If you have ever had sciatica pain, you understand the nagging and burning pain that runs through your lower back and down your leg, and how difficult it is to find relief. It may come and go or may only last a few days, but if it keeps coming back, it’s best to understand the risk factors for sciatica pain and when to see Greater Rochester Orthopaedics.
Root Cause Of Sciatica
The source of sciatica is the sciatic nerve which comes from your lower back and then separates from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and then down your legs. Usually it only affects one side of your body.
The most common cause is a herniated disc or bone spur on the spine which pinches or compresses part of the sciatic nerve. It can also be caused by a narrowing of the spine known as spinal stenosis.
The compression leads to pain, inflammation, and can include numbness in one leg.
Common Risk Factors For Sciatica
You may be more prone – or at risk of getting sciatica for the following reasons:
- Those with diabetes are more at risk due to the likelihood of nerve damage from this disease.
- Age contributes to sciatica as you are more likely to develop bone spurs and herniated discs as you get older.
- Obesity increases your risk because the weight puts extra stress on your spine.
- Those with an occupation which requires you to twist your back, carry heavy loads or drive long distances may be at a higher risk. This is a theory, although not proven.
- If you sit for long periods, get little exercise, and live a sedentary lifestyle, you are more at risk.
When You Should See Greater Rochester Orthopaedics
Most sciatica pain ranges from a mild ache to a burning sensation, but you can also have severe pain. If your pain lasts longer than a week, or becomes progressively worse, you should seek medical help.
You should call immediately if you have sudden severe pain in one or both legs or lower back, weakness or numbness in your leg(s), or if you have difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder.
If any of these symptoms occur after a fall or a traumatic accident, call immediately or go to an ER. Sciatica can potentially cause nerve damage, so don’t hesitate to get help.