In 2005 I developed several issues with my back following an accident. I was struck by a car while walking across the street. My injuries included pain in my upper back, coming from damaged rhomboid muscles. I also began feeling a pain in my lower back that traveled down my legs into my feet. This was the most debilitating pain of all the injuries and was diagnosed as sciatica.
The sciatic nerve is located in your buttocks or near that vicinity. The first time I spoke to the doctor about that pain, I thought the pain was coming from my liver. He corrected me and gave me an understanding of how pain from the sciatic nerve can travel through your back and even down into your legs, knees and feet. I must say, sciatic pain is high on the 1-10 scale that doctors use to determine how much pain one is experiencing. The sciatic nerve is located at the base of the spine according to Web MD.
Fortunately, my sciatica problem does not occur often. Careful lifting and limiting the weight of what I pick up helps me avoid its occurrence, as does bending correctly (at the knees). These cautions make my gardening chores more difficult, as there is not always someone around to help with the lifting. Shoveling and hoeing can be aggravating factors as well. In fact, any over-exertion can cause a bout of sciatica.
Caution with movements and lifting helps me to avoid aggravating this sensitive nerve. When I experience an episode the shooting pain begins between my lower and middle back and works its way down to my hips; finally making its way down my leg and to my foot. This often involves a tingling sensation and sometimes my leg or foot gets numb. This pain can last for days. Pain medication dulls the pain, but does not take it away. Bending, standing or sitting for too long can aggravate the problem. Even lying down does not take away the pain.
Since sciatic pain is difficult to live with, I find it is best to avoid it. Injuries or aggravation of the sciatic nerve results in pain that is much stronger than the pain I feel in my upper back. When I experience numbness in my foot and leg it sometimes causes me to stumble. My sciatica, although infrequent, is very painful. This nerve is connected to the spine and can be damaged by a variety of actions.
Treatments for extreme sciatica include medication, exercise and even surgery. Treatment depends on what is causing the condition. A pinched nerve is a common cause of sciatica. Degenerative disk disease or a herniated disk can cause one to have sciatica, as well as injuries such as mine.
In my experience, exercise is an invaluable means of avoiding a bout of sciatica. After the accident, I spent several weeks in physical therapy. A few simple stretches, called flossing and the slump stretch can ease the pain when sciatica occurs.