Sciatica Symptoms: Do You Have True Sciatica?

Sciatica Symptoms Can Include Many Things

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Sciatica symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling, buzzing, or electric shock type sensations. They usually are felt in the butt, thigh, calf and foot. This is because this is where the sciatic nerve runs.

The symptoms of sciatica are produced by compression and/or irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is made of of the last 5 nerves that come out of the spinal cord. They are the last 2 lumbar nerves, L4 and L5. And also the first 3 sacral nerves, S1,S2, and S3.

Sciatica symptoms are mis-understood by a lot of people. In fact, the term “sciatica” has basically been turned into a catch all to describe any pain in the back, butt or in the leg. But sciatica is actually a very specific condition.

Real and Pseudo Sciatica Symptoms

Some people have real sciatic symptoms, and then others have “pseudo-sciatic” symptoms. The two are often confused for the other and referred to as “sciatica”. In a lot of cases, even doctors don’t take the time to explain the difference between true sciatica and just “sciatica like symptoms”.

A person gets true sciatica symptoms when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated close to the spine. This is usually the result of a bulging or herniated disc. Or, it could be the result of tight muscles around the sciatic nerve too. But real sciatica is more serious than the pseudo sciatica variety.

Most of the time sciatica symptoms will only be felt down one leg or the other. In rare cases, it may be felt in both. But for the most part, the bulging disc that’s usually responsible for causing sciatica is only bulging on one side and not both.

While it’s a pretty common condition that a lot of people have, most people don’t have a good idea of what it is. Sciatica is a set of symptoms. The symptoms could feel like pain, an electric shock, numbness and tingling, weakness, etc. The symptoms are telling you that there is something that is happening to the sciatic nerve. Sort like having a runny nose and fever are symptoms of an infection.

So,sciatica is a group of symptoms. It’s not a diagnosis. In order to treat it properly you have to find out what is irritating the nerve root and causing the symptoms such as numbness or pain.

This is a very important point. In most cases treatment for different causes of sciatica or sciatic symptoms may will be different. Sometimes the diagnosis may be a bulging disc. At other times it could be spinal stenosis. So, while the symptoms may be the same, the treatment will be different.

As was said before, true sciatica is often caused by a more serious problem that may require some kind of surgery. The symptoms of true sciatica are not easily relieved like the pseudo variety is.

Psuedo-sciatic type symptoms can sometimes be cured by exercise and stretching.

Sciatica Causes

Sciatica causes can often be difficult to understand. This sciatica video talks about the true causes of sciatica…


Find Out The Cause Of Sciatica Symptoms

So, how do you tell if you have real or pseudo sciatica? Well, the first thing the doctor will probably do is ask you about your symptoms. Do they run down the back or the side of the leg. If your sciatic symptoms run down the back of the leg, then your doctor may want you to take other tests.

These are usually an x-ray or MRI study. If either of these tests show that something is going on with the discs or bones of the spine, it’s an indication that the nerve is actually being compressed. If the lower nerves in your back are pinched you are probably having true symptoms of sciatica.

If the tests are negative, or, if your doctor doesn’t suggest surgery or something else, then a good stretching program will probably relieve your symptoms.

In fact, a good stretching program would be beneficial for sciatica symptoms in either case.

Creative Commons License photo credit: The.Rohit