I have many patients come to my office for the first time asking me that question-is it sciatica? Oftentimes people will Google this symptom and already have the conclusion that they have sciatica, but ....... there is a chance that sciatica is something else.
First off, let's talk about what sciatica is and isn't. A collection of nerves from the lower back come together and leave the spine area and travel down the back of your leg and into the foot. Sciatica occurs when a disc, the spacer between the vertebral bones in your low back protrudes or herniates causing the disc to contact the sciatic nerve. When this happens, symptoms such as pain, numbness and tingling in the legs can occur. Not all cases of sciatica will have these textbook symptoms. Sometimes there is only back pain, sometimes, hip or buttock pain.
Sometimes patients will experience sciatic-like symptoms but the cause is not from the sciatic nerve directly. There is a muscle in the buttock area that is in close approximation with the sciatic nerve-it's called the piriformis muscle. This muscle causes you to rotate your hip. If this muscle becomes tight-it can contact the sciatic nerve and make it seem like you have sciatica. This muscle can become tight from sitting for prolonged periods of time. People that have an occupation that requires them to be seated are prone to having this symptom. Getting in an auto accident can also cause tightening of this muscle. You are already seated in your vehicle. If you are struck, this muscle is stretched just by you being seated. An accident will further stretch this muscle to the point where it can tear and cause pain, inflammation and maybe even contact the sciatic nerve.
If you have been involved in an auto accident and are experiencing sciatica, low back pain, numbness and tingling in the legs, hip pain, neck pain, whiplash, headaches, jaw pain, shoulder and mid-back pain and live in the Chicagoland area like Elmhurst, Villa Park, Lombard, Bensenville, Oak Brook, Hinsdale, Stone Park, Melrose Park, Northlake, Bellwood, Berkeley and Westchester contact us 24/7 at 800-862-5914.