Site icon Internet Marketing Tips

Is Your Leg Pain Sciatica — or Something Else?

When pain radiating down your leg makes walking, sitting or standing up a challenge, you may have sciatica.

Advertising Policy Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy Or you may have a problem that mimics sciatica.

Many different problems cause pain and weakness or numbness in the hip, leg, and ankle, says Santhosh Thomas, DO, MBA, Medical Director of the Center for Spine Health.

6 common causes of sciatica

The following conditions can put pressure on your sciatic nerve:

    1. Herniated disk. “When a disk (often described as the shock absorber) between the bones of the lower spine bulges inward or outward, it can press on one of the nerves making up the sciatic nerve,” says Dr. Thomas.This is one of the most common causes of sciatica and occurs more often in younger patients. However, herniated disks are not a concern unless they compress a nerve and cause symptoms.
    2. Lumbar spinal stenosis. A collapsing disc and/or buckling of ligaments that support the spine can narrow the canal through which the nerves pass.“Degenerative changes in the spine sometimes cause bony outgrowths that can irritate or compress the nerve(s),” he explains. Advertising Policy
    3. Spondylolisthesis. Here, the spinal vertebrae slip out of alignment. Degenerative disk disease, previous spine injuries, prior spine surgery and physical stress to the spine are common causes.“Young gymnasts, divers and other athletes who hyperextend their backs are at risk of spondylolisthesis,” notes Dr. Thomas. “Lifting weights also stresses the spine, as does obesity because extra weight pulls on the spine.”
    4. Trauma.
      Car accidents falls and sports injuries that cause tissue damage can compress the sciatic nerve.
    5. Piriformis syndrome.
      About 15 to 25 percent of sciatica patients have this syndrome. Injury, stress or tightness in the buttock’s piriformis muscle compress the sciatic nerve, causing symptoms. “Piriformis syndrome is a similar, but different, problem that is treated differently,” he notes.
    6. Spinal tumors.
      These can compress one of the nerves exiting the spine or the sciatic nerve, producing pain in the thigh, hip, and groin. “But spinal tumors aren’t that common and rarely cause symptoms below the knee,” says Dr. Thomas.

3 problems mistaken for sciatica

These conditions create leg and foot pain and may be mistaken for sciatica. But they are not caused by sciatic nerve compression:

    1. Peripheral vascular disease. Narrowing of the leg’s blood vessels restricts blood flow and may cause pain and muscle cramps.As with sciatica, vascular disease can make walking distances difficult.
    2. Peripheral neuropathy.
      “Diabetes, alcoholism and other medical conditions can damage small nerves in the extremities,” says Dr. Thomas.Like sciatica, peripheral neuropathy can cause burning, jabbing pain, tingling, and numbness in the lower leg and foot.
    3. Peroneal neuropathy.
      Injury to the common peroneal nerve, which runs below the knee on the outside of the leg, may cause the weakness and foot drop sometimes seen with sciatica.“When we see this, we have to determine whether it comes from a peripheral or a spinal nerve,” notes Dr. Thomas. Advertising Policy

How to find out if leg pain is sciatica

If you’re unsure about whether your leg pain is sciatica, talk to your doctor.

He or she will review your health history and do a physical exam. Imaging studies, and in some cases, electromyography (EMG) can help to pinpoint the source of your pain.

Conservative care, including physical therapy, is the first step in treatment. If that doesn’t help, doctors will consider spinal injections.

Dr. Thomas explains that surgery is rarely considered unless bowel or bladder problems develop, pain worsens or weakness becomes prominent.

This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at

erase back pain, chronic back pain, solve sciatica problems


A quick note about the reviews on this site: I am an affiliate for every product I review. The vendors of these products give me them without charge in order for me to test them. However all my reviews are done as honestly as possible and I make no promises to the vendor prior to writing my review. Should you click a link on this site that takes you to a paid product this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to purchase that product.
Exit mobile version