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Sciatica Symptoms

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a universal human experience -- almost everyone has it at some point. The lower back, which starts below the ribcage, is called the lumbar region. Pain here can be intense and is one of the top causes of missed work. Fortunately, low back pain often gets better on its own. When it doesn't, there are effective treatments.

Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

Symptoms range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting sensation. The pain may make it hard to move or stand up straight. Acute back pain comes on suddenly, often after an injury from sports or heavy lifting. Pain that lasts more than three months is considered chronic. If your pain is not better within 72 hours, you should consult a doctor.

Who's at Risk for Low Back Pain?

Most people get their first taste of low back pain in their 30s. The odds of additional attacks increase with age. Other reasons your low back may hurt include: Being overweight, Inactive lifestyle, Jobs that require heavy lifting.

 Muscle Strain or Sciatica?

The kind of back pain that follows heavy lifting or exercising too hard is often caused by muscle strain. But sometimes back pain can be related to a disc that bulges or ruptures. If a bulging or ruptured disc presses on the sciatic nerve, pain may run from the buttock down one leg. This is called sciatica.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica Pain it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis.

As many as 40% of people will get sciatica, or irritation of the sciatic nerve, at some point in their life. This nerve comes from either side of the lower spine and travels through the pelvis and buttocks. Then the nerve passes along the back of each upper leg before it divides at the knee into branches that go to the feet.

Common Symptoms of Sciatica

Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also be felt in the foot.

For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating. For others, the sciatica pain might be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse.

While symptoms can be painful and potentially debilitating, it is rare that permanent sciatic nerve damage (tissue damage) will result.

Please seek immediate medical attention if you have progressive lower extremity weakness, numbness in the upper thighs, and/or loss of bladder or bowel control.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by irritation of the root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine.

Additional common causes of sciatica include:

Other things that may make your back pain worse include being overweight, not exercising regularly, wearing high heels, or sleeping on a mattress that is too soft.

 Bulging or Herniated Disk

One of the most common causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain is a herniated disc, also known as a bulging disc or slipped disc.

The intervertebral discs are the soft discs in our spine, their role is the act as a buffer or cushion for the spinal vertebrae.  

Once the outer layer of these discs becomes weakened by age or injury, the centre of the disc can bulge out. Sciatica Nerve Pain can occur when the bulging disc puts excessive pressure on the nerve root.