There are dozens of possible causes of buttock pain, and one of the most frustrating is unquestionably sciatic pain. This condition is commonly known as sciatica.
Sciatica is actually a form of nerve pain which occurs because of damage or injury to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts out in the spinal column, continues through the buttocks and down to the lower limbs. It is also the largest and longest individual nerve in your body (approximately the diameter of your thumb in some places). So when it’s injured, the resulting discomfort can be severe and unrelenting.
It’s also not unusual for sciatic nerve inflammation to cause numbness and tingling along the nerve pathway.
More often than not, sciatic nerve pain begins in the spinal column, when discs or vertebrae are worn or injured. This results in inflammation along the nerve pathway. Distress from sciatica can be felt anywhere along the pathway of the nerve: in your back, in your buttocks, in your legs or feet.
Besides normal wear and tear, there are a number of other ways the sciatic nerve can become injured or damaged. Here are several that are typical.
A herniated disc, which occurs when a spinal disc presses against nerve roots, is a common cause of sciatic pain.
One of the most common causes of sciatica is incorrect physical posture. Your teachers knew what they were doing when they kept nagging you to sit up straight. Lousy posture is likely to put pressure on the sciatic nerve in a number of ways.
A number of other medical conditions, diseases and disorders may cause sciatic pain, including:
* spinal stenosis, occurring when the spinal narrows with age
* bone spurs due to arthritis, or
* a pinched nerve
There can be different levels of pain, varying from mild to excruciating. People who have had sciatica report that it sometimes feels like a shock or an electric jolt. Movement in the affected area makes it worse. You could experience a sharp pain when you cough or sneeze. Prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms.
Most of the time, the pain is felt in only one extremity.
Sciatic nerve pain typically intensifies when you sit or stand for a long time. However, walking, lying down and movements that extend the spine may reduce the discomfort.
Depending on the cause, the pain of acute sciatica usually passes without treatment within a couple of months. In the meantime, there are few options for getting relief..
Contrary to conventional wisdom, there’s been no scientific evidence proving that putting heat or ice on the painful area will do much good in relieving sciatic nerve pain.
However, over-the-counter pain relievers and certain kinds of steroid injections may help.
If buttock pain caused by sciatica continues for more than a few days, you should visit your doctor. He or she may recommend physical therapy. Certain exercise may also be useful. Surgery for sciatic pain is usually done only in the most severe cases.