This sciatica FAQ section contains frequently asked questions about sciatic nerve pain. We receive hundreds of questions each month focused on various aspects of sciatica, so we decided it was long overdue to write this FAQ section to provide immediate help for patients who have questions that need answering right now.
Sciatica is an enigmatic pain syndrome and is completely misunderstood by most sufferers and even by many of the doctors who treat it. Some things have become abundantly clear from our decade of providing expert guidance to back and neck pain sufferers, including all of the following truths: Sciatica is one of the most prevalent of all pain syndromes. Sciatica is virtually always a chronic, long-term problem. Sciatica virtually always defies treatment, regardless of what type of care is attempted. All these facts make sciatica one of the most burdensome of all health issues.
This frequently asked questions section provides expert answers for the inquiries that we receive most often on the sites of The Cure Back Pain Network, including this very website, Sciatica-Pain.Org.
Q: Can you tell me more about how sciatica is diagnosed?
A: Sciatica is never a diagnosis, so let’s clarify this simple point right from the start. Sciatica is merely a set of symptoms that is related to some known or unknown causation. If you have been diagnosed with sciatica, you are off to a terrible start in your treatment efforts. We advise finding a more enlightened doctor.
Q: What is the difference between sciatica and pseudo sciatica?
A: This is an excellent question and one that is covered throughout this very website. Spinal sciatica denotes symptoms that occur due to a root origin in the lower nerve roots of the spine, between L4 and S3. In essence, true sciatica must have a lumbar or sacral spinal causation. Meanwhile, pseudo sciatica resembles true sciatica in every way, except that it does not have a lumbar or sacral spinal causation.
Q: What causes pseudo sciatica if not the lumbar spine?
A: There are many possible reasons for pseudo sciatica to exist, including spinal causation in other regions, such as the cervical levels, piriformis muscle compression of the sciatic nerve, diabetes, local neuropathy, mindbody interactions and other possible sources of discomfort.
Q: What are the usual symptoms of sciatica?
A: Unfortunately, each case is different and highly specific. Symptoms even change frequently in the same sufferer. The most common collective set of sciatica symptoms includes various types of pain, as well as tingling, numbness and weakness in the buttocks, legs and/or feet. Other less common symptoms include burning, restless leg and anatomical deficits, such as foot drop, incontinence or sexual dysfunction.
Q: What is the best sciatica treatment?
A: The best treatment is entirely dependent on the root cause of the symptoms, as well as other case-specific criteria. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. We discuss the benefits, risks and limitations of a wide range of therapy options in the sciatica treatment section of this website.
Q: I have been receiving (fill in your type of treatment) care for a long time already. Why do I still have pain?
A: This is an excellent inquiry and one of the major subjects that we write about on our websites. While there is no universal answer as to why treatment has been ineffectual, two of the most common explanative reasons include the possibility that therapy is purely symptomatic in nature or the fact that the diagnosis is incorrect and therefore treatment is not targeting the correct cause of pain.
Q: Will I eventually need surgery to cure my sciatica?
A: In some rare cases, surgery is advised and stands a reasonable chance of being successful. In the vast majority of cases, surgery is not needed, nor will it stand much hope of providing any lasting or measurable relief, except through the power of the placebo phenomenon.
Q: Is it possible to find a cure without surgery?
A: Surely. Some people can find permanent relief through nonsurgical spinal decompression. Other people enjoy organic resolution of pain due to known or unknown lifestyle-related factors. A great number of patients end their pain by discovering its root source in the mind, rather than needlessly treating the body. None of these paths is universally successful or applicable, since every case of sciatica pain is different.
Q: Why do you always talk about how dangerous sciatica drugs are? I take them and I seem fine.
A: Drugs are extremely dangerous. There is no such thing as a safe drug. The longer they are used, the more their risks are compounded. The more drugs are used, the more their risks are compounded. We have witnessed absolute horrors concerning the collateral negative consequences of pharmaceutical therapy. This is why we recommend staying away from drugs as a long-term solution for any type of pain, whenever possible.
Q: Why would my doctor tell me that I need surgery if I really don’t?
A: This is a complicated and highly case-specific question. Unfortunately, the answers are all far from optimistic. The doctor might simply be trying to make a big sale to improve their financial bottom line. Surgery is the most profitable medical service, by far. The doctor might be behind the times on the latest innovations in nonsurgical treatment for all manner of painful conditions. The doctor might have the diagnosis wrong and therefore thinks surgery is needed, when in fact, an operation will do actual harm, since it will not be addressing the true source of symptomatic activity. In some rare cases, you might actually truly need surgery.
Q: Sciatica is the most painful thing ever. It is ruining my life. What can I do?
A: You are already doing it; don’t stop. Research and education will help you to advocate for yourself and we are happy to provide all the information you will ever need to become a veritable expert in sciatic nerve pain.
We hope that this Q&A section is helpful to you in providing answers for the questions contained above. If you did not find the answer to the question you need solved, please utilize our search function to find all the relevant topics by subject across all the sites of The Cure Back Pain Network. Be patient and take your time to research thoroughly. The knowledge gained will be worth the time invested many times over. If you are really stuck, you can contact us at this website or on any of our social media outlets.