Leg Pain Does Not Always Equal Sciatica

Dr. Woolner has lost count of how often patients of his have come into his clinic telling him this. A Boise Chiropractor probably has people describe this day after day. One of the most common problems that people experience is leg pain, with associated low back pain and without. First things first, simply having leg pain does not mean that you automatically have “sciatica”. Within your leg you have a lot of different structures in addition to nerves, and among those structures you have your sciatic nerve, which is what generates sciatica. Even the presence of pain in the back of leg does not always mean you have sciatica.

Dr. Woolner states that self diagnosis for leg pain is usually not a good option. If you are suffering from leg pain the best option is to seek out advice from a chiropractor or other health care professional that you can trust. Having said that though, providing you with some basic information can be beneficial and help educate you in your decision making process.

The first thing to determine if you are experiencing leg pain is the exact location of the pain. This isn’t always easy, but you want to figure out a few things about location if you can. First, is there back pain as well? It may or may not be related. Once you have determined the approximate location of the leg pain you want to determine how far down the leg the pain is traveling. Do you feel the pain in the back of your leg, front of your leg, or either side of your leg? Location of your leg pain can mean significantly different problems. Pain in any other location besides the back generally means that you can rule out sciatica. The sciatic nerve travels directly down the back of the leg and so therefore, generally speaking if you are to experience sciatica, you will feel radiating pain down the back of the leg.

Second, a really simple way of assessing the issue is to see if you can reproduce the pain by movement, activities or simply by touching the various areas that are causing problems. Doing this can help to better determine the exact areas or parts of the leg that may be causing your problems. As a Chiropractorin Meridian, Idaho, Dr. Woolner sees a lot of patients whose pain is often reproducible which is often times a good sign. Many times, muscles and tendons can generate a tremendous amount of pain and simple palpation of these tissues can often times recreate the exact pain or problem that patients complain of.

The third thing to be aware of is whether or not you are experiencing any numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg. Are you having any difficulty with simple tasks such as lifting your leg or foot? Are you having any difficulties with daily tasks such as walking or standing? In many instances nerve related problems will result in deficits to your motor system resulting in muscle weakness. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should immediately consult with your Meridian chiropractor.

If the pain in the leg is indeed sciatica, what patients need to understand is that the diagnosis of sciatica in and of itself is still a very vague diagnosis. Sciatica essentially means that there is irritation or disturbance in the sciatic nerve which can be caused by a variety of reasons. Spasms of certain muscles in the pelvis can quite often cause sciatica, also disc injuries and herniations can also cause irritation on nerve roots of the sciatic nerve and in turn cause sciatica. The piriformis runs right over the sciatic nerve and frequently the piriformis muscle can get tight, irritated, and go into spasm. This can directly cause irritation of the sciatic nerve and thus lead to sciatica. To see some easy and effective ways to stretch the piriformis muscle you can check out an informative video here.

Finally, there are a number of other factors that can cause leg pain but ultimately you should come away from reading this article knowing that a diagnosis of sciatica is often very unspecific and depending on who is giving the diagnosis can sometimes be a little unreliable. Dr. Woolner understands how frustrating leg complaints can be which is why he works with patients to help them know exactly what is going on. If you have leg pain and have been given a vague “sciatica” diagnosis but aren’t sure if that is really what is going on, call Dr. Woolner today. If you have never been to a Chiropractor or need recommendations you can contact Dr. Woolner’s clinic for recommendations by visiting www.BoiseChiropracticGroup.com.