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How Do You Know When A Nerve Gets Pinched?

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the back of each leg. If this nerve gets pinched, the result can be severe radiating pain down the buttocks and legs. However, a variety of issues can be at the root of lower back and leg pain. So how can a person identify a pinched nerve? Watch for these 4 signs.

1. Do your feet keep falling asleep?

Sitting the wrong way, crossing the legs, or simply staying still for too long can lead to that pins and needles sensation in the feet. But if the feet keep falling asleep for no known reason, the cause could be a pinched nerve. A pinched sciatic nerve could also be more likely if the tingling sensations are accompanied by a sharp pain or muscle weakness.

2. Numb and you don’t know why?

Besides that tingling sensation, periods of numbness can also point to a pinched nerve. With sciatic pain, feet might feel numb or unresponsive. This may or may not be accompanied by that pins and needles sensation. Because the sciatic nerve runs all the way down both legs, a pinched sciatic nerve can lead to issues in the feet.

3. Does your pain get worse with sitting?

If pain in the legs is just the result of moving too much, resting for a while may make the pain disappear. With sciatic nerve pain, the pain worsens while sitting and feels better while standing. Often, this pain affects only one side of the body and not the other.

4. Does the pain move to your hip?

Sciatic pain doesn’t only cause leg or foot pain. The discomfort may originate all the way up in the hip. Often, people misidentify sciatic nerve pain as low back or hip pain. For some people, the pain is constant. For others, pain comes and goes.

What can I do to lower my sciatica risk?

While some factors, such as lumbar spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease are uncontrollable, there are some that are within control. For example, people can avoid smoking and manage weight appropriately to avoid developing sciatic nerve pain. Wearing high-heeled shoes and sleeping on a worn-out mattress can also make the pain worse. If the culprit is sciatica, there are treatment options. Speak with a healthcare provider to learn more about diagnosis and treatment for a pinched sciatic nerve.