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When is Leg Pain Caused by Sciatica?

sciatic nerve of right leg on 3D model

Welcome back to the AFC health blog! The topic for this month is sciatica. Merriam-Webster defines sciatica broadly with: pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips, or adjacent parts. More specifically, it defines sciatica as: pain along the course of the sciatic nerve, especially in the back of the thigh. Also, sciatica is often associated with neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy, and severe leg cramps.

In my 30 years of practice, I have seen thousands of patients with pain in one leg, often on the upper thigh or buttocks or even knee pain, misdiagnosing themselves (or misdiagnosed by others) with sciatica! This is very confusing and concerning so it is vital to get the proper diagnosis in order to get a proper solution. Let’s take a look:

Sciatica refers to the sciatic nerve located leg stemming from your lower back. In fact, it is the biggest nerve in your leg and arguably the most important. Sciatic is not actually a muscle condition but an inflammation of the sciatic nerve, causing a sensation of pain from your buttocks to the base of your foot. This will lead to the diagnosis of sciatica or sciatic neuritis.

There are multiple nerves in your legs that could be involved and create symptoms much like sciatica, so you need to be careful not to jump to conclusions or diagnosis’ without a proper exam and xrays!

With a proper exam (such as the ones we do at AFC), we can come to an accurate diagnosis and get to the root cause of your condition. We have solutions to resolve sciatic neuritis without drugs or surgery!

For more information, read our full page on sciatica.