The Truth About Sciatic Nerve Damage
Sciatic nerve damage is a wide-spread condition affecting many people across the globe. It's often misdiagnosed by well-intentioned "home doctors" who have no clue what they're doing. These well-intentioned friends and family members will tell a person who's suffering lower back pain that it's probably sciatica, regardless of what the symptoms are.
Sciatic Nerve Damage is a Symptom, Not the Problem Itself
What they fail to realize is sciatic nerve damage is a symptom of an underlying condition and not the actual condition itself. It's caused when your sciatic nerve is being pushed on or rubbed against by something in your spine, commonly a bulging or herniated disk. The fact of the matter is anything that causes swelling in the spine can cause problems related to the sciatic nerve.
In order to properly treat sciatic nerve damage, you have to identify the underlying condition and treat it. The cause of the sciatica needs to be treated first before the pain associated with it will begin to go away. The treatment to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve is varied, as it's largely dependent on the diagnosis.
There's No Single Set Of Problems
The first misconception about sciatic nerve damage is that it always manifests itself as lower back pain. While it's true some sufferers of sciatica do indeed suffer pain in the lower back, the pain from sciatica tends to radiate into the legs. This is because the sciatic nerve runs through the spine and down into your legs.
The severity and location of sciatica pain suffered by a person is largely dependent on where along the spine the pressure is taking place and how much pressure there is. The sciatic nerve runs through your spine and the roots exit at the base of your spine. These roots branch out into your legs and run all the way to your feet. Pain from sciatica can take place anywhere along the nerve.
The pain can be intense and nigh on unbearable or it can be nothing more than a mild irritant as the patient goes about his or her daily activities.
Sciatic Nerve Damage Can Be Permanent
Sciatica more often than not is a temporary condition. The pain comes and goes and usually goes away once the condition causing the pressure on the nerve is treated or heals on its own.
There are, however, rare cases where permanent sciatic nerve damage can occur. Failure to treat the condition causing sciatica may allow the condition to progress to the point where it causes permanent damage. If you're suffering any of the following symptoms, you need to get in to a doctor immediately:
- Weakness or numbness in your extremities.
- Loss of control of the bladder or bowels.
- Intense pain radiating through your legs.
- Pain radiating below your knees.
Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Sciatica
Sciatic nerve damage isn't the only condition that can cause numbness, tingling and pain that radiates from the lower back down into the legs. There are other conditions with similar symptoms, so you should never attempt to diagnose sciatica on your own.
Arthritis and other joint problems are a common problem, especially in adults reaching their senior years. Arthritis leg pain is often a dull pain that's all too easy to confuse with pain caused by pressure on your nerve.
Piriformis syndrome is another condition that can cause pain along the legs and into the feet. It's a muscular problem cause when the piriformis muscle tightens up and pushes against the sciatic nerve. While this condition is similar to sciatica in that it involves pressure on the sciatic nerve, it's technically a different condition, albeit it one with the exact same symptoms.