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Sciatic pain?

Hi all,

I need some help to understand exactly what sciatic pain is and how it feels. I have never suffered from back problems, so when a neuro asks me whether I have sciatica-type pain I’m at a loss. And you know what it’s like when you see a neuro. You’re always worried about overstating things or saying the wrong thing.

I do not get shooting pains that go from my back down my leg which is sort of what I imagine it must be. I do however have more aching style pains that can sometimes encompass my left but and upper leg. Is this what you would term as sciatica-style pain? I’m suspecting not.

Thanks for any help you can give to demystify this for me.

Astro x

Hello :slight_smile: I have had sciatica for a few years. I have quite bad lower back pain. But when it flares up I get a shooting pain from my bottom all the way down the backs of my legs. If you have ever pulled something its pretty much that felling. Bit like an electric shock can make you jump suddenly. But when I havent caught it (my back) I do get the normal aches and pains in my legs. So for about 4 years they have been treating me for sciatica but they also think the aches and heavy feeling is to do with ms. So I could say yes can sound like sciatica pain but then not as I have to 2 together. So sorry if not much help there as I have the both. But I know definitely that the shooting pain is sciatica. If you dont get that then I would say probably not. Sorry if I have confused you a bit more there, brain has been abit fried lately :slight_smile: Do you have any lower back pain at all? Xx

Sorry meant feeling lol oppps xx

Hi Jo,

thanks for the reply. No I don’t get back pain in general, and I don’t seem to have any shooting pains down my leg as you mentioned. It doesn’t sound as if the pains I get qualify as specifically sciatica-style. It really is more of an achiness. It’s a bit silly really that a neuro asks you whether your pain feels like a specific condition, when you may never have experienced that condition.

Cheers for the feedback,

Astro x

I have had sciatica now and again for years - long before I developed MS. Mine is a steady, achy pain and I can trace it in a line down the path of the nerve through my buttock and down my thigh. If it’s really bad, I will also feel pain in my lower leg. I don’t normally bother with painkillers for sciatica, sitting on something warm brings relief much more quickly - I use a hot water bottle at home or an unscented microwavable wheat bag in the office.

I normally only get symptoms on one side at a time - the left is much more likely to be affected than the right, but it can be either side. The distinctive feature for me that sets sciatica apart from other aches and pains is that I can trace it in a distinct line down the path of the nerve.

Hope this helps.

Hmmm. Thanks Mitzi. What I do notice is that when I’m in my husbands car, for a long period of time on a hot day, I do get pains that seem to go down the full length of my leg to my foot, and this is also the leg which goes completely dead in bed when I seem to be in a flare. But it doesn’t come alone. Last year when I went on my hols the whole of the left side of my bod went numbish, including the side of the face. Maybe the sciatic nerve is involved, but it’s to do with overall inflammation of the body.

Thanks lovely people for sharing your experiences on this. I feel like I’m getting to know my body step by step. I’m having a mini-flare this week, so it’s on my mind more.

Astro x

I agree, what you describe sounds like more general inflammation than sciatica.

If a doctor asks a question and you don’t know, for example, whether your pain feels like sciatica, just say you don’t know, you have never been diagnosed with that. Safer than guessing how something feels! It may help to keep notes of what symptoms occur when and any obvious triggers. That will help next time you see your neuro and he asks how you have been.

Take care.

What everyone else said. I’ve been getting very mild sciatica (piriformis syndrome to be exact) in my right buttock, and it’s definitely a shooting pain although it can cause surrounding muscles to tense up a bit.

I overcame my scepticism and saw an osteopath. Decribed my symptoms, then he cracked me a couple of times (weird) and put 4 acupuncture needles in me (gradually getting over my needle phobia, can handle a finger prick now too) and left me there for AGES. Not an experience I want to repeat. But last weekend I ran a half marathon and on reading your post I realised I haven’t had any sciatic pain since visiting the osteo. Worth the £50 perhaps.

What everyone else said. I’ve been getting very mild sciatica (piriformis syndrome to be exact) in my right buttock, and it’s definitely a shooting pain although it can cause surrounding muscles to tense up a bit.

I overcame my scepticism and saw an osteopath. Decribed my symptoms, then he cracked me a couple of times (weird) and put 4 acupuncture needles in me (gradually getting over my needle phobia, can handle a finger prick now too) and left me there for AGES. Not an experience I want to repeat. But last weekend I ran a half marathon and on reading your post I realised I haven’t had any sciatic pain since visiting the osteo. Worth the £50 perhaps.