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Spinal nerves and sciatica

Sciatica . . . . in your arms?

Most of us are familiar with sciatica, when the discs in the lower spine (specifically L3) get compressed and start to press onto the sciatic nerve. This causes pain and tingling in the leg and buttock as well as leg weakness and pain into the foot.

In fact sciatica is often used as a “catch all” term to describe all kinds of nerve issues coming from the lower back and most of you will know at least one person who describes their pain as “sciatica”.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the buttocks or leg, often worse when sitting.
  • Burning, tingling or “pins and needles” down the leg.
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot.
  • A constant pain on one side.
  • Shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up

So while real, true sciatica is only from disc L3 in your lower back we can get a whole host of similar symptoms from a lot of other discs. So the same problem, pressure on the nerve, elsewhere in the spine causes these sciatica-like symptoms elsewhere in your body:

Nerve pain symptoms:

  • Painful tingling or “pins and needles” sensation in the hands, wrists and elbows
  • Pain moves or jumps from side to side
  • Pain feels sharp or searing rather than a dull ache
  • Feels like “electric shocks” along arms or legs.
  • Pain doesn’t ease with massage or treatment where you feel the pain
  • Weakness or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or chest pains
  • Dizziness or headaches

Nerve problems and their symptoms are often incorrectly diagnosed and treated. Patients often find that the location of the pain is treated not the cause of the pain.

This is why a thorough, clinical and physical assessment is so important. If we aren’t treating the true cause of the pain then you can have a lot of really good treatment that won’t make the slightest bit of difference.

Or book a Free 15 minute telephone consultation to find out how we can help.


7 myths about back pain by Estelle Mitchell Consultant Physiotherpist at Bodyworks Clinic Marbella

7 things your doctor didn’t tell you about back pain

Complete the form below to get Estelle’s simple free guide to resolving back pain.

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