Conditions Similar To Sciatica
Many people believe any condition that causes pain in the buttocks or leg to be sciatica when many conditions can cause these symptoms. It is helpful to understand the source of your leg pain to seek out the proper treatment and find lasting relief. Some conditions similar to and often confused with sciatica include:
Can Anything Be Done For A Pinched Nerve
Youve developed pain on one of your hips, and even the slightest movements cause shooting sensations that make you rethink moving again. If this sounds familiar, the problem may lie in a nerve entrapment, or pinched nerve, in your hip.
Heres a look at some of the signs of a pinched nerve in your hip and how you can find relief.
What Is The Sciatic Nerve
The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body its diameter is about three-quarters of an inch. It originates in the sacral plexus a network of nerves in the lower back . The lumbosacral spine refers to the lumbar spine and the sacrum combined, way down at the base of your spine and above the tailbone .
The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body.
The sciatic nerve exits the sacrum through a nerve passageway called the sciatic foramen. At the upper part of the sciatic nerve, two branches form the articular and muscular branches. The articular branch goes to the hip joint . The muscular branch serves the muscles of the leg.
The sciatic nerve has several smaller nerves that branch off from the main nerve. These nervesthe peroneal and tibial nervesenable movement and feeling in the thighs, knees, calves, ankles, feet, and toes.
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What Does Sciatica Feel Like
is often described as electric, burning, or sharp. The nerve pain can vary from mild to excruciating and can worsen when you bend down, twist your spine, or cough.
Although you have two sciatic nerves , sciatica symptoms typically only occur on one side of the body. If you have radiating pain down both of your legs, it is less likely that the pain is caused by a pinched sciatic nerve, Dr. Wang says.
In addition to pain, if the sciatic nerve is compressed, the muscles it serves may become weak. It may be hard to bend your knee, bring your thighs together , and point your foot and/or toes upward or downward.
Sciatica pain has both aching and sharp components that radiate from the lower back to the middle or lower butt. It also often travels down the leg.
While many experience chronic, or nagging, pain, in some cases, people with sciatica have reported the pain as an intense, knifelike sensation that can become unbearable to the point of debilitation.
It can also feel like:
The Symptoms Of A Pinched Nerve
To identify which nerve is causing your hip pain, Dr. White first reviews the location of your symptoms, which can include pain, as well as tingling and numbness.
If your symptoms are toward the back of your hip, this likely means that either your sciatic or pudendal nerve is involved.
If theres impingement of your sciatic nerve in your hip, the symptoms are likely localized. This distinction is important as other problems with your sciatic nerve, like sciatica, begin in your lower back and cause symptoms that radiate down through your hip and into your lower extremities.
If your hip pain is toward the front of your hip, the likely culprits are your obturator, femoral, and/or lateral femoral cutaneous nerves. These types of nerve entrapments lead to symptoms in the front of your hip, but they can also travel down into the front of your thigh, knee, and foot.
No matter which nerve is entrapped in your hip, youre left with discomfort and the inability to move without pain, making finding relief a priority.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Sciatica
The symptoms of sciatica include:
- Moderate to severe pain in lower back, buttock and down your leg.
- Numbness or weakness in your lower back, buttock, leg or feet.
- Pain that worsens with movement loss of movement.
- Pins and needles feeling in your legs, toes or feet.
- Loss of bowel and bladder control .
Get Rid Of That Pinched Nerve In Your Hip
Are you suffering from pain and discomfort in your hip? If so, then your symptoms could indicate a pinched nerve in the hip. For some, pain in the hip is a nagging nuisance. However, for others, it is a constant affliction that prevents them from walking normally. It can even prevent a typically active person from participating in things that he or she loves.
It doesnt have to be this way, however.
There are some things that you can do on your own to ease the pain of a pinched nerve. In fact, some treatments can even reverse the problem, preventing future flare-ups and painful symptoms.
Lets start by taking a closer look at what causes a pinched nerve in the hip.
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Other Pain Relief Options For Pinched Nerve In Hip
Luckily, most people can heal from a pinched nerve in the hip without specific medical treatment or surgery. There are several things you can do at home for pain relief.1
Pain Medications: Over-the-counter pain pills and anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help manage severe pain from a pinched nerve.
Ice and Heat: Applying ice on the painful area reduces swelling. Heat application increases blood circulation and reduces pain. You can alternate between ice and heat.
