Sciatica is a condition characterized by chronic pain, numbness, or tingling in a lower extremity, which often radiates down the leg and into the foot. Symptoms of sciatica are typically only experienced on one side of the body and can be debilitating in their severity. As with many other nerve pains, this condition is caused by the irritation, compression, or damage of the sciatic nerve or any one of its five nerve roots. Depending on the location of this compression, sciatic pain can be defined as true sciatica or false sciatica.
- True Sciatica: True sciatica is the most common cause of sciatic nerve pain. This condition occurs when the sciatic nerve roots are being directly compressed at the spine by a slipped disc, tumor, pelvic injury, arthritis, or other spinal condition. Pregnancy can also lead to sciatic pain due to the extra pressure put on the internal organs by the developing child. True sciatica can be resolved through proper treatment of its underlying cause, whether it be spinal stenosis, bone spurs, or a herniated disc.
- False Sciatica: False sciatica, also called piriformis syndrome, is a result of the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is a large, flat muscle located in the buttocks that is responsible for many aspects of hip and leg motion. Repeated stress can cause this muscle group to spasm, leading to compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve. False sciatica can be treated with physical therapy, including stretching, exercises, and periods of rest, ice, and heat. Certain medications, such as anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants, can also be used depending on need.
If you are experiencing chronic pain due to sciatic compression or irritation, contact the pain management experts at the Pain and Wellness Center of Peabody. Our team of expert physicians will help you determine the cause of your pain and formulate a treatment plan personalized to fit your needs. Contact us today at (978) 826-7230 to schedule a consultation.