The Mystery of Sciatica

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A lot of people aren’t quite sure what sciatica is, and this debilitating pain is regularly treated by Alex J. Nelson, MD. It’s an often-misunderstood term, and sciatica presents as a “nerve-like” pain that often starts in the back and travels down the legs. It’s most often caused by nerve compression in the spine, particularly when the nerves leave the spine. This means that those with sciatica have both back and leg pain, giving them a double whammy of discomfort.


However, sciatica is present in just 5 – 10 percent of all lower back pain sufferers. Considering that the majority of adults experience some type of lower back pain in their lifetime, sciatica remains a tiny fraction of the cause. Still, you’ve probably known at least one person in your life that complains of sciatica. It’s a popular self-diagnosed condition, but remember that doing so can be dangerous. Only a doctor can diagnose sciatica, and a wrong diagnosis or trying to self-treat can be dangerous.


Anybody can develop sciatica, but some people are more prone to it than others. If you’re over 45, particularly tall, smoke, or have a lot of mental stress, you’re more likely to develop it. Those who have to drive a lot, especially if it’s big machinery that vibrates a lot, are also at a higher risk of sciatica. Heavy lifting and a lot of twisting can also cause sciatica, whether you’re a construction worker or a gym rat.

Other back issues can also compress the sciatic nerve, such as herniated and bulging discs, scar tissue, bone spurs, and spinal stenosis. If you notice a tingling in the back that spreads to the buttocks or legs, there’s a chance that the sciatic nerve is being compressed. Usually, sitting can worsen the pain, but if you have sciatica walking and standing can also be difficult. It’s a no-win situation unless you see a pain specialist.

Schedule your consultation with Alex J. Nelson, MD to discuss non-invasive treatment options

Fortunately, there are several non-invasive treatment options available. The first step is a proper diagnosis. If you have any type of pain or tingling, it’s time to get help. If you have pain in Cache, Box Elder, Davis, Weber, or Salt Lake counties call Peak Health today at (801) 689-3389 to schedule a consultation.