Do you have a sharp pain that frequently radiates through your buttocks, down the outside of your leg, right into your foot? If so, you might ask me as so many others have: Is sciatica causing my leg pain?
That’s an easy one. No.
How can you say that without ever meeting me you ask? Let me explain.
The term sciatica can describe the symptoms you are feeling. But it doesn’t describe what causes those symptoms.
Mere semantics? Not really. Because ending your sciatic pain doesn’t require finding out what your pain feels like (the symptoms, called sciatica). It requires finding out what is causing it (the underlying condition).
So, what causes sciatica?
Glad you asked. But let’s first clear up what sciatica actually is with a more formal definition to make sure we’re on the same page.
Sciatica is the symptom of radiating pain felt in the lower back, buttocks, hamstring, back of the knee, outside of the calf, and / or the foot. It may also be associated with muscular weakness, numbness, or even an electrical tingly feeling. Yep, tingly is a technical term.
The underlying cause of sciatica is generally the compression or irritation of either the actual sciatic nerve or one of the major lumbar nerves (L4 or L5) or sacral nerves (S1, S2, or S3).
Outside of trauma or the very rare spinal tumor, most cases of sciatica are caused by one of these four underlying conditions: a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or piriformis syndrome.
Sometimes women experience sciatica during pregnancy as the enlarged uterus presses against the sciatic nerve and postural dysfunctions associated with carrying the extra weight pulls their spine out of proper alignment.
When it comes to sciatica, the right question isn’t “Is sciatica causing my leg pain?” Instead ask, “Is my leg pain sciatica?” This short video will help you visualize what may be causing your sciatica so you can quickly treat it properly and end your sciatic pain.