressure on joints and back. It can take longer to heal from sciatica because of the physical strain on the body.
It makes sciatica pain worsen. High heels disrupt the natural curvature of the spine. It forces you to shift your body weight forward. This disruption forces your hips forward and puts too much stress on the lower back.
Diagnosis Of Sciatica:
During the physical exam, a healthcare provider might check muscle strength and reflexes. If the doctor thinks it is sciatica during the physical exam, he might give patients certain activities like walking on heels or toes. If the pain is severe, the doctor recommends some imaging tests to re-check. The tests are X-Ray, CT scans, MRIs, and EMGs.
For pain that doesn’t improve with self-care measures, some of the following sciatica treatment in Los Angeles might help.
- Physical Therapy
- Steroid injection
For treatment, patients should consult experienced spine surgeons. In the Los Angeles area, Dr.Yashar is a reputed and top spine surgeon.