5 Ways to Determine Whether You Have Sciatica

07 November, 2018
It's a good idea to consult with a specialist to see whether you have sciatica and to receive the right treatment. This is because some symptoms of sciatica, which can disappear over time, match those of other health problems.

Many health problems can be diagnosed easily. However, there are other issues, like sciatica, that have symptoms we can sometimes confuse with other conditions.

Maybe you have an ache in your leg that’s due to fatigue. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t ignore that this may be a symptom of sciatica, as this awareness will help you fight this health issue.

If you experience pain behind your leg, be worried. This is because although it may seem like a simple cramp, it may not be, especially if you experience other symptoms such as numbness or tingling that extends to your foot. Furthermore, you should worry when the pain in your leg gets worse when you cough or sneeze.

At this point does it feel as though you suffer from sciatica or not? Continue to read this article to discover whether you have sciatica or not.

The first thing you should know is that sciatica isn’t an illness, but a health problem. It also can’t be detected easily, unless you experience more than 80% of your pain in one leg and your back.

1. You have weak knees

A person with weak knees.

The truth is that when you suffer from this health problem, you experience pain in one knee that extends to the whole leg. When you feel pain in both legs, you should seek immediate medical attention.

For instance, when you experience the latter, you may need to have an emergency operation. However, it’s more common to experience pain only in one leg. This happens because the sciatic nerve pinches itself.

Read more here: Calm Sciatic Pain with These 5 Natural Remedies

This nerve starts from the spine and ends at the foot. When it’s squeezed, you start to suffer from sciatica. This is because the sciatic nerve’s function is hindered. At this point, you start to experience different types of unwanted sensations such as pain, weakness, and tingling.

On its own, pain is very common. What’s alarming is when the pain is accompanied by weakness in the knee or leg.

When doctors see this problem occurring in only one leg, they know that this is a sign of some health issue. Thus, it should also be a warning for you, too.

2. You can no longer run

It’s difficult to see whether the pain athletes experience in their leg is a sign of sciatica. This is because sciatica and piriformis syndrome have almost the same symptoms. However, the second condition is more common than the first.

Moreover, tingling, pain, and numbness that reach the leg are symptoms of both health issues. You could also be suffering from another condition if these symptoms present themselves. This is why you should visit your doctor immediately if you have any of the above symptoms.

Ignoring the warning signs that your body gives you could make the situation worse.

Even though we all believe that sportspeople are very healthy, never ignore any pain or discomfort if you fall into this category. 

3. You’re in pain

Back pain.

We’ve already told you that pain is very common in a lot of health conditions, even though it’s a very important symptom of sciatica. However, when you visit your doctor you should clearly state and be specific about what type of pain you have.

It’s not enough to just say you’re in pain. This is because doctors can treat pain in many ways.

Doctor Jacob Teitelbaum (author of works such as Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 Root Causes of the Most Common Health Problems and How to Solve Them) presents some key techniques to determine whether you have sciatica:

  • Use your thumb to anchor your fingers and push your fingers over your lower back muscles.
  • Try to find the points on your back that are causing you pain.
  • If the pain causes a slight jerk that goes all the way down to your toes, it’s very likely that you have sciatica.

4. If you pass this test

This test will help you discover whether you have sciatica or not:

  • Lie down and stretch your toes.
  • With another person’s help, lift up your leg and extend it between 30 and 70 degrees.
  • The person who helps you must lift your leg up and check whether you’re doing the test properly.

If you experience pain in your whole leg behind your knee and this pain reaches your toes after doing this exercise, this means you probably have sciatica.

Discover: Simple Exercises to Heal Sciatic Nerve Pain

We recommend that you visit a physical therapy specialist or a doctor to carry out this test. Bear in mind that doing the movements abruptly or incorrectly can aggravate the symptoms or make them worse.

5. Something else is happening to your body

Person with back pain.

Apart from back, knee, and leg pain, another symptom of sciatica are body changes. Maybe your intestines and bladder are losing control of their movements, for instance. According to doctors, this could be a sign that you need emergency surgery.

Alan Hilibrand, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), states that this situation is uncommon.

If you feel that your spinal column is putting a lot of pressure on the nerve that can affect your bladder and intestine, consult with your doctor. This damage could become permanent.

The good news: Your sciatica can go away

The good news is that sciatica goes away in 80% of cases. However, we still don’t know whether this is because a disc in the spine has moved back to its original place or whether the sciatic nerve is no longer being pinched.

What you can do while you suffer from sciatica to minimize the discomfort you feel is to take anti-inflammatory drugs. You should also complete the physical therapy that your doctor prescribes.

However, we’re sorry to tell you that although sciatica is temporary in most cases, the symptoms will probably last for more than 3 months. In any case, it’s always important to visit your doctor and follow their recommendations.