Conditions

Learning the Basics of Sciatic Pain

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What is Sciatica?

In your lower back, you’ll find the largest nerve in your body. It’s called the sciatic nerve. When this nerve is pinched or compressed, this is when sciatica occurs. Sciatica is when pain is felt from the lower back, specifically the buttocks, down the length of your leg to the foot.

Common Symptoms Associated with Sciatica

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, this may be a sign of sciatica:

  • Pain along the back of the leg 
  • Abrupt or gradual pain 
  • Pain is commonly referred to as “sharp,” “shocking,” or “shooting” 
  • Moving the leg does not alleviate the pain 
  • Pain may gather in a select area 
  • Pain is followed by numbness and tingling

Better Understanding the Sciatic Nerve

As mentioned above, the largest and longest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve. It serves a very important function as it allows movement and feeling in the following areas:

  • Thighs 
  • Knees 
  • Calves 
  • Ankles 
  • Feet 
  • Toes

The question is: What makes the sciatic nerve the foundation behind sciatic pain?

An Important Role for the Sciatic Nerve

The sciatic nerve plays a large role in the transmission of pain and other sensations throughout the body, primarily from the leg down. When there is pressure or compression directly on this nerve, that is when sciatic pain occurs.

Where is the Pressure Coming From?

The compression on the nerve may be from a number of factors but the most common is a herniated disc. You may also experience pressure on this nerve if you recently have had an injury or accident to the lower back. Untreated injuries from strength training such as the squat may also contribute.

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