Many people suffer from general low back pain- however have you or someone you know experienced burning pain down your leg that is either constant or comes and goes associated with low back pain? You are most likely suffering from symptoms of Sciatica.
So what is Sciatica? Sciatica is a symptom (pain) that radiates along the sciatic nerve which can cause pain anywhere from your low back, hips, buttocks, and down your entire leg. Sciatica usually only affects one side of the body and rarely affects both legs at the same time.
Sciatica can be caused by any of the following conditions that you may or may not have heard of:
herniated disk, bone spur in your spine, stenosis or spondylolisthesis.
Symptoms of sciatica can also be caused by prolonged sitting, a job that requires frequent bending, pregnancy and obesity.
Common symptoms of sciatica can include:pain extending from the low back down the entire leg, numbness or tingling into the leg/foot/toes, weakness into the affected leg, constant pain on the affected buttock, and pain that worsens when moving from a sitting to standing position.
The good news is most sciatica can be resolved with conservative treatment such as physical therapy. It is important to consult with your physical therapist for a full exam in order for them to provide movement positions to relieve symptoms of sciatica. However, in some cases sciatica can be completely debilitating and requires surgery.
Normally I would include exercises to help ease symptoms of sciatica however depending on the condition that is causing your sciatica you may respond to positions putting you into flexion or extension which is why it is best for you to contact your local physical therapist for any advice.
However, if you are experiencing difficulty sleeping due to symptoms of sciatica then you should sleep on the unaffected side with a pillow placed between your knees to keep your spine neutral. You should try your best to AVOID the fetal position as this can worsen symptoms as the night goes on.
Also, if you notice any pain that only comes on with prolonged sitting it is best to use a lumbar support to try to avoid the onset of symptoms.
***If you or anyone you know are experiencing symptoms of sciatica following a recent injury OR are experiencing any difficulty with bowel/bladder then you should consult your MD immediately.***