What Is the Difference Between Lower Back Pain and Sciatica?

According to studies, almost 80 percent of adults experience back pain at one point or another in their lives. Various factors or health issues can cause lower back pain. Sciatica is a nerve condition with symptoms similar to lower back pain. 

The pain runs through the sciatic nerve that goes all the way to the back of the leg. 


Lower Back Pain or Sciatica?

Sciatica is a term that describes different conditions caused by nerve pain. It involves pain that radiates down the legs due to a problem with the sciatic nerve. It is the longest nerve in the human body, and the searing or shooting pain occurs along the nerve. 

Lower back pain is usually evident above the belt line, often radiating to the buttocks off to one side or in the middle. The pain can originate from the lumbar discs, spinal joints, muscles, or other structures. It can sometimes travel down the back of the leg, much like sciatica. 


Causes of Low Back Pain

Back pain can be caused by different factors, even when there is no obvious change to the back structures. An accident or injury can lead to back pain, making it easy to pinpoint the cause. 

Poor posture, unaccustomed physical activity, sickness, stress, poor lifting technique, poor sleeping position, and more can trigger the pain. A bout of illness can take its toll on the back, and any small event can cause excruciating pain. 


Causes of Sciatica 

Unlike back pain, sciatica occurs along the sciatic nerve. It goes from the lower back to the hips and down the leg. The pain usually affects one side of the body and often has a sudden onset. It is easier to determine the cause of sciatica and is often a result of a bone spur, spinal stenosis, or a herniated disk. 

Symptoms of the condition include tingling and numbness. Sciatic pain can be severe but is often resolved within a few weeks with non-operative treatment.


Getting Professional Opinion

It is essential to get a professional opinion if you have any back pain. It will help to protect your long-term health. If back pain or sciatica causes bladder or bowel movement problems, it is essential to get immediate treatment. 

In many cases, lower back pain resolves itself in a few months. If the pain persists, treatment is vital to restore function and movement. Sciatica usually takes longer to resolve than lower back pain. A health practitioner can establish the cause of the pain and recommend effective treatment. 


Getting Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic treatment can help relieve the symptoms of lower back pain and sciatica. A chiropractor at Chiropractic Nashville will develop the best treatment plan to suit the individual’s needs. 

Lower back pain and sciatica are similar in that they are forms of back pain. They have similar symptoms, and one can sometimes be confused for the other. However, they differ in the source or cause of the pain. 

For more on the difference between lower back pain and sciatica, visit Chiropractic Nashville at our Nashville, Tennessee office. Call (615) 205-1022 to schedule an appointment today.

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