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Your Sciatica Checklist — Do You Have These Symptoms?

Your Sciatica Checklist — Do You Have These Symptoms?

Pain with certain movements and pain that shoots down one of your legs—these are two of the more common signs that you’ve developed sciatica, a painful nerve entrapment issue in your lower back.

If this is your first go-around with sciatica, the fact that you developed this type of back pain isn’t all that surprising, given that the lifetime prevalence of sciatica is as high as 40%.

Still, we want to ensure you’re on the right path toward the correct diagnosis. The only way to know for sure whether you’re dealing with sciatica is to come to see one of the skilled spine experts here at Texas Spine Consultants, including Dr. Michael Hennessy, Dr. Chester Donnally, Dr. Heidi Lee, Dr. Andrew Park, and Dr. Robert Viere. That said, we want to give you a headstart in your diagnosis by providing a sciatica symptom checklist, which we cover below.

Sciatica 101

Before we get into our checklist, let’s quickly review what we’re up against with sciatica. As we referenced earlier, sciatica is a nerve entrapment issue—more specifically, the large sciatic nerve that starts in your lower back. 

Your sciatic nerve is formed from nerve roots that exit your spine between your L4 and S3 vertebrae. It then splits into two and travels down each of your legs to your feet.

With sciatica, the nerve in your lumbar spine is compressed, which can lead tolocal symptoms and symptoms that travel down the length of the nerve, a condition called radiculopathy.

Telltale signs of sciatica

Now let’s get into some of the common signs that sciatica has taken hold, which include:


Let’s start with the symptom that most gets your attention — pain. This pain can be a sharp pain in your lower back that comes and goes with certain movements (ones that compress your sciatic nerve). Unfortunately, all too often, this pain isn’t confined to your lower back but shoots down one side of your buttocks and into your leg.

Numbness and tingling

Your sciatic nerve is a sensory nerve that doesn't only deal with pain. Many people with sciatica also experience numbness and tingling that can travel the same path as the pain and down into your lower extremities.


If your sciatic nerve is significantly compressed, you can experience muscle weakness in your leg, including foot drop (trouble lifting your foot).


This symptom isn’t all that common and only occurs when there’s severe compression of your sciatic nerve. When this happens, you can experience fecal or urinary incontinence.

Getting help for your sciatica

Whether these symptoms sound familiar or you feel you might be dealing with something else, we want you to see us for an evaluation so that we can get you on the road to relief.

In most cases, we can manage sciatica nonsurgically, but early intervention is important because a third of people with sciatica struggle with symptoms for a year or more. And we don’t want you to be part of this group.

To get to the bottom of your lower back pain and determine whether you have sciatica, we invite you to contact one of our offices in Addison or Plano, Texas, to schedule a consultation. 

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