Sciatica

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Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. Occasionally, sciatic pain in men is caused by sitting on a wallet.

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from your pelvis, through your hip area and buttocks and down each leg. The sciatic nerve branches into smaller nerves as it travels down the legs providing feeling to your thighs, legs, and feet as well as controlling many of the muscles in your lower legs. The term sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of this nerve.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is actually a sign that you have an underlying problem putting pressure on a nerve in your lower back. The most common cause of this nerve compression is a bulging or herniated lumbar disc. Piriformis syndrome is another common cause of sciatica. The piriformis is a muscle that lies directly over the sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or if you have a spasm in this muscle, it puts pressure directly on the sciatic nerve. Occasionally, sciatic pain in men is caused by sitting on a wallet.

How do I Know if I Have Sciatica?

Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. Sciatica may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg. This pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. It's likely to be worse when you sit, cough or sneeze.

How is Sciatica Treated?

The vast majority of the time, sciatic pain can be relieved through a combination of stretches, deep tissue massage of the piriformis muscle and chiropractic care. Occasionally, in cases where chronic spasm of the low back or piriformis muscles is causing the sciatic pain, it may be necessary to do a procedure called a trigger point injection, where a medical pain specialist injects a small amount of anesthetic directly into a spasmed muscle to break the spasm cycle. However, this is typically not necessary.

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  • ""I visited Dr. Huffman for back pain. After an initial exam and x-rays I was told that I needed to see my family doctor to have a lump on my spine examined. After the biopsy was done, the results indicated I had cancer (multiple myeloma). Not only has Dr. Huffman helped me walk without a cane again, he also found evidence of cancer, allowing me to be treated.""
    A.R.
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    The H. Family
  • "After experiencing daily back pain with radiation down my left leg and also experiencing numbness and tingling of that leg; I was delighted when after only one treatment I had amazing relief. I've had no numbness or tingling since that time. The back is a work in progress."
    S.J.