What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a disorder that results from compression or other disturbances to the sciatic nerve. Originating in the spine, this nerve branches off into individual roots in the buttock, leg, thigh and foot. When these roots come together in the piriformis muscle of the buttocks, the resultant bundle is known as the sciatic nerve.
It’s an especially touchy area because the bundle can affect any of the individual branches. Compression most commonly forms at the nerve’s spinal exit or in the pirifomis muscle, but it can technically occur anywhere in the system. A disc injury is frequently at the root of the compression or irritation.
What Are the Symptoms?
Now that you’ve learned what sciatica is, you should learn the symptoms. Sciatica’s most tricky component is how widely symptoms can vary from patient to patient. Remember: The sciatic nerve is composed of several individual roots, so a problem in one of those areas but not another can drastically alter the sort of symptoms you experience. Generally, patients report the following disturbances:
- Lower back pain that may or may not radiate to the buttocks
- Thigh and leg pain that radiates from the buttock into the calf, foot or back of the thigh
- Tingling, numbness or both in the legs and feet
- Extreme skin sensitivity and pain that feels like burning
- Leg, foot or thigh cramping
- Leg, foot or thigh weakness
- Unusual foot dropping that results in tripping
- Unusual lack of hamstring flexibility
Is All Leg Pain Caused by Sciatica?
No. Though the Northern Mississippi physical therapists at Pro Therapy always prefer to rule out sciatica when evaluating leg pain, not all symptoms can be attributed to the disorder. Other spinal issues like stenosis and herniated discs are often at the heart of leg pain, and sciatica can also exist with one of more of these conditions. No matter the cause of your leg pain, the experts at our Northern Mississippi offices will use the most advanced diagnostic and treatment programs to make it a thing of the past.
How Will Pro Therapy Treat It?
There’s more to sciatica and leg pain than meets the eye. Whether you’re suffering from the disorder or another condition that causes similar pain, several factors could be involved: poor posture, a misaligned spine, compromised flexibility and decreased muscle support.
At Pro Therapy, our Northern Mississippi physical therapists believe in a whole-body approach that treats each issue both individually and contextually. That’s why we use a team approach incorporating advanced diagnostic techniques and various therapies into one course of treatment. What’s more, you’ll have access to a team of physical therapists dedicated to guiding you through both treatment and rehabilitation. Learn more about our practice and techniques by scheduling an appointment or giving us a call today.