Lifestyle Modifications: Avoid putting additional pressure on the pinched nerve by not sitting or standing in one position for long periods.
So What Are The Highlights
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Early And Correct Diagnosis Is Key
When seeing a physician for hip or lower back pain, imaging such as x-rays and MRIs are usually conducted at the sight of the symptoms. Yet, these studies can sometimes show abnormalities that are not actually the root cause of the pain. Let me share a quick example.
A fifty-year-old gentleman had severe pain in the outside of his hip. He saw a physician and had an x-ray of the hip area performed. It was determined that he had mild arthritis in the hip, but the arthritis should not have caused the extensive symptoms he was enduring.
So, he started physical therapy for a period of time and saw no improvement. He then received a cortisone shot in the hip, and that didnt work either. His treatment plan moved on to a stem cell injection with platelet rich plasma in the hip, which also offered no improvement to his symptoms.
This mans symptoms started in April and proceeded to get worse and worse to the point that he was in a wheelchair when he came to the OrthoVirginia office in August. I looked over his symptoms and decided to have a MRI performed on his lower back, even though he had absolutely zero pain coming from his lumbar spine.
It turned out that the L3 and L4 nerves in his back were being compressed, and the symptoms were appearing in his hip. A minimally invasive surgery was performed, and his pain was gone immediately.
What Causes A Pinched Nerve
Some conditions can cause tissue or bone to compress a nerve and cause symptoms. These include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the joints that may pressure nearby nerves.
- Aging leads to wear and tear on the spine and its discs. Over time spinal discs can lose water content and flatten. The vertebrae move closer together, and in response the body forms growths of bone. These bone growths, or spurs, can compress nerves.
- Sudden injury from sports or an accident can result in a pinched nerve. Awkward lifting, pulling, or twisting movements can cause a herniated disc.
- Repetitive motion tasks, like extended periods of typing on a keyboard, can cause stress in your wrist and hand. This may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome .
- Obesity: Excess weight can swell your nerve pathway, putting pressure on nerves.
- Pregnancy: The extra weight can result in compressed nerves.
- Diabetes: High glucose levels in the blood damage your nerves.
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Stretching Exercises For Hip Pain From A Pinched Nerve
Pain in the hip from a pinched nerve can be temporary, or the result of a longer-term condition such as sciatica, which results when the sciatic nerve becomes trapped between two muscles or muscle and bone. Stretching is a beneficial way of lengthening and loosening the muscle that may be putting pressure on the nerve. Regular stretching offers short-term pain relief and may help resolve a longer-term condition.
Outer Hip And Gluteal Stretch
When the gluteal muscles and muscles of the outer hip are tight, they can cause hip and low back pain. By stretching these muscles, you can relieve the tightness that contributes to pinched nerves.
An outer hip and gluteal stretch can be performed either lying or standing. To perform the floor version, simply follow these instructions:
For the standing version of the outer hip and gluteal stretch, follow these guidelines:
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What Does Sciatica Pain Feel Like
People describe sciatica pain in different ways, depending on its cause. Some people describe the pain as sharp, shooting, or jolts of pain. Others describe this pain as burning, “electric or stabbing.
The pain may be constant or may come and go. Also, the pain is usually more severe in your leg compared to your lower back. The pain may feel worse if you sit or stand for long periods of time, when you stand up and when your twist your upper body. A forced and sudden body movement, like a cough or sneeze, can also make the pain worse.
Pinched Nerve Vs Spasm
Muscle spasms can result in a twitching sensation or pain that can run from mild to severe. The symptoms are often similar to those of a pinched nerve.
Nerve damage or overstimulation can cause a muscle spasm, but spasms are distinct from pinched nerves in that they can have a number of other causes and dont just happen when nerves are compressed. Some common causes of muscle spasms include:
- intense exercise that causes lactic acid buildup in muscles
- anxiety or stress
- using cigarettes or other products that contain nicotine
- taking certain medications, such as corticosteroids
- long-term effects of neurological disease, such as a stroke or cerebral palsy
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How To Prevent In The Future
There are several things you can do to prevent a pinched nerve in the hip in the future. One of the most important things is to maintain a healthy body weight with regular exercise. The Injurymap app is a great way to stay fit. The app contains a range of exercises for every part of the body. You can use the app to work all the different muscles and prevent pinched nerves in the hip and other areas as well.1
Another preventive measure for pinched nerve in hip is to avoid staying in one position for too long. For example, if your work involves sitting in an office chair all day long, you should do gentle stretches and exercises periodically. This will help relieve pressure on the nerves in your hips.1
It is also a good idea to make sure you have a good posture. While standing, ensure that your weight is distributed equally on both legs. Avoid sitting for long periods with your legs crossed. Keep your spine straight and avoid hunching over.1
If your occupation requires heavy lifting, be sure to lift smart with the proper form. Bend your knees, not your back. Dont attempt to lift heavy or awkwardly shaped objects without help. If you have symptoms of a pinched nerve in the hip, avoiding lifting heavy objects as it can make your condition worse.
Iliac Crest Apophysis Avulsion
Avulsion fractures of the apophyses of the pelvis are rare injuries. This injury occurs mainly in young persons, between the ages of 8 and 14, before they’ve fully grown. That is because fusion of these bones does not occur until between the ages of 15 and 17 years. The cause is typically a contraction of muscles during extreme sports activity. Treatment includes rest and physical therapy as well as pain medications.
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Treating Your Pinched Nerve
Most pinched nerves resolve themselves on their own with the proper guidance and support. So Dr. White locates the pinched nerve, and then he recommends several treatments that can get you on the road to relief, such as:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Hot and cold therapies
- At-home exercises
This last point is an important one, as gentle stretching exercises can help free up your entrapped nerve. Depending upon the location of the pinched nerve, we provide you with the most effective stretching regimen for that particular type of entrapment.
If theres a structural defect thats causing chronic problems with a pinched nerve in your hip, we can discuss further how to resolve the issue, once and for all.
If you suspect you have a pinched nerve in your hip, its important to see Dr. White sooner rather than later so that youre armed with the right treatment plan. To get started, contact one of our two offices in Denver or Arvada, Colorado, to set up an appointment. You can phone us or click the request appointment button to get started.
Dont Let Hip Nerve Pain Hold You Back
Many different conditions can cause a pinched nerve in your hip. In some cases, it is difficult to determine the exact cause. However, a combination of careful history-taking and physical examination can help narrow down the differential diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis allows for proper management and avoids unnecessary surgery.
If youve pinched a nerve in your hip, be careful not to put any further compression on the area, and seek proper medical advice. A pinched nerve isnt usually serious, but painful symptoms interfere with daily life.
Luckily, most people can recover from a pinched nerve by simply taking it easy and performing some simple exercises however, surgery may be necessary in extreme cases. Either way, its important that you take things slow and follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.
Dr. Kristina DeMatas
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What Is Radiating Pain
Radiating pain is pain that “radiates” from one area of the body to other areas of the body. When pain in one area of the body causes pain in other areas, this is known as “referred pain.” In fact, radiating lower back and hip pain can cause pain in all kinds of places near these areas like
- Thigh muscle pain
- Pain back of the knee
- Knee pain at night
- Pain in the upper thigh
- Numbing of nerves in leg
- Hip and groin pain
- Pain in the back of leg behind the knee
- Pain in one side side
- Pain in the calf
- Pain in back of the knee
- Hip and groin pain
- Sharp pain in the toes
- Lower calf pain
Note your symptoms from the list above and use these to learn your diagnosis with our helpful descriptions of symptoms, possible causes, and when you should get to a doctor or emergency room to know how to treat your injury.
A Word About Trigger Point Therapy
If you’re prone to pinched nerves, you might also want to look into learning a little something about self-applied trigger point massage.
What is trigger point massage, you ask?
Many of the same risk factors that predispose an individual to a pinched nerve can also predispose someone to developing myofascial trigger pointsâsmall, tightly contracted knots within a muscle.
These tiny areas are known as trigger points because circulation to them is restricted, cutting off the flow of oxygen and vital nutrients. This, in turn, leads to referred pain, which may affect both muscles and joints.
Over time, trigger points can affect the function of the muscles around them, which can lead to symptoms of a pinched nerve.
While trigger point massage is relatively easy to doâand makes a great companion to all of the exercises listed aboveâthere is a small learning curve. Therefore, if you’re interested in this proven pain relief technique, we recommend picking up a copy of the excellent reference guide the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Clair Davies.
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