You’ve noticed a tingling, a moment of pain or loss of feeling in your leg and are confused as to what this might mean. Is it serious? What could be happening in your body to make it feel this way? You should explore exactly what your symptoms are to aid in the evaluation and confirmation of an official diagnosis. Sciatica is a commonly misunderstood medical term. Sciatica refers to a set of symptoms and is not a diagnosis.
What are sciatica symptoms? The most identifiable symptom of sciatica is pain. The range of pain can vary from just a tingling sensation or a dull ache to a burning sensation so intense that it renders the person unable to move. The pain often occurs on one side. The sensation may start in the hip and extend to the foot, or start in the calf and spread upward. Pain may start slowly but increase after activity, late at night, when sneezing, coughing, or laughing, or when bending backwards.
There are different ways to test for sciatica. If you suspect you may be experiencing sciatica symptoms, ask for a neuromuscular examination from your doctor. You may have abnormal reflexes (too slow, too fast, etc.) You may require a blood test, x-ray, MRI, or other tests or procedures depending on the doctor’s estimations of what the origin of the sciatica is in your specific case. The doctor will need to screen for various types of infections, including meningitis, urinary tract infection, ruptured disk, cancer, kidney stone, or any other serious problem.
There are many conditions that compress nerves and cause these sciatica symptoms. Treatment and specific symptoms vary widely between patients because the condition behind the sciatica symptoms can be very diverse. The length of time that someone suffers from sciatica can vary greatly, depending on the larger problem. To suffer for less amount of time, try these quick resolutions to easing the pain:
– Apply ice for the first 48-72 hours. Afterward, apply heat to the pain.
– Take over the counter pain relievers like Ibuprofen or Tylenol.
– Relieve pressure by sleeping in a fetal position with a pillow between your legs, or on your back with a pillow underneath your back.
– Doctors can administer injections to reduce inflammation if the pain worsens.
– Physical therapy exercises may be assigned
The length of time you can suffer from sciatica directly corresponds to how long it takes to diagnose the root of the problem. These pains occur when there is pressure on the sciatic nerve, and you and your doctor can work together to discover why. Common causes of sciatica do include: herniated spinal disks, slipped disks, degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, pelvic injury or fracture, or tumors. If the cause of the sciatica is caught in enough time, you can avoid long-term damage. The extent of disability ranges from nothing to complete loss of movement and flexibility. Pain or weakness in the nerves may persist and be severe for a period of time.