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Sciatica comes in all shapes and sizes – and can feel like a shooting pain in your lower back, all the way to a pain in your leg. The realities of this pain day-in and day-out can feel pretty bleak, but it doesn’t need to – a licensed doctor can work with you to manage your sciatica pain and reclaim your life.

Keep reading to find out more about how.

Man holding leg because of pain

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is the name given to nerve pain that originates from the sciatic nerve – often caused by illness, injury, or irritation of that nerve. Typically, you’ll experience this pain in your lower back, but it can extend down the leg and even to the foot in some cases.

Because it’s triggered by one nerve, sciatica can really happen to anybody – but given the most common causes are slipped discs, it’s usually seen in older individuals or those whose occupation puts strain on their spines via twisting and carrying heavy loads.

The impact of sciatica can be pretty extreme – the pain can be debilitating in some cases, and can come out of seemingly nowhere. But fortunately, many cases of sciatica are able to be self-treated and all can be managed by a medical professional.

Woman leaning on a railing because of pain, holding onto lower back

What Causes Sciatica?

As mentioned, sciatic pain is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, located in the lower back and spanning down your leg. The most common cause is a herniated or slipped disk that puts pressure on the nerve root. Other common causes include:

  1. Obesity
  2. Occupation
  3. Arthritis
  4. Diabetes
Shot of female runner is in pain from the sciatic nerve, holding onto their upper thigh

What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?

Sciatic pain can range from mild to severe. The more minor forms can usually be cared for at home. Typically, this kind of short term pain will be triggered by twisting movements, prolonged sitting, or strain and will subside in one to two weeks.

If the pain doesn’t subside within a few days or begins to worsen, it may be necessary to speak to a licensed professional. Other symptoms that indicate the need for examination may be:

  • Sudden, severe pain in your lower back or leg
  • Numbness or muscle weakness in your leg
  • Symptoms in both legs
  • Trouble controlling your bowels or bladder
  • Pain following a severe injury, like a car crash or fall
Shot of a woman sat at a desk, with her hands on her lower back pushing on the pain

What are My Treatment Options for Sciatica?

If your sciatic pain persists longer than two weeks, it’s crucial that you see a pain specialist to ensure your symptoms are properly diagnosed and managed. This is the quickest and easiest way to reclaim your life, while ensuring your condition is responsibly treated, as opposed to simply masking your symptoms.

Some of the ways your doctor may treat your pain are:

  1. Rehab Therapy – your doctor may give you exercises designed to decrease sciatica by reducing the pressure on the nerve.
  2. Spinal Decompression – because sciatic nerve pain is caused by the pinching of the nerve, spinal decompression (which is the act of gently stretching your spine medically) may alleviate the pain.
  3. Chiropractic care – with sciatic pain, your doctor may bring in a chiropractor. This is because a spinal adjustment could prevent any pressure the sciatic nerve is being placed under.
  4. Durable Medical Equipment (DME) – depending on the severity of your sciatic pain, your doctor may suggest DME to limit any further pressure put on the nerve.
Male doctor is pushing on patient’s back with a metal tool

Frequently Asked Questions About Sciatica?

1. How to relieve sciatica pain
If you’re experiencing chronic sciatic pain, it’s time to seek medical care – schedule a free consultation here. If your pain lasts less than two weeks, you can self treat with rest, proper posture and icing.

2. Where is the sciatic nerve?
The sciatic nerve is located in your lower back, through your hips and down into each leg. It extends down to the foot.

3. What is sciatic nerve pain?
Sciatic nerve pain will typically radiate in the lower back, sometimes extending down into the leg and foot region. It is often reported as sharp stabbing or shooting pain.

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