Is Your Lower Back Pain Sciatica or Something Else?

PAIN Knuckle Tattoo 11-23-09 -- IMG_9893Sciatica pain is the pain that runs along the sciatic nerve from the lower back and down both legs. While this pain is quite common in many individuals, it is also commonly misdiagnosed. Find out if your lower back pain is really sciatica or something else altogether.

First off, it is best to know that sciatica pain is a set of symptoms rather than a source of the problem. This means that the pain you are feeling is being caused by something else, not the sciatic nerve directly. So while you may feel shooting pain down your legs, the real problem could be a disc herniation in the lower back or a similar problem.

Another important fact to be aware of is that sometimes the leg pain is not sciatica pain at all. The leg pain you may be feeling could be a result of joint pain or arthritis. Another cause behind the leg pain is sacroiliac joint dysfunction. This happens when the sacroiliac joint, which is at the base of the spine, has too much or too little motion. Either overusing or underusing this joint can cause pain that feels very similar to sciatic pain. Both arthritis and sacroiliac joint dysfunction are treated with non-invasive treatments and aim to restore proper movement.

Since sciatica is a symptom and can even be mistaken for another problem, it is best not to self-diagnose the problem. Instead, a doctor should be consulted to look further into the source of pain. The most common cause of sciatic nerve pain are the following:

  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis.

In very rare cases, sciatica can be caused by a spinal tumor or infection, which is why it is important to talk with your doctor about the pain. In other cases, the sciatic nerve pain can be caused by pregnancy, and it usually resolves itself when the pregnancy is over or a specialist can help with the problem.

Sciatica pain should never be self-treated or self-diagnosed. Talk with a doctor if you think you have sciatic nerve pain. Once your doctor confirms the source of the pain, you can discuss natural and effective therapy options such as regular chiropractic care.


Story Credit, Image Credit: PAIN Knuckle Tattoo by Steven Depolo. Used under Creative Commons license.


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