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  • Cherry Health Center

Sciatica Basics

Sciatic pain can be very disruptive, interfering with normal daily activities and diminishing your quality of life. For those who have never experienced it, it may be difficult to understand how painful it is, but chances are high that you or someone you love will have to deal with sciatica. In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, up to 40% of people will have it over the course of their life. 

So exactly what is sciatica and why is it so painful and common? We will start with the basics in order to shed some light on this frequent problem.  

What is sciatica?

We all have a very large nerve that branches off from the spine and runs down the back of each leg. This nerve is about the same diameter as a little finger and is the longest single nerve in your body. This nerve is crucial in providing communication and sensation to your lower extremities.

This nerve can become inflamed and irritated by degenerative issues or injuries. Lower back injuries and disc issues, including misalignment, can cause sciatica. People can also have sciatic pain from sitting or standing for long periods, especially if your workspace isn’t ergonomic.  It is important to know, however, that there are some potentially serious causes, so you should never ignore sciatica symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Sciatica symptoms include shooting pain from your buttocks down through the back of one or both legs. Typically, however, the pain is limited to one side. Some people feel other sensations, like tingling, numbness, or sharp stabbing pain. The pain you feel can be intermittent or constant, and it can last for weeks at a time. Sitting, coughing, sneezing, or any sudden movements can make the pain worse.

What can you do?

There are some potentially serious causes for sciatica, so it’s important to seek the advice of a medical professional if you experience any symptoms. Once they determine the cause, they’ll determine the best course of treatment. Often times this includes chiropractic care, physical therapy, and additional exercises. If you think you have sciatica, we invite you to give us a call and schedule a consultation.

